London Elects Muslim Mayor

Londoners have voted Sadiq Khan as their new mayor. Khan is set to become the first Muslim to hold the position of mayor in the city. Khan, the Labour Party candidate defeated his opponent, the Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith, by 1,310,143 votes to 994,614. Khan’s victory by a margin of 13.6 percent was the widest in mayoral elections in 16 years.

With this victory Sadiq Khan will succeed the previous mayor, Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party, who has held the position for the past eight years. In a statement published in his official website, Khan thanked the people of London for choosing “hope over fear.” Furthermore he also thanked all his supporters for the time and money they had put in his campaign. In his victory speech, he said that he had never imagined that someone of his background could be elected as the mayor of London, and he also said how this victory had encouraged him to be the mayor “for all Londoners.”

“This election hasn’t been without controversy. I am proud that London has chosen hope over fear, unity over division.”

This is a historic moment both for Sadiq Khan and for the world. Khan is the first directly elected Muslim mayor of an important western city. His victory has made headlines all around the world, particularly among the Muslim community. Khan was a former cabinet minister of the Labour party, and this win has arguably made him the most powerful Muslim to hold an elected office in Europe. Sadiq Khan’s victory has also provided a major moral boost for the Labour party, who have recently had to deal with a major defeat in Scotland.

London Mayoral Election 2016 Sadiq Khan [front] defeated his opponent Zac Goldsmith [back left] by 1, 310,143 votes to 994, 614. [Photo by : Carl Court / Getty Images]This contest has been one of the nastiest seen in recent years with Zac Goldsmith’s campaign accusing Khan of legitimizing extremist views and constantly targeting his heritage in an attempt to undermine and discredit him. Goldsmith’s tactics has faced major backlashes including from senior members of the Conservative party itself, and even his own sister. His sister Jemina criticized the way his campaign was conducted in a tweet : “Sad that Zac’s campaign did not reflect who I know him to be an eco-friendly, independent-minded politician with integrity.” She also congratulated the victor, Sadiq Khan, calling him a great role model for young Muslims.

Boris Johnson, whom Sadiq is to succeed as the mayor of London town, also congratulated him. “Many congratulations to Sadiq on securing a huge mandate to do the best job in British politics. I wish him every possible success and will be calling him in the morning.” He also consoles Zac for his effort in “trying to carry the Conservative banner in our city.”

The life story of Sadiq Khan, 45, is as inspiring as his campaign. He is the son of Pakistani immigrants. His father was a bus driver and his mother was a seamstress and he has eight siblings. Khan studied Law at the University of North London and worked as a human rights lawyer for sometime. In 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed him as the Minister of State for Communities and later served as the Minister of State for Transport. He was appointed as Shadow Minister for London in 2003. He resigned from the Shadow cabinet in 2015 seeking nomination as the Labour Party’s mayoral candidate. He won the candidacy on September 11, 2015.

The victory of a Muslim man as the mayor of the city shows the people of London are in fact a lot more tolerant than they are credited for. This victory of Sadiq Khan will bring a wave around the world, particularly in European countries that are still struggling to integrate the Muslim communities.

[Photo by : Carl Court/Getty Images]