Sadiq Khan, London’s Muslim Mayor, Calls Trump ‘Ignorant About Islam’


Sadiq Khan

Source: The New York Times

LONDON — The new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said on Wednesday that his election in the face of a divisive campaign highlighting his religion is a lesson to Donald J. Trump that Islam is perfectly compatible with Western values.

Mr. Trump is “playing into the hands of extremists” and is “ignorant about Islam,” Mr. Khan said. “Daesh, ISIS, all those guys, hate the fact that I am mayor of London. Why? Because it contradicts what they say, which is that Western liberal values are incompatible with Islam.”

In a briefing at City Hall and then an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Khan, a member of the Labour Party, said that his Conservative opponent, Zac Goldsmith, “chose a Donald Trump approach and their campaign sought to sow divisions.” But London, he said, “chose unity over division, and a rejection of the politics of fear,” something that he suggested should encourage Hillary Clinton, the probable Democratic candidate for president.

“What we have shown, and I hope it’s a lesson that Hillary and others in America take on board, is hope trumps fear,” he said, adding: “Forgive the pun.”

Mr. Khan, a practicing Muslim whose parents came to Britain from Pakistan, said that he understood that he would be seen as a role model, but did not want or seek to be a spokesman for Muslims or Islam.

He said he intended to represent all groups in London, symbolized by his swearing-in ceremony Saturday in the city’s Southwark Cathedral and his visit the next day to a Holocaust memorial ceremony, and his criticism of the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for doing too little to speak out against anti-Semitism in the far left of the party.

“I’ve been the victim of hate crime because of my ethnicity and my faith,” he said. “If somebody is saying views that are appalling, disgusting and clearly anti-Semitic, I’ve got to call it out. The fact that that person happens to be from my party, the fact that the leader of my party is failing to call it out, that’s irrelevant. I have to call it out.”

Mr. Khan’s rise — his father was a bus driver and his mother a seamstress — to become a lawyer, transport minister and now, at 45, mayor of one of the world’s great cities, is a British version of the American dream, he said. “That’s the London promise.”

While he experienced prejudice and racial abuse while growing up, he said, his daughters, 16 and 14, have not. Yet it would be much more difficult now in today’s far wealthier London for his parents’ generation to replicate their success, he said.

“If you go in a time capsule and bring that family forward to 2016,” he said, “I worry about whether” we “could achieve what we achieved.”

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