London Mayor Sadiq Khan Has A Powerful Message For Terrorists

"As a proud a patriotic British Muslim I say this: You do not commit these disgusting acts in my name."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been on the receiving end of some apparently ill-informed criticism in the aftermath of Saturday's London Bridge terrorist attack that killed eight and wounded nearly 50 others, but his message to the three men who carried out the attacks is clear: You do not in any way represent my faith.

Khan, who is the first elected Muslim mayor of a European city, delivered that powerful statement as he announced plans for the vigil at Potters Field Park.

Calling the attack "cowardly" and "evil," according to the Evening Standard, Khan explained, "I'm angry and furious that these three men are seeking to justify their actions by using the faith that I belong to, to justify their actions. The ideology they follow is perverse and is poisonous, and it has no place in Islam. I condemn this terrorist act, but also the poisonous ideology these men and others follow."

At the vigil, which was attended by hundreds, Khan echoed those earlier sentiments.

"As the mayor of London I want to send a clear message to the sick and evil extremists who commit these hideous crimes. We will defeat you. You will not win," he said of the three attackers, reports HuffPost. "And as a proud a patriotic British Muslim I say this: You do not commit these disgusting acts in my name."

As you can see below, that statement was met with applause and cheers from the crowd.



"Your perverse ideology has nothing to do with the true values of Islam, and you will never succeed in dividing our city," Khan declared.

The 46-year-old mayor also mourned "the loss of innocent lives," including Londoners and people from around the world.

"And we thank our courageous emergency services, and the brave Londoners who risked their lives to care for others," he added. "You are the best of us."

When Khan was elected Mayor of London in 2016, his victory gave him the largest personal mandate of any politician in U.K. history, according to the BBC. And Khan's history-making win came in spite of the Conservative campaign accusing him of sharing a platform with Islamic extremists.

"What I think the election showed was that actually there is no clash of civilization between Islam and the West," Khan told TIME days after his mayoral win. "I am the West, I am a Londoner, I'm British, I'm of Islamic faith, Asian origin, Pakistan heritage, so whether it's [ISIS] or these others who want to destroy our way of life and talk about the West, they're talking about me. What better antidote to the hatred they spew than someone like me being in this position?"

When asked how one might prevent impressionable young people from being lured into the kind of extremism that leads to acts of terror, Khan said, "We can point to, when we speak to young Brits of Islamic faith, successful role models. You can go into business, you can go into medicine, you can go to politics, dare I say it. So, when somebody comes along and tries to brainwash them with a sort of nihilistic view of life and say the way to get success in this world and the hereafter is to get a Kalashnikov and go to commit — in inverted commas — jihad is to say, 'you know what? That's not true.'"

Khan remains confident that despite last weekend's violence, his city will prevail. Per HuffPost, the mayor concluded his speech at the vigil by saying, "This is our city. These are our values and this is our way of life. London will never be broken by terrorism we will step up the fight against extremism and we will defeat the terrorists."

If Londoners like this and this are any indication, the spirit of the city will remain unchanged by terrorism.

Cover image via Martin Hoscik / Shutterstock.com.

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