Culture & Lifestyle / Meet Sadiq Khan, London’s First-Ever Muslim Mayor

Meet Sadiq Khan, London’s First-Ever Muslim Mayor

Culture & Lifestyle May 07, 2016

Sadiq Khan has made history as the first Muslim to become mayor of London.

The Labour Party candidate beat Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative pick, by a tight margin. The win should reinvigorate the Labour Party after local and regional election losses. 

Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver and seamstress, was initially a longshot in the mayoral race. But his victory yesterday shows that Britain seems to be tired of the Etonian aristocracy that runs the country. Previous Mayor Boris Johnson and current Prime Minister David Cameron are famed alums of Eton, the private college that produced many of the country's conservative politicians and the Royal Family. 

Sadiq Khan on the Campaign Trail
Photo Credit: The Guardian

Khan won by 1,310,143 votes against 994,614 for his main Conservative rival, Zac Goldsmith.

The mayoral race was dogged by petty tactics from the Goldsmith campaign. They called out Khan for "pandering to extremists" and called him "dangerous," which lost respect from party insiders. Khan referenced these divisionary lines in his victory speech on Friday night. 

“I want to thank every single Londoner for making the impossible possible. … I’m so proud that Londoners have today chosen hope over fear and unity over division," said Khan

It was a bitter race. Goldsmith's campaign included sending leaflets to Hindu, Sikh and Tamil voters warning that Khan was dangerous to their interests. Another letter warned that his party wanted to tax gold jewellery, which most South-Asians own. Stoking community tensions is a crappy way to get elected, and many recipients of these leaflets and letters called out these divisive "gutter politics." 

Candidates congratulate Khan on his victory.
Photo Credit: Dawn 

It's easy to get caught up in the celebratory atmosphere, but Khan did win on the strength of his platforms — like freezing transport fares and focusing on the housing crisis. As the fifth of eight children, Khan grew up on a council estate and capitalized on his working-class roots to win over supporters who are tired of London's housing disparity. 

Khan's victory may provide some solace for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party faced major losses overnight in Scotland, England and Wales. Khan is the first Labour mayor since Ken Livingstone in 2008. Livingstone almost jeopardized Khan's chances when he went on the radio this week saying that Hitler was in favour of Zionism. This gaffe got Livingstone and 17 other Labour activists suspended, and it's likely to have cost them a lot at the ballot box.

Khan's victory won him fans in former Labour leader Ed Milband and even New York's Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Photo Credit: Twitter 
Photo Credit: Twitter 

Meanwhile, Jemima Khan critiqued her brother Zac's dirty tactics. 

Photo Credit: Twitter 

Much like Obama did, Khan has an uphill road ahead. Detractors will point back to his race and experience as an example of why change came too soon. We're hopeful that Khan will deliver on his big promises to reform London's housing bubble and commitment to green energy. 

Main Image Photo Credit:

Rumnique Nannar

Rumnique Nannar


Rumnique Nannar is a new journalist with a passion for all things pop culture, film, and art. Rumnique was born in London, with a predilection for devouring English chocolate with her Vogue, ANOKHI, and Glamour magazines in tow. She is currently in her Journalism Masters at UBC. Connect ...


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