100 Muslim Women Who Wear Burka or Niqab Demand Boris Johnson Is Kicked Out Of Tory Party

Former Foreign Secretary compared them to 'letterboxes' and 'bank robbers'.

One hundred Muslim women who wear a burka or niqab have written to Tory chairman Brandon Lewis to demand Boris Johnson be thrown out of the Conservative Party.

In a letter to the party on Thursday, the women say Johnson made a “deliberate choice” to inflame tensions, which could pave the way for “bigots to justify hate crime”.

Speaking as “free women who are able to speak for ourselves”, the group warns “all personal choices should be respected”, adding that an apology from Johnson would be “insufficient”.

Former Foreign Secretary Johnson sparked outrage when he compared burka-wearing Muslim women to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” in a Sunday Telegraph column, in which he argued against a ban on face veils.

The women also hit out at Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who called the row over Johnson’s comments “manufactured outrage” and joined calls, including those made by ex-party chair Sayeeda Warsi, for a full inquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory Party.

News of the letter came as Johnson was rebuked for failing to seek official guidance before resuming his Telegraph column after quitting as a minister.

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) - which vets appointments by ex-ministers and senior officials - said it was “unacceptable” that he signed a contract with the newspaper before contacting them.

Johnson is also facing an investigation by his party after several complaints were made about his remarks.

According to the party’s code of conduct, members should not use their position to “bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others”, with the prospect of suspension or expulsion for those found to be in breach.

Theresa May backed Tory chairman Lewis, who has called for Johnson to apologise, and said her former cabinet minister had “clearly caused offence”.

But a leading imam backed Johnson and said that facial maskings were “un-Muslim” and contributed to “gender-inequality and inhibiting community cohesion”.

Taj Hargey, the imam at Oxford Islamic Congregation, said while Johnson’s choice of language was unfortunate, the burka and niqab are “a nefarious component of a trendy gateway theology for religious extremism and militant Islam”.

Other Johnson supporters have said it is “ridiculous” his views were being “attacked”.

PA Wire/PA Images

The Letter In Full

Dear Brandon Lewis,

We, the undersigned, write to you as British Muslim women who wear the niqab or burqa.

We speak as free women who are able to speak for ourselves and make our own choices. Our decision to wear the niqab or burqa is not an easy one, especially given the hate that many of us experience on a regular basis. Nevertheless we do so because we believe it is a means to get closer to God.

We recognise that this is not the practice of the majority of Muslim women and that it is a very small number who make this choice in the UK. All personal choices should be respected.

Contrary to what you may have been told by sections of the media and columnists who profess to know what is best for us, we are not forced to make these clothing choices, nor are we oppressed.

As women who wear the niqab or burqa, we have not forfeited our right to be treated fairly and as equal citizens in this country. Yet we have representatives of our governing party who think otherwise and who use Muslim women in order to pander to far-right Islamophobes within the party, as Boris Johnson has done.

We understand that you have requested Mr Johnson to apologise.

As chairman of a party that seeks to represent the whole country, which protects individual liberty as a cherished British value, your call - we believe - is insufficient.

Given a deliberate choice was made to inflame tensions in a way that makes it easier for bigots to justify hate crime against us, we concur with Conservative peer, Lord Sheikh, who has demanded the whip be withdrawn from Mr Johnson.

Furthermore, given the responses from other MPs, specifically Ms Dorries, and the broader concerns that have been raised by the Muslim Council of Britain amongst others, we believe that there must now be an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Party to tackle this issue once and for all.

Our rights as equal citizens may be debated within wider society, but such vile language which has real consequences for us, should never be acceptable.

We are happy to speak to Members of Parliament to share our experiences and perhaps demystify some of the concerns they may have.


Hawa, Bolton

Shenaz, Bolton

Aisha, Bolton

Nurjahan, Bolton

Asiya, Bolton

Rashida, Blackburn

Zarina, Bolton

Almas, Bolton

Saadia, Bradford

Sabera, Bradford

Aisha, Bolton

Shaheda, Batley

Noreen, Birmingham

Shahnaz, Luton

Hamida, London

Hajra, Dewsbury

Jameela, Bolton

Haleema, Bolton

Haneefa, Bolton

Memuna, Bradford

Firdous, Bradford

Kulsum, Bolton

Fatema, Bolton

Khadijah, Luton

Khoyrun, Portsmouth

Fatima, Portsmouth

Gulab, Portsmouth

Jiba, Portsmouth

Sadika, Portsmouth

Husna, Portsmouth

Saffiyah, Portsmouth

Nazma, Portsmouth

Asma, Portsmouth

Mayarun, Bolton

Zainub, Bolton

Farida, Batley

Yumna, London

Zubaidah, Newcastle

Farzana, Batley

Maaya, Bradford

Simra, Bradford

Rasheda, Leicester

Farzana, Dewsbury

Sajidah, Bolton

Bushra, Newcastle

Rukhsana, Blackburn

Maryam, London

Farzana, Blackburn

Maarya, Batley

Rasheda, Leicester

Aminah, Oldham

Maariya, London

Taslim, Bolton

Shehnaz, Bolton

Shamim, Bolton

Sumayah, Bolton

Badrunnisa, Blackburn

Farhana, Bolton

Fatimah, Leicester

Nasim, Bolton

Rizwana, Bolton

Ammaarah, Manchester

Neelofar, Dewsbury

Salma, Bolton

Lyba, Manchester

Razia, London

Muneebah, Manchester

Qudsiyyah, Manchester

Nida, Birmingham

Sidrah, Manchester

Sahar, Cardiff

Shamima, Newport

Pritima, London

Tahsin, London

Zaynab, Chadwell Heath

Amina, London

Shirin, Stratford

Sumey, Bradford

Arifa, Bradford

Farhana, Bradford

Asma, London

Zakera, London

Summayya, London

Nasim, Leicester

Shahida, Leicester

Nasima, London

Anisa, London

Abeda, Bradford

Nafisa, Bradford

Fatima, Bradford

Khadija, Bradford

Noreen, Bradford

Sarina, Bradford

Halima, Bradford

Azba, Bradford

Nabeela, Bradford

Zainab, Bradford

Ammarah, Batley

Humera, Batley

Asma, Blackburn

Aneesa, Batley

Waseeya, Chorley

Anisah, Preston

Nafisa, Bolton

Jamila, Blackburn

Anisha, Blackburn

Saheera, Blackburn

Shakila, Preston

Tahmina, London

Latifah, London

Nada, Birmingham

Shuhana, Swindon

Sidrah, Oldham


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