No to Islamophobia, Defend A Woman’s Right To Choose What She Wears

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2019 National Women's Conference
19 October 2018

Conference utterly condemns the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson who used his weekly newspaper column in The Sunday Telegraph to launch a vicious diatribe against Muslim women who wear the burqa.

“It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes,” he wrote.

He went on to attack young women turning “up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber.” He likened a state ban on the burqa to “a parent confronted by a rebellious teenager”.

Conference notes:

1)Fiyaz Mughal from the Islamophobia monitoring group Tell Mama slammed Johnson’s comments as “clearly” Islamophobic.

2)Labour MP David Lammy attacked Boris Johnson as a “pound-shop Donald Trump fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions”.

3)Former Tory party chair Baroness Warsi argued Johnson was using Muslim women as “a convenient political football to increase poll ratings among the Tory faithful”.

Conference further notes:

1)A woman wearing the niqab was targeted soon after in London, according to the Tell Mama hate crime monitoring group.

2)This was followed by a further three attacks in London and Luton on the following day.

3)Tell Mama has said that there is a “direct link” between the spike in attacks on Muslim women and Johnson’s comments.

Conference believes:

1)Women have the right to wear what they want, when they want.

2)Attacking a woman who chooses to wear a burqa, niqab, or hijab is an attack on all women.

3)Comments like those from Boris Johnson will increase the confidence of a growing far right and the racist supporters of nazi Tommy Robinson.

Conference calls for:

National Women’s Committee to consider working with other service groups to look at the best way to raise these issues with the wider membership.