Justifying its identity as one of the most cosmopolitan and inclusive cities in the world, London created history on May 6 by electing Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim Mayor of the city. Mr Khan is of Pakistani origin. His parents migrated to London in the 1960s. At a time when most European capitals have started becoming paranoid about the Islamic community flourishing in their cities, London defied the norm and endorsed Mr Khan as Mayor.
After an intense campaign between the ruling Conservative party and the opposition Labour party ahead of the elections, Mr Khan of the Labour party defeated Zac Goldsmith of the Conservatives. The campaign witnessed some unpleasant moments with the Conservatives creating fear of more terrorist attacks among the voters if Mr Khan would win the elections. Mr Goldsmith, who is a wealthy environmentalist, had called Mr Khan divisive and had accused him of sharing platforms with Islamic extremists. This allegation was repeated by Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior Conservatives as well. However, that did not deter the residents of London from voting for Mr Khan. He will replace Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson.
The election drew a lot of global interest with influential public figures congratulating Mr Khan for his victory and appreciating London’s inclusive spirit. Among the first to wish Mr Khan was New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio, sending a message of goodwill between the transatlantic cities. Paris, which had borne the brunt of terrorist attacks in November 2015, wasn’t far behind as Mayor Anne Hidalgo congratulated Mr Khan for his humanism and progressivism.
Calling himself the “British Muslim”, Mr Khan said that he would take the fight to the extremists. During the campaign, he also accused Mr Goldsmith of trying to scare and divide voters in a multicultural city of 8.6 million people. There are more than 1 million Muslims in London.
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