London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital (of note, Naheed Nenshi, also Muslim was elected mayor of Calgary in 2010). Born in Tooting, South London, Mr. Khan is the product of a working-class British Pakistani family – his father was a bus driver and his mother a seamstress. He studied law at University of North London, and went on to work as an attorney, specializing in human rights. In 2008, Mr. Khan became Minister of State for Transport and was elected Mayor of London at the May 2016 mayoral election, succeeding Conservative Party Mayor Boris Johnson. Mr. Khan is a member of the Labour Party.
According to the New Yorker, “Polls show Khan to be the most popular politician in the country, and the 1.3 million votes cast for him as mayor give him the third-largest mandate of any politician in Europe.” In the first year of office, Mayor Khan experienced incredible challenges as mayor – from Britain unexpectedly voting to leave the European Union to three tragic extremist attacks to a fire in a high-rise apartment that killed more than eighty people. “Nothing prepares you for this,” he said. “I didn’t campaign to be the mayor of London and go to funerals.”
In this New Yorker profile, Mayor Khan gives one of his most in-depth interviews. On being a Muslim politician he says, “Many people in positions of power and influence [have] not broken bread with a Muslim. Part of it is reassuring them: The sky is not going to fall in. You are in safe hands. All the stuff that you worry about, I worry about as well. All the dreams you have got, I have got as well.”