Monday April 22, 2024

Islamophobic attacks on me because I am Muslim, Pakistani: Sadiq

"It’s very unfortunate that the Conservative party is amplifying conspiracy theories that I am being controlled by the Islamists," says London mayor

By Murtaza Ali Shah
March 02, 2024

LONDON: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said racist and Islamophobic attacks have been launched on him – with backing from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – by the senior-most Conservative leaders because he’s a Muslim and of Pakistani origin.

In an interview with The News and Geo, the London mayor said he had no doubt why false and dangerous claims had been made against him and British Muslims by senior Tories such as Suella Braverman, Lee Anderson, Lizz Truss and others. The senior-most Tory leader Lee Anderson, the former Tory deputy chairman, claimed that Sadiq Khan was being controlled by the “Islamists” and Suella Braverman claimed that Britain was being run by the “Islamists”.

Sadiq said: “It’s very unfortunate that the Conservative party is amplifying conspiracy theories that I am being controlled by the Islamists. These allegations are lies and slurs about Muslims. I can tell you that if I was not a Pakistani and a Muslim, these allegations would have never been made. It is very dangerous and completely untrue to say that there is Islamification of London, that Muslims are taking over London and that London has become Londonistan. These allegations are being made to cause fear about Muslims in the non-Muslim communities. The fact is Muslims have integrated themselves into the society, we have learnt the language, we go to schools and universities for education, we work and we pay taxes. We then wonder what it will take for us to be accepted?”

Sadiq had urged the prime minister to call the remarks racist and Islamophobic, but Rishi Sunak has refused to do so. Sadiq said Rishi Sunak and his cabinet should have categorically said that these comments by their leaders are racist, Islamophobic and anti-Muslim, but they are scared. He said: “When there is any incident of anti-Semitism, we say that it is wrong and anti-Semitic. We also condemn misogyny and sexism. Then why is it that when Pakistani-origin Britons and Muslims are attacked, nobody says that it is Islamophobic and anti-Muslim.”

He said it had been over a week since Lee Anderson made Islamophobic comments, but the whole government refused to utter the word Islamophobic. “Even if you have a problem with the word Islamophobic, you can say this is anti-Muslim. This is very unfortunate because Rishi Sunak should know better,” he said, urging the PM to stop discriminating against Muslims and Pakistanis.

Sadiq said the Geo News in 2016 had brilliantly reported “how the Conservatives and Zac Goldsmith ran a highly Islamophobic and racist campaign against me. My fear is that the same is happening all over again because the May Local Council Elections are right around the corner and Tories are doing it again to scare the voters that Sadiq Khan is a Muslim and Pakistani. Next year there is going to be a general election and they are projecting lies and Islamophobia to gain votes on the basis of fear and hate”.

He said the senior Tory leaders attacking Muslims were not fringe elements but the mainstream politicians. “Lizz Truss was the last prime minister before Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman was the last home secretary and Lee Anderson was the last deputy chairman of the Tory party. This is the mainstream Conservative party amplifying anti-Muslim hatred. Lizz Truss agreed with the right-hand man of Donald Trump that Tommy Robinson is a hero. It is the same Tommy Robinson who was in prison for his racism and for the things he did.”

Sadiq condemned Braverman who has repeatedly attacked Muslims. The Mayor of London said: “Suella Braverman says that Britain has been taken over by the Islamists. I ask her how and where, in the House of Lords or in the Supreme Court or in the House of Commons or in the media? I ask everyone not to get mad but to get even. We must organise a register and a vote because these attacks are being launched to deter us from taking part in votes. For Muslims, it is more important than ever before to take part in politics.”

A latest YouGov poll has put Sadiq Khan 25 points ahead of his Conservative rival, but Sadiq said that he was not bothered about the polls and believed that the only way forward was that the maximum number of people come forward and vote. He said for the two terms that he had been the London Mayor, gun crimes, burglaries and homicides came down “but I am not complacent and I still believe that they are too high”. He said he would be able to deliver more for London when there is a Labour PM in the centre and a Labour London mayor.