In an exclusive interview, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, reassured the Muslim community that he would continue in the step of his predecessor Ken Livingstone on supporting diversity and equality projects.
“One thing I decided very early on was that the only way to run London is to support diversity and to recognise that you have got to be proactive and give encouragement and support to all communities,” Johnson said.
Muslims were also concerned about the Mayor’s and his new Director of Policy, Anthony Browne‘s negative remarks on Islam in the Spectator magazine. For example, Browne argued in July 24, 2004 that Islam wants to conquer the world etc. “I understand completely people’s concerns,” he said and argued that one has to “distinguish between the kind of slightly careless polemical things people may say in their journalistic capacity which can be drawn out and used against them. You have to distinguish between that and what they really want to do in London.”
Johnson gave assurance that Browne was “utterly committed to a glorious multi racial multi ethnic, multi faith London in which we emphasise the achievements of all communities and he will be going out of his way to prove that point.”
To be fair to Browne, the “Islam really does want to conquer the world” standfirst to his 2004 Spectator article and “The Muslims are coming” front cover were the responsibility of the editor rather than Browne himself. And who was the editor of the Spectator at that time? None other than Boris Johnson, of course.
Update: For more on Browne see Boris Watch, 28 September 2008