RNA - Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was cheered by fellow MPs this week as he challenged Boris Johnson over his 2018 Daily Telegraph column in which he said it was absolutely ridiculous that women should go around resembling “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.
“When will the prime minister finally apologize for his derogatory and racist remarks…which has led to a spike in hate crime?” Dhesi posited.
The monitoring organization, Tell Mama, found that the number of incidents of anti-Muslim hate crime rose by 375% in the week after Johnson compared Muslim women who wear burqas to letterboxes.
Boris Johnson, in a 2002 article, also labeled black people as ‘piccaninnies with watermelon smiles.’
Reports show that racism, and race-related hate crime, has increased since the 2016 Brexit referendum. Racist groups have taken cue from members of the far-right Conservative Party, who are spreading vitriolic remarks against minority groups.
In a stroke of incredible irony, however, blatant racist remarks made by the sitting Prime Minister have emboldened the minority community to defend one another.
“For those of us who from a young age have had to endure and face up to being called names such as towel-head, or Taliban, or coming from bongo-bongo land, we can fully appreciate the hurt and pain of already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers and letterboxes,” Mr. Dhesi said during parliamentary proceedings this week.
Mr. Dhesi asked when Johnson was going to order an inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party, adding it was “something he and his Chancellor promised on national television”.
In the face of the alarming rise in Islamophobia, white supremacy, and virtually every other form of bigotry targeting every minority community in the UK, it is not ridiculous to say that we are all in this together, and that the future of our country depends on how we respond to this moment.