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Sadiq Khan: London’s First Muslim Mayor – OpEd

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An interesting thing has happened in the West — right in United Kingdom — as a Muslim was elected as mayor of London even as Islamophobia is peaking as EU continues aim to block a European Turkey from entering the European Union as a legitimate member and in the US election campaign with Donald Trump seeks to deny Muslims entry to his ‘motherland’ or rather ‘fatherland’.

A Muslim of Pakistani origin, Sadiq Khan was sworn in as London mayor on May 7 after being elected the first Muslim leader of a major Western capital, as the Conservatives, who consider themselves as the hawkish republicans in USA, defended attempts to link him to extremism during the campaign. Corporate media tried their level best to insult him as being a ‘Muslim terrorist’ — the usual description of Muslims in the West and world over, maybe for cruel fun and sadistic pleasures.

Sadiq Khan becomes London Mayor against the general anti-Islamic wave across the world as Muslims are increasingly being branded as terrorists by leaders such as Trump and media lords to boost the circulation of their money and news.

The Conservatives who rule Great Britain failed to link Sadiq to ISIS or Al-Qaeda or Taliban, etc, as people of London city reposed full faith in this Muslim and son of a Pakistani bus driver. Indeed, Khan won 57 percent of the vote in Thursday’s mayoral election, securing 1.3 million votes to see off multimillionaire Conservative Zac Goldsmith and make history as the city’s first Muslim mayor.

In his victory speech in the early hours of Saturday morning, Khan referenced the negative campaign against him by saying London had chosen “unity over division” and that truth had defeated falsehood.

The opposition Labour lawmaker Sadiq Khan broke from convention by taking his oath of office in a multi-faith ceremony at Southwark Cathedral. “My name is Sadiq Khan and I’m the mayor of London,” the 45-year-old said to cheers from supporters, who had earlier given him a standing ovation as he walked in. He added: “I’m determined to lead the most transparent, engaged and accessible administration London has ever seen, and to represent every single community, and every single part of our city, as mayor for all Londoners.”

Sadiq Khan won the Mayoral position as Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron led the attacks against Khan for sharing platforms with radical Muslims at public events, and Goldsmith said he was “radical and divisive”.

There was criticism from across the political spectrum on Saturday at the tone of the Tory campaign, but Defence Secretary Michael Fallon insisted it was legitimate. “Both candidates were asked questions about their backgrounds, their personalities, their judgment, the people they associate with,” he told BBC radio. “That’s the nature of our democracy and the rough-and-tumble of politics.”News of the win was applauded in Pakistan, with Bilawal Bhutto, leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party and son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and rival opposition leader Imran Khan tweeting congratulations.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was looking to working with his “fellow affordable-housing advocate” while Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted that Khan’s “humanity (and) progressivism will benefit Londoners”.

Former Conservative government minister Sayeeda Warsi also offered her congratulations “from this daughter of a Pakistani bus driver to the son of a Pakistani bus driver”, and also condemned her party`s campaign. “Our appalling dog-whistle campaign lost us the election, our reputation and credibility on issues of race and religion,” she said.

Khan admitted representing some “pretty unsavoury characters” during his previous job as a human rights lawyer but said their views were “abhorrent” and condemned the Conservatives’ “desperate” attacks.

Goldsmith’s sister Jemima, the ex-wife of Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan, said the tone of her brother’s campaign “did not reflect who I know him to be”. Cameron’s former adviser, Steve Hilton, said Goldsmith had brought back the “nasty party label”.

In the audience at Southwark Cathedral was Doreen Lawrence, an anti-racism campaigner whose teenage son Stephen was killed by a gang of white youths. “I never imagined in my lifetime I could have a mayor of London from an ethnic minority,” she said.

Khan has broken the eight-year hold of the Conservatives on City Hall, succeeding the charismatic Boris Johnson in a prestigious post that has responsibility for transport, housing, policing and promoting economic development.

Sadiq Khan’s success was a boost for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who has been battling a row over anti-Semitism and growing criticism from the moderate wing of his party since his election in September. But Labour fared less well in other regional elections on Thursday. The party was beaten into third place in Scotland, once a Labour stronghold, as the Conservatives became the official opposition to the Scottish National Party (SNP), which won a third term in office.

Labour maintained control of the Welsh assembly and lost only a handful of local council seats in England. But critics warned it should have done better against a government that has lost support over welfare reforms and is deeply divided ahead of the referendum on Britain`s membership of the EU on June 23.

Sadiq Khan’s historic victory in London is likely help anti-Islam promoters globally to reconsider their filthy concepts of attributing terror to Islam and work for civilizational unity even if not promoting Islam and Muslims as entity of genuine democratic values.

Muslims are not terrorists but they are sued by anti-Islamic forces and projected them as terrorists to malign Islam and terrorize Muslim community everywhere. Hopefully, the anti-Islamic world would now allow Muslims to shed their false terror visuals and take their legitimate place in the world system.

Dr. Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff is a columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics. He is an expert on Mideast affairs, as well as a chronicler of foreign occupations and freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). Dr. Ruff is a specialist on state terrorism, the Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA), commentator on world affairs and sport fixings, and a former university teacher. He is the author of various eBooks/books and editor for INTERNATIONAL OPINION and editor for FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Palestine Times.

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