Sadiq Khan just made history by becoming the first Muslim mayor of London. But aside from his religion, who is he and what does he stand for?
Khan’s story is one of rags to riches. His parents immigrated from Pakistan around the time of the Partition of India in 1947. Khan was born shortly after his parent’s arrival in England, growing up in a family of ten in South London. His father a bus driver, his mother a seamstress. Sadiq Khan, his seven siblings and his parents shared a three-bedroom council flat throughout his youth. Khan excelled in primary and secondary school allowing him to read law at the University of North London where he graduated years later.
Khan’s working class upbringing is said to have inspired his candidacy; he worried that working class Londoners weren’t being given the same opportunities now as he and his family had once been given. As a result, his campaign was one that focused on housing, transport and equality. Khan’s plan for housing is to introduce a new concept called, “London Living Rent” – where rent is a third of the local tenants’ income making it possible and affordable for the average person to rent in London. Given that transport has always been a big part of his life, Khan has said he wishes to freeze fares until 2020 and implement a one-hour bus ticket for unlimited travel in the capital. Also, his passion for human rights has seen him make a pledge to ending the gender pay gap, a zero tolerance attitude to any hate related crimes involving racism, homophobia, sexism and any kind of discrimination. Sadiq Khan believes he will always stand up against prejudice and hatred. And he did just that in the face of Donald Trump.
After the attacks in San Bernardino, Trump announced that if he were to be elected President he would place a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. When asked how Trump felt regarding Khan’s new political status he simply contradicted himself by saying that he thought Khan would do a ‘good’ job and that he was ‘happy’ to see him elected. When asked about his position on a blanket ban on Muslims, Trump replied, ‘exceptions can be made.’ Rather than ignore the beast, Khan tastefully addressed Trump’s sentiment through the following tweet:
“Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe. It risks alienating mainstream Muslims. London has proved him wrong”
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) May 10, 2016.
Rather than attack Donald Trump and thus commence another long-winded social media debate, Khan has just gone to show that in fact, Trump is the one putting countries at risk with his views towards Islam. Islam is a religion with about 1.6 billion believers and to attempt to alienate them from the western society and majority of the world is the very thing that feeds extremists groups like ISIS. Extremists’ groups bank on the racist jargon spilled by Western political leaders such as the ‘banning’ of Muslims from entering the US and representing the West as the enemy to the Islamic community.
Sadiq Khan sees and understands this and with his long line of work in human rights, I look forward to seeing what he is going to do next.