When Sadiq Khan was elected and took office May 9, 2016 he became London’s first Muslim mayor. A member of England’s Labour Party, his election was heralded as a shining example of how progressive the city and nation have become. Which is why after yesterday’s deadly terrorist attack in England’s capital city that left four dead and forty wounded, Londoners found it strikingly odd that their mayor went silent.
For for most of the day, and well into the evening — once the crime scene had been secured, long after the corpses removed, wounded hospitalized and hours after the news media had produced and aired reports — there was no sign of the city’s mayor save for a written statement put out by his office:
“There has been a serious incident near to Parliament Square this afternoon which is being treated as a terrorist attack until the police know otherwise.
“I have spoken to the Acting Commissioner. The Metropolitan Police Service is dealing with the incident and an urgent investigation is underway. My thoughts are with those affected and their families.
“I would like to express my thanks to the police and emergency services who work so hard to keep us safe and show tremendous bravery in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
For the latest information please visit news.met.police.uk.”
For hours no one heard from the mayor beyond the written statement. Citizens then began taking to Twitter, and other social media outlets, to express the gamut of emotions ranging from anger to concern about the Mayor’s absence.
@MayorofLondon The word "Islamic" is conveniently missing from that statement. 🙄
— PaddingtonCFC (@Markomorow) March 22, 2017
Sadiq Khan has been very quiet since the terror attack
— David Jones (@DavidJo52951945) March 22, 2017
Sadiq Kahn't. If you are penning some naff missive about a proud city, standing together, united by shared values, think again son.
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) March 22, 2017
Mayor Khan finally did show up, sort of, twenty hours later when he released a video.
No live appearance, no press conference. Just a video. A minute and twenty-two seconds long video on his Twitter feed. No media present. No question and answer session. Just speaking into a stationary camera.
As with his written statement — and, as expected — the words “Muslim,” “Islam,” or “Islamic” are conspicuously absent from his recorded statement.
In an obvious lampooning of Donald Trump, London’s Stepfeed named Khan #1 on its list of “10 Muslims Who Make the UK Great Again.”
Yet Londoners should not be entirely surprised by Khan’s lack of urgency and somewhat lackadaisical attitude.
Last September Kahn essentially said that people of London, Paris, Brussels, Orlando, etc. should, essentially, get used to it because, “terrorist attacks are ‘part and parcel’ of living in a big city.”
In September Mayor Khan went even further saying, “It is a reality I’m afraid that London, New York, other major cities around the world have got to be prepared for these sorts of things.”
The sad part is, Khan is likely right. In England, “Mohammed” has now topped the list for most popular newborn baby boy names. And while it’s certainly true that not all Muslims are terrorists, it’s also true that most terrorists are. In places where there are high populations of Muslims, particularly military-aged men, there is more terrorist activity. People flee Syria and Iraq bound for England and Germany, not the other way around, for a reason. Terrorist attacks in the cities of western Europe may now just be something to get used to. But a mayor issuing a bland statement twenty hours later is inexcusable.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]