In the last few days in Britain, we witnessed a truly historic moment. For the first time in history, a Muslim became the Mayor of a major western city. His faith, although completely irrelevant to the position of Mayor, became the centre of the election campaign after the Prime Minister joined the Tory nominee Goldsmith in the false claim that Khan was linked to extremism.
Brown skin was linked to Muslims and Muslims were linked to the Middle East and the Middle East had Extremists and Extremism leads to Terrorism.
The Prime Minister claimed that the Tory election campaigning Imam Sulaiman Ghani who had shared platforms with Goldsmith, was an Islamic State supporting extremist despite giving talks to young Muslims on the dangers of ISIS. Goldsmith and the Prime Minister claimed that Sadiq Khan’s sharing a platform with the same man meant Khan was sympathetic to extremists.
What the Prime Minister and Goldsmith were actually saying is that the brown skinned man has a Muslim name and remember ISIS and Al-Qaeda also call themselves Muslim, so how can you trust a Muslim? Straight out of Donald Trump’s textbook.
Senior Labour MP Chuka Umunna and senior Lib Dem Vince Cable voiced the shock and horror of millions of people, calling the attack on Khan what it was: Islamophobia.
The allegations of extremism from the Islamophobic right wing “Britain First” were even stronger. Britain First finished last, perhaps they ought to change their name now to “London Last”.
The EDL’s Muslamic Ray Gun hating Tommy Robinson tweeted the following image of Sadiq Khan and his wife on the left and Sarah (another brown lady) sitting behind Sadiq Khan after the election. He was trying to make the point that the Islamification of Britain had started, squeezing right wing extremists into fear that the Queen would now wear a Hijab, Cameron would have to keep a beard and “God save the Queen” will be replaced with “Allah hu Akbar”
Questioning His Faith, Again
Londoners sent a clear message: We don’t care if he’s Muslim! Drowning out the extremist right wing Islamophobic comments.
Almost comically the discussion on Khan’s faith took a new turn from amongst the Muslim community: Is he even a Muslim at all?
Images were shared of Sadiq Khan apparently drinking alcohol and taking part in worship at a Hindu temple. Khan was being shown as not only a sinner who drinks, but someone who worships other Gods besides Allah – an act which invalidates one’s Islamic faith.
NOTE: No context was given to these photos but were shared by some people who suggested Khan had apostatised from Islam. We at Muslim World Journal make no such assertion but share it for reference only.
Did Khan cross the line when trying to refute misconceptions of extremism and end up invalidating his own faith? Does Khan’s faith matter? Is Khan’s faith a personal matter or one for the public to discuss endlessly?
My Two Cents
Sadiq Khan is now the Mayor of London. His Muslim faith holds as much relevance to his duties as Mayor as Zac Goldsmith’s Jewish faith holds to his duties as an MP. Britain First claimed that the Christianity of the UK is now under threat but ought to realise that the UK is a secular country; not a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Atheist one.
Whether Khan crossed any line in his faith is between him and his God. As Muslims we are not obliged to issue verdicts kicking him out or keeping him in the Muslim faith. He swore his oath on a Quran to join the Privy Council and has always called himself a Muslim. It must be hard for him to be sandwiched between allegations of apostatising from Islam and being an extremist.
It should be abundantly clear to anyone with two brain cells that neither is Sadiq Khan an extremist nor is he a person who has abandoned being a Muslim. Khan describes it in his own words best:
“We all have multiple identities, I’m a Londoner, I’m British, I’m English, I’m of Asian origin, of Pakistani heritage, I’m a dad, I’m a husband, I’m a long-suffering Liverpool fan, I’m Labour, I’m Fabian and I’m Muslim.” Sadiq Khan
The question on the ballot paper was whether Sadiq Khan should be Mayor of London, not whether he was linked to a person linked with extremism or whether he was a good Muslim.
However the fact that Londoners elected a Muslim to the office of Mayor shows that Muslims have fully integrated into British life. We are accepted as part of the make up of Britain just as any other faith, despite the efforts of white right wing extremists and brown Muslim extremists. Britain is an inclusive nation and Muslims are included.
Muslims are not only in every walk of life from the British Armed Forces, Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Nurses, Pharmacists, Researchers, Members of Parliament but we also bake cakes for the Queen but have a Mayor too.
Perhaps one day we will have a British Muslim Prime Minister. The narrative has changed. And that is something to be happy and excited about.
What better way to end the article than a quote from Sadiq Khan himself. Well done on your victory, cheers mate, bottoms up – but just lets make sure its a Coke.
This election was not without controversy and I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division