The world went a little crazy last week when Sadiq Khan was elected the "first Muslim mayor of London." With Islamophobia taking a toll on Muslims all around the world, it's great to see that one of Europe's major capital cities has a Muslim mayor.
However, Khan is not the first Muslim mayor to take on Europe. Khan surely got worldwide attention due to the fact that London is a major European capital. But, Muslims have held mayoral and other leadership positions for more than 1,000 years now, although historically, the position was not as it is today, according to Juan Cole .
Islam, just like Christianity, has been a long standing religion in Europe, nearly 1,300 years old. A number of European cities, including Spain, where various parts of the country were under Muslim rule between 711 and 1492; Hungary; and Serbia were all under Muslim rule at various times, where mayoral positions were basically synonymous with "rule." Ottoman control over parts of Eastern Europe continued into the 20th century.
Elected Muslim mayors nowadays are also commonplace in multiple cities across Europe.
Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Morrocan-born politician, has been the mayor of Rotterdam since January 2009, a role he still holds today.
Kadir Topbas, a Turkish Muslim architect, businessman, and politician is the current mayor of Istanbul, Turkey.
Moreover, London in itself has witnessed four Muslims who have held mayor positions including Karamet Hussain, the mayor of Brent in 1981-82, Saleem Siddiqui, the mayor of Hackney in 1995 and in 2001, and Lal Hussain, who was Sutton's mayor from 2000-2001, according to a Young British Muslims, a book by Nahid Afrose Kabir.