The new mayor of London is criticizing Donald Trump’s stance on Islam, describing it as “ignorant” and warning it could make both the UK and the U.S. “less safe.”
Sadiq Khan, whose win last week made him the first Muslim mayor of any Western capital, made the comments Tuesday after Trump suggested the Londoner would be exempt from his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States.
“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,” Khan said.
He rejected Trump’s suggestion that he could be an exception to the proposed Muslim travel ban, saying: “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.”
The statement continued: “Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam – London has proved him wrong.”
Trump: Khan could be exception
Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, told the New York Times Monday that he was “happy” that Khan had been elected mayor of London.
Asked by the newspaper how his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the country would affect Khan, Trump replied: “There will always be exceptions.”
“I was happy to see that,” he said, referring to Khan’s win.
“I think it’s a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good.”
Trump sparked controversy when he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” in the wake of the Paris terror attacks in November.
Khan: Confident Trump’s approach won’t win election
London’s new mayor had previously accused his rival, Zac Goldsmith, of drawing from the “Donald Trump playbook” by targeting his religion during the city’s bitterly contested mayoral campaign.
“I think to try and look for differences, to try and turn communities against each other is not conducive to living successfully and amicably,” Khan told TIME magazine in an interview published Monday.
If Trump won the U.S. election, Khan said, “I’ll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith, which means I can’t engage with American mayors and swap ideas. Conservative tacticians thought those sorts of tactics would win London and they were wrong. I’m confident that Donald Trump’s approach to politics won’t win in America.”
Trump’s comments about Islam on the campaign trail – including proposing the creation of a database for Muslims, and claiming that Britain has a “massive Muslim problem” – provoked a heated response in the United States and abroad.
In the UK, a public petition to ban Trump from the country for hate speech attracted more than half a million signatures.
The petition prompted British parliamentarians to hold a non-binding debate on the issue in January, with one MP opining: “I don’t think Donald Trump should be allowed within 1,000 miles of our shore.”