The media is full of him and his victory. Sadiq Khan is the “first actively affiliated Muslim mayor of a major western capital”. That’s remarkable, but that is not what’s important. What is important is the kind of man he is and what his election means.
Sadiq Khan was born in 1970 in London. Both of his parents emigrated from Pakistan. His father was a bus driver and his mother a seamstress. He studied law and became a solicitor for mostly human rights. Most of his cases were against the police and in employment or in discrimination law. As a member of the labour party, he participated in Gordon Brown’s government as for example “minister of state transport”. Later, when David Cameron became prime minister, he became member of the shadow cabinet. He was also the MP for the district of Tooting in London, but he said he would resign “as soon as possible” from that post as he doesn’t want to hold two mandates. One sees that he has done much more in the 45 years of his life than just being the first Muslim mayor of a western capital. The son of immigrants can become a valuable asset for a country.
It seems that the mayoral election has been pretty dirty. Khan’s opponent, Zac Goldsmith who inherited a multimillion fortune from his dad, had the support of London’s powerful business community. The contrast between both candidates couldn’t be stronger. Goldsmith based an important part of his campaign against Khan on the fear from Muslims. He, for instance, said that Khan’s family was close to Muslim extremists. A rumour which has yet to be proven… Khan’s vision on the other side was to choose hope over fear. “The mayor of all Londoners” promised new affordable houses and to freeze public transport fares and finally won.
Why now is his election good news? Not because of the fact that he is a Muslim in itself. Voting for someone just because he is a Muslim is as wrong as voting for someone just because he is a Christian, or white. He should be, and surely was, elected because he has proven that he is a good politician and also a good person. He can do the job for which he was elected. But his victory means more than that. It is a message of hope. Especially in an era of fear from the unknown and above all an immense fear of the Islam, it is good to see that people see past religion and ethnicity to focus on what’s really important; the person itself. Even if Khan is not the little newcomer, as which he is depicted by some newspapers (let’s not forget that he was a lawyer and is a former minister) but he getting elected instead of a rich banker, shows that no matter who you are and what your social background is, you can become someone important. You can be from a poor background but it is possible for you to be the mayor of one of the world’s most important metropoles. The “Downton Abbey” era of privileges is finally over for good. That’s what Sadiq Khan’s election is truly all about.