Khan vs Trump: London mayor slams Donald’s ‘ignorant’ view of Islam

Asked how his policy to ban Muslims from the US would affect London’s first Muslim mayor, Donald Trump told The New York Times that “there will always be exceptions”.

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump’ (left) said London's newly elected mayor Sadiq Khan could be exempted from a proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States. Brendan Smialowski/AFP,  Jeff Overs/Reuters

LONDON // London mayor Sadiq Khan on Tuesday slammed Donald Trump’s “ignorant” view of Islam, after the Republican presidential contender suggested Mr Khan could be exempted from a proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Mr Trump last year proposed a ban on Muslims entering the US, days after terrorists killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California in December.

He called for “a total and complete” ban on foreign Muslims “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”.

Mr Khan had expressed worries that he would not be able to visit the US if Mr Trump was elected in November.

Asked how that policy would affect London's first Muslim mayor, Mr Trump told The New York Times that "there will always be exceptions".

The brash real estate billionaire – who has alienated many Americans with insults against immigrants, Muslims and women – welcomed Mr Khan’s election.

“I was happy to see that,” he said. “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.”

But Mr Khan responded: “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’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,” Mr Khan said.

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Mr Khan, the London-born son of Pakistani immigrants, was elected last week by a wide margin after a campaign that saw his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith accuse him of having shared platforms with Islamic extremists.

Mr Khan, a former human rights lawyer and Labour Party lawmaker, accused Mr Goldsmith of trying to frighten and divide voters in a multicultural city of 8.6 million people, where more than 1 million of them are Muslims.

In his victory speech, Mr Khan said the result marked the triumph of “hope over fear and unity over division”.

The mayor said on Tuesday that Mr Trump and people who agree with him “think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam – London has proved him wrong”.

Mr Trump said he was “happy to see” Mr Khan’s election and hoped he does a good job.

The mayor declined to lend Mr Trump his support.

“I’ll be backing the Democratic candidate – Hillary Clinton, who I suspect it will be – and I hope that she trounces him,” Mr Khan told the BBC.

* Associated Press and Agence France-Presse