He is less open to accusations of Islamophobia—might that help him crackdown on extremism?by David Patrikarakos / May 17, 2016 / Leave a comment
So London has a Muslim mayor and history has been made. It’s rare that you can divide the candidates from two mainstream parties into genuinely good and bad guys. But the team around Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith did its best to make this possible, with a campaign clearly designed to attack the new mayor, Sadiq Khan on security grounds.
In itself there is nothing wrong with this tactic. With heinous attacks on both Brussels and Paris (twice) within the last eighteen months, not to mention London’s very own 7/7 attacks, it is clear that our capital is an obvious target for terrorism. British security services report they have prevented several terror plots in just the last year. So it is perfectly correct to scrutinize candidates running for Mayor of Europe’s largest capital city on the issue of security. Indeed, it would have been racist not to scrutinize Khan because he is Muslim.
But, while never directly mentioning Khan’s religion, the implications were clear: Khan was a bad bet precisely because he was a Muslim. He was, as Goldsmith said, “radical” and “dangerous.”