Print Friendly and PDF
only search openDemocracy.net

Back off, Boris, Muslim women don't need to be saved

Boris Johnson should learn to dress himself before he lectures Muslim women on what to wear.

Image, Garry Knight, some rights reserved.

It has almost been four weeks since BJ was in the headlines – now we can’t have that can we? He obviously needs to be the centre of attention and was probably going into withdrawal. So any colleagues or observers that believe this likening of Muslim women to ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letter boxes’ was accidental or a jibe, a joke, a passing comment – you are very much mistaken.

The reality is that BJ is not as concerned with riling the Muslim population as he is with furthering his own bigoted and far right political ambitions. In one fell swoop he managed to regain the lime-light, pander to the far- right and alienate the Muslim community and stoke the racist fire further. Wow quite an achievement BJ – well done! And to be done so seamlessly. It was so simple. Just say something or write something that would be unsavoury bigoted controversial and ultimately racist towards – guess who? It’s the Muslim women – again. We seem to draw the short straw every time! It’s as though he is instantly propelled into the limelight where he can pander to the far right supporters and his own circle of Elitist White Men in their Ivory Towers in one fell swoop; like whisking away a tablecloth and causing the crashing of all the crockery on the table in the aftermath.

Despite not having a plan for Brexit and being a vehement pro Brexit campaigner, despite resigning as Foreign Secretary, despite embarrassing us on an international stage at almost every given opportunity he still manages to waltz back into the open journalistic arms of The Telegraph. The Telegraph paid him £5000 for his recent piece where he has made the outrageous and racist comments against Muslim women and the niqaab. Imagine being incompetent at everything and then being paid a large sum of money to be racist, anyone would think he was Tommy Robinson.

On a serious note as a woman no man is in any position to tell me what I can and cannot wear. Least of all a man that is an Etonian Mess and can barely dress himself. I don’t think that we all want to dress as caricatures of ourselves thanks very much. The Muslim women in the UK have been given the right to choose their attire. Why should the state and government dictate what women should wear? Would it be acceptable for the government to dictate whether or not a turban could be worn or the kippah. In all examples no harm is being caused to others and a matter of choice with regards to one’s faith is being demonstrated, so what difference does it make to the likes of BJ and his cronies? None – so bugger off!

Also just in case you were not aware Muslim women do not need to be saved by old White Men – so get over yourself BJ. We do not need your White Saviour Complex to hold us back – we are perfectly capable of making our own decisions. I have two sisters that do not wear a hijab or headscarf, I do and I have two sisters-in-law who wear the niqaab and burkha. (They are two separate items of clothing in case you were unsure). We are all one family, and all the women are completely capable of dressing themselves, how they see fit. Clearly colonial and imperial legacies die hard and your need to civilise, emancipate, and free us from our traditional and religious choices is nothing to do with your White Colonial elitist selves – not, so back off! We do not need to be saved.

Muslim women in the UK are: doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, inventors, writers, politicians, activists, mayors, students and so much more. BJ you and yours make it harder to be the above in the UK. We have seen a substantial rise in Islamophobia attacks especially post-Brexit. We are making our contribution to British society, so please acknowledge these traits and characteristics and stop dehumanising us as ‘letterboxes’, and vilifying us ‘bank robbers’. Please recognise us for the individuals we are with the individual right to choose how we dress. There is so much more to us than the way we bloody dress so can we get past that please already? We are you. We are British. This is our home and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

About the author

Anjum is Peerbacos is a visibly Muslim British woman, teaching writing living and learning in London

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the
oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.