A Muslim Imam has said the burqa is “masquerading” as a Muslim item and the face-covering veils have “poisoned” relations between Brits and immigrant Muslims.
Dr Taj Hargey, an Imam in Oxford, has reacted to the comments by Boris Johnson on the burqa, after the former foreign secretary referred to them as “letterboxes” and “bank robbers.”
In Johnson’s article on Monday he supported the motion that the UK should not ban the burqa and criticised countries like Denmark who have, arguing women have a right to wear what they want.
Joining Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO Dr Hargey said Johnson was right to describe burqas the way he did.
“He was right to describe it as letterboxes and robbers, and by the way we shouldn’t be dignifying it as a veil, it’s a mask and we should call a spade a spade,” he said.
“This idea that these people have a so called right to conceal their identity in public… no - no-one has an automatic fundamental right to conceal her or his face in public I don’t have a right to conceal my ugly face in public, why should everyone else have that right.”
However, while Boris made these comments, which have seen him accused of fuelling islamophobia, he did defend the right for the burqa to be worn in public, a motion that Hargey has said he’s got “wrong”
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“Boris is wrong, he is eating two sides of the same sausage so to speak, you can’t on one level describe it as 'letterboxes' and 'bank robbers', and then say yes they have a right to be letterboxes and bank robbers, they should not be allowed on the public square.
“I get so frustrated, this is an issue about public identity, and how do I know who you are. How do I know it’s Julia? I can only tell that by your face, it’s defacing our society, traditional British values are that facial recognition should be maintained.
“Why are we allowing this imported foreign fad, coming from backward places like Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, to infest our society?”
Harley-Brewer asked whether the vast majority of Muslim women would secretly like to see the burqa banned in Britain, to which Hargey said: “Absolutely, these masked women are all younger people, their own mothers and grandmothers don’t wear face masks.
“So, my question to these masked woman is, does this mean your mother and you grandmothers are not Muslim?
“We should be resisting this tribal contraption that has nothing to do with Islam, that masquerades as Muslim and has poisoned relations between the indigenous community and immigrant Muslims like myself.”
'PC gone mad'
However, Hartley-Brewer explained that he can say all of this because he’s a Imam, and that anyone carrying these opinions would be branded “islamophobic.”
Hargey said that it’s political madness “gone mad.”
"It’s PC gone mad, for example in Oxford some student wanted to have an end of term party and they got called out for making Tunisian cous cous and that was cultural appropriation.
“Why are we in this mind-set? We have to tread on shells all the time, I think people should be able to talk their minds, we’re supposed to be a free country, unless is it repeatedly rude and offensive, only then should action be taken.”