Saturday, 7 May 2016

Opinion: London's new "Muslim" mayor is actually a great news!

The election of London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, is a cheerful news even for those who are not really affected or concerned about the city’s affairs. It’s inspiring when one of the greatest and a vibrantly multicultural cities of the world elects a mayor purely on merit, one based on positive campaign and not identity.

Clearly, the media is awash with headlines of London’s first “Muslim” and a “son of a bus driver” mayor – a narrative that strongly constructs the elected mayor’s identity. Such profiling with emphasis on religion is needless and using words like “Londonistan” is at best shallow. It often reinforces the issues that voters have chose to ignore at the first place.

In his victory speech, Mr. Khan has said that the campaign was not without controversy; he thanked voters for choosing “hope over fear” and “unity over division”.

Mr Khan’s mayoral victory also is the triumphant moment for the city of London and also Britain at large that has provided opportunities, created enabling environment for growth and prosperity for millions like his family that choose to settle in the city and had humble beginnings.

The victory symbolically is significant in the backdrop of the EU migrant crisis, and the Paris attacks earlier this year that fuelled fears that the foundations of multiculturalism in modern Europe is about to crumble.  The election reaffirms the finer values of equality, diversity and democracy. Londoners have strongly uphold these universal values, and provided a model worthy of emulation in other places around the world. It is a great news for anyone that believes in these values.