- Brussels spent £109,000 on report that claimed Johnson is Islamophobic figure
- Put Prime Minister alongside English Defence League's Tommy Robinson
- European Islamophobia Report 2018 was published by SETA Foundation
British taxpayers’ cash has been used by the European Union to fund a ‘ludicrous’ report branding Boris Johnson as a central figure in Islamophobia.
Brussels gave £109,000 for the study to a think-tank in Turkey, even though the country is outside the EU. The review placed Mr Johnson alongside far-Right leader Tommy Robinson as ‘central figures in Britain’s Islamophobia network’.
European Islamophobia Report 2018 was published by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research, or SETA Foundation, which is linked to Turkish President Erdogan’s Islamist government.
The preface cites Mr Johnson’s suggestion that women who wear the burka look like ‘letterboxes’ or ‘bank robbers’ as one of a number of ‘Islamophobic statements by politicians’ in Europe.
Mr Johnson made the comparison in an article last year defending women’s right to wear the burka, but many Muslims have said they found it offensive.
The SETA report contains papers on anti-Muslim sentiments in 34 European countries. The chapter on the UK was written by Aristotle Kallis, a professor of history at Keele University.
In a sub-section entitled Central Figures In The Islamophobia Network, he said Mr Johnson’s article on the burka promoted and normalised Islamophobia.
Last year Mr Johnson was singled out for a special mention for his burka comments in an ironic ‘award for Islamophobia’ given by the British-based Islamic Human Rights Commission to the Tory party.
Prof Kallis wrote: ‘Johnson’s article on the burka, his puerile refusal to offer a public apology for his comments, and his party’s reluctance to call him out for his expressed views rendered the award defensible.’
The sub-section also mentions English Defence League co-founder Tommy Robinson as one of the main players.
Prof Kallis wrote: ‘The British far-Right agitator that goes by the nom de guerre Tommy Robinson emerged as the undoubted grandee of the UK’s Islamophobic network in 2018.’
Last night, Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow in Essex, said the study was ‘a perfect example why millions of Britons have voted to leave the European Union’.
He said: ‘Rather than funding this sort of ludicrous research outside the EU, this money could have been spent at home, like on the NHS.
Last night, Prof Kallis said he did not mean to equate Mr Johnson with Robinson, but he was stating that the now PM was ‘normalising’ Islamophobia.
He said: ‘I admit Johnson’s article defended the right of Muslim women to wear the burka, but it has caused offence, and his “letter-box” comments were derogatory.
'These comments were used by Right-wing groups to vindicate themselves.’ He added that the comments were ‘irresponsible’ even if Mr Johnson may have meant them as a joke.
The SETA Foundation could not be contacted for comment.