London elects their first Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
London is one of the most influential cities in the world. The city is known for its image of acceptance and diversity. Londoners upheld that image when they elected Sadiq Aman Khan as their Mayor during the 2016 London mayoral election that was held last week. Sadiq Khan, a member of the Labour Party and the son of a (late) bus driver, beat Zac Goldsmith, a member of the Conservative Party and the son of a billionaire financier, to become the first Muslim mayor of London. The victory has made Khan the first actively affiliated Muslim to become the mayor of one of the major capitals in the Western world.
The campaign led by Goldsmith has been soaked in racism from the very beginning. He attacked Khan personally by associating him with Muslim extremists. He exploited anti-Muslim prejudices without any shame, all in an effort to achieve a shameful victory. A lot of people tagged Goldsmith's campaign as negative and dirty, including members of his own party. According to Barnaby Phillips, an Al Jazeera reporter, the people of London noticed the campaign becoming a lot more personal, ugly, and bitter than they had anticipated. In the end, Londoners provided an apt reply worthy of their proud multicultural society. Khan's victory is of great symbolic importance for the United Kingdom itself, and for the rest of the world as well.
Born in London, Sadiq Khan is the son of Pakistani immigrants who settled in London in the 1960s. His father worked as a bus driver. After pursuing a degree in Law from the University of London, he worked as a solicitor specializing in human rights. For three years, he chaired the Liberty. From 1994 to 2006, he served as the Councilor for the London Borough of Wandsworth, after joining the Labour Party. In 2005, he was elected as the MP (Member of Parliament) for Tooting. In 2008, he was appointed as the Minister of State for Communities, and then later as the Minister of State for Transport. He also served in the Shadow Cabinet of Ed Miliband as the Shadow Minister for London, Shadow Lord Chancellor, and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, before becoming the mayor of London.
During his speech at the signing ceremony held at Southwark Cathedral, Sadiq Khan tagged London as the greatest city in the world. He pledged that he would strive to make opportunities for each and every Londoner, just like the city provided him and his family the opportunity, not only just to survive but also to thrive in this great city.
Boris Johnson, the outgoing Mayor, congratulated Khan on his big victory and wished him all possible success. Ms. Goldsmith, via twitter, called Khan as a great example to young Muslims.
Congratulations to Sadiq Khan on his historic win as first Muslim Mayor of London. I wish him good luck in his new role.
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) May 7, 2016
Sadiq Khan, during his speech after the election results were declared, remembered his father and said that he would have been extremely proud that the city that he chose to make his home has now chosen one of his children to be the mayor.