Actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson defends Johnson in burqa row

12 August, 2018, 21:40 | Author: Wade Massey
  • FILE Boris Johnson

Johnson said that schools and universities should expect students to remove face coverings if they turn up "looking like a bank robber".

Johnson's comments were criticized by Muslim groups and politicians including Prime Minister Theresa May, who urged Johnson to apologize.

The Conservative Party have decided Mr Johnson should be investigated by an independent panel following complaints his comments breached the Tories' code of conduct.

The actor, who plays funnyman Mr Bean, said that you should only apologise for a "bad joke" and that on that basis - "no apology is required".

But others have defended the former foreign secretary, saying he has the right to freedom of speech. A leading imam from at the Oxford Islamic Congregation, Dr Taj Hargey, said the MP and former Mayor of London should "not apologise for telling the truth".

"All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them".

"The burka and niqab are ugly tribal ninja-like garments that are pre-Islamic, non-Koranic and therefore un-Muslim".

Some things are as certain as night following day or Jeff Stelling getting over-excited about a fairly innocuous footballing incident - and sure enough, Boris Johnson sparked outrage this week.

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Boris Johnson's burqa comments have split the British population down the middle, with condemnation and support being handed out in equal measure.

Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell said there was no need for the former Cabinet minister to apologise for his "colourful" language.

"I think it's a very dark day for our democracy and free speech and I'm deeply anxious that this policy is being adopted by the Conservative Party, if we're not the party of free speech, then who is?"

He explained there was a complaints procedure within the Conservative Party and that the Party had a mechanism for dealing with these issues.

He said: "If you are going to stop any form of offence being committed like this, you're going to have to close down every single national newspaper".

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he added: "Just because we find something distasteful doesn't mean it's either illegal or it shouldn't happen".

Disciplinary action could lead to Mr Johnson being suspended or even expelled from the Tories, but would risk igniting civil war in a party many of whose members see him as the best option to succeed Mrs May as leader.

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