Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Is London Ready to Make History With British Pakistani Muslim Mayor?

Opinion polls conducted a day before the May 5 London mayoral election are showing a 20-point lead for Labor Party's British Pakistani Muslim mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan over his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith, brother of Imran Khan's ex-wife Jemima Khan. Is London ready to make history?

London Mayoral Candidates Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan

Conservatives Use Islamophobia: 

The Conservative party campaign of Zac Goldsmith has resorted to the desperate tactics like the use of anti-Muslim bigotry to overcome Sadiq Khan's big lead.  Even British Prime Minister David Cameron made the false allegation of Sadiq Khan's links to ISIS supporters. Cameron even courted British Indians in a letter highlighting the warm welcome he, Zac Goldsmith and the Conservative party government extended to Narendra Modi, the Hindu Nationalist prime minister known for the state-sponsored 2002 massacre of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat state.  The polls now show that these cynical actions of the Conservatives appear to have backfired.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan with ex-Brother-in -law Zac Smith 

Imran Khan's Endorsement of Zac Goldsmith:

In late March, Imran Khan tweeted his strong endorsement of Zac Goldsmith, his ex-brother-in-law. The endorsement raised eyebrows for two reasons: 1. Goldsmith, like Imran Khan's political rival Nawaz Sharif, has been been dogged by questions about his own offshore accounts. And 2. Goldsmith has engaged in a racist and Islamophobic smear campaign against his rival Sadiq Khan who shares his faith and national origin with Imran Khan. The question is: Will Imran Khan's endorsement really help Zac given the fact that he is sometimes referred to as Taliban Khan by his detractors in Pakistani media?

Will Hidden Racism Surface in London?

Will London voters saying they support Sadiq Khan actually vote for him when they go behind the curtain to cast their secret ballots?  The Bradley effect (less commonly the Wilder effect) refers to discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some United States government elections where a white candidate runs against a minority candidate. It is named after Tom Bradley, the Los Angeles' Black Mayor who lost the 1982 California gubernatorial election to George Deukmejian after the opinion polls showed Bradley enjoyed a double digit lead over his opponent. Will the Bradley effect change the outcome on Thursday May 5?


Several British Pakistanis have been elected and served as mayors of major British cities like Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester. But London is unique. Will the Londoners make history by electing Sadiq Khan as their mayor this year?

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Islamophobia in the West

Pakistani Diaspora


Silicon Valley Pakistanis

Modi Accelerating Hinduization of India

Gujarat Pogrom under Modi


Riaz Haq said...

#Muslim of #Pakistan origin poised to become mayor of #London. #LondonMayor2016 via @worldnetdaily

Labour candidate Sadiq Khan was set on Thursday to become the first Muslim to be elected mayor of London, loosening the ruling Conservatives’ hold on Britain’s financial center after a campaign marred by charges of anti-Semitism and extremism.

His expected victory may be a lone bright spot for Labour on a day of local elections in England, Scotland and Wales. Opinion polls suggested the main opposition party would lose seats in some traditional strongholds, testing the authority of its new left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

In bright sunshine, Britons trickled in to voting stations to cast their ballots in elections which some campaigners fear could fail to attract many voters, as the contests have been overshadowed by next month’s referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.


Vishal said...

I think Sadiq Khan would win this election easily. I know Goldsmith tried every dirty trick to racially polarize the elections. This dude even sent letters to Tamils, Hindus and Sikh families (or even people with Hindhu-, Sikh- or Tamil-sounding names) warning that their jewelry was unsafe, because Khan planned to introduce a wealth tax. What a mo**n! Looks like entire Asian community is united in favoring Tariq, irrespective of their religions.

r_sundar said...

Britain has historically been very tolerant (even though Islamists have tried their level best to alter it), but this will get tested this time. It is usually people personality that has mattered, and Zac has been a d***.
Interesting to see if Zac can pull this off.

Majumdar said...

London is more likely to elect a Muslim mayor of Paki immigrant origin than Karachi is to elect a native born Hindu mayor.


Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "London is more likely to elect a Muslim mayor of Paki immigrant origin than Karachi is to elect a native born Hindu mayor."

It's taken centuries for this to happen in London. Pakistan is a very young country. It could happen in Pakistan in the futre.

Please read this:

Sachanand Panu Arya is a proud Pakistani Hindu and has recorded a short video dispel the truth that the religious minorities suffered discrimination in the neighbouring Islamic republic.

This is what his message reads, “Namaste, Salam. I’m Pakistani. I’m Hindu. I love Pakistan. I don’t hate anybody. I want to live in peace. People assume that there are no Hindus in Pakistan.

“People assume that Muslims hate Hindus. I am living proof that this is not true. Pakistan has Hindu judges, army officers, traders, pandits. Pakistan has over 2,000 working Hindu temples. “

Riaz Haq said...

#London Makes History: #British #Pakistani #Muslim Sadiq Khan 'has won' #LondonMayor2016 race - live updates

Shamshad S. said...

Like they said 'Saari Khudai aik taraf - BV ka Bhai AIk Taraf', Imran Khan is supporting his Ex-Brother in Law and not the soon-to-be-the-first Muslim Mayor of London.

Riaz Haq said...

Shamshad: "'Saari Khudai aik taraf - BV ka Bhai AIk Taraf'"

Even Jemima is unhappy with her brother's campaign's use of Islamophobia as seen in the following tweet:

"Sad that Zac's campaign did not reflect who I know him to be- an eco friendly, independent- minded politician with integrity"

Zac's campaign bigotry backfired on him as Sadiq Khan won with the biggest mandate of any British politician in the history of British elections.

Sadiq Khan has won the biggest personal mandate in the history of British politics.

The Labour victor outstripped Boris Johnson's 2008 record tonight to win a landslide 1,310,143 votes - becoming the first Muslim mayor of a major western capital.

In his victory speech after 16 and a half hours of counting, Mr Khan thanked his "amazing" mum and dad, wife and two daughters - saying his bus driver dad would've been proud of him.

And he blasted the 'dog whistle' campaign fought by the Tories on behalf of Zac Goldsmith.

He said: “This election was not without controversy. But I’m proud that London has chosen hope over fear and unity over division.

“I hope that we will never be offered such a stark choice again.”

He added: “The politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city."

As Mr Khan gave his speech, far-right Britain First candidate Paul Golding - who wants to ban Islam in Britain - turned his back.

Because of the way British politics works no other politician has ever had so many crosses put against their name.

Prime Ministers are chosen within their party but will only have the direct support of fewer than 100,000 constituents at the ballot box.

When Mr Johnson won in 2008 the City Hall website described his 1,168,738 votes as the "largest personal mandate in British political history".

Even when Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership with huge public support he won 251,417 votes, less than a quarter of Mr Khan's total.

Jasbinder said...

I am a British Indian and I am an admirer of Khan. I was impressed when he said “When I was younger you didn’t see people in hijabs and niqabs, not even in Pakistan when I visited my family. In London we got on. People dressed the same. What you see now are people born and raised here who are choosing to wear the jilbab [a loose gown] or niqab.
There is a question to be asked about what is going on in those homes. What’s insidious is if people are starting to think it is appropriate to treat women differently or that it has been forced on them. What worries me is children being forced to adopt a lifestyle.”

Khan has received death threats for voting in favour of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill. There was a fatwa put out against him, in which an Imam declared him to be no longer a Muslim; he had been given police advice on protection.

Riaz Haq said...

From Prof Juan Cole of University of Michigan:

The press is declaring Sadiq Khan, victor in the electoral contest for mayor of London, the “first Muslim mayor of a major European city.”
They mean of course, something like ‘the first Muslim mayor of a really big Western European city in the modern period (say the past two centuries). [Although Sadiq Khan was elected and many — not all– of the figures I point to below were appointed , that’s the way it was in history. The then London County Council was first elected in 1889, and the mayor has only been directly elected since 2000; all urban leaders were appointed until fairly recently.]


Islam is a major European religion and is a nearly 1300 year old tradition there.
[Sitting elected Muslim mayors include Erion Veliaj of Tirana, Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, and Shpend Ahmeti of Pristina. Muslim-majority Sarajevo elected
Ivo Komšić, a Christian, in 2013.]
Going back into history, parts of Spain, and often quite a lot of it, were under Muslim rule 711 to 1492. So for example, Abd al-Rahman I was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in 756. We’re talking major Western European city here. In the 900s Cordoba was the most populous city in the world.
The Arab Muslim emirate of Sicily lasted from 831 to 1072. For example, Jafar al-Kalbi (983–985) was emir of Sicily, and therefore mayor of Palermo, the capital.
The Ottoman Empire ruled most of what is now Greece 1458-1832. Here is a picture of the Ottoman governor of Athens in 1815 (a decade and a half before the Greeks won independence).

I think Athens counts as a major European city. It was under Ottoman control for nearly 400 years.
The Ottomans ruled much of Hungary 1541 to 1699, and Buda (half of the later twin city of Budapest) was the capital of this province of the empire. While there, the Ottomans supported the Protestant movement in Hungary. Abdurrahman Abdi Pasha the Albanian, e.g., became the military governor of Buda in 1682. Budapest has to count as a major European city.
Serbia was under Ottoman rule 1402–1912 (later in that period as a vassal); for instance, Hacı Mustafa Aga was appointed the military governor of Belgrade in July 1793
Not to mention that Constantinople/ Istanbul is one of the larger European cities (14 million inside city limits!). The mayor is Dr Kadir Topbas. He is a Muslim.
So Muslim heads of major European cities have been a commonplace for nearly 1300 years, and even at the beginning of the 20th century a few Balkan cities still had Muslim governors. Sadiq Khan’s victory is a great one and we should be happy that an Islamophobic and scurrilous campaign against him by the Tories was thwarted by the good sense of Londoners. But let us not exacerbate the weird amnesia of Europe about how central Islam and Muslims have been to its history since the eighth century (when Byzantium, founded by Heraclius in 610, was only a century old itself). Sadiq Khan has many illustrious predecessors among European Muslim urban leaders.

Anonymous said...

There is a better chance of Muslim becoming PM of UK or President of US than of PM of "secular" India.

G. Ali

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

People assume that Muslims hate Hindus. I am living proof that this is not true.

We all know that Paki Muslims love Hindus, X-tians, Mirzais and other non-Muslims. So why do their constitution forbid non-Muslims from being PMs or Presidents of Pakiland?

G Ali sb,

There is a better chance of Muslim becoming PM of UK or President of US than of PM of "secular" India.

That is true. I may also add that a non-Muslim has as good a chance of becoming a PM of Pakiland than a Muslim has of becoming PM of USA or President of UK.


Riaz Haq said...

Ali Ahmed Aslam, 77, Credited With Inventing Chicken Tikka Masala, Dies
A Glasgow restaurateur, he was part of the rise of the British curry house — and played an essential part in its story.

Ali Ahmed Aslam, the Glasgow restaurateur who was often credited with the invention of chicken tikka masala, died on Monday. He was 77.

His son Asif Ali said the cause was septic shock and organ failure after a prolonged illness. He did not say where Mr. Aslam died.

Much like Cartesian geometry, chicken tikka masala was most likely not one person’s invention, but rather a case of simultaneous discovery — a delicious inevitability in so many restaurant kitchens, advanced by shifting forces of immigration and tastes in postwar Britain.

Many cooks claimed that they were the ones who served it first, or that they knew a guy who knew the guy who really did. Others insisted it wasn’t a British invention at all but a Punjabi dish. None of those stories seemed to stick.

Instead, the bright tomato-tinted lights of fame shone on one man: Mr. Aslam, who immigrated to Glasgow from a village outside Lahore, Pakistan, when he was 16, and who opened the restaurant Shish Mahal in 1964.

What seems to have established Mr. Aslam as the inventor of the dish was an unsuccessful 2009 bid by the Scottish member of Parliament Mohammad Sarwar to have the European Union recognize chicken tikka masala as a Glaswegian specialty. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Mr. Aslam explained that he had added some sauce to please a customer once, and you could almost hear him shrug.

In Aslam family lore, it was a local bus driver who popped in for dinner and suggested that plain chicken tikka was too spicy for him, and too dry — and also he wasn’t feeling well, so wasn’t there something sweeter and saucier that he could have instead? Sure, why not. Mr. Aslam, who was known as Mr. Ali, tipped the tandoor-grilled pieces of meat into a pan with a quick tomato sauce and returned them to the table.

“He never really put so much importance on it,” Asif Ali said. “He just told people how he made it.”

Chicken tikka masala became so widespread that in 2001 Robin Cook, the British foreign secretary, delivered a speech praising the dish — and Britain for embracing it.

“Chicken tikka masala is now a true British national dish,” Mr. Cook said, referring to a survey that had placed it above fish and chips in popularity. “Not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.”

Mr. Aslam was born into a family of farmers, in a small village near Lahore. As a teenager, newly arrived to Glasgow in 1959, he took a job with his uncle in the clothing business during the day and cut onions at a local restaurant at night.

Mr. Aslam was ambitious, and he soon opened his own place in the city’s West End. He installed just a few tables and a brilliantly hot well of a tandoor oven, which he learned to man in a sweaty process of trial and error. He brought his parents over from Pakistan; his mother helped to run the kitchen, and his father took care of the front of the house.

In 1969, Mr. Aslam married Kalsoom Akhtar, who came from the same village in Pakistan. In Glasgow they raised five children. In addition to his son Asif, his survivors include his wife; their other children, Shaista Ali-Sattar, Rashaid Ali, Omar Ali and Samiya Ali; his brother Nasim Ahmed; and his sisters Bashiran Bibi and Naziran Tariq Ali.

Chicken tikka masala boomed in the curry houses of 1970s Britain. Soon it was more than just a dish you could order off the menu at every curry house, or buy packaged at the supermarket; it was a powerful political symbol.