Sadiq Khan has been elected as the new Mayor of London making him the first muslim leader of a major Western city.
He beat his nearest rival Conservative Zac Goldsmith in the race for City Hall by 13 percent, with 1,310,143 votes to Goldsmith’s 994,614.
In Khan’s first speech as Mayor he said he was “deeply humbled by the hope and trust” that voters have put in him. He said: “My campaign was not without controversy, and I am so proud that today London has chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”
ELL spoke to members of the public about Sadiq Khan becoming Mayor.
Fahim Ahmed, 39, from Whitechapel, said: “The fact that he’s the first muslim mayor is important for us, because two or three months ago somebody attacked the East London Mosque, and all religions need freedom.
“Overall, whether he is muslim or a non-muslim it doesn’t matter. All people here are looking for is a nice person. If he’s a nice person then everyone will be supportive. Two months ago we needed help from Sadiq Khan – he helped us.”
Georgina Sullivan, 32, Whitechapel resident said: “I’m not impressed that Sadiq Khan has been elected, I tried to go to him for help and he didn’t help me, he was useless. I had to get a solicitor in to help me with my housing.
“His religion doesn’t play a factor in his election for me. I don’t care what religion or faith or colour someone is, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Saheed Musa, 40, from Bethnal Green said: “I think Sadiq being elected is good, I hope that he will do good work for London.
“I think the fact that he’s a muslim is good, but for me it’s not religion. Whether he is a christian, buddhist, sikh etc. he is still a human being, and as a human being if he does good things then people will continue to respect him.
“As long as he sticks to his manifesto and keeps on representing the people then he will be good.”
Catrina Davy, 38, Hackney resident said: “I’m very pleased that Sadiq got elected because I voted for him. I think it is significant that he is the first muslim man to be elected Mayor of London, although that’s not why I voted for him, but it is definitely a good thing.
“I think it’s good to see people of ethnic minorities in positions of power, and I think it can change people’s views and perspectives to see that.”
Memet Kucuk, 50, a Turkish immigrant who lives in Hackney, said: “I’m very happy he won – I voted for him. It’s good that he’s muslim but the main reason I voted for him was because he’s Labour, I support Labour. I think the majority of people around here will have voted the same.
“I think he is going to do the best he can about transport, and I know a lot of people have housing problems too. I don’t know whether he will or not, but he has said he will fix the housing crisis.
“He also has a foreign background, so he’s the same as me!”
Sancho Dean, 20, from Catford said: “To be honest I’m not really into politics but I think he’s a genuine guy. I think his election is good for muslims to see, especially children, since there’s been a lot of negatively around them lately.
“Hopefully if he does well as Mayor people will see that his religion doesn’t matter and some of the anti-muslim feelings people have will die down.”
Andy Evans, 63, from Deptford, said : “I voted for Goldsmith. I think he would do a much better job with the city. I don’t know much about [Khan] but I really don’t think he is the better choice.
“I don’t care what religion someone is but I support the Conservative party and I always will.”
Lydia McNeil, 28, Lewisham resident said: “I’m quite happy he’s won. I’ve always supported Labour. I’d rather vote for a rock than have a Tory as a leader.
“We need diversity in the government. I don’t have a problem at all electing a muslim as Mayor – [Khan] can break the stereotypes.”
Angie Lewis, 52, from South Norwood sid: “I didn’t vote but [Khan] seems like a good fit for the job. I hope he’ll do what he promises and fix the housing market.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that I’ve got friends who have lived here their whole lives and they are going to have to leave because they can’t afford it.”
Charlie Ainsworth, 34, from Croydon said: “[Khan] was the easy choice for me because he’ll be the best for transport. It’s expensive to get around here and I am so sick of these rail strikes.
“I’m quite happy about the changes in bus fares – it’s only fair to the people.”
Gina Douglas, 23, from Croydon said: “I’m so pleased with the result. It is a bit surprisingly that a muslim has been elected when we see really negative stuff on TV about them – but I think he will do a great job.
“I don’t think his religion should matter – his policies are what’s important.”
Reported by Frances Rankin and Alexandra Wilson.