Sadiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London, England, made a video of himself reading the racist tweets and hate speech he receives on a regular basis. It is nothing short of heartbreaking.
Elected in 2016, Khan is a member of Britain's Labor Party and previously served in Parliament beginning in 2005. On Sunday, while at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, he released a video in which he shared some of the most vile hate speech he regularly receives. Khan used his platform at the festival to shine light on the rampant hatred that so systemically infects western society.
"I don't read these out to be portrayed as a victim, or to ask for sympathy. But ask yourself this - what happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines - or experience it themselves? And what about young girls and women who are being driven from these platforms - reversing our long fight for gender equality?"
'It's time to act on hate speech'. Watch this powerful video by @SadiqKhan on the abuse he's received as Mayor of L… https://t.co/MRFgg3MazA— MCB (@MCB) 1520891602.0
The first tweet Khan read was as follows:
"Am I the only one who thinks @sadiqkhan looks like a pigeon?"
@MuslimCouncil @SadiqKhan As a Gender Neutral Green Party Supporting Transgender Feminist Pigeon I am offended https://t.co/gR3VXQbWm4— TBC (@TBC) 1520893526.0
Next, Khan, a soccer fan, joked that "as a lifelong Liverpool supporter, I find that deeply offensive." (Tweet quoted below)
"Sadiq Khan looks like a really shit stunt double for Jose Mourinho."
The violent rhetoric only escalated from there. One person went so far as to promise assassination.
"I will kill the mayor of London and you will be rid of ONE Muslim terrorist."
But it only gets worse, as the racist xenophobia continued. Khan continued to read the nauseating messages.
"Muslims need to be shot or hanged!! The mayor is doing nothing about attacks."
Muslims, clearly, were the main target of most of the tweets, and that there is this much hate in the world is absolutely horrifying.
"Muslims have no dignity. I wish that Sadiq Khan would just blow himself up like they all do. He might get his 12 virgins."
Support came from sympathetic Twitter users who expressed their disgust with the hate speech directed at London's mayor.
@MuslimCouncil @SadiqKhan That's appalling. I'm so sorry you get this abuse. 😭 There are some dreadful people aroun… https://t.co/JIgrf2gt2o— Gingernut49 (Linda)🌱 🇪🇺 💙 #FBPE #Woke&Proud (@Gingernut49 (Linda)🌱 🇪🇺 💙 #FBPE #Woke&Proud) 1520941282.0
Such repugnant vitriol has no place in civilized society. "Any abuse based on race, religion, gender, sexuality etc. is unacceptable."
Hate crimes, racism, and white supremacy have been on the rise both in the United Kingdom and the United States in recent years. Alt-right and Neo-Nazi movements are growing—partially in response to a growing Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, and in response to the election of President Donald Trump in the United States, whom white supremacy groups like the Ku Klux Klan claim as their champion.