London mayor hopefuls battle for Muslim vote

LONDON (AFP)—Muslim voters have emerged as a key battleground in London’s mayoral elections this week, the first chance for most to vote since the 2005 suicide bombings by Islamic extremists in the city.

Livingstone has previously had the Muslim vote sewn up thanks to, for example, his anti-Iraq war stance and the welcome he gave top Islamic scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who some accuse of anti-Semitism and homophobia, in 2004.

Johnson, meanwhile, has had to defend himself against claims of Islamophobia after writing that “Islam is the problem” in the wake of the London attacks, which killed 52 people, and raising concerns about immigration.

But some suggest that Muslims’ voting habits could be starting to change.

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