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Racist abuse of Sadiq Khan spiked 2000% post-Trump election

27th May 2022
Racist abuse of Sadiq Khan spiked 2000% post-Trump election

Elham Asaad Buaras

Online racist abuse targeting the mayor of London surged by 2,000 % following the presidency of Donald Trump. Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a major Western city, has been racially abused almost a quarter of a million times since he took office.

A Greater London Authority (GLA) report, Measuring Hate, reveals that the trolls frequently link the mayor to terrorist attacks and to Jihadis and Muslim grooming gangs.

Phrases like ‘Khanage’ and ‘Londonistan’ were commonly used. Speaking to students at California’s Stanford University on May 11, Khan said the abuse led to him being given police protection. The GLA figures show racist abuse at Khan shot up by 1,892 per cent in 2016, his first year as mayor and the same year Trump was elected.

That increased a further 94 in 2017, fell by 35% in 2018, and then shot up again by 59% in 2019. After that, it declined each year, plummeting by 75% in 2020, then 40 % in 2021, as Trump left the White House.

Trump was later banned from Twitter – his favourite social media platform until then – after his supporters rioted at the US Capitol building in January 2021. “When I was mayor and the first year Donald Trump became president and he used Twitter, and he’s not my biggest fan, that first year the amount of racial abuse I received on social media increased by 2,000 percent” said Khan.

“During those four years, he was president that led to me having to receive police protection. Once he was banned from Twitter, I received the least racial abuse of any time over five years,” said Khan. The mayor spoke as Twitter owner Elon Musk indicated Trump would be allowed to reactivate his Twitter account.

He said: “I think those who are in charge of Twitter need to make sure you aren’t seeing messages that are inciting hatred, that are amplifying division.”

Musk has said he will reverse the ban imposed on the former US leader as part of his plan to make permanent account suspensions a “rare thing” if Musk’s £34.5 billion takeover deal is finalised. “Let’s wait and see if Donald Trump has learnt his lesson,” Khan told students.

Trump used Twitter to mock Khan’s response to the June 2017 terror attack at London Bridge, which left eight people dead. In one tweet, Trump wrote: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in the terror attack, and Mayor London says there is no reason to be alarmed.”

A follow-up Tweet used the words: “Pathetic excuse by London mayor Sadiq Khan.” It led to an immediate 4,000% surge in racist abuse, according to the GLA analysis.

A week following the GLA’s disclosure of online abuse against Khan, it has emerged the white supremacist terrorist who killed shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket in the US, on May 14 had named Khan in a hate-filled manifesto.

Payton Gendron, 18, was charged with murder after fatally shooting 10 people and injuring three more, most of them black, in one of the deadliest racist attacks in recent US history. In a manifesto published online by Gendron, Khan was reportedly described as a “Muslim invader” on a page entitled “kill high-profile enemies.”

Khan told the Guardian: “We know white supremacist terrorists want to divide communities, make us cower, make us not lead the pluralistic lives we lead. Diversity is a strength and I’m not going to allow terrorists like this man to change the way I lead my life.”

 

Photo Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London (Credit: GLA)

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