Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has spoken about his experiences facing extremism within the Muslim community.
The Labour MP for Tooting spoke to the House of Commons Press Gallery, saying he has “lost count of the number of times I’ve had to challenge the hideous views of seemingly intelligent and articulate people.”
He said: “Extremism isn’t a theoretical risk. Most British Muslims have come across someone with extremist views at some point – and so have I.”
“People I knew as a boy have gone on to hold extremist views, and even to act on them in terrible ways. When I was a lawyer .. I sometimes had the unpleasant job of representing people with extremist views.”
Khan recalled representing Muslim clients who appeared “like normal Londoners, until they said that 9/11 was a Mossad conspiracy. That the Jewish workers in the twin towers were tipped off and escaped.”
“That Western foreign policy is the cause of all the world’s problems. That there could be a land of milk and honey, if there was an Islamic kalifate. I could go on.”
As Minister for Communities under Gordon Brown, Khan became only the second Muslim minister to serve in government.
Khan, in what is being billed as a highly-personal speech, will say the onus is on British Muslims to challenge Muslim extremism – not because they are responsible to do so, but “because their interventions can be more effective”.
Sadiq Khan earlier this year distanced himself from Ken Livingstone’s mayoralty and told the Jewish News: “I want to be a mayor that stands up for Jewish rights.”