Sadiq Khan, Labour’s London Mayoral candidate, has said he represented “unsavoury individuals” including Islamists as a human rights lawyer, days after it emerged that his human rights lawyer brother in law was a member of a notorious extremist group.
Mr. Khan said he felt “deeply uncomfortable” about representing figures such as Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, during his legal career.
The admission comes after an investigation by the Evening Standard found that Mr. Khan’s brother in law was a prominent member of Al-Muhajiroun alongside Anjem Choudary.
Al-Muhajiroun has been linked to a number of extremists, including Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo, who attended meetings and demonstrations, and Abdul Waheed Majeed, from Crawley, who became the first British suicide bomber in Syria in February 2014.
Makbool Javaid’s, a fellow human rights Lawyer, put his name alongside hate preacher Omar Bakri’s on a fatwa declaring war on the UK and US in 1998. Sadiq, however, climbs not to have seen him in over ten years.
Makbool was also the chairman of the Muslim Lawyers association. Addressing his own record as a lawyer, Sadiq told Jewish News:
“I have never hidden the fact that I was a human rights lawyer. Unfortunately, that means that I had to speak on behalf of some unsavoury individuals. Some of their views made me feel deeply uncomfortable, but it was my job.”
But, he added: “Even the worst people deserve a legal defence.”
The mayoral candidate has been courting the Jewish vote since effectively disowning former mayor Ken Livingstone, who had a poor relationship with the community, last year.
He said the rise of anti-semitism was “deeply distressing and upsetting” and the Jewish Londoners “more than most” suffered at the hands of extremists.
“I accept that the Labour Party in the last two elections is not the natural place where Londoners of the Jewish faith have placed their vote. So that’s why it’s really important for me to spend time understanding the issues, talking and listening,” he said.