The news that Boris Johnson is UK’s next Prime Minister has spread like wildfire. And this morning I woke up to a very peculiar tweet claiming that Boris Johnson’s great-grandfather was a Muslim Turk.
Ali Kemal, an Ottoman political journalist, was exiled by Sultan Abdülhamid II for being a traitor and then finally hunted, tortured and executed by Nureddin İbrahim Paşa at the orders of Atatürk during the republican era. His great-grandson, Boris Johnson, just became the UK PM! pic.twitter.com/SDLrYYA8Rc
— Ottoman Records (@ottomanrecord) July 23, 2019
I immediately dismissed the idea because Boris Johnson is known to be racist towards minorities and has been accused of Islamophobia. My first thought was – how could a man from alleged Muslim descent, who refers to Muslim women in burkas as ‘letterboxes’ – have a Muslim heritage himself.
(Of course, that opens up another debate altogether – one that talks about the perception of the religion in the eyes of Muslims themselves, but that’s another topic for another day).
Our next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said
– Black people have lower IQs
– Black children are ‘picanninies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’
– Gay people are ‘bum boys’
– Muslim women in burkas look like ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letter boxes’
He also compared equal marriage to bestiality.
— UNDERRATED NINJA (@sir_alfonce) July 24, 2019
But guess what? It wasn’t a troll. All the information is available on the BBC website.
Boris Johnson even appeared on BBC’s show ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and traced his ancestry back to Turkey and even visited the country and met with extended family.
They dissected Boris Johnson’s family tree and his great-grandfather on his paternal side was indeed a Turkish Muslim man named Ali Kemal who married an Anglo-Swiss woman named Winifred Brun. In fact, it was Boris’s great-grandmother who sought to change the family’s surname to her maiden name ‘Johnson’ – otherwise, his name would probably have been Boris Kemal.
Ali Kemal was later on killed by Ataturk’s men in 1922 – he was publicly lynched.
But it blows my mind that just two generations ago, Boris Johnson’s family was an immigrant Muslim one. And now he’s the head of the conservative party and which is known to peddle an anti-immigration agenda.
While his great-grandfather was Muslim, Boris Johnson probably isn’t. In fact, he always evades questions about religion and faith. But he has been known to bring up the fact that his great-grandfather was a Turkish Muslim when he is accused of Islamophobia.
And of course, British minorities had a field day over this news on Twitter.
A Turk as PM of UK. A Paki as the Mayor of London.May the lord save the Brits and the queen.
— Arvinder Singh Walia (@ArvinderSinghw1) July 23, 2019
‘Turkish immigrant destroys Britain’s – my God, the EDL was right all along
— Don’t follow me on this hellsite (@Sockpuppet111) July 23, 2019
— Doug Ibrahim (@DougSurridge) July 24, 2019