London mayor Sadiq Khan says Britain should not host ‘ignorant' Trump on state visit
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Sunday that it would be wrong for Britain to host US President Donald Trump on a state visit, describing some of the US leader’s views on Islam as “ignorant”, and likening his rhetoric to that of the Islamic State group.
Khan and Trump have a history. During the US presidential election campaign, Khan was among many people who spoke out against Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States, an idea he said would play into the hands of extremists.
Trump has criticised Khan, accusing the mayor of making a “pathetic excuse” over his statement urging Londoners not to be alarmed by the presence of additional police on the streets in response to an attack in June.
At the annual conference of his opposition Labour Party, Khan told an audience with GuardianLive that he thought having a state visit, which Prime Minister Theresa May has said is still planned, was “wrong”.
“I sometimes think people are ignorant,” he said, adding that it was his job to educate them.
Khan said he was a “reluctant participant” in the continuing hostility between himself and the US president.
But Khan made it clear that he was offended by Trump’s former call for a “total and complete shutdown” of US borders to Muslims – and Trump’s claim that he would make an exception for Khan.
“My view was firstly ‘I’m not exceptional’ and secondly ‘Think about what you are saying.’ Because what you are saying is not dissimilar to what Daesh or so-called IS says,” said Khan.
“They say that there is a clash of civilisations, it is not possible to be a Muslim and a Westerner, and the west hates us. And you are inadvertently playing their game, you are helping them.”
Speaking to The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, Khan praised the contribution American Muslims had made to the country, including as students, artists and politicians.
He said Trump’s ban on travellers from a number of Muslim-majority countries gave the “wrong impression” of the religion.
“I’m a Westerner, but also a very proud Muslim. There are some people who want to divide our communities – I’m not going to let them,” Khan said.
Additional reporting by The Guardian