Humiliated in Parliament but Johnson still refuses to apologise for insulting Muslim women

27th Sep 2019
Humiliated in Parliament but Johnson still refuses to apologise for insulting Muslim women

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was applauded in Parliament as he confronted PM Boris Jonson over his comments about ethnic minorities (Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

Hamed Chapman

After more than one year, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, remains reluctant to apologise for derogatively likening Muslim women who wear a burqa to letterboxes and bank robbers.

The former London Mayor also confirmed that he was going back on his election pledge to carry out an independent inquiry into the extent of Islamophobia within the ruling Tory party.In a damning rebuke during his first Prime Minister’s Questions since replacing Theresa May, he was humiliated in front of applauding parliamentarians after being berated by the first turban wearing Sikh MP over his arrogance and racist remarks.

Labour backbencher Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was loudly cheered by his colleagues as he challenged Johnson over his condescending attitude to ethnic minorities, reminding him of his long history of insulting comments including about his religion.

“If I decide to wear a turban, or you, Mr Speaker, decide to wear a cross, or he decides to wear a kippah or skull cap, or she decides to wear a hijab or a burqa, does that mean that it is open season for Right Hon Members of this House to make derogatory and divisive remarks about our appearance?”

“For those of us who from a young age have had to endure and face up to being called names such as towel-head, or Taliban, or coming from bongo-bongo land, we can fully appreciate the hurt and pain of already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers and letterboxes. Rather than hide behind sham and whitewash investigations, when will the Prime Minister finally apologise for his derogatory and racist remarks?” Johnson was asked.

(Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

Those racist remarks have led to a spike in hate crime. Given the increasing prevalence of such incidents within his party, when will the Prime Minister finally order an inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party, which was something that he and his Chancellor (Sajid Javid) promised on national television?” Dhesi also questioned.

His passionate remonstration turned the House of Commons chamber into a rare clapping auditorium, turning tables on the rather flamboyant Tory Leader renowned more for his bluster and swagger.

As usual, Johnson ducked and dived without giving a direct answer on when he would launch an inquiry into Islamophobia within his party and instead tried to make it a party issue that it was Labour who should apologise for the rise in anti-Semitism.

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