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Sadiq Khan: A Mayor for All?

The hype continues about the new ‘Muslim’ mayor of London who claims to be “a mayor for all,” but what does he actually stand for?

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As warm wishes continue to pour in, particularly from Britain’s Muslim movers and shakers, I wonder whether they actually know anything about his politics. Especially as the British-Muslim community is known to be fiercely pro-Palestinian.

If Sadiq Khan’s time in office thus far is anything to go by then supporters of Palestine need not expect him to bat their corner.

In fact Khan is a supporter of Israel and opposes the boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) movement. Geared towards punishing Israel economically for their continuous human rights violations and occupation of Palestinian territory.

Khan has already expressed his enthusiasm for the capital hosting the Tel Aviv festival next year. Some may argue that London hosting the festival is in the interests of London due to the money it will generate, but what about human rights?

A concept that is fiercely championed by Britain especially when it comes to ‘unfriendly’ states in the Middle East. However, when it comes to states that perpetuate the imperial interests of Britain, human rights are waivered.

Imagine the outrage, public and political if an MP suggested London host one of Syria’s festivals. But, when it comes to Israel, not only does she have a license to occupy and commit crimes against humanity, she gets to profit too.

Far from making a stand against Zionism Khan has maintained the official line of anti-Semitism when it comes to criticising Israel. He staunchly allied with the hawks in the media and the Labour party in attacking Ken Livingstone for his comments against Israel.

Furthermore, he’s publically criticised Jeremy Corbyn for not making a tougher stand against anti-Semitism as though Israel has nothing to answer for.

And if his position on the Palestinian question was not clear enough, Khan did not attend the Nakba day event to mark the millions displaced by the creation of Israel. The event was organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, which Corbyn is a member of.

In stark contrast, just days into his new role as mayor Khan was seen rubbing shoulders with the cream of the pro-Israeli community and attended the Holocaust Memorial Day.

What of Khan’s housing policies for the over stretched capital?

Those already struggling to keep a roof over their head in the extortionately priced capital should not expect to be relieved of increasing private rents.

Moreover the underprivileged still awaiting social housing may not get housed. Judging by Khan’s record of taking donations from property tycoons to date is anything to go by.

One newspaper reported that since 2014 the incoming mayor has taken £92,400 in donations from property firms and developers. The notable sum includes, £19,900 from Anwar Ansari’s AA Homes and Housing Ltd in Croydon, who attempted to block the borough’s landlord licensing scheme.

An LSE graduate by the name of Farouk Sheikh has also donated £15,000 and alarmingly his firm, First Fidelity REO speaks of the ability to “aggressively manage and market” repossessed homes.

Given Khan’s ‘son of a bus driver mantra’ during his campaign, his record suggests that Londoners from humble beginnings need to be earning a lot more than the minimum wage to make ends meet.

Written by Sara Yasmin Anwar

Sara is a freelance journalist specialising in politics of the Middle East and Arab affairs.

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