Boris Johnson has been reported to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission after suggesting women wearing niqabs resembled “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.
The incendiary remarks – condemned by politicians across the political divide – came as he said it was wrong for Denmark to impose fines on those wearing the religious headgear in the streets.
Describing its as “oppressive” in a column for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson added that it was “absolutely ridiculous” that people should “choose to go around looking like letter boxes”.
“If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecturer looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct,” he wrote.
While Mr Johnson said these restrictions were “sensible” he opposed a full ban in public places and claimed: “One day, I am sure, they will go”.
In response, Jess Philips, who sits on the women and equalities committee in parliament, logged the remarks with Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
“I’d like to report Boris Johnson for refusing a service to someone based on at least two of the protected characteristics outline in the Equality Act, 2010,” she said.
Highlighting an article in the London Evening Standard, in which a Muslim imam hailed as a hero for his actions during a terror attack on a London mosque accused the government of being “in denial” over Islamophobia, the former Conservative cabinet minister Sayeeda Warsi said: “Meanwhile Conservatives its business as usual with Boris burkha dog whistle.”
Labour MP David Lammy, added: “Muslim women are having their burkas pulled off by thugs in our streets and Boris Johnson’s response is to mock them for ‘looking like letter boxes’. Read more
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