London has just elected a new mayor, and he is Sadiq Khan, a Muslim in his forties, of Pakistani origins, son of a bus driver, a former lawyer in the field of human rights, a socialist politician, member of Parliament, and a Minister in the last Labour-party government. This is undoubtedly an unusually impressive record. All the more so because Khan’s election owes nothing to Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party now in opposition, a man whose out-dated socialist fantasies are not just flushing away support throughout Britain but turning him into a laughing stock.
In the past, Khan has also associated with some Islamist extremists to the point where his inner allegiance becomes unclear. Just to bring this out, as his Conservative rival in the election did, is to raise shouts of “Islamophobia.” There are two ways of looking at it. If Khan has really taken his distance from Islamism and is a genuine democrat, then the British may have found a Muslim able and willing to deal with Muslim extremism. That is something devoutly to be wished. On the other hand, the voting shows that Khan has benefited from the arrival of large numbers of immigrants to London, the majority of them Muslims. If his inner allegiance makes him a fellow-traveler or enabler of Muslim extremism, then his election will prove to have been a big step as the British lose control of their destiny.