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The minority mayor of London

By Zushan Hashmi - posted Wednesday, 18 May 2016

SADIQ KHAN has been elected as Mayor of London. After a hard fought victory, Khan easily came out on top, garnering over 56 per cent of the vote, with 50 per cent needed to win the election.

A man of humble beginnings, Khan – much like Narendra Modi, the son of a tea-seller – is the son of a bus driver who also happened to be a Pakistani immigrant to the UK.

Khan is now championed as the first Muslim mayor of a major European City. Additionally, he was made out to be the proletariat answer to the Conservative Party’s "Bourgeoisie" candidate, Zac Goldsmith. Muslims, minorities and Pakistanis, among others, all across the UK and around the world, are celebrating this moment as a monumental victory, possibly even the rise of a “coloured Charlemagne” in contemporary Europe.


On the other side of the spectrum, right-wing bigots have been shuddering in fear and spewing hatred, while sitting comfortably behind their keyboards as they post slurs on social media:

Muslims will secure control of governments across Europe the same way Sadiq Khan now has control of London.'

Sh**libs elected a filthy stinking no good heather Muslim for it's mayor. May God help you all.


This is only a mild example of how Sadiq Khan has been perceived by his opponents. Additionally, words like “anti-Semite” and “extremism-apologist” have been heard numerous times over the course of his campaign, from political opponents and detractors alike.

This form of negative rhetoric is by no means restricted to a certain religious or ethnic group. After all, Khan is not your average Muslim. As a supporter and proponent of the LGBT community, due to his experiences as a human rights lawyer, he has received his share of death threats from hard-line Islamic extremists. Moreover, a fatwa has been issued against him, which refers to him an ‘apostate’ who must ‘repent from Allah’, for supporting equal marriage.

Meanwhile, several Muslims have also been wary of his views on the Islamic veil (hijab and niqab) and how he has stressed, in relation to dealing with people in public service, that:


“... you should be able to see the face.

This is also is where the problem lies. Are Muslims willing to support someone with such "progressive" views? After all, the veil and the LGBT cause are two of the most controversial topics within most, if not all, Muslim communities. At this point, the response across social media and other media outlets has proven that Muslims are definitely celebrating his victory.

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This article was first published on Independent Australia.

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About the Author

Zushan Hashmi is the research coordinator for the South Asia Study Group, at the University of Sydney. Twitter - @zushanhashmi

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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