The ‘stupid woman’ remark gets a lot of attention compared to Boris Johnson’s ‘respectful’ comments about Muslim women

Please send your letters to letters@independent.co.uk

Saturday 22 December 2018 16:16
Comments
Boris Johnson refused to apologise over his controversial remarks about Islamic clothing
Boris Johnson refused to apologise over his controversial remarks about Islamic clothing

I’m absolutely appalled by the Tories’ legal experts’ judgement on the matter of Boris Johnson mocking Muslim women. I fail to understand that how on earth equating someone to “bank robbers” and “letter boxes” can be seen as “respectful and tolerant”.

Covering hate speech behind the notion of free speech and expression is utter hypocrisy. A neo-Nazi couple was sentenced by Birmingham crown court just days ago. Why are making the Nazi salute and naming your baby Adolf Hitler not considered freedom of expression? Because it perpetrates hate, prejudice and violence in society.

Then why in God’s name is calling Muslim women “absolutely ridiculous” and regarding them as a “letter boxes” just for choosing to wear a niqab considered to be OK, even when the national project called Tell MAMA reported a rise in Islamophobic attacks on women after the remarks. Johnson even goes against his own statement when quoting Lord Justice Sedley that provocative speech is OK “provided it does not tend to provoke violence”.

It was only this Wednesday that the same Tories were calling Jeremy Corbyn a sexist for allegedly calling the PM a “stupid woman”. Then they come out saying that Boris Johnson is “respectful and tolerant” for saying that he would refuse to speak to women at his surgery unless they removed some of their clothing. What a perfect code of conduct!

I am fortunate to live in Britain, which gives me freedom of religion but hasn’t fully protected me from hearing comments like “f***ing Hijabi” and “Jihadi” being shouted at me. I wonder if we’re ever going to see the time when we will be completely OK with women choosing to wear or not wear whatever they want.

Basira Ajmal​
Havant

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Boris Johnson is the one who has been unmasked

Not only is the ruling by a panel of legal experts clearing Boris Johnson shockingly disappointing, it is also quite frankly insulting claiming he was “respectful and tolerant” when comparing women wearing burqas to ‘’bank robbers’’ and ‘’letter boxes’’.

These comparisons are offensive to many, including myself – not only as a Muslim but also as a woman. Why are we still ridiculing women based on what they choose to wear and then also defending that ridicule as a right of freedom of expression?

Sexist dress codes have been challenged for years on the basis of personal autonomy yet, shockingly, still remain because of a small number of individuals that believe they are “fully entitled” to expect women to dress in a manner that appeases them and their expectations on what a woman should look like. After all, Boris Johnson made it clear he expects the handful of women who choose to wear the niqab to remove their face coverings when talking to him at his MP’s surgery. That is not ‘’respectful’’ and certainly not ‘’tolerant’’.

Laiqa Ahmad
Egham

A second referendum should have consequences for MPs

If we do have another referendum, plainly that will be tantamount to our political “representatives” admitting they are incapable of doing their jobs, so clearly a precondition to the preparation for any such vote should be their agreement not to stand in the next general election?

Alan Hearn​
Peterborough

Let’s call a spade a spade

Kudos to Judge Emmet Sullivan who expressed his disgust and outrage over Michael Flynn’s treasonable actions following months of fawning over president Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Flynn and his ilk erroneously thought that regardless of the gravity of their crimes all would be forgiven and they could escape jail time provided they cooperated with prosecutors by offering them valuable information. Sullivan was right to accuse Flynn of treason. This should give pause to other miscreants who contemplate similar acts for personal gain.

Flynn is the same man who gleefully led the chant “lock her up”, humiliating Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.

We have a long history of failing to hold high government officials accountable for their crimes. For example, America’s war in Vietnam, authorised by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, was rooted in deceit, falsely accusing the North Vietnamese of firing on a US gunboat. And don’t forget the mythical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) which launched the disastrous war in Iraq, as well as the hunting down of our former ally Osama Bin Laden resulting in a never ending war in Afghanistan and, finally, the failure of the Obama Justice Department to punish the worst offenders in the 2008 financial crisis who have only been emboldened by their shameless behaviour.

Tejinder Uberoi​
Los Altos, California

Climate change might justify a drone or two

On the radio I heard a passenger at Gatwick complaining about the selfishness of those using drones to disrupt holiday flights. This must be disappointing and frustrating for those affected but let us consider the big picture.

According to all the evidence from thousands of scientists, humanity only has 12 years to drastically reduce its carbon emissions 45 per cent to avoid dangerous climate change which will affect most severely the poorest people on Earth, particularly people of colour. We should therefore all be striving to reduce our carbon footprint. This can partly be achieved by greatly reducing non-essential travel and other forms of over-consumption.

Aeroplanes produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere and most air travel is not really necessary; it is enjoyed mostly by wealthier people in richer countries for their personal pleasure rather than work or study. So who is being selfish?

Malcolm Bride
London

David Cameron is sitting with his trotters up

The only thing that staggers me about the Brexit imbroglio is that David Cameron has not been vilified for his catastrophic original failure.

A decision of this gravity requires wholesale input – not the usual 6 odd per cent of foot-dragging eligible voters.

If there is to be a second act to this darkest of dramas, then a compulsory vote is imperative – I’d suggest a minimum 95 per cent turnout with a clear 75 per cent majority either way. If either of those figures are short, then the result can only be invalid … which I suppose on reflection will only condemn us to a decade of further pointless bickering.

Crispin Caldicott
Warkworth, New Zealand

Young people must be taught about our thankless wars

I would like to thank Robert Fisk for his interesting article on the history of Yemeni wars and those throughout the region, including the Armenian Genocide, and for bringing us up to date with the present crisis between the Saudis and Yemen. I think he is right when he says all of these conflicts have to end at the negotiating table, and the sooner the better in Yemen.

He ends by saying all of this history should be taught to present day combatants in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but I would like to add our own young people to that list. The futility of continuing to do battle with other countries for what amounts to a snatch for greed or power should be at the forefront of any history curriculum and we are as guilty as anywhere else of such unnecessary wars. Our current history curriculum at GCSE and A-Level has a focus on the First and Second World Wars which could readily be tweaked to study why wars break out and the long history behind them between warring countries.

The First World War ended at the negotiation table with a very poor settlement which was in effect the precursor to the Second World War. The same thing is happening in the Middle East with history being the main driver. Plus of course, power and greed.

We do need to start to learn from these events and not just simply brush them away, as many of our young people are flung into these conflicts.

Marian Borthwick
Petersfield

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in