“When confronted about his infamous choice of language to describe black people – ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’ – Boris Johnson’s responses ranged from claims of being misinterpreted to apologies for the offence caused. And when, a few days ago, Nick Ferrari questioned him on his no less distasteful statements on Islam, the Conservative candidate for the London mayoralty denied ever making them. He insisted that Ken Livingstone, the mayoral incumbent and his fellow guest on the breakfast show, was seeking to smear him. Islam, he emphatically declared, was ‘a religion of peace’.
“What a difference a mayoral race can make. Only two years ago, Johnson’s writings – readily available in the online archives of the Spectator and Daily Telegraph – were peppered with talk of the ‘paranoia of the Muslim mind’, of Islam’s ‘medievalism’, ‘heartlessness’ and ‘disgusting arrogance’. Islamophobia was, he maintained, ‘a natural reaction’ to ‘any non-Muslim reader of the Qur’an’. We must, therefore, dispose of the ‘first taboo’, he counselled, and accept ‘that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem’….
“Given Johnson’s record on minorities, his endorsement by the far right as a second-preference candidate seems understandable, shocking though it may be. This signifies a worrying precedent in the history of the BNP – notwithstanding Johnson’s claim that he has no wish ‘to receive a single second-preference vote from a BNP supporter’. Never before has the BNP felt sufficiently fond of a mainstream mayoral candidate to lend him or her its support.”
Soumaya Ghannoushi in the Guardian, 16 April 2008
It might be added that during his tenure as editor of the Spectator Boris Johnson repeatedly published anti-Muslim articles by the likes of Rod Liddle, Anthony Browne, Patrick Sookhdeo and Mark Steyn.
Read Johnson’s views on Islam here.