Racial hate from India targeting Sadiq Khan spikes this year
London mayor received at least 10,000 racist abusive messages every year for the past three years
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has received more racial abuse from India in the first six months of 2023 than he did all of last year, new analysis has shown.
Khan, who has armed security detail and is among the most heavily guarded politicians in the UK, has been targeted by more racial abuse from outside the country than within, a survey by the Greater London Authority (GLA) has shown.
It said the mayor, who is British Pakistani, received at least 10,000 racist abusive messages every year for the past three years and in recent months, most of that mentioned ULEZ or air quality policies.
A spokesperson for the mayor said, “Sadiq has always faced huge levels of racist abuse online, with the volume of attacks increasing again substantially in recent weeks.
“Policies that address air quality and public health have undoubtedly become a major focus of online hate in the UK and across the world.
“But this is a problem much bigger than the mayor. Those from minority backgrounds face unacceptable levels of vile abuse online, sadly often with real world consequences, and social media companies must do more to end the proliferation of dangerous conspiracy theories and racist abuse online.”
A report by the GLA showed Khan has already received 171.8 per cent more abuse this year than he did at the same stage in 2022 and could be targeted by more abuse this year than in any year since 2020.
Since his election as mayor in 2016, Khan has been subjected to racial abuse and in a recent interview admitted to having symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
He was the subject of racist abuse at the time Donald Trum was the US president and also in 2019, when protests over Kashmir took place outside the Indian High Commission in London in August 2019.
From January to June 2023, racist abuse from India against Khan has increased by 107 per cent.
Often, the slur ‘Londonistan’ was used against the Labour politician, whose parents are from Pakistan.
Khan’s initiative to clean up London’s air pollution has proved controversial.
Under the London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), drivers of the most polluting vehicles are charged £12.50 a day and that will more than double in size from August 29, in a fiercely debated expansion that also faces a challenge in court.
Instances of racist abuse towards Khan linked to ULEZ nearly tripled in January-March from the prior three months, reaching a record last month, the GLA survey said, citing internal research that analysed posts on Twitter.
Khan has argued the plan as vital to prevent deaths and illnesses linked to air pollution, but it has pitted the mayor and health campaigners against those who say they cannot endure another economic hit during a cost-of-living crisis in Britain.