Naz Shah slams Boris Johnson and accuses him of Islamophobia

Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth Brandon Lewis arrives at Downing Street in London

Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis has asked Boris Johnson to apologise for saying Muslim women wearing burkas "look like letter boxes".

She said her fellow Muslim women are not "a convenient political football to be used by old Etonians".

Lewis said he agreed with Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt that Johnson's comments had a "degree of offence".

For an illustration of just how kneejerk accusations of Islamophobia have become, look no further than the row over Boris Johnson's latest column.

Mohamed Sheikh, founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum, said Johnson's article had been "totally out of order".

Johnson, who quit the government last month in a dispute over Brexit, made the remarks in a UK Daily Telegraph article published Monday.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May backed calls Tuesday for her former foreign minister Boris Johnson to apologise for disparaging comments he made about Muslim women wearing burqas - but he branded his critics "ridiculous".

He said Tory opponents of Mr Johnson are: "trying to neutralise him because he is quite clearly emerging as one of the strongest leadership contenders".

In his controversial column, Johnson said he opposed a ban on face-covering veils, but added it was "absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter-boxes".

"I do think that we all have to be very careful about the language and terms we use".

As well as highlighting Mr Johnson's comments, Labour's shadow chancellor raised concerns about the demonstrations over the jailing of Robinson.

Labour's equalities spokeswoman Naz Shah said Mr Johnson should attend "training and engagement with the Muslim community" and called on Prime Minister Theresa May to respond.

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She added: "Boris didn't go far enough".

Debating whether the former London Mayor had blown any chance of becoming the next Tory leader, Nigel gave his view. He resigned as foreign secretary in July, accusing May of killing "the Brexit dream" with her plan to seek close economic ties with the European Union after the United Kingdom leaves the bloc next year.

Some suspected Mr Johnson's burka comments were meant to boost his appeal among right-wing members of the party.

"When Muslim women are being attacked in the street, his comments are risky and can not be laughed off", she said.

A fine of around £120 has already been imposed on a woman wearing a niqab in a shopping centre in the town of Horsholm, after another woman reportedly tried to tear it off.

His comments, in response to Denmark's introduction of a ban on burkas in public places, sparked an angry response from Muslim organisations and other MPs, who accused him of stoking Islamophobia for political gain.

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"I believe women should be able to choose how they dress", said May.

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