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Boris Johnson under fire for comparing burqas to 'letter boxes' in UK

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Britain's former Johnson came under fire today after he described the as "oppressive" and compared Muslim women who wear the to "letter boxes".

In his regular column in 'The Daily Telegraph' on Sunday, the had laid out his views against a complete ban on the Islamic in line with the recent ban in

"If you tell me that the burka (burqa) is oppressive, then I am with you I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes," he wrote.

He said businesses and government agencies in the UK should be able to "enforce a dress code" that allowed them to see people's faces.

If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct, he wrote.

But added: "Such restrictions are not quite the same as telling a free-born adult woman what she may or may not wear, in a public place, when she is simply minding her own business."

The former Cabinet minister, who had resigned as last month amid a clash over the UK's Brexit strategy, said a total ban on face-covering would give a boost to radicals and could lead to "a general crackdown on any public symbols of religious affiliation".

However, his remarks prompted calls for an apology, with the accusing him of "pandering to the far right" and Opposition MPs accusing him of stoking Islamophobia.

Labour MP said: "Muslim women are having their burqas pulled off by thugs in our streets and Johnson's response is to mock them for 'looking like letter boxes'.

"Our pound-shop is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions."

Labour's shadow equalities minister, Naz Shah, added: Johnson's latest racist insults cannot be laughed off, like they often are. must condemn this blatant Islamophobia and must apologise.

Another Labour MP, Jess Phillips, said she would report Johnson to the country's (EHRC).

last week followed France, and in imposing face-covering and niqab bans in public places and a fine of about EURO 120 has already been imposed on a woman wearing a full-face veil in a shopping centre in the town of

British Theresa May's said: "The long-standing government position on this is clear, that we do not support a ban on the wearing of the veil in public. Such a prescriptive approach would be not in keeping with British values of religious tolerance and equality.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 06 2018. 20:30 IST