The Spectre Of Mayor Khan’s Islamist London 

The Spectre Of Mayor Khan’s Islamist London 

by Daniel Johnson - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 04:39 PM IST

The Spectre Of Mayor Khan’s Islamist London

Sadiq Khan/gettyimages
  • It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Sadiq Khan is a typical left-wing cultural relativist, and Khan’s opinions change according to the needs but his allegiance doesn’t.

    Under Mayor Khan, London will undoubtedly deserve more than ever the ironical nickname it earned a decade ago among the European intelligence services, “Londonistan.” 

    The British Islam will now redefine London, rather than London redefining the British Islam.

Excerpts from Daniel Johnson’s piece in the latest issue of Standpoint Magazine. You can read the complete article here.

In London, which is home to about a third of British Muslims (including thousands of migrants who live below the radar of the authorities), we have already seen the assertion of power by the political Islam.

The takeover of Tower Hamlets by a corrupt Islamist politician, Lutfur Rahman, maybe a harbinger of things to come. Last year, he was removed from office by special commissioners, but for five years Rahman and his cronies ran a borough of nearly three lakh people, distributing a budget of more than one billion pounds. It is worth noting that after being ousted from the Labour Party, he was able to replace it with a notionally “independent” but in practice sectarian group, even though the Muslims officially make up only a third of the population. The Muslim “block vote” is such a formidable electoral force, that, for the Islamists to dominate a city it does not need to have a Muslim majority.

The greatest prize, of course, is London itself. By the time you read this, the capital may already have elected the first Muslim Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. At the time of writing, polls predict that Khan, who is also the Labour MP for Tooting, will win by a larger majority than either of his predecessors, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.

Khan has worked hard at projecting a moderate image as a modern, liberal Muslim with no sectarian baggage. He no longer protests, as he did in 2004, that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi perhaps the most influential preacher in the whole Islamic world is “not an extremist.” (The Sheikh says that Hitler “put Jews in their place.”) He has carefully distanced himself from Babar Ahmad, who was later convicted of terrorist offences, and the other extremists with whom he was once associated. But he knows very well how important the Muslim vote is for the Labour.

At least ten London boroughs have large, mainly conservative Muslim communities, where children grow up in an Islamic monoculture and women are covered or veiled. Khan is not likely to challenge the self-appointed leaders of these communities. At all costs, he must maintain the Labour’s near monopoly of Muslim politics and prevent the emergence of an explicitly Islamist party.

We now know that in the past Sadiq Khan was a left-wing human rights solicitor who represented the Muslim extremists, was happy to make compromises with the Salafist attitudes that prevail in many London mosques. In 2004, he supported incorporating the Sharia law into the British legal system:

There are some . . . uncontroversial areas of Islamic law which could easily be applied to the legal system . . . in the UK.”

What Khan had in mind by “uncontroversial” was the legitimisation of polygamy, by altering inheritance tax law to allow husbands to divide their estates between several wives while enjoying the tax exemption normally applicable to a single spouse. He called this “applying common sense,” but it was yet another step towards de facto recognition of polygamy by the law. The Muslims have long been claiming welfare benefits for multiple wives; the only condition is that they must have married them abroad.

In 2007, Khan questioned the need for the criminal law to be used to stop forced marriages, claiming that such “ghetto” legislation would stereotype the Muslims. Of course, he glossed over the fact that forced marriage was almost exclusively a Muslim problem in Britain. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Khan is a typical left-wing cultural relativist, and they are a big part of London’s problem. Despite having made his career as a human rights lawyer, Khan has never challenged the conspiracy of silence about certain offences, such as forced marriage and abduction, female gentile mutilation and “honour crimes” that are committed mainly by the Salafist and the other fundamentalist Muslims on a huge scale, yet are rarely or never prosecuted in Britain. Nor did he expose grooming by Muslim gangs.

Under Mayor Khan, London will undoubtedly deserve more than ever the ironical nickname it earned a decade ago among the European intelligence services, “Londonistan.” It is hard to imagine Khan taking the tough measures to root out ISIS cells hidden inside the Muslim ghettos that have been forced on the French and the Belgian police forces since the attacks on Paris and Brussels. Even in the aftermath of a similar attack on London, it is inconceivable that Khan would risk the accusation that he had turned his back on his Muslim heritage. His opinions change according to the needs; his allegiance doesn’t.

In policing, Khan is far more likely to attach weight to the “sensitivities” of the Muslim community leaders than to put pressure on those communities to eradicate radicalisation. According to ICM, only a third of Muslims say they would inform the police if they thought someone was involved with the terrorist groups in Syria. The Metropolitan Police have searched London mosques on very few occasions. They would be more proactive if they felt that the mayor would back them in upholding the law.

The fear of causing an offence explains the failure to protect minorities who are unpopular with the Sunni majority. After an Ahmadi newsagent was killed in Glasgow in March, it emerged that a Pakistani group urging Muslims to murder members of the Ahmadiyya sect, has close links with a Deobandi mosque at Stockwell in South London where their leaflets were found, though a mosque trustee denied any knowledge of such links. The same concerns apply to London’s 40-odd universities.

It is rare for the police to intervene to preserve free speech on campus, or for a university to clamp down on intimidation by an Islamic society. Yet terrorists and IS recruits include a high proportion of students and graduates, including doctors and engineers. One cannot imagine Mayor Khan standing up to such powerful lobbies as London’s universities and mosques, even after a major attack.

And yet, regardless of the illiberal views he has held or condoned and the vicious company he has kept, London seems bent on electing Khan as its first Muslim Mayor. The symbolism of his election will be understood differently around the world; but for any a Londoner, who is proud to live there, there is a sense of an impending doom. London has a claim to be the greatest city on the earth, for having given the world the cosmopolitan Western values by which London has always lived. But as the ICM survey shows, a substantial proportion of the Muslim community rejects those values.

Increasingly, the British Islam will now redefine London, rather than London redefining the British Islam. One shall be astonished if Mayor Khan is strong enough to resist the Salafist pressure to transform London into a city as segregated as Paris, Brussels, or Birmingham. One reason why Paris and Brussels have already succumbed to such terrible attacks is that the sheer weight of the numbers makes it impossible for the authorities to know what is going on inside the Muslim communities.

Getty Images
Getty Images

After decades of denial, French demographers now agree that about 25 percent of school aged children are Muslims. So France faces a cultural and political revolution within a generation. Paris, including its suburbs, is a microcosm of this new France. London, which is home to more than a million Muslims, is heading towards the same direction.

Not all European cities are going quietly. In some, the liberal Muslims are resisting the relentless radicalisation by the Salafists. The Moroccan born mayor of Rotterdam, where up to a quarter of the population is Muslim, had a blunt message for the Islamists who reject freedom.

If you don’t like freedom, pack your bags and leave,” Ahmed Aboutaleb told them last year after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. If the Dutch Muslims didn’t like the newspapers or the magazines that satirised Islam, he added, they could, “Just f*** off.”

It would be nice to think that Mayor Khan might send a similarly clear signal to Muslims who reject the spirit of liberty that has always characterised London. But wishful thinking is what has landed us in our present predicament. Unless the city-dwellers and that includes the liberal Muslim Londoners, can face up to and fight what is happening in Islam, in both London and abroad, a sense of fear for the future of London shall remain.

Above all, I fear that I, and millions like me, may have no place in that future.

The complete version of this article was published in the latest issue of Standpoint Magazine.

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