Colonization by Immigration

London, Europe’s Largest City, Now Has A Muslim Mayor

Whether he can sing the national anthem or sympathize with those vexed by London’s gentrification has, ultimately, nothing to do with who Khan is as a person.

BY Shireen Qudosi · @ShireenQudosi | May 9, 2016

On Thursday May 5, 45-year-old Labour MP Sadiq Khan became London’s first Muslim mayor. His nomination wasn’t without contention, as even Prime Minister David Cameron railed against Khan’s extremist background and associations.

While journalists have billed Khan as a human rights lawyer before his entrance into the political arena, the truth is far less benevolent. In 2001, Khan counseled the Nation of Islam in a case that sought to overturn a 15-year-ban on the movement’s leader, Louis Farrakhan, from entering the country.

In the following years, Khan visited Babar Ahmad, who was shuffled between the U.S. and the U.K. on extraditions before finally pleading guilty to providing material support to the Taliban. Khan also campaigned for the release and repatriation of Guantanamo detainee, Shaker Aamer. Aamer and Ahmed are known to have provided Khan with links to CAGE, an advocacy group that describes Islamic State executioner Mohammed Emwazi as a “beautiful young man.” In addition to these grossly extremist associations, Khan has shared a stage with multiple Islamic extremists and has a long history of supporting extremists, terrorists and Islamists under the guise of ‘humanitarian’ work.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempt to raise this issue in the House of Commons was met with hurling accusations, including that of being a racist. Opposition to Cameron’s warnings may have had to do with how well Khan has integrated as a Member of Parliament, even advising Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (himself no stranger to close associations with jihadist killers) on how to appear more British. The evidence incriminating Khan, which includes a lengthy history of using Western law to secure freedom for Muslim radicals and extremists, was left largely ignored. If explored, it would show that Sadiq Khan is, by definition, an Islamist.

And that’s the thing Islamists know how to do very well – they know how to blend in. Whether Khan can sing the national anthem or sympathize with those vexed by London’s gentrification has ultimately nothing to do with who Khan is as a person. And who Khan is as a person is discovered though the long list of nefarious extremists he has defended us a ‘human rights’ lawyer.

For the average Muslim, Islamism (or civilization jihad), is an unrecognized reality. Instead, Sadiq is seen as defending Muslims – one of the highest causes a Muslim can serve, ultimately making a Sadiq a hero. In light of his win, Muslims have come out in support of Khan in other ways, pinning their own grueling immigration stories on Khan’s rise to power. And that’s where they see hope in him: “if the son of a Pakistani bus driver can make it, then so can we.” It’s there that we find a story of hope and it’s also where the narrative ends, when that’s exactly where we need to press further.

What Muslims who find a champion in Sadiq don’t realize is that this sort of political and social mobility is still largely impossible in countries like Pakistan. What Sadiq Khan was able to do in London, he would have never been able to accomplish in Lahore. Political corruption, social stigmas and outright elitism would never have allowed the son of a bus driver to be anything more.

The rags-to-riches immigration stories Muslim hold onto fail to realize that it’s both Western culture and Western legal systems that shield the individual, giving them an equal standing in society that allows them to rise. It’s something that sharia law, the Islamic legal system, doesn’t allow for. Building a civilization with such depth and compassion was fought for and carved over centuries, evolving in a way religious doctrine never did. And still, the benefits of Western society is something that too many immigrants consume like a flood of locusts. Rather than seeing it as sacred, the West is open to a reaping of what can be consumed and a discarding what no longer has value.

The fact is, appreciation for the system does not constitute an intention to maintain the system that has honored Muslims as individuals. What Muslims seem to honor above and beyond anything else will be their own culture and their own religious ideology. These two things will almost always come first and before any other tangent of a developing identity. “Muslim” will always come first. This is where the label of Islamist is difficult for Muslims to see. They don’t see it as an aggressive position against Western values. Instead, they see it as an act of benevolence championing Muslim interest.

And that emotionally feeble attempt to secure a shaky identity, in putting Muslim interests above the interest of a collective humanity, is heightened at a time where Muslims feel isolated as a demographic. That is why people like Sadiq Khan will continue to secure power and why Islamism will continue to be ignored by Muslims who are still seeking champions to boost their own sense of worth.

In the U.K., there is an added layer of tension among growing enclaves of Muslim strongholds that viciously target secular Muslims and non-Muslim outsiders. Bradford is one such town and parts of London are another where fundamentalist mentality has been thriving for decades. Sadiq Khan, a Pakistani immigrant, also brings to the forefront the tense relationship South Asians have had in England. South Asians first arrived to the U.K. as laborers in the 50’s through the 60’s. While many integrated successfully, over time others built up walls creating a culture of no-go zones, fiercely protecting their own community against British authorities, and creating clusters of internal leadership that mirrored tribal communities in the backwaters of Pakistan. Then came the race cards, and the complaints of victimization to the point that by early 2000’s the word “Paki” (short for Pakistani) became a racial slur.

For England’s Pakistani community, Khan’s win is not just a story of hope – it’s a story of domination and validation reaffirming their own sense of superiority after decades of segregation. Sadiq Khan’s win also cements the decade-old fear that London would soon be Londonistan – not because he is Muslim but because what he stands for as a Muslim.

Backtrack to the June 2006 issue of The Economist that presented the controversial cover titled “Eurabia: The Myth and Reality of Islam in Europe.” The article worked to dispel fears that Europe’s Muslims couldn’t be integrated. The piece also accused fears of “Londonistan” as fueling Europe’s far right movement. But fear of a backdoor invasion isn’t something motivated by the far right; it is something recognized by the right. The right, unburdened by the weight of regressive left guilt and delusion, is able to more clearly survey the scene. And today, on both sides of the Atlantic, the conservative voices are increasingly the voice of reason through unfiltered insight. To an outside audience, that insight is perceived as as racist or Islamophobic.

As a Muslim woman and a Muslim reformer, I’m telling you there is nothing racist or Islamophobic about revealing Sadiq Khan’s troubling history of coming to the aide of extremists. We are right to be alarmed, not only by his Islamist disposition but also by the waves of support Sadiq Khan has received from Muslims who cheer for him for no other reason than he is Muslim. This is a failing in the same way we fail when we cheer for someone based on gender or ethnicity. If we cheer, it should be because of the fabric of ones’ character, the strength of that character, and how a man plan’s to wield that character in defense of all people – and not just extremists.




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