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The Financial Express

Sadiq Khan\'s victory shows Islam is compatible with western society

M. Serajul Islam | Published: June 01, 2016 20:01:11 | Updated: October 24, 2017 14:43:03


British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) makes a joint appearance with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (C) as they launch the Britain Stronger in Europe guarantee card at Roehampton University in West London May 30, 2016. British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) makes a joint appearance with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (C) as they launch the Britain Stronger in Europe guarantee card at Roehampton University in West London May 30, 2016.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has called Sadiq Khan a "proud Muslim" and a "proud Brit" when the two shared a common platform on the issue of Britain remaining in the European Union recently. The exact words with which he congratulated London's Lord Mayor were: "I'm proud to be here with the mayor of London - with the Labour mayor of London - on this vital, vital issue." The Prime Minister further said of Sadiq Khan that he is "someone who is a proud Muslim, a proud Brit and a proud Londoner' and that it 'says something about our country" in someone like him "can become the Mayor of the greatest city on earth."
The British Prime Minister had a view of Sadiq Khan not too long ago when the latter was on the campaign trail that made no sense unless one were to accept that he suffered from paranoia against the Muslims. While campaigning for the Tory candidate for the post of London's Mayor, the British Prime Minister had called Sadiq Khan a "terrorist sympathiser" who frequently shared a platform with extremists. Sadiq Khan, of course, denied the allegations and the citizens of London believed him and not their Prime Minister.
It appears like these days British Prime Ministers are in the habit of somersaults or to put it across bluntly, lying, while performing their role as a national and international leader. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair not too long ago apologised for his role in the 2003 Iraq war of misleading his country to that war based on manipulated and false intelligence. Therefore, David Cameron has followed the example of his predecessor in caring little for the truth and saying whatever was politically expedient.
In fact, Sadiq Khan by winning the position of the Mayor of London underlined what is grossly wrong with the west and its political leaders about how they perceive Islam and Muslims. Sadiq Khan is a natural born British. Like every other natural born British, Sadiq Khan grew up as a British with all the rights and responsibilities of a British citizen, studied law, and became a British parliamentarian and then the Mayor of London. Unfortunately, just because he also happened to be a Muslim, the British Prime Minister did not care in calling him a "terrorist sympathiser". And how inconsiderate and religiously bigoted western leaders are in their perception of Muslims and Islam was underlined by even a worse western leader one who is these days trying to be the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Condescendingly, the pompous Donald Trump went before the media and said "generously" that he would consider withdrawing his ban on Muslim travel if the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan considered visiting the United States. Sadiq Khan's response was classical. He exposed the ignorance of Donald Trump and instead asked him to visit London and see how his success has underlined that mainstream Islam and western values are so easily compatible.
That Sadiq Khan succeeded in becoming the Labour Mayor of London against the bigoted campaign of his opponents led by Britain's Prime Minister at a time when the conservatives are in power underlined what the new Mayor has said; that his success proves that mainstream Islam and western values are compatible. Otherwise, a city like London that David Cameron has correctly called the greatest city on earth where the majority are non-Muslims and whites would not have elected him as their Lord mayor.
Sadiq Khan's success and his views should be a watershed in how Muslims are perceived in the west where the media's role would be the most important. The western media needs to trash its mindset to see any violence in the west where a Muslim is involved as one directly inspired by the religion that makes all Muslims terrorists. They should take a lead out of President Obama who as President refused to call any terrorist act where a perpetrator happened to be Muslim an act of Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, the President's voice on this issue has been a lone one and with someone like Donald Trump, the situation has only become worse. Thus, where in 2015, terrorist activities happened on the scale of one a day in the United States, its media made it appear like the country was in the grip of Islamic terrorism just because of two terrorist incidents in the whole year where Muslims were the perpetrators.
No one in the right mind would suggest that Muslims do not commit acts of terror. But when they do, the rational thing for the media to do would be to identify their nationalities rather than their religion. If there is a need to expose their religion, the media should not blame Islam and Muslims worldwide just because they claimed that Islam inspired them. In the United States where every day there occurs an act of terror involving Christians who claim their religion inspired them but the media ignores such claims and very rightly so. It is the time that they should do the same about Muslims who claim Islam has inspired their acts of terror because Muslims worldwide have categorically dismissed that ISIS and Al Qaeda and those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam are the enemies of Islam.
Further, it is the US and western media's ways of describing and writing about Islam and Muslims that the country is witnessing the Donald Trump phenomenon. His call for the ban on Muslims would, when history would be dispassionately written about the period the US is currently passing through, be described as the time when sheer madness had gripped the country at the highest political level. It is such a great misfortune that in such a great country as the United States undoubtedly is, enough voices have not been heard against the preposterous outrageous utterances of candidate Donald Trump.
Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Londoners have shown not just to the British and their Prime Minister the way out of a bigoted Great Britain; Sadiq Khan has also shown to the rest of the world that there simply cannot be any sense of holding the actions of very few Muslims to malign over 1.2 Muslims worldwide with over 300 million of them like himself in the western world who are constantly showing that western values and Islam are compatible. In an interview, Sadiq Khan said "that his success and the success of other British Muslims - like the pop star Zayn Malik, the Olympic runner Mo Farah and the reality-television star Nadiya Hussain (of Bangladesh origin), who baked Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday cake - showed young people" that "you can be British, Muslim and successful."
Sadiq Khan said that his opponents' views about him and Muslims had helped him win. He was confident that the same would happen to Donald Trump because his views were similar to those of his opponents. He said that he would visit Washington during the inauguration of the next US President that won't be Donald Trump.
The writer is a retired Ambassador. ambserajulislam@gmail.com
 

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