LONDON, The city of London could have its first Muslim mayor in three weeks and his election would likely defy rising Islamophobia across Europe.
If the lead Sadiq Khan, 45, currently holds over Zac Goldsmith in the polls, he would actually be the second Muslim elected as mayor of a European city — Rotterdam in the Netherlands elected the first in 2009 — but London is a much larger city and the timing of the election is what will likely be the most significant.
Just a month after the Brussels terror attack, five months after the Paris terror attacks and just as much of western Europe continues to struggle with the Syrian refugee crisis, Khan has made it clear electing him would send a message: Londoners value diversity.
“I am a Londoner first and foremost, but it would show the haters in Iraq and the haters in Syria what sort of country we are: a beacon,” he said.
Khan grew up one of eight kids in a crowded South London apartment. But he escaped the lower working class neighborhood to study law at the University of North London, and became a human rights lawyer before he was elected to Parliament in 2005 as a member of the Labour Party.
He studied law at the University of North London and later practised as a human rights solicitor before being elected to Parliament in 2005 representing the ward he grew up in on a Labour Party ticket.
Goldsmith doesn’t have the popularity of current London Mayor Boris Johnson, so if Khan is able to get out the vote in more liberal inner London, it likely won’t matter that Goldsmith is more popular in London’s more conservative outer districts.
Khan is dependent on big turnout, but analysis firm London Communications Agency suggested Labor will help him make history.