Christian politician: defend burka like you defend the cross

Thu 09 Aug 2018
By Marcus Jones

A Christian MSP has suggested we should defend the right of Muslim women to wear the burka in the same way we defend the right of Christians to wear a cross.

Ruth Davidson - who's the leader of the Scottish Conservatives - has been speaking out following the comments by Boris Johnson.


Speaking to the Telegraph, she said: "If you use the analogy of Christianity, would you ever write in the Telegraph that you should have a debate about banning Christians from wearing crucifixes?

"It's the same argument but it's in a different faith so why are the parameters different for one faith and not the other?"

She was speaking after the former foreign secretary compared the burka to a letter box and women who wear it to bank robbers.

He's since been asked to apologise by Prime Minister Theresa May.



With no apology forthcoming, founder and president of the Conservative Muslim Forum Lord Sheikh told the BBC the party should take "severe action" against Mr Johnson.

Prominent backbench eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg said there was no need for Mr Johnson to apologise.

Asked about Mrs May's handling of the controversy, Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC radio: "She's clearly wrong to have asked him to have apologised. It's not the job of the Prime Minister to tell backbenchers what to do.

"We are not bound by collective responsibility or that type of discipline and it is the wrong approach to party discipline."

An imam who has previously criticised the burka said Mr Johnson should not "apologise for telling the truth".

In a letter to The Times, Taj Hargey of the Oxford Islamic Congregation said there was "no Koranic legitimacy" for the burka, which he said had been used as part of a "gateway theology for religious extremism and militant Islam".

Shortly after the publication of his article on Monday, a source close to Mr Johnson said that it was "ridiculous" that his views should be under attack.

"We must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on difficult subjects," the source said.

"We have to call it out. If we fail to speak up for liberal values, then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists."

Kaneez Khan is the West Yorkshire Coordinator for interfaith charity Near Neighbours.

She told Premier Mr Johnson's comments have already had a negative impact on communities.

"I found his comments very divisive and creating divisions within different communities and also alienating already marginalised and vulnerable communities that are already being picked on.

Listen to Kaneez Khan from interfaith charity Near Neighbours speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun:

(Additional reporting from Press Association)

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