Euphoria! As the world’s most powerful nation has a bigoted racist running for presidency, wanting to bar Muslims from entering the United States. The capital city of one of the world’s most influential nation elects not just a Muslim mayor, but one of Pakistani heritage. Just imagine the contrast!
Did he play the Muslim card? Yes, he did. Did it work? Yes, it did. Today marks a historic moment reflecting a changing attitude between old and new. The former, traditionalists, using division to secure power, while the latter – also from the same political party – being more open to political direction, even if it means breaking from the ‘old school guard.’
As one friend who works for the Mayor’s promotional and investment agency said: “I personally don’t believe Zac Goldsmith is the originator of such divisive and below the belt campaign messaging, however he has chosen to go along with Tory Central and that smacks of weak character and doesn’t bode well for Londoners if he gets into power.”
Another friend who runs a digital media platform targeting Muslims globally writes: “The biggest challenge is that ‘the man in the street’ begins to stop feeling frightened and angry at Muslims and begins to see that we are no different in our want for peace, prosperity and tolerance.”
He continues to add an important message,
“Muslims who feel victimized and disengaged must also realize that there are chances and opportunities for them and that this city is a great place to live.”
Whatever your party politics, that a man can grow up in a council estate then become the mayor of the same city is proof that when given the right opportunities in life, we can all make a difference.
Visitors to London see a dynamic vibrant city, flourishing with diversity, the perfect melting pot as outlined in the Quran, where God says that God has created us in different cultures and communities, with varying traditions, so we can get to know one another. In doing so, we improve our understanding of how Beautiful God is for creating such diversity.
That a British Muslim of Pakistani origin now holds such a key role at the helm of this great city, may become a reminder to other parts of the Muslim world to honor and respect non-Muslims and their differing cultures, and so reflect better the example of Prophet Muhammad in his own time, as well as that of other learned leaders and societies throughout the history of Islam, where living alongside each other, was not a cause for fear, but a unity, for humanity.
We have accounts of Prophet Muhammad’s neighbors being Jews and Christians. Verses of the Quran were revealed when Christians were allowed to pray in the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. In his Constitution of Medina, the Prophet did not focus on people’s religion, he focused on creating a safe environment, social order and structure, opportunity for all. And for the first time in modern history, a Muslim is now in charge of one of the few cities on earth where all of the above has been embodied.
The general media have taken to pointing out that Sadiq Khan is the first Muslim Mayor in a Western city. I for one look forward to when his Muslimness becomes less of a focus and we can expect delivery of the manifesto pledges he made which got him the votes to win.
Love him or hate him our outgoing Mayor Boris Johnson added value to the lives of residents of London. And it is now up to the cities dwellers to step away from divisive politics and focus on working with the newly elected mayor, to continue this tradition of positive change.
As @suemacmillan wrote on Twitter: “Sadiq Khan by a long way. You don’t get to run a shameful, hateful campaign like that in our City. #LoveLondon”
As the broadcaster Wajahat Ali wrote:
“Sadiq Khan is Mayor of London.
Nadya Hussain is winner of Great British Bake Off.
Riyad Mahrez wins Player of the Year.
Desi Food is the staple cuisine of England. Zayn Malik is Zayn Malik.
Well done, British Muslims.”
Congratulations Mayor Sadiq Khan. But can you start by doing something about the overcrowded trains on the London underground please? 🙂