A Muslim with previously documented extremist ties may be elected the head of a major Western Capital for the first time in history. Sadiq Khan, the Muslim son of a bus driver, has a 20 point lead on his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith. Kahn is being considered a strong favorite to lead London’s Mayoral election on Thursday.
Thursday marks the end of a political battle marred with arguments over whether Kahn supports religious extremism. Throughout the campaign Goldsmith lambasted Kahn for alleged links to Muslim extremists. In 2004 Kahn shared a stage with five muslim extremists at a conference organized by Al-Aqsa, a group that published written works by prominent holocaust denier Paul Eisen. During his time as a director of Liberty and a human rights lawyer he worked to get the UK to lift its ban on American Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan has gone on record calling Adolph Hitler a great man and regularly releases anti-semitic statements. Kahn has also shared a stage with Sajeel Abu Ibrahim in 2004, a member of the group that trained the 7/7 London bombers.
Despite his past Kahn and others are accusing Goldsmith of attempting to divide Londoners along their religious faith lines. Anthony Wells, director of political and social opinion polling at YouGov said in a statement to Reuters:
There’s a chance that there are people who are almost subconsciously put off (voting for Khan) by the dog-whistle racism … people who wouldn’t like to say ‘I’m not going to vote for Sadiq Khan’, but will have a wobble at the ballot box.
Kahn states that he has been fighting extremism all his life and regrets ever sharing a stage with extremists that he says hold “abhorrent” views. Regardless of the accusations made or their possible impact on the results of the election it is likely that Kahn will become the new mayor of London due to his current 20 point lead on Goldsmith.
Kahn states that he always has, and always will, “speak for everyone”. Do you think that Kahn will be able to accurately represent the 8.6 million people of London he may soon represent? Sound off in the comment section!