Move over Barack Obama. There’s a new kid on the block in the realm of “firsts”: Sadiq Khan (shown), Labour Party politician, has just become the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital, having won London’s May 5 election. He has also scored another first: The first London mayor to have called “moderate” Muslims “Uncle Toms.”
Like Obama, the 45-year-old Khan appears a committed leftist with untoward and radical associations. And, like Obama, they weren’t enough to derail his candidacy. In fact, Khan polled a record number of votes in the May 5 contest — 1,310,143 — beating Tory opponent Zac Goldsmith by more than 13 percentage points. Goldsmith’s ancestry, his paternal grandfather was Jewish, added an ironic twist, noted by the Times of Israel last year when it asked if the mayoral race would be “‘Jew’ vs. Muslim.” And in a development more eyebrow-raising than ironic, voting failures in London’s most heavily Jewish borough, Barnet, caused residents to be turned away from the polls and cost Goldsmith votes. (Note: It wouldn’t have overcome Khan’s margin of victory even if every borough resident had voted for the Tory.)
But truly eyebrow-raising are Khan’s associations. As Breitbart London reported last week:
In 2001 he [Khan] was the lawyer for the Nation of Islam in its successful High Court bid to overturn the 15-year-ban on its leader, Louis Farrakhan.
In 2005 and 2006 he visited terror-charged Babar Ahmad in Woodhill Prison. Mr. Ahmed was extradited to the U.S. in 2012, serving time in prison before being returned to the UK in 2015. Mr. Ahmed pleaded guilty to the terrorist offences of conspiracy, and providing material support to the Taliban.
And Mr. Khan also campaigned for the release and repatriation of Shaker Aamer, Britain’s last Guantanamo detainee, who was returned to the UK in November.
The Gatestone Institute added to the picture Sunday, writing, “In 2008, Khan gave a speech at the Global Peace and Unity Conference, an event organized by the Islam Channel, which has been censured repeatedly by British media regulators for extremism. Members of the audience were filmed flying the black flag of jihad while Khan was speaking.… In 2009, when Khan was the Minister for Community Cohesion in charge of government efforts to eradicate extremism, he gave an interview to the Iran-backed Press TV. He described moderate Muslims as ‘Uncle Toms.’”
Gatestone also quoted Zac Goldsmith, who said in an April London Evening Telegraph interview:
To be clear, I have never suggested he [Khan] is an extremist but without a shadow of doubt he has given platform, oxygen and cover to people who are extremists.
I think he is playing with fire. The questions are genuine, they are serious. They are about his willingness to share platforms with people who want to “drown every Israeli Jew in the sea.”
It's about his having employed someone who believed the Lee Rigby [a British soldier killed by Muslims in London] murder was fabricated. It's about his career before being an MP, coaching people in how to sue the police.
The last line references Khan’s role as a “human-rights lawyer,” which brings us to his true nature. In fairness, some might say that he has assimilated into British culture — and absorbed the worst of it: political correctness.
While most of the critical coverage of “London’s first Muslim mayor” has understandably focused on the fear of having a jihadist at the helm, Khan appears a leftist, not a Salafist. The son of Pakistani parents, Khan may call himself a practicing Muslim — he observed Ramadan, fasting and all — but his conception of the faith likely won’t win the approval of the local imam. He supports faux marriage (so-called “gay marriage”), a position that, punctuating his general liberalism, inspired death threats from pious Muslims; in fact, explaining that he had a fatwa (death sentence) issued against him, he considered hiring bodyguards for his wife and two children.
Khan has also expressed concern about women wearing traditional Muslim garb. As he said in an interview with the London Evening Standard last month, “When I was younger you didn’t see people in hijabs and niqabs, not even in Pakistan when I visited my family. In London we got on. People dressed the same. What you see now are people born and raised here who are choosing to wear the jilbab or niqab.” Khan went on to say that there’s “a question to be asked about what is going on in those homes,” lamenting that people may be “starting to think it is appropriate to treat women differently” and that women and children perhaps are being “forced to adopt a lifestyle.”
Of course, this is leftist boilerplate. In reality, all civilizations treat men and women differently in certain ways, and children always have one lifestyle or another imposed on them by parents (this isn’t to endorse the Muslim model); it’s just a matter of whether the standards reflect Truth or a lie. Nonetheless, Khan struck a libertarian note when asked if women in London should be allowed to veil their faces, saying, “It’s not for me to tell women what to wear. But I do think that in public service we should be able to see each other’s faces. Eye contact matters. You should be able to see the face.”
So does this reflect Khan’s true face? It appears so. The son of a bus driver, Khan grew up with seven siblings in a government-subsidized apartment but now enjoys facials and manicures and shops at Banana Republic. He also told the Standard that there “is no other city in the world where I would want to raise my daughters than London. They have rights, they have protection, the right to wear what they like, think what they like, to meet who they like, to study what they like, more than they would in any other country.” Of course, this is untrue given Britain’s Truth-stifling hate-speech laws. But it’s precisely what one would expect from a leftist, that freedom to be a leftist would be perceived as having all the freedom that matters.
So Goldsmith is wrong: Khan is an extremist in that he reflects the West’s extremely deviant leftism (though he’s likely a moderate leftist by British standards). Even his untoward associations are precisely what one would expect from leftists, in line with our liberals who break bread with La Raza or the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As for his Uncle Tom remark, for which he later apologized, note that he didn’t characterize “moderate” Muslims as apostates, as is jihadists’ wont. He used a descriptive typical of leftist rabble-rousers.
Thus, the main problem is not that Khan (and other leftists) exploits radical Muslim constituencies. It’s that leftism — via multiculturalism and culture-rending immigration policies — has created those constituencies, which both enable and are used by demagogues.
So skeptics are right to question Khan’s jihadist sympathies, despite his insistence that he has spent his “whole adult life fighting extremism” and will continue in that vein. But this isn’t so much because he reflects a group that plants bombs — it’s more because he represents the group that, in the first place, planted a time-bomb in Western Europe’s midst.