London Mayor Sadiq Khan addressed an audience of thousands at London’s 11th annual Eid al-Fitr celebration in Trafalgar Square for the first time since taking office.
As Mayor Khan greeted the audience with the Muslim greeting of ‘As-salamu alaykum‘, the crowd, perfectly in-sync, chanted back the reply.
He called for peace, unity and an embrace of religious freedom and diversity, describing this as one of London’s great strengths.
He pledged zero tolerance of hate crimes, reports of which have risen in the wake of the EU leave vote, and he denounced “criminals who do bad things and use the name of Islam to justify what they do”.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) 9 July 2016
A large stage was erected in Trafalgar Square featuring live performances, and a variety of free activities were on offer, including lessons in Arabic art and geometry. Only three weeks ago, the mayor had addressed the Pride in London festival from the same stage.
“This Ramzan let’s be honest, it’s been hard. I’ve been fasting for 19 hours. But you know, I will never forget this Ramzan, my first as the Mayor of London,” he said in his speech.
“If we’re honest, there are some people who give our faith a bad name. There are some people – criminals – who do bad things and use the name of Islam to justify what they do. And you know what, we have got to make sure the world knows they do not do this in our name,” the mayor added.
“So my message is simple, London is the greatest city in the world, you are welcome here and it’s going to stay that way.”
The Mayor of London then took a selfie with British TV presenter Konnie Huq who had introduced him on stage and claimed he would send it to Hillary Clinton, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to prove that London is the ‘greatest’.
“Amazing atmosphere at Eid in the Square. Brilliant to have thousands of Londoners of all faiths & backgrounds come together, and to speak about how we don’t just tolerate our diversity as a city, we respect and celebrate it!” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Courtesy: The Guardian