Somehow a Tory MP manages to outdo Boris Johnson while trying to defend his burqa comments

Andrew Bridgen and Boris Johnson

Somehow, Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen managed to outdo Boris Johnson while trying to defend his burqa comments on Sky News.

Johnson provoked widespread media coverage after penning a Telegraph [paywall] article comparing burqa-wearing Muslims to “letter boxes” and a “bank robber”.

The excuse that’s even worse

While a senior Conservative peer accused Johnson of making “hate crime more likely”, Bridgen claimed Johnson can’t be racist because “last time [he] looked Islam wasn’t a race”.

Yes, the word ‘Muslim’ does not directly mean one ethnicity. The thing is, neither does the phrase ‘Black people’, which can relate to many ethnicities and cultures around the world.

But no one is going to go on national television and say it’s impossible to be racist against black people. Because it’s obviously bullshit, and we can say the same when people claim that for Muslims:

Here is the exchange on Sky:

Viewers are unimpressed

Viewers were far from impressed at Bridgen’s defence:

It deteriorates further…

Bridgen also said that the former foreign secretary should be defended on “freedom of speech” grounds. This echoes a response from other Conservative sources who said Johnson is ‘free to express his opinions’.

“What has he said that’s wrong?” the MP for North West Leicestershire also lamented.

But Johnson is a high-profile lawmaker, and Muslim women have said they “feel unsafe in the street”. Niqab-wearing molecular geneticist Sahar Al Faifi added:

We are already facing triple discrimination against our faith, our race and our colour

We must shut down the normalisation of anti-Muslim prejudice at every opportunity. Johnson’s comments give a green light to racists and those disposed to bigotry up and down the country.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from responsibility for what you say. Along with the ‘Islam is not a race’ idiocy, Bridgen somehow managed to outdo Johnson on Sky News. Quite the achievement.

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Featured image via Sky News/ Twitter and Think London/Wikimedia Commons

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