London's new mayor
This is significant for two reasons. First, Khan exemplifies the high degree of assimilation which is increasingly typical of western European Muslims, despite the disproportionate media attention given to the minority of violent religious fanatics. He was born and grew up in London (his parents were immigrants from Pakistan) and worked as a lawyer before going into politics. As an MP (Member of Parliament) in 2013, he voted in favor of the legalization of gay marriage in the UK -- in response to which an Imâm in Bradford issued a fatwa declaring Khan no longer a Muslim. Prominent among the issues on which he campaigned were London's housing shortage and the cost of public transport. Despite some shameful attempts by the Conservative party to brand him an extremist, Khan clearly has nothing of the stench of Salafism or Sharî'ah law about him. He is, like the overwhelming majority of British people, secular.
Second, Khan's election shows that the general British public is not as hostile to people of immigrant origins as we are sometimes led to believe. Offensive fanatical behavior by a few, up to and including outright terrorism, remains a problem and is obviously intolerable -- but most voters, at least in the cosmopolitan capital city, are clearly able to distinguish the obnoxious minority from the assimilated majority who, aside from their ancestry, are not much different from the rest of the country's general population. This is important, because assimilation has to work from both directions -- one cannot expect Europeans to accept a minority which rejects the mainstream culture's fundamental values, nor can one expect the minority to assimilate if they find themselves rejected even when they do so.
Like the election of Barack Obama as President of the US, Khan's election is an encouraging sign that prejudice and intergroup hostility are, while far from dead, growing weaker than the best of us feared and the worst of us hoped.
[Image at top: Sadiq Khan and wife Saadiya Ahmed, also a lawyer.]