Mayoral election: Zac Goldsmith denies anti-Muslim stance

Goldsmith’s campaign enters aggressive phase

Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has been accused of stoking anxiety about Muslims as his fight to beat his Muslim mayoral rival Sadiq Khan enters its final weeks.

Goldsmith is currently lagging behind Khan in the polls, and his attempts to regain ground have seen him targeting particular ethnic groups in London.

In a recent mail shot, Goldsmith targeted London’s Hindu, Sikh and Tamil residents. This has been interpreted by some as a means of stirring up old ethnic tensions between these groups and Muslims.

In addition, Goldsmith has branded Khan as “a man who’s given platforms and oxygen, even cover, to people, over and over and over again, to people who seek to do our police and our city harm.”

Speaking last week, Goldsmith’s most aggressive attack on Khan yet included allegations that his rival would not keep Londoners safe.

According to the Guardian, Goldsmith said: “I will be the mayor who is on the side of the heroes who protect and who keep our city safe. My rival will be the mayor whose career involves coaching people in how to sue our police; a man who’s given platforms and oxygen, even cover, to people, over and over and over again, to people who seek to do our police and our city harm; a man who has tried to silence questions about those events by shamelessly accusing anyone who raises those questions of Islamophobia. There can be no ambiguity at all, no looking both ways when it comes to keeping Londoners safe.”

Goldsmith also highlighted Khan’s support for a man named Babar Ahmad who faced extradition to the US for terror offences. However, it has emerged that Goldsmith also spoke in support of a UK trial for Babar Ahmad in 2012.

In addition, Goldsmith accused Khan of sharing a platform with a Londoner named Suliman Gani, who Goldsmith described as “one of the most repellent figures in this country”.

But he didn’t add that Khan had successfully had Gani removed from a south London mosque and that Gani had launched a campaign against Khan over the MP’s support for gay marriage.

In addition, Goldsmith himself was photographed with Gani at a Conservative Party event last year.

At a press conference Goldsmith said: “The reality in a campaign of this sort is that time is short – we’ve only got 23 days left. I’ve got to use every second of every minute to talk to as many people as I possibly can, and that’s everyone.

“There’s no no-go area in London, there are no boroughs I’m not doing meetings in, there are no communities I’m not trying [to visit].”

 

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