100 Muslim women who wear niqabs and burkas demand Boris Johnson’s exit

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  • ‘We have not forfeited our right to be treated fairly and as equal citizens in this country’

    People have been calling for the resignation of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson after he was accused of ‘vilifying Muslim women’ this week.

    Johnson voiced his thoughts on the dress of Muslim women in a recent column for the Daily Telegraph, stating ‘It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes’.

    Yes. The ex foreign secretary said women who walk around in burkas look like ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letter boxes’ – and unsurprisingly no one is very happy about it.

    It was announced that the Tory party were investigating the complaints against Johnson, but that wasn’t enough for the public, with his office hit by a rally against his controversial comments, organised by Muslim Engagement & Development.

    Today, 100 British Muslim women have come forward today against Johnson by sending an open letter to the chair of the Conservative party.

    REX

    Here is the letter in full…

    Dear Brandon Lewis,

    We, the undersigned, write to you as British Muslim women who wear the niqab or burqa.

    We speak as free women who are able to speak for ourselves and make our own choices. Our decision to wear the niqab or burqa is not an easy one, especially given the hate that many of us experience on a regular basis. Nevertheless we do so because we believe it is a means to get closer to God.

    We recognise that this is not the practice of the majority of Muslim women and that it is a very small number who make this choice in the UK. All personal choices should be respected.

    Contrary to what you may have been told by sections of the media and columnists who profess to know what is best for us, we are not forced to make these clothing choices, nor are we oppressed.

    As women who wear the niqab or burqa, we have not forfeited our right to be treated fairly and as equal citizens in this country. Yet we have representatives of our governing party who think otherwise and who use Muslim women in order to pander to far-right Islamophobes within the party, as Boris Johnson has done.

    We understand that you have requested Mr Johnson to apologise.

    As chairman of a party that seeks to represent the whole country, which protects individual liberty as a cherished British value, your call – we believe – is insufficient.

    Given a deliberate choice was made to inflame tensions in a way that makes it easier for bigots to justify hate crime against us, we concur with Conservative peer, Lord Sheikh, who has demanded the whip be withdrawn from Mr Johnson.

    Furthermore, given the responses from other MPs, specifically Ms Dorries, and the broader concerns that have been raised by the Muslim Council of Britain amongst others, we believe that there must now be an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Party to tackle this issue once and for all.

    Our rights as equal citizens may be debated within wider society, but such vile language which has real consequences for us, should never be acceptable.

    We are happy to speak to Members of Parliament to share our experiences and perhaps demystify some of the concerns they may have.

    We look forward to hearing from you soon,

    Yours,

    Hawa, Bolton

    Shenaz, Bolton

    Aisha, Bolton

    Nurjahan, Bolton

    Asiya, Bolton

    Rashida, Blackburn

    Zarina, Bolton

    Almas, Bolton

    Saadia, Bradford

    Sabera, Bradford

    Aisha, Bolton

    Shaheda, Batley

    Noreen, Birmingham

    Shahnaz, Luton

    Hamida, London

    Hajra, Dewsbury

    Jameela, Bolton

    Haleema, Bolton

    Haneefa, Bolton

    Memuna, Bradford

    Firdous, Bradford

    Kulsum, Bolton

    Fatema, Bolton

    Khadijah, Luton

    Khoyrun, Portsmouth

    Fatima, Portsmouth

    Gulab, Portsmouth

    Jiba, Portsmouth

    Sadika, Portsmouth

    Husna, Portsmouth

    Saffiyah, Portsmouth

    Nazma, Portsmouth

    Asma, Portsmouth

    Mayarun, Bolton

    Zainub, Bolton

    Farida, Batley

    Yumna, London

    Zubaidah, Newcastle

    Farzana, Batley

    Maaya, Bradford

    Simra, Bradford

    Rasheda, Leicester

    Farzana, Dewsbury

    Sajidah, Bolton

    Bushra, Newcastle

    Rukhsana, Blackburn

    Maryam, London

    Farzana, Blackburn

    Maarya, Batley

    Rasheda, Leicester

    Aminah, Oldham

    Maariya, London

    Taslim, Bolton

    Shehnaz, Bolton

    Shamim, Bolton

    Sumayah, Bolton

    Badrunnisa, Blackburn

    Farhana, Bolton

    Fatimah, Leicester

    Nasim, Bolton

    Rizwana, Bolton

    Ammaarah, Manchester

    Neelofar, Dewsbury

    Salma, Bolton

    Lyba, Manchester

    Razia, London

    Muneebah, Manchester

    Qudsiyyah, Manchester

    Nida, Birmingham

    Sidrah, Manchester

    Sahar, Cardiff

    Shamima, Newport

    Pritima, London

    Tahsin, London

    Zaynab, Chadwell Heath

    Amina, London

    Shirin, Stratford

    Sumey, Bradford

    Arifa, Bradford

    Farhana, Bradford

    Asma, London

    Zakera, London

    Summayya, London

    Nasim, Leicester

    Shahida, Leicester

    Nasima, London

    Anisa, London

    Abeda, Bradford

    Nafisa, Bradford

    Fatima, Bradford

    Khadija, Bradford

    Noreen, Bradford

    Sarina, Bradford

    Halima, Bradford

    Azba, Bradford

    Nabeela, Bradford

    Zainab, Bradford

    Ammarah, Batley

    Humera, Batley

    Asma, Blackburn

    Aneesa, Batley

    Waseeya, Chorley

    Anisah, Preston

    Nafisa, Bolton

    Jamila, Blackburn

    Anisha, Blackburn

    Saheera, Blackburn

    Shakila, Preston

    Tahmina, London

    Latifah, London

    Nada, Birmingham

    Shuhana, Swindon

    Sidrah, Oldham

    We will continue to update this story.

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