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First Muslim to Lead UK Capital

HiTouch 25 May 2016


Sadiq Khan, the son of an immigrant bus driver, became the first Muslim elected mayor of a major Western city after winning the hard-fought contest to lead London.

—Tony Travers, a local government expert at the London School of Economics called Khan’s election a “remarkable step.”

The London-born son of Pakistani immigrants, Khan grew up with his six brothers and sister in a three-bedroom, public housing apartment. He studied law, became a university lecturer and the chairman of a civil liberties group, and was elected to Parliament in 2005.

Last Saturday, Khan was sworn at a multi-faith ceremony in Southwark Cathedral, where he received a standing ovation surrounded by London’s police chief, Christian and Jewish leaders, and stars of stage and screen.

“Good morning. My name is Sadiq Khan and I’m the mayor of London,” he told the packed Anglican cathedral, a few miles north of the state housing project where he grew up in the city’s district of Tooting. “I will be a mayor for all Londoners.”



Khan’s victory was announced earlier in the morning after he led in polls against his main Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith. Khan won 1,310,143 votes, or 56.8 percent, beating Goldsmith, who got 994,614 votes.

“This election was not without controversy, and I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division,” Khan said. He added, “Politics of fear is not welcome in our city.”

Khan has spoken of his gratitude that his family had a secure, affordable home when he was growing up — something he fears younger Londoners are increasingly denied, in a city where market-rate rents and property prices have soared and local authorities build little social housing.

He says he’ll make housing his priority as mayor, building 50,000 new homes a year and giving locals “first dibs” on some new properties.