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Boris Johnson has been accused of “inflaming bigotry” as Muslim leaders and Tory peers issued fresh calls for him to apologise for his “offensive” comments about burkas.
Former foreign secretary Mr Johnson has refused to bow to pressure after causing outrage with a newspaper article comparing women in the face-covering veils to looking like letter boxes and bank robbers.
With no apology forthcoming, founder and president of the Conservative Muslim Forum Lord Sheikh told ITV News Mr Johnson’s remarks were “inflammatory”.
He said: “I feel like that we should perhaps consider taking the whip from him.
“I feel his remarks are likely to cause problems and I feel they will certainly inflame bigotry.
“Already Muslims’ are suffering because of hate crimes against them and words like these do not help.”
Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain Miqdaad Versi said comment was just part of “weekly occurrences of Islamophobia by members of the Conservative party.”
He added: “What is happening when you have a party where this number of incidents continues to occur and no action is being taken?”
While former communities secretary Sir Eric Pickles admitted that a debate on the burka was needed but not in the way it was phrased.
Speaking to ITV News he said: “I think a debate about the burka is healthy, a debate about women’s rights is a healthy thing to do.
“But you can’t have that kind of debate if you use inappropriate language, because it stops people listening.”