Despite Racist Smears, London Gets 1st Muslim Mayor

Angela Bronner Helm
Sadiq Khan attends an official signing ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in London as he begins his first day as the newly elected mayor of the city on May 7, 2016.
Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images

London elected its first Muslim mayor on Friday. He is a 45-year-old first-generation Englishman and former human rights lawyer.

Sadiq Khan, 45, of the Labour Party, won with over 57 percent of the total vote, according to The Independent. Khan ran on a platform of building more affordable housing (he grew up in “subsidized housing” in a now gentrifying London neighborhood with his Pakistani bus-driver father, seamstress mother and seven siblings) and lowering transportation fares for working-class people in a city of over 8.6 million. 


Khan, a practicing Muslim, eschews alcohol but reportedly visits pubs and has voted in favor of gay marriage, reports USA Today. He is also author of the 2008 book Fairness Not Favours: How to Reconnect With British Muslims.

Zac Goldsmith, the son of a billionaire financier, was accused of running a negative campaign against Khan, labeling the candidate a sympathizer of terrorists and extremists.

Just days before the election, Goldsmith wrote an editorial in the Daily Mail entitled, “Are We Really Going to Hand the World's Greatest City to a Labour Party That Thinks Terrorists Is Its Friends?” and ran a photo of a 2005 terror attack on a London double-decker.

Goldsmith was pretty much universally condemned and accused of “dog-whistling,” even by members of his own Conservative Party, some of whom called the campaign “repulsive” and “racist.”


His own sister even got in on the action with the Friday tweet, “Sad that Zac's campaign did not reflect who I know him to be—an eco friendly, independent-minded politician with integrity.”


Khan responded by saying, “As mayor, I will be the British Muslim who takes the fight to the extremists.”

The people have spoken. #YesWeKhan

Read more at The Independent and USA Today.

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