London’s first Muslim mayor attends Yom HaShoah commemoration as initial public act

(JTA) – The newly elected mayor of London, the first Muslim to hold the position, attended a community program commemorating the Holocaust as his first official public engagement.

Sadiq Khan of the British Labour Party joined thousands of members of the Jewish community and its supporters for the Yom HaShoah program on Sunday in a local stadium three days after his election.

The Yom HaShoah UK event included 120 sponsoring religious and political organizations under a banner of “Remember Together: We are one.” Some 5,000 people reportedly attended the community event, the Jewish News website reported.

Speakers included Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, and Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Mark Regev.

Khan said he was “honoured that my first public engagement will be such a poignant one, where I will meet and hear from Jewish survivors and refugees who went through unimaginable horrors in the Holocaust,” the Guardian reported.

Khan defeated the Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, winning 44 per cent of the vote to 35 per cent for his opponent, according to The Guardian.

A self-described moderate Muslim, Khan – the son of a Pakistan-born bus driver – is the city’s first Labour mayor in eight years. Accusations of anti-Semitism have roiled his party in recent months.

Khan, who campaigned hard in the Jewish community and has said he will be the “Muslim mayor who will be tough on extremism,” according to the Standard, has criticized his party for not doing enough to fight anti-Semitism.

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