My story will be familiar to many Jewish Londoners. My parents moved to Britain from Pakistan in search of a better life, just like so many Jewish people who arrived here generations before.
When my parents arrived in Britain, they worked around the clock to rebuild from scratch. They had an incredible work ethic, a respect for education and desperately wanted their children to have the opportunities to fulfil their potential. Now I’m running for mayor because I want all Londoners to get the opportunities that our city gave me.
Like too many Jewish Londoners, I know from personal experience how it feels to be discriminated against because of your faith. Shamefully, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are both on the rise in London. Synagogues have to hire private security guards – as do Jewish schools. It’s simply not acceptable that this is happening in 21st century London.
I will always protect communities whose beliefs and practices attract the inexplicable hostility of others, and I’ll get to grips with religious hate crimes. I’ll make tackling hate crimes a far higher priority for the Metropolitan police, and I’ll work with London universities to ensure that anti-Semitic or Islamophobic preachers of hate are not welcome and are not given a platform for their poisonous views.
As mayor, I will be the British Muslim who finally roots out extremism and radicalisation from British society. I will support mainstream Muslims to challenge extremists and work with the internet providers to ban extremist websites.
Extremism is anathema to London’s multi-cultural character and tolerant soul. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, black, white, gay or straight – we are all Londoners, and we have so many concerns in common.
The job of the mayor is to tackle those concerns head on – a housing crisis that is pricing young people out of the city, air pollution that is claiming lives prematurely and streets that need to be made safer for our kids.
I relish the chance to face those challenges in City Hall, and to stand up for all Londoners – no matter who they are, where they’re from or what they believe.