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Muslim Running for Mayor of London, Does It Matter?

May 3, 2016
Plain English Version
Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan, candidates for Mayor of London

Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan, candidates for Mayor of London

London elects a mayor on Thursday. The two candidates are Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan. Mr. Goldsmith is a member of the Conservative Party and Mr. Khan is a member of the Labor Party.

Mr. Goldsmith is a journalist. He comes from a wealthy and old English family.

Mr. Khan says, “I am a Londoner, I am European, I am British, I am English. I am of Islamic faith, of Asian origin, of Pakistani heritage. I am a dad, a husband.”

Mr. Khan is a human rights lawyer. He grew up with seven siblings. His family lived in public housing. He is the favorite. If he wins, he will be the first Muslim mayor of London.

There is no way to avoid the issues of religion and culture. Mr. Goldsmith says Mr. Khan is dangerous and without principle. Mr. Goldsmith wants to “prevent London from falling into the wrong hands.”

Mr. Khan says Mr. Goldsmith is desperate and divisive. He says Mr. Goldsmith has no record that would suggest he would be a good mayor.

Mr. Goldsmith says Mr. Khan has appeared on platforms with Muslim extremists. Mr. Khan says his roles as a human rights lawyer and campaigner took him to different places and people.

The election is about the things city elections usually are about. One issue is affordable housing. Another issue is the operation of the mass transit system. Mr. Goldsmith said the public transport system is not easy for the handicapped.

The question of immigration has not arisen. Observers say the two candidates do not differ on most issues.

When the election is over, it may be hard to know if religion was a factor. This is good news.

Source: The New York Times April 30, 2016

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