Boris Johnson is the favorite to become the next prime minister, the London, United Kingdom – Boris Johnson is a leading right-wing politician with a history of making racial slurs around the world and upsetting ethnic, religious and sexual minority communities in Britain.
His past comments have come back to haunt him as the Conservative Party leadership race tightens.
An MP for the main opposition Labor Party and equal rights campaigner David Lammy says Johnson becoming PM would be “a disaster for minorities”
In the past, Johnson had referred to black people as picaninnies mocked Muslim women as letterboxes and bank robbers and referred to gay men as bum boys.” And not only that but he also played a leading role in the 2016 Leave campaign (for the Brexit referendum), which whipped up fear of foreigners and led to a rise in hate crimes.
Not only did he joke about dead bodies in Libya following their civil war, he also describes Papua New Guinea as a place of “orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing”
Johnson remained unrepentant even after been confronted over his comments about Muslim women at a leadership launch event
He said, “The public feels alienated from us all as a type of politicians because too often they feel we are muffling and veiling our language. I will continue to speak directly,”
Boris Johnson dodged the question when recently asked on the BBC specifically over his comment likening Muslim women wearing the full veil to letterboxes – a remark he made in his column for The Telegraph.
He said “In so far as my words have given offense over the last 20 or 30 years when I have been a journalist and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, of course, I am sorry for the offense they have caused.”
Relating to the issue of Islam phobia of which he is regularly accused of, Johnson said: “When my Muslim great-grandfather came to this country in fear of his life in 1912, he did so because he knew it was a place that was a beacon of hope and of generosity and openness, and a willingness to welcome people from around the world.”
His paternal great-grandfather was a politician and a Turkish journalist.
He said, writing about black people with “watermelon smiles” was done in a “wholly satirical way” while on sky news.
According to Fiyaz Mughal, The MP’s rhetoric, however, led to a rise in Islamophobia, who runs Tell MAMA, a hate-crime monitoring organization.
Cases of abuse against Muslim women jumped following Johnson’s dishonorable comments he explained.
He told Al Jazeera “Words have an impact and Tell MAMA picked up cases directly related to comments made against them which stated the term letterbox,”
Mughal wants the politician to address his previous use of offensive language and consider his words more carefully although he doesn’t believe that Johnson is bigoted or prejudiced.
Boris also needs to know that as PM, his words will have huge results- he cannot use such terms in the future since they have an influence on the streets of our country.”
Johnson did not respond to the interview requests from Al Jazeera as at the time of publishing.
Community engagement manager for the Muslim Council of Britain, Samayya Afzal worries about the outcome a Johnson premiership could have on British Muslims – the largest religious the minority of around 3.4 million people.
She told Al Jazeera, he is one of the leading politicians in the Conservative Party who has used bigoted language and Boris becoming the next prime minister is a scary thought.
Both giving license to bigotry by escaping accountability” This is against a backdrop of hundreds of examples of party Islamophobia, inaction on which can only suggest that the party, and the favorite prospective prime minister.
“It will be a dangerous time for minority groups if Boris is elected PM.”
His political ascendance legitimizes his bigotry and will strike fear into the hearts of minorities who are now under threat. Britain deserves so much better than this. DAVID LAMMY, LABOUR PARTY MP
Johnson’s popularity remains strong, despite his record of offensive statements, and no sign of real remorse.
Johnson received the support of more than 50 percent of Conservative MPs In the last and deciding round of voting on June 20, with his opponent Jeremy Hunt describing himself as the “underdog” after the results.
Despite the concern of several equal rights campaign groups about Johnson’s commentary, there is some backing among minorities for his bid to become PM.
A 31-year-old Johnson supporter Iran-born Mahyar Tousi said: “For far too long, we have had governments that have become bigger instead of giving power back to the people, but here we have a leader who is socially liberal, internationalist and economically pro-free-markets.”
While Johnson claimed it was “ridiculous” to wear the full veil, he said it should not be banned, In his “letterbox column”
He defended the rights of women to wear whatever they want,” said Tousi, and “He criticized banning the niqab and burqa, “He also criticized the anti-women mentality of some men in some cultures who force their family members to wear certain clothing.”
Tousi describes Johnson as a relatable, plain-speaking character, who made positive changes during his time as London mayor and he believes in him.
“He empowered minority groups by creating jobs and opportunities for them to thrive. And he’s always been surrounded by people from various backgrounds.”
Mughal said despite his growing list of blunders, “Boris can make a real change for the better, while he also lauded Johnson’s time as London mayor.
He said “I sincerely hope that the Boris who valued pluralism and diversity as London Mayor is the Boris who comes back as PM.”
Boris Johnson is the bookmakers’ preferred to win the Conservative race, though his lead over Hunt narrowed in recent days following a domestic scandal – he was heard by neighbors rowing with his girlfriend and the case was reported to the police.
In the week of July 22, the party leader is expected to be announced, after a vote by about 160,000 Conservative members.
While For Lammy, Johnson at the helm would be an injustice to British minorities and the country.
“Britain deserves so much better than this,” He said “His political ascendance legitimizes his bigotry and will strike fear into the hearts of minorities who are now under threat,” he said. “Britain deserves so much better than this.”