In the world that is increasingly becoming “Islamophobic” May 7th will certainly go down in the golden annals of United Kingdom’s political history. As the city of London officially got its first ever Muslim mayor in Sadiq Khan. Khan who belongs to the Labour Party won a landslide 14 point victory over his rival Zac Goldsmith of the Conservative Party. He is also only the third mayor to be elected since this position was first created in the city in 2000. This position of power has thereby given him the responsibility of a city that has a population of approximately 9 million.
His Personal Life and basic education:
The journey of Sadiq Khan began on 8th October 1970 with his birth at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London. He was born to a working class Sunni Muslim family. His parents were Pakistani immigrants who migrated to the United Kingdom shortly before his birth. His deceased father Amanullah Khan worked as a bus driver for 25 years and his mother Sehrun was a seamstress. He then completed his basic education from Fircroft Primary School and Ernest Bevin College. He studied science and mathematics with ambition of becoming a dentist. It was a teacher’s advice and an American television program L.A. Law that inspired him to eventually complete his graduation in law from University of North London.
His career in Law:
His career in law began in 1994 after he completed the Law Society Finals at the College of Law in Guilford. It was from 1994 to 1997 that he then worked a trainee solicitor and assistant solicitor. Finally, from 1997 to 2005 he was a partner in the law firm called “Christian Khan” along with Louise Christian. During his distinguished career in law he was involved in many crime related cases. He also defended many Islamic extremist from charges pertaining terrorist activities representing them as a human rights lawyer.
His career in Politics:
Meanwhile, his career in active politics began locally in 1994 when he represented Tooting as a Councillor for the London Borough of Wandsworth. His tenure in local politics eventually ended in 2006 with his retirement. Post retirement he was also awarded the title of “Hononary Alderman of Wandsworth”.
It was eventually in 2003 though that Khan finally made his presence felt in national politics. When the Tooting Constituency Labour Party decided to open doors to anyone interested in being a member of parliament. In elections held in the Tooting Constituency he participated and defeated five local candidates to become Labour Party’s candidate for a seat in parliament. And in 2005 he finally became a member of parliament i.e. MP when he was elected during the general elections. In 2010 he was once again re-elected as a MP for his constituency. In 2015 he won his third term as MP for the Labour Party in the Tooting constituency. Finally, on May 9th 2016 he was sworn in as the Mayor of London after winning the mayoral election handsomely.
Being elected as a Mayor of a large cosmopolitan city like London has brought a few challenges that Khan will need to face upfront. A key challenge being economic equality with regards to real estate. Since the prices of real estate having sky rocketed in the city with the average price of a townhouse standing at $887,000. This is a real concern especially for those families that cannot afford it. And Khan accepts this as a genuine problem when he states that “Ordinary Londoners have been priced out because of the housing crisis” So in order to solve this issue his plan is to basically ensure that affordable homes are available especially to people belonging to the lower and middle classes. For this he intends to fast track new construction projects by freeing up land owned by public bodies that he has control over such as London’s Transportation Authority. Another challenge that Khan could face is in regards to his religion he follows i.e. Islam, with Zac Goldsmith his rival during the mayoral election openly questioning the impact of his ethnicity on his credibility as a politician. There could be more questions asked about his ethnicity in the future by his rivals if he does not perform as expected. Which truly will be a challenge for this newly elected mayor.
What does the future hold?
The election of Sadiq Khan as London’s first Muslim Mayor is an indication that a majority believe that merit and not faith should be used to judge a person. So now it remains to be seen whether or not Khan lives up to the high expectations placed on him by the citizens of the city and, that only time will tell.
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