Hannah Parry and Matt Dathan, Daily Mail, May 9, 2016
New London mayor Sadiq Khan said he has no interest in being an ‘exception’ to Donald Trump’s proposed rule, banning non-American Muslims from the United States.
Trump, who proposed the controversial ban in November in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terror attacks, had previously said, ‘there will always be exceptions,’ pointing to the first Muslim mayor of a European capital as one of them, saying he was ‘happy’ to see Khan win.
But Khan has maintained a critical view of the presumptive Republican nominee, saying he would visit the United States before this year’s presidential election in November ‘in case Donald Trump wins.’
‘Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe,’ Khan said earlier this week.
In an interview with the New York Times Trump said he was happy to see Khan–the son of a Pakistani migrant bus driver–become the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital because he can ‘lead by example’.
‘I think if he does a great job, it will really–you lead by example, always lead by example,’ Trump added. ‘If he does a good job and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing.’
Trump’s pledge to ban Muslims from entering the US triggered a huge petition in Britain calling on the Government to ban him from entering the country.
More than half a million people in the UK backed the move, prompting MPs to debate the proposal in Parliament, but the Government said Britain should instead invite him to visit so the whole country could ‘unite against him’.
The Republican caused particular fury in London last year when he claimed parts of London were ‘so radicalised’ by Muslim extremists that police were ‘afraid for their own lives’.
Despite Trump offering him an exception to his ban on Muslims, Khan took aim at the Republican this morning.
‘Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe–it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists,’ he said.
‘This isn’t just about me–it’s about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world.
‘Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam–London has proved him wrong.’
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton welcomed Khan’s election as London Mayor on Saturday, tweeting: ‘Son of a Pakistani bus driver, champion of workers’ rights and human rights, and now Mayor of London.’
Trump has come under heavy criticism for his stance on Muslims which critics have called discriminatory and racist.
But rather than back down from his inflammatory claims, last week Trump doubled down on his call to ban non-American Muslims from entering the United States–even if it causes problems going forward in the general election.
‘They’re destroying Europe, I’m not going to let that happen to the United States,’ Trump said this morning during an interview on Morning Joe.
Last week his team demanded the British Prime Minister David Cameron apologise for saying Trump was ‘divisive, stupid and wrong’ to suggest banning Muslims from entering the US–comments he made when the billionaire was still seen as an outsider in the Republican race.
But Downing Street responded by saying Mr Cameron had ‘not intention of withdrawing’ the comments.
While he may be an ‘exception’ to the ban, Khan said yesterday that he is planning to visit the US before this year’s presidential elections in November ‘in case Donald Trump wins.’
In an interview with Time magazine, before Trump’s announcement, he said: ‘If Donald Trump becomes the president I’ll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith, which means I can’t engage with American mayors and swap ideas.’
He has previously expressed admiration for mayors Bill de Blasio in New York and Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, both Democrats, and said he hoped to meet them both.
Khan criticized his rival in the bid to become the next mayor, Conservative party member Zac Goldsmith, for attempting to link him with extremism.
The day after winning the election he wrote a newspaper article directly attacking Prime Minister David Cameron for backing the campaign and accused him of using tactics ‘straight out of the Donald Trump playbook’ for focussing on his Muslim faith.
‘Conservative [party] tacticians thought those sort of tactics would win London and they were wrong,’ Khan said. ‘I’m confident that Donald Trump’s approach to politics won’t win in America.’
Khan claimed that the Conservative campaign had tried to divide the capital’s ethnic communities against each other in the campaign for City Hall instead of focussing on policies.
Trump became presumptive GOP nominee last week after his chief rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, threw in the towel after a disappointing showing in Indiana. Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspended his campaign the following day.
Generally, in politics, the nominee will shed off some of his positions that are more in line with the party’s base in order to be palatable to the general public.
But on the Muslim ban, which is likely Trump’s most controversial position, he’s not budging.
‘I don’t care if it hurts me,’ he told Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. ‘I’m doing the right thing.’
‘I’ve been guided by common sense, by what’s right,’ he continued.
‘We have to be careful. We’re allowing thousands of people to come into our country,’ he said. ‘Thousands and thousands of people being placed all over the country that, frankly, nobody knows who they are.’
‘We don’t know what we’re doing,’ he added.
Trump originally pulled out the idea in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terror attacks in which two ISIS sympathizers gunned down 14 at an office holiday celebration.
‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,’ a statement from the Trump campaign read.
Trump later clarified that he meant Muslims who weren’t citizens of the United States.
Even though Trump was criticized by many Republicans, including rivals like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, he stood firm.
While Clinton is not yet her party’s presumptive nominee, the former secretary of state’s campaign already bashed Trump on his support of the Muslim ban.
‘Trump is going to be the Republican nominee,’ said a fundraising letter signed by Clinton’s deputy communications director Christina Reynolds.
‘And if he wins the White House, he could erect a wall on the Mexican border, put women in jail for having abortions, and ban Muslims from coming to our country–and those are just some of the ideas we know about so far,’ she wrote.