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  1. ITV Report

First Minister says UKIP's burka comments are 'dangerously irresponsible and racist'

The UKIP AM, Gareth Bennett, called the burka 'alien culture'. Credit: PA

The First Minister of Wales has criticised the new Assembly leader of UKIP as "racist" after he called burkas "pre-medieval". Carwyn Jones says Gareth Bennett's comments are "dangerously irresponsible and leads to further division".

In an interview with ITV Wales on Sunday, Assembly Member Gareth Bennett, said there needs to be a debate over the wearing of the burka and niqab in Britain. He said he would rather muslims didn't wear them because it didn't show an attempt at integration into British society.

Carwyn Jones said Bennett's comments will result in Muslim women being abused in the street. Credit: PA

Carwyn Jones said these types of comments by Gareth Bennett and Boris Johnson are attacking Muslim women and will result in them being abused in the street.

We have to ask why Gareth Bennett and Boris Johnson are attacking Muslim women. It is clear to me that they are doing this solely to raise their own profile, to gain political advantage. But, despite their purely selfish motivations, their language has a broader, dangerous impact – it results in Muslim women being abused in the street. It legitimises xenophobic conversation and, ultimately, leads to further division and mistrust. This benefits nobody except Bennett and Johnson.

The language they are using is dangerously irresponsible. It is racist. This is not how elected politicians in positions of responsibility should behave. The Welsh Government will not be silent in the face of these grim provocations. We will redouble our efforts to create cohesive communities, to help people feel safe, and not just to tolerate - but to celebrate diversity.

– Carwyn Jones, First Minister for Wales

The Muslim Council of Wales said Gareth Bennett is "wrong to describe the face-veil as 'alien' and 'pre-medieval".

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