Sadiq Khan has seen a lot in his seven years as London mayor: Brexit, a pandemic, terror attacks, a tower block fire tragedy, five prime ministers and a cost-of-living crisis. Yet it’s a war more than 3,500 kilometers away that could have the most profound effect on this diverse city of almost 9 million people, and his own legacy.
The fighting between Israel and Hamas, now in its seventh week, is shaking Muslim and Jewish people, who have lived side-by-side in London for generations, to their core. "This is the worst I’ve known it,” the mayor said in an interview with Bloomberg, remembering his role as minister during the 2008-09 war in Gaza. "I remember then the impact on communities across the country — this is worse than that.”
Many Jewish people are leaving London on weekends to try to avoid pro-Palestinian demos and marches — where some protesters have carried antisemitic placards — while Muslims fear attacks on public transport, according to groups in both communities. The overall number of hate crimes recorded by London police in October was up nearly 46% compared to the same month last year.