THE DAILY BEAST – It’s a piece of history. London has gained her first Muslim mayor, a fellow Pakistani-Brit. And though being Muslim bears absolutely no relevance to how Sadiq Khan intends to run London—for Islam is as ambivalent on the difficulties of London’s housing crisis as it is on the human gene sequence—his religion has become relevant.
In successfully integrating their Muslim residents, London, the United Kingdom, Europe and the wider West have been going through something of an identity crisis. Islamist Muslims who insist that humanity can only be judged by how Muslim it is, and anti-Muslim bigots who insist that humanity can only be judged by how Muslim it isn’t, have made Islam relevant.
The Regressive Left in Sadiq Khan’s Labour Party, and the Populist Right among Trump’s Republicans have madeIslam a hot topic. The only way Islam will cease being an issue is when everyone, Muslim or not, is deemed to share the same rights, and is held to the very same liberal expectations.
Until then, discrimination will continue to feed the poisonous tribalism fueling modern identity politics. This applies whether that discrimination comes in the form of right-wing anti-Muslim bigotry, or in the form of the left-wing bigotry of low expectations that holds Muslims to lesser, illiberal standards. Until these twin bigotries are dealt with, Sadiq Khan’s religious affiliation will, sadly, remain a topic of debate.
In this way, the victory of London’s new mayor as a non-Islamist Muslim is as much a blow to Islamist bigots, as it is to anti-Muslim bigots. This victory speaks to the possibilities of integration. It offers hope for our country’s new immigrant families. And as a symbol of social mobility, it provides aspiration to those from humble backgrounds.
Sadiq Khan’s victory is probably the only bit of good news Jeremy Corbyn’s far-left-led Labour Party can truly celebrate this weekend. And celebrate they should. Democracy has spoken. With it, a torn city might be able to begin healing the old wounds of identity and religion re-opened by the muddy campaign to get Khan elected, and the muddy campaign that opposed him.
These muddy campaigns were in fact a microcosm of the identity problems plaguing modern Europe. Is London’s new mayor an Islamist? This question drove a political pendulum swing to both extremes at the expense of a genuine conversation that reallyneeds to be had. Click for more www.dailybeast.com