The Cable

London’s First Muslim Mayor Rejects Trump’s Offer to Be ‘Exception’ to Muslim Ban

Mayor Sadiq Khan dismissed the de facto Republican nominee’s statement he could be the “exception” to his barring Muslims from the United States.

Sadiq Khan

Newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan is dissing The Donald — and the suggestion he could be an “exception” to the presumptive GOP nominee’s pledge to bar all Muslims from entering the United States.

“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,” Khan said Tuesday.

It was the latest in several days of back and forth between Khan, the British capital’s first Muslim mayor, and Donald Trump, the New York real estate magnate who is expected to be the Republican standard-bearer in this year’s election for the White House, after his remaining GOP opponents dropped out of the race last week.

Khan took office Saturday after winning more than 1.3 million votes — the largest groundswell of popular support in British history. The son of Pakistani immigrants, Khan had expressed concern he would not be able to visit the United States if Trump were elected president this November.

Trump first called for the ban in the wake of the Paris attacks last November that killed 130. At the time, he demanded “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

On Monday, Trump was asked how his ban would apply to Khan. “There will always be exceptions,” Trump told the New York Times, adding he was “happy” to see Khan’s vote victory.

“I think it’s a very good thing,” Trump said. “Because I think if he does a great job, it will really — you lead by example.”

Khan was having none of it, however, and said Tuesday he hopes presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will prevail over Trump. “I hope she trounces him,” Khan said.

Trump’s stance and rhetoric against Muslims, as well as other minority groups, is sharply undercut by Khan’s success at the British polls. Khan overcame Islamophobic rhetoric — and even claims by British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon that he was “unfit” to be mayor — and accused political opponents of using fear-mongering tactics “straight out of the Donald Trump playbook.”

Trump, however, has doubled down on his Muslim ban since becoming the last man standing in the Republican presidential nominating contest. His supposed prescription for how to protect the United States from wannabe terrorists has been excoriated by leaders around the world of varying religions, as well as U.S. intelligence officials who have said it won’t make the homeland any safer.

Still, a poll last month by the conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports showed about 67 percent of likely Republican voters favor the ban, as well as 45 percent among likely voters overall.

Khan said Tuesday that it’s Trump who is threatening U.S. and U.K. security.

“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. “Donald Trump and those around him think that Western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam. London has proved him wrong.”

Photo credit: Jack Taylor / Stringer

Molly O’Toole is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy, covering immigration, refugees, and national security. She was FP’s sole 2016 presidential campaign reporter, on the trail from New Hampshire to Nevada. Previously, she covered the politics of national security for Atlantic Media’s Defense One, where she reported from Congress, the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department. Before that, she was a news editor at the Huffington Post. Molly has also reported on national and international politics for Reuters, the Nation, The Associated Press, and Newsweek International, among others, from Washington, New York, Mexico City, and London. She received her dual master’s degree in journalism and international relations from New York University and her bachelor’s from Cornell University and in 2016 was a grant recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation. She will always be a Californian. @mollymotoole

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