15:38 GMT06 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Monday that he did not believe that he had brought about anti-Muslim rhetoric by comparing women wearing burkas to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers" in his column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

    "I don't… Actually, having written that piece I received overwhelming support not just from Muslims but also from Muslim women," Johnson told the LBC radio station when asked whether he agreed that his column for the Daily Telegraph had triggered "unfortunate" anti-Muslim rhetoric.

    When asked if he would repeat his comparisons again, Johnson said that he would, claiming that he did not agree "with women being cajoled to wear clothing that obscures their faces."

    READ MORE: UK Mosque Cancels Event Honouring Muslims Who Saved Jews Amid Backlash

    "People say politicians should be careful what they say and watch their words… but I don’t agree, I really don't," Johnson emphasized.

    The politician admitted that many Muslim women could be happy with wearing full-face veils, but said that somebody had to "speak up for those who are not," claiming that this was exactly the duty of a politician.

    In early August, Johnson wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph that he believed it was "absolutely ridiculous" that women should "go around looking like letterboxes." The article has triggered large-scale public debate and even an investigation by the UK Conservative Party into the breach of the party's code of conduct by Johnson, its member. In late December, an independent panel ruled that Johnson's comment was "respectful and tolerant" and he, therefore, had not violated Tories' code of conduct.

    Global debates on face veils have long been ongoing. Wearing full-face veils in public is banned in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark, among other states.


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