Roger Cohen writes: The most important political event of recent weeks was not the emergence of Donald J. Trump as the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party but the election of Sadiq Khan, the Muslim son of a London bus driver, as mayor of London.
Trump has not won any kind of political office yet, but Khan, the Labour Party candidate, crushed Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative, to take charge of one of the world’s great cities, a vibrant metropolis where every tongue is heard. In his victory, a triumph over the slurs that tried to tie him to Islamist extremism, Khan stood up for openness against isolationism, integration against confrontation, opportunity for all against racism and misogyny. He was the anti-Trump.
Before the election, Khan told my colleague Stephen Castle, “I’m a Londoner, I’m a European, I’m British, I’m English, I’m of Islamic faith, of Asian origin, of Pakistani heritage, a dad, a husband.”
The world of the 21st century is going to be shaped by such elided, many-faceted identities and by the booming cities that celebrate diversity, not by some bullying, brash, bigoted, “America first” white dude who wants to build walls. [Continue reading…]
You’re the first Muslim mayor of a major western city. Do you feel an extra responsibility to tackle religious extremism?
One of the things that’s important to me as a Londoner is making sure my family, people I care about, are safe. But clearly, being someone who is a Muslim brings with it experiences that I can use in relation to dealing with extremists and those who want to blow us up. And so it’s really important that I use my experiences to defeat radicalization and extremism. What I think the election showed was that actually there is no clash of civilization between Islam and the West. I am the West, I am a Londoner, I’m British, I’m of Islamic faith, Asian origin, Pakistan heritage, so whether it’s [ISIS] or these others who want to destroy our way of life and talk about the West, they’re talking about me. What better antidote to the hatred they spew than someone like me being in this position? [Continue reading…]
The Independent reports: Sadiq Khan has criticised Donald Trump for suggesting he would exempt him from his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the US, adding his comments play “into the hands of extremists”.
It comes after Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, said he was happy to see London’s new Muslim mayor elected, saying it could be “very, very good”.
The billionaire property mogul caused international outrage when he called for the temporary ban after the November 2015 Paris attacks. David Cameron labelled the idea “stupid” and calls to ban Mr Trump from entering Britain were raised in Parliament after a petition attracted nearly 600,000 signatures.
“This isn’t just about me – it’s about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world,” Mr Khan said.
“Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe – it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists.
“Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam – London has proved him wrong.” [Continue reading…]