Sadiq Khan is a Muslim and would therefore be banned from the U.S. by Donald Trump, if Trump ever becomes president.
That might cause a problem as the son of a Pakistani train driver is now the mayor of London and the first Muslim to occupy such a leadership post in the western world. At age 45 he has a very bright future ahead, perhaps even leading a British Labour Party that is hopelessly split at present.
Khan defeated all comers because he had a profound message that registered with London voters tired of the antics of incumbent Boris Johnson, a Trump-like figure himself in terms of ego who never knew when to shut up.
Khan as a human rights lawyer was unafraid to stand up for the forgotten and the overlooked. He defended Kurds in London, and he tackled police abuses. He showed himself unafraid and undaunted by the establishment.
Throughout his career Khan reached out to all ethnic groups. During his campaign for mayor he met with the Irish Post newspaper publisher Elgin Loane and several other members of his staff and proudly trumpeted the paper’s endorsement.
“It was unheard of for the Irish to be included by the last mayor of London,” said Post publisher Loane.
“He was in essence saying, ‘Come on in, we are all part of this great city.’ It was a wonderful moment.”
Little wonder Khan’s slogan was “A Mayor for All Londoners.”
As Khan noted, “Campaigns that deliberately turn their back on particular groups are doomed to fail. “ He could have been speaking about Trump with his anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic and anti-Muslim rants.
Khan’s Conservative Party opponent for mayor, an incredibly rich and privileged politician named Zac Goldsmith, tried to tie Khan’s Muslim roots around his neck, claiming he was pictured with dangerous Muslim elements. The charges failed to stick. The London sense of fair play ensured they rebounded.
Khan’s father was a train driver, and his mother a seamstress. They emigrated from Pakistan and had eight children living in a small house. Khan learned the essential lesson of life early: there was no substitute for hard work.
From his earliest years, Khan worked. "I was surrounded by my mum and dad working all the time, so as soon as I could get a job, I got a job. I got a paper round, a Saturday job – some summers I labored on a building site,” he said.
The Khan family continues to send money to relatives in Pakistan, "because we're blessed being in this country.”
As the Labour Party took heavy losses around Britain in local elections last week after disastrous infighting, Khan was the one success. He made it clear he had no time for internal wrangling and fighting,
"Squabbles over internal structures might be important for some in the party, but it is clear they mean little or nothing to the huge majority of voters. As tempting as it might be, we must always resist focusing in on ourselves and ignoring what people really want," he said.
"Throughout my campaign, we focused on the issues that Londoners care about most: the lack of affordable housing, transport infrastructure and fares, the NHS, the need for real neighborhood policing and pro-business policies.”
With that laser-like focus Khan won in a landslide. He has shown that despite rampant discrimination a Muslim candidate can get elected to one of the highest offices in the land. That may be the best reply of all to ISIS and its ilk who want to claim only persecution and discrimination.