- Boris Johnson’s Conservative party has been accused by Muslim leaders of allowing Islamophobia to “fester” within the UK.
- “It is abundantly clear to many Muslims that the Conservative Party tolerate Islamophobia,” the group said.
- Johnson has previously claimed that Islamophobia is a “natural reaction” to Islam.
- He wrote in the Spectator in 2005 that “the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem.”
- The prime minister also compared Muslim women to “letterboxes” and bank robbers.
- Johnson has dropped a previous pledge to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative party.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Boris Johnson’s Conservative party has been accused by Muslim leaders in the UK of allowing Islamophobia to “fester” within their ranks.
“This an issue that is particularly acute in the Conservative Party who have approached Islamophobia with denial, dismissal and deceit,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday.
They added: “It is abundantly clear to many Muslims that the Conservative Party tolerate Islamophobia, allow it to fester in society, and fail to put in place the measures necessary to root out this type of racism.”
Examination of the prime minister’s own record, by Business Insider, shows that he has himself previously sought to downplay and even justify Islamophobia in the UK.
Islamophobia is ‘a natural reaction’
In 2005, Johnson wrote in the Spectator that he believed it was only “natural” for the public to be scared of Islam.
“To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia – fear of Islam – seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke,” he wrote.
“Judged purely on its scripture – to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques – it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.”
‘Islam is the problem’
In the wake of the London bombings, he also questioned the loyalty of British Muslims and insisted that the country must accept that “Islam is the problem.”
“It will take a huge effort of courage and skill to win round the many thousands of British Muslims who are in a similar state of alienation, and to make them see that their faith must be compatible with British values and with loyalty to Britain,” he wrote.
“That means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem.”
He added: “What is going on in these mosques and madrasas? When is someone going to get 18th century on Islam’s medieval arse?”
Comparing Muslim women who wear the burqa to ‘letterboxes’
Boris Johnson was last year reported to the Equalities Commission after comparing Muslim women who wear burqas to “letter boxes” and bank robbers.
The former foreign secretary wrote in an article for the Telegraph that “it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes,” adding that any female student who appeared at school or in a lecture “looking like a bank robber” should be asked to remove it.
Johnson has repeatedly refused to apologise for the comments, saying earlier this month that the article was actually a “liberal” argument against banning the burqa.
Islamophobia goes ‘right up to the top’ of the Conservative party.
Former Conservative co-chair Baroness Warsi told Business Insider last year that Islamophobia goes “right up to the top” of the Conservative party.
“It’s very widespread [in the Conservative party]. It exists right from the grassroots, all the way up to the top,” she told BI.
She said that Islamophobia was now “very widespread” in the party but was being deliberately ignored at the highest levels for electoral reasons.
However, Johnson has dropped a previous pledge to hold an inquiry into the problem within his party, saying that he would only hold a broader inquiry into all types of prejudice within society.
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