London mayor Sadiq Khan has accused US Presidential candidate Donald Trump of “playing into the hands” of the terrorist group ISIS, also known as ISIL or Daesh, for his comments about western Muslims.
Speaking to USA Today on Thursday, Khan, who made international headlines earlier this year when he became the first Muslim mayor of a major western capital, criticised Trump for suggesting mainstream Islam is incompatible with western values.
“I’m really keen for Donald Trump to come to London because Donald Trump, it appears to me, is under the impression that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam,” Khan said.
“I want him to come to London to meet Londoners of Islamic faith who love being British, love being a Londoner, love being a Muslim.”
He added: “I’ve got friends and family in America who are proud Americans, proud Muslims and he needs to recognise that he’s inadvertently playing into the hands of Daesh or so-called ISIL and ISIS by giving the impression there is a clash between the West and mainstream Muslims. There isn’t.”
This isn’t the first time Khan has publicly criticised Trump for comments the caustic Republican presidential candidate has made about Muslims.
The former Labour MP told TIME magazine shortly after being elected a Trump presidency would mean he would be banned from visiting the US purely because of his faith. In December, the tycoon-turned-politician called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US in response to the threat of terrorism.
Trump then responded by suggesting he would make an exception by allowing the London mayor to visit the US, and added he was “happy” to see Khan elected as London’s mayor.
Khan’s religion was at times at the forefront of an ugly mayoral election contest between himself and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith. The Tory candidate accused Khan of “giving platform and oxygen” to religious extremists and suggested his rival was trying to shut down discussion of his alleged links with Islamic radicals.
In one particularly contentious instance, Goldsmith penned an article for the Mail on Sunday headlined “Are we really going to hand the world’s greatest city to a Labour party that thinks terrorists are its friends?” illustrated with a picture of the 2007 London bombings.
“They [Goldsmith’s campaign] used fear and innuendo to try to turn different ethnic and religious groups against each other — something straight out of the Donald Trump playbook,” Khan told the Observer.
The London mayor plans to visit the US and Canada in September, including visits to Chicago and Trump’s birthplace New York.
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