Boris Johnson could be the next prime minister. Here are some of his most egregious and distasteful remarks.
1. Calling women wearing the burqa “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” [hhmc]
Islamophobic incidents in which Muslim women have been called “letter boxes” have risen since Johnson described women wearing the burqa as “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” in a Telegraph column last year.
According to Tell Mama, a group that monitors anti-Muslim incidents, there is a “direct link” between his words and the recent attacks on Muslim women. No attacks of this nature occurred the week prior to his column.
Johnson hasnt apologised to the women he called “letter boxes” in public since his article was published. He wrote his remarks in the context of a spike in Islamophobic hate crime in the UK. Such crimes increased fivefold in the aftermath of the June 2017 London Bridge attacks, the same month as the terrorist attack on Finsbury Park mosque in north London.
Muslim women, in particular, are vulnerable as the targets of the majority of Islamophobic attacks in the UK. According to Tell Mama, six out of ten victims of Islamophobia in 2017 were women.
2. Palling around with Steve Bannon [hhmc]
Johnson has been in regular contact with far-right nationalist Steve Bannon – Donald Trumps former chief strategist – who has publicly supported him and believes people should wear the terms “racist” and “xenophobe” as a “medal”.
Bannon said in 2015 that “most people in the Middle East, at least 50 per cent, believe in being sharia-compliant. If youre sharia-compliant or want to impose sharia law, the United States is the wrong place for you.”
Bannon has also called Islam “the most radical religion in the world”, declaring that Muslims have created “a fifth column here in the United States”. His worldview is that of a clash of civilisations, with the “Judeo-Christian West” caught in a “global existential war” against “Islamic fascism”. Bannons stated aim was to establish The Movement, to export US extremism to Europe by uniting and supporting far-right parties and groups.
3. Writing a poem about the Turkish President having sex with a goat [hhmc]
In May 2016, Johnson wrote a poem insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, suggesting he had sex with a goat.
4. Dismissing “part-Kenyan” Barack Obamas views on Britain [hhmc]
In April 2016, during the Brexit referendum campaign, he dismissed former US president Barack Obamas views on EU membership because of the “part-Kenyan Presidents ancestral dislike of the British empire”.
5. Describing Commonwealth citizens as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” [hhmc]
His 2002 Telegraph column included racist insults against black people, citing “regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies” in the Commonwealth and referring to “the tribal warriors… [who] all break out in watermelon smiles”.
6. Calling Papua New Guinea a country with “orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing” [hhmc]
In 2006, Johnson described Papua New Guinea as a place of “orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing”.
7. Championing cheaper alcohol – in a speech at a Sikh temple [hhmc]
In May 2017, Johnson lauded alcohol in a Sikh temple – recalling how trade tariffs on whisky between the UK and India were ended during a visit to Nirman Sewak Jatha Sikh Temple in Bristol. One worshipper pointed out: “That is against our religion.”
8. Joking about “dead bodies” in Libya [hhmc]
Johnson belittled victims of the Libyan civil war at the 2017 Conservative Party Conference. “The only thing theyve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then well be there,” he “joked” while talking about Libyas potential to be the “next Dubai”.
9. Failing to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from Iran after mistakenly referring to her “teaching people journalism”[hhmc]
The British-Iranian dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is still in an Iranian prison despite Johnson promising her family that he would do everything he could to secure her release. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was subjected to a second court case after Johnson erroneously told the foreign affairs select committee that she had been “teaching people journalism” in Iran. In reality, she was on holiday visiting relatives.
10. Calling Africa “that country” [hhmc]
Johnson called the entire continent of Africa “that country” while speaking at the Conservative Party Conference three years ago.
11. Reciting a colonial-era poem at a sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar [hhmc]
Johnson recited a colonial-era Rudyard Kipling poem in Myanmar – which voices the nostalgia of a British serviceman for the former UK colony – at a sacred Buddhist site in front of dignitaries during an official visit in 2017. The British ambassador stopped him in his tracks: “No. Not appropriate.”
12. Comparing the EU to Hitler [hhmc]
Johnson compared the EU to Hitler during the EU referendum campaign. “Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically,” he told the Telegraph of the project of European unification. “The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods.”
13. Calling gay men “tank-topped bumboys”[hhmc]
In a 1998 Telegraph column uncovered by Business Insider, Johnson wrote that Peter Mandelsons resignation from the Labour government saw “tank-topped bumboys blub” in “the Ministry of SRead More – Source[contf] [contfnew]