EMERALD NETWORK's exclusive INSIGHT features an interview with Sadiq Khan - a previous guest at EMERALD promoted and hosted events in the City, we were delighted to pose questions in advance of the Mayoral Elections.
One of Emerald Network's aims to promote entrepreneuship, as Mayor how will you support this?
I want to be the most pro business Mayor London has ever seen. I will Establish Skills for Londoners - a new partnership with London’s businesses to ensure Londoners have the skills for the jobs of the future, and London’s businesses have access to the skilled workforce they need to grow. I will also Support London’s entrepreneurs and small businesses by protecting small business space, creating more start- up spaces, and improving our digital infrastructure.
You were previously the Shadow Minister for Transport which has a connection to your father's job?
That's right as many people know, my dad was a bus driver. Which I'm proud to say.
How have you factored in faith along your campaign trail?
I pray every day, although it can be difficult to find time on the campaign trail. One of the great things about this campaign I have been praying in a different Mosque across London every Friday – from Hounslow to Havering and from Harrow to Croydon – as well as visiting churches, temples, synagogues and Gudwara’s of every denomination.
There was some controversy recently when you said there were ‘questions to be asked’ about why women wear hijabs, what did you mean?
Well, firstly, I am in no way opposed to women wearing hijabs or niqabs as a sign of their faith.
Most women in Britain who wear the hijab or the niqab do so out of their free choice and it is great we can celebrate and practice faith openly in this city – no one, and in particular no man should tell women what to wear and not to wear.
As a feminist, I certainly don’t think it’s my place as a man to tell a woman what she should or shouldn’t wear.
Do your wife or daughters wear a hijab?
No, but I have other family members who do.
Have you ever suffered from Islampohobia?
Sadly yes, racism too. It was pretty common when I was growing up on a council estate in South London. You got called the P-word and had to be able to look after yourself. But my daughters are teenagers now and they suffer far less from that kind of abuse - it’s a sign of how far we’ve come.
As Mayor, I’m determined to crack down on all forms of hate crime – whether Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or homophobia. I will ensure the police treat it as a top priority and give them the resources they need to make a difference.
Some suggest your opponent's campaign has been accused of being Islamaphobic, do you agree with that?
I certainly think it’s been really unpleasant – and has sought to use the fact I’m a Muslim to try to divide London’s communities. I don’t think that Zac Goldsmith is a bad guy – but he’s been very badly advised and I think unable to stop Lynton Crosby and his campaign managers from running a negative and nasty campaign.
You have been quite outspoken about tackling extremism despite facing death threats – why have you taken the risk?
Because my first priority is to keep Londoners safe. I worry about another 7/7, or a Paris or Brussels style attack in London – and to stop it we need to root out extremism and stop the radicalisation of young Londoners on the internet. It is almost always Muslims who suffer the most because of extremism – and I want to send a strong message that this isn’t the peaceful religion of Islam that I know.
Do you think the Government’s programme to tackle radicalisation has been successful?
The Prevent programme is failing everyone. To improve social cohesion this Government needs to totally overhaul this de-radicalisation programme.
Emerald Network is proud to promote connecting individuals and communities, irrespective or cultural heritage, location or profession, if you win you will be the first Muslim Mayor of a major global city, what messages do you think that will send?
That there is no contradiction between Western values and the Islamic faith. We have multiple identities – I’m a dad, a husband, Londoner, Muslim, British, European and a Liverpool fan – and there are no contradictions between them.
Thank you Rt Hon. Sadiq Khan MP for taking time for the 'EMERALD INSIGHT' INTERVIEW.
Look out for future interviews, get in touch if you would like to nominate a special guest from within EMERALD's past and present list of guests, from the diverse personalities that have supported and attended to-date e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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