Why the London Mayoralty being won by a Pakistani Muslim man is so important
Here’s what you need to know:
- Zac Goldsmith was the Tory contender. He has an estimated worth over £1 billion, is married to a Rothschild, went to Eton (one of the most prestigious, elite schools in the country) with the current PM and now ex-Mayor of London, and is MP for one of London’s most affluent areas, Richmond.
Despite this, when he was announced as the Tory candidate, London was willing to give him a chance. He was supposedly eco-friendly, well-liked and willing to go against the Tory party for what he considered right.
- Sadiq Khan was the Labour contender. He is the son of Pakistani immigrants. His father was a bus driver, he grew up on a council estate and is a human rights lawyer, and is the MP for Tooting, an area in London with a strong minority presence.
- Zac Goldsmith ran a foul campaign that consisted of associating Sadiq Khan with radicalisation and terrorism just because of his background. He also deliberately attempted to align himself with the Indian and Tamil communities (because, you know, all Indians and Tamils must hate Pakistanis…), pandering to awful stereotypes by sending out personal letters to people, claiming he would “protect them” from Sadiq Khan “stealing and taxing their gold”. The Indian and Tamil communities were not at all impressed.
Fun fact: Zac Goldsmith’s sister, Jemima Khan, was married to the Pakistani cricketer and now-politician, Imran Khan. His nephews travel to Pakistan frequently and are of legal dual heritage. Jemima Khan has condemned his campaign.
- Sadiq Khan ran a campaign of positivity, focusing on his support of the LGBTQ+ movement (for which he received death threats by extremists), London’s multiculturalism and helping those from more difficult socioeconomic backgrounds. When accused of terrorism, Sadiq Khan claimed it was a sad day for young Muslims and Londoners everywhere, that such divisive tactics were being used with a city that prides itself on its cosmopolitan and multicultural nature.
Fun fact: The extremist Goldsmith associated with Khan was actually someone Khan had only ever vaguely known through the mosque, years ago. The same man actually campaigned for the Tories.
- At best, Zac Goldsmith is a weak-willed man who refused to stand by his morality in order to win this election. At worst, he is an Islamaphobe panderer, racist and not representative, or understanding, of London’s diverse culture. In fact, his campaign has been so awful, a formal inquiry has been placed and there is a petition being filed to the Supreme Court, asking for him to be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred. Ironically, this was not done by a Muslim, but one of the Indian Londoners that he tried to ‘relate’ to.
- Sadiq Khan has proudly declared himself a feminist, has spoken out against antisemitism in politics and the outer community, wants to freeze travel costs in London (one of the most expensive in the world) and has campaigned constantly as a mayor for “all Londoners”.
This evening, Sadiq Khan won.
Sadiq Khan will now be London’s first Muslim, and first non-white, Mayor. After being told by the Goldsmith campaign that the British Muslim identity is basically non-existent, that London isn’t my home when it’s the only home I’ve ever known and that I will only ever be considered an ‘other’ in my own city, Sadiq Khan winning is about more than just politics. It’s about London speaking out and saying that it will not stand for that kind of divisive, outdated and quite frankly, abhorrent behaviour.
The Islamaphobic message in the media currently has genuinely terrified me, making me consider moving out of the UK, once I get the opportunity. My brother is 10. The media frenzy has caused him to be the victim of racial slurs.
But having a Muslim Mayor, in one of the most influential cities in the world, changes things. In a world where Donald Trump exists, London has Sadiq Khan.
London is not down for intolerant bullshit. I’ve never been prouder.