Boris Johnson claimed Islam put Muslim world ‘centuries behind’

Anger as 2007 essay lamenting no spread of republic in Islamic world comes to light

Adolf Hitler

Boris Johnson has been strongly criticised for arguing Islam has caused the Muslim world to be” literally centuries behind” the west, in an essay discovered by the Guardian.

Writing about the increase of the belief in an supplement added to a later copy of The Dream of Rome, his 2006 journal about the Roman empire, Johnson said there was something about Islam that hindered development in parts of the globe and, as a result, “Muslim grievance” was a factor in virtually every conflict.

Johnson’s arguing was described as disconcerting and problematic by Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim hate and said he had demonstrated a lack of understanding of the belief. The Muslim Council of Britain( MCB) said many people wished to know if the favourite to become the next prime minister still believed” Islam inherently restrains the path to progress and freedom “.

Last year, Johnson was accused of dog-whistle politics after he expended a Telegraph column to likenwomen wearing the burqa to “letter boxes” and” bank robbers “.

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The real Boris Johnson

Over the course of the week, the Guardian is publishing a series of news reports, features and multimedia components on the three men widely is predicted to be the next Conservative leader- and therefore prime minister. In coverage that ranges from his early days as a correspondent to his last-place senior undertaking as “foreign ministers “, we will seek to shed light on the exploits, desires and importances of one of the most consequential- and most contentious- legislators of the age.

In an essay designation And Then Came the Muslims, added to the 2007 edition of his journal, Johnson wrote:” There must be something about Islam that certainly helps to explain why there was no rise of the bourgeoisie , no liberal capitalism and therefore no spread of democracy in the Muslim world.

” It is extraordinary is anticipated that under the Roman/ Byzantine empire, the city of Constantinople maintained the candle of learning alight for a thousand years, and that under Ottoman rule, the first printing press was not seen in Istanbul until the middle-of-the-road of the 19th century. Something caused them to be literally centuries behind .”

The Conservative leadership frontrunner wrote that the inhibitor of progress was ” a fatal religious conservatism” and the further the Islamic world had” fallen behind, the more bitterness and distraction there has been, to the point where virtually every world-wide flashpoint you can think of- from Bosnia to Palestine to Iraq to Kashmir- involves some appreciation of Muslim grievance “.

The MCB said:” We of course are of the view that Islam has a role to play in progress and prosperity, be situations where in the Muslim world or here at our home in the west .”

Mohammed Amin

Mohammed Amin, a former chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, said Johnson’s analysis gambled” actively contribute to hatred of Muslims “. Amin was expelled by the forum in June after criticising the party leadership’s response to reports of Islamophobia and equating Johnson’s popularity to that of Adolf Hitler in the 1930 s.

In the book, published after the transmit of a TV sequence with the same name, Johnson likened the Roman empire to the EU, marvelling at the former’s ability to create unity across continents.

The essay was written as negotiations for Turkey to join the EU were under way and Johnson debated Ankara should be allowed to become a member, generating” once again a Roman economic community” and” reuniting the two halves of the Roman empire around the shores of the Mediterranean “.

He said the country’s” far away from perfect” record on human rights was ” one of the most important reasons for preserve the Turks on the tram tracks to EU membership, surely, that we thereby help the progressive violences in Turkey and stop the country drifting downwards “.

The MCB said:” Many of us would be interested to find out whether Mr Johnson still believes that Islam inherently impedes the path to progress and freedom, and whether he still anticipates Turkey should be admitted to the European Union, particularly after the remarkable and false-hearted says made about Turkish and Muslim immigration during the Brexit campaign .”

During the EU referendum campaign, Johnson debated a leave vote would allow the UK to” terminate uncontrolled immigration “. He was a figurehead for the Vote Leave campaign, which issued a controversial posting claiming Turkeywas to intervene in the EU, despite talks to this end having long ago stalled.

A poster be established by Vote Leave during the EU referendum claimed Turkey was about to join the bloc. Photograph: Goodman/ LNP/ Rex/ Shutterstock

In the essay, Johnson declared Christianity had a history of “disgusting cruelty”, writing:” It wasn’t so long ago that we were burning books and heretics ourselves .”

He included:” These Muslims are not some foreigner species .” Johnson criticised newspaper editors who thought an” Islamo-panicky headline[ was] good for sales” and” legislators hungry for elections” who manufactured the same calculation.

He said his great-grandfather Ali Kemal, a Turkish politician, had been a Muslim, and so he hoped he would not be accused of Islamophobia for mentioning Winston Churchill’s allegation that there was ” no stronger retrograde pressure” in the nations of the world than Islam.

” It is time to get deep down and dirty and examine the central accuse made by everyone from Winston Churchill to the Pope, namely that the real problem with the Muslim world is Islam ,” Johnson wrote.” We must be honest and accept that there is more than a grain of truth in Churchill’s analysis of the economic and social consequences of the belief .”

After describing the allure of the Sistine Chapel, Johnson wrote:” There are no like it in Muslim art of that or any age , not just because it is beyond the technical accomplishment of Islamic art, but because it is so theologically offensive to Islam .”

Tell Mama said the essay drew Muslims as” a ripple or horde … who had little time for the intricacies and gifts of civilization like that of Rome “.

Johnson’s words make the thought Muslims were somehow” mentally constrained by Islam”, they said.” That depicts a lack of understanding of Islam, and there are many Muslims whom Islam has inspired to produce some of the most beautiful art forms in their affection for life and beauty. We hope Johnson works to support all communities in the future, and we are here to assist and support that .”

Johnson’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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