In a speech to the Union of Jewish Students in Finchley on Wednesday, Sadiq Khan said: “We have a responsibility to tell them, and the rest of world, that they’re wrong.”
Khan also outlined his belief that “British Muslims and British Jews actually have more in common than almost any other communities”.
He spoke about cultural characteristics shared by the two communities:
A cultural history shaped by emigration. He revealed he is the first Khan in his family not to emigrate for three generations.
A recent knowledge of deep poverty, and the spirit of entrepreneurship and belief in education that experience has fostered.
The terrible experience of discrimination based on faith – with Islamophobia and anti-Semitism both on the rise in Britain.
The shared challenge of having to juggle multiple identities in the modern world.
Sadiq Khan pledged to make tackling hate crimes such as islamophobia and anti-Semitism a ‘top priority’ for the Metropolitan Police and to work with London universities to ensure hate preachers are not given platforms to speak to students.
He underlined his plans to tackle extremism and radicalisation in London, by supporting mainstream Muslims to challenge the extremists, tackling social segregation and by working with internet providers to ban extremist websites.
Khan said: “It’s sad, but there are a great many people who say that we shouldn’t get on – a room full of Jews and me, a Muslim. They say that we’re very different. That we have fundamentally opposed world views. You’ll hear it from Muslims and Jews alike – from community leaders, religious leaders and others. They are the propagandists of division and hostility between our communities. Well they’re wrong. And we have a responsibility to tell them, and the rest of world, that they’re wrong.”
He wadded: “I’m determined to be a Mayor who reflects modern London. Not to be a Mayor for any one community or another. Not to be defined by my faith, my background or my beliefs. But to be defined as a Londoner. A proud and patriotic Londoner. And to stand up for all Londoners – no matter whom they are, where they’re from or what they believe.”