In London the religion of the Labour candidate for the city’s mayor became an issue only when his Conservative opponent made it one, by attempting to link his rival to Islamist extremism in a campaign criticised as divisive and racist.

Abroad, however, it seems the faith and family background of Sadiq Khan is seen through a somewhat different prism: in much foreign media coverage of the elections, it was overwhelmingly more important than his politics.

“Sadiq Khan likely to become the first Muslim mayor of London”, was the headline in France’s leading left leaning news weekly L’Obs. The country’s largest commercial broadcaster, TF1, went for: “Sadiq Khan: Muslim, immigrant’s son, self-made man – and future mayor”? The Metronews freesheet went further, saying a Khan victory would make the Tooting MP “the first Muslim mayor of a European capital.”

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