07 May 2016

Sadiq Khan’s victory won’t end Islamophobia, but it offers hope

What a relief. For the past few months it’s been hard to get my head out of my hands long enough to watch the news. And it’s not just the celebrity deaths that have depressed me: 2016 has not been kind to British Muslims. Channel 4 painted us as polygamous, sexist homophobes in its documentary What British Muslims Really Think.

Donald Trump told us we would be banned from the US – and went on to clean up in the primaries. And through it all there was the steady drip of poison from Zac Goldsmith’s London mayoral campaign. So the news that Sadiq Khan has become London’s first Muslim and first ethnic minority mayor couldn’t come at a better time.

Khan spins it as a political fairytale to give Dick Whittington a run for his money: the son of a bus driver and seamstress who grew up on a council estate and became mayor of the capital.

For London’s 44% BAME population it’s a particularly powerful message of aspiration – no matter your race, religion or class, you too could become the most powerful, directly elected politician in the country. And it’s a kick in the teeth to polls last year that suggested that a third of Londoners would be “uncomfortable” with a Muslim mayor. [The Guardian] Read more