Sadiq Khan: ‘If you’re the only one fasting at Ramadan, you do stand out’

Sadiq Khan  was appointed to the Privy Council and first asked to attend cabinet meetings in June 2009, Labour’s MP for Tooting became the first Asian and first Muslim to do so. He is quoted as saying the following on the lack of diversity in government “You can get obsessed by it and people do. Just by virtue of the fact that mass immigration only happened 30/40 years ago, there are going to be lots of first-ofs” – but the lack of diversity, not just ethnically, but “the shortage of women and of people from different backgrounds” makes it hard not to feel some sense of isolation. “When you first get to No 10 and everyone else around the cabinet table is white … If during Ramadan I’m fasting, people get it, but when you’re the only one, you do sort of stand out.”

The report continues and states that balancing his faith and his role as an MP, has not always been easy. Last month, he was the subject of a fatwa calling for his death after he voted in favour of same-sex marriage. In response Khan stated that “What all minorities need to recognise is today in a pluralistic society it’s not just a question of tolerating others, you’ve got to respect others. I challenge anybody to find another country in the world which is more progressive or has laws that protect minorities more than this country. I speak to my cousins in Pakistan or India and they make the point that because [my family] aren’t well off and don’t have contacts in those countries, notwithstanding the fact that there is a Muslim majority in Pakistan, they couldn’t dream of being in the cabinet or doing the stuff that I’ve done here, and I’m a minority in the UK both religiously and ethnically and in all sorts of ways.”