Sadiq Khan – the first Muslim to head a major European capitol


Labour’s Sadiq Khan has been elected mayor of London, becoming the first Muslim mayor of a major European capital city following a campaign that was dominated by his opponent’s negative tactics.

Khan beat his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith by an astonishing 65% to 35% in an election marked by an unexpectedly high turnout. The final confirmed result was delayed until the early hours of Saturday morning because of discrepancies with a small number of votes…

Khan used his victory speech to call for greater unity in London following a divisive campaign: “Fear does not make us safer, it only makes us weaker and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.”

The result means Khan, who repeatedly emphasised his background as the son of an immigrant bus driver, ends eight years of Tory control of the UK’s capital city…Khan, the MP for Tooting, will now resign his parliamentary seat and take over City Hall from Boris Johnson, who has already returned to Westminster. In the process he will become the most powerful Labour politician currently holding elected office in the UK, although he faces a challenge to secure extra money for the capital from the Conservative-controlled government…

Despite the importance of the office, the campaign will mainly be remembered for Goldsmith’s tactics…by the end he became synonymous with attacks on Khan’s alleged connections with Islamist extremists, his decision to target different ethnic groups with warnings about what Labour would do to their finances, and dog whistle campaigning.

Although the candidate appeared at times uncomfortable with the decision to focus so much on personal attacks on Khan, prompting suggestions he was simply receiving bad advice, other London Conservatives queued up to personally blame Goldsmith for the result before it had even been announced…Even Goldsmith’s own sister criticised the campaign in tweets on Friday night.

Of course, if Republicans were to win the White House, the new mayor of London would not be allowed to visit the United States. He won out over bigots in London. Now, we must do the same in the United States.

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