London Elects First Muslim Mayor

London voters elected their first Muslim mayor. Sadiq Khan won the election Friday, receiving 44.2% to Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith’s 35.6%. Khan, 45, is the son of a bus driver from Pakistan.  Khan was the bookmakers’ favorite to succeed flamboyant American-born Mayor Boris Johnson.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other politicians congratulated Khan on Twitter.

Goldsmith has been accused of running a negative campaign against Khan after he was accused of sharing a platform with people with extremist views. Khan has said he never hid the fact that he dealt with “some pretty unsavory characters” during his work as a human rights lawyer and during three years as the chairman of the human rights organization Liberty.

The London race was one of several in the United Kingdom on Thursday. Voters also elected candidates for mayoral positions, local council seats, and parliamentary and assembly seats in Scotland and Wales.  The mayoral campaign has been taking place amid an anti-Semitism scandal gripping Britain’s Labour Party, which has seen Labour MPs and councilors suspended after making anti-Jewish remarks.

Critics have accused the left-wing party of being too accommodating of those with anti-Semitic and Islamist views, prompting Corbyn, the party’s leader, to set up an independent inquiry into the allegations.  One of those accused of having made anti-Semitic remarks was Ken Livingstone, the last Labour figure to serve as London mayor. David Cameron joined the fray, accusing Khan in Parliament of having shared a platform with an alleged ISIS supporter from his constituency on multiple occasions.

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