Mayor Sadiq Khan to tell US envoy: travel ban cruel and prejudiced


The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will tell the top US diplomat in Britain on Tuesday (7) that president Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from a list of Muslim nations is prejudiced and will hurt rather than improve US security.

Khan, Britain’s most prominent Muslim politician, will make his comments at a meeting of foreign dignitaries, including US chargé d’affaires Lewis Lukens and ambassadors from most of the countries affected by the ban, the mayor’s office said.

“Targeting people for no reason other than their faith or their country of birth is cruel, prejudiced and counterproductive,” he will say, according to excerpts released to the media.

Khan, a member of the opposition Labour party, who was elected mayor last year, has called on prime minister Theresa May to cancel a planned state visit to London until he lifts the ban that he signed into force last month.

More than 1.6 million UK residents have signed an online petition against the visit.

May has said the visit, which would include a banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth, will go ahead, and 90,000 people have signed a counter-petition supporting it.

Peter Ricketts, a former head of Britain’s foreign ministry, said he was surprised the invitation had been issued so early into Trump’s presidency, and that it would have been possible to invite him without the ceremonials of a full state visit.

“My concern is the queen will have acted on the government’s advice as she always does. Clearly there is now a lot of controversy around that,” Ricketts told BBC Radio.

Immediately after Trump’s ban, Khan issued a statement saying the move was “shameful and cruel”.

“President Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants from certain countries is shameful and cruel. The USA has a proud history of welcoming and resettling refugees. The President can’t just turn his back on this global crisis – all countries need to play their part.”

“He said that every country has the right to frame its immigration policies. But this policy flies in the face of the values of freedom and tolerance that the USA was built upon,” he said.

“I’m pleased that the prime minister has now said she and the government do not agree with President Trump’s policy, which will affect many British citizens who have dual nationality, including Londoners born in countries affected by the ban.”

Khan had previously expressed his concerns over Trump’s victory when responding to questions at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 23rd.

He said: “I’m looking forward to president Trump recognising the huge contribution Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and others, those of no organised faith have made to the USA and to the west generally.”

“I will work with the government on behalf of Londoners affected. As a nation that, like the USA, values tolerance, diversity and freedom, we cannot just shrug our shoulders and say: ‘It’s not our problem’,”
Khan added.