While many in the press have declared Sadiq Khan as the “first Muslim mayor of a major European city,” scholar Juan Cole reminds us of history. As Mr. Cole says in his blog, “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.”
And now… history. From 711 to 1492, the majority of Spain was under Muslim rule — Abd al-Rahman I was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in 756 (at the time Cordoba was the biggest city in the world). The Arab Muslim emirate of Sicily was in power from 831 to 1072 — Jafar al-Kalbi (983–985) was Emir of Sicily and also mayor of Palermo. Between 1458-1832, the Ottoman Empire ruled what is now Greece. From 1541 to 1600, the Ottomans ruled Hungary, and in 1682 Abdurrahman Abdi Pasha the Albanian became the military governor of Buda (half the twin city of Budapest).
For more on the history of Muslim governance, Mr. Cole’s article is a must read!