London Mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed how strangers have labelled him a “gay Muslim terrorist” and wanted him killed.
Some people have said he should be deported; another wished he would “blow himself up”.
The Mayor highlighted some of the vicious abuse and threats he has received on Twitter in an effort to highlight racism and its effect on young people.
He spoke out after a former Tory minister urged the Government to introduce a “proper legal definition of Islamophobia” following reports that anti-Islamic letters were posted across Britain at the weekend.
West Yorkshire Police are investigating a possible hate crime after receiving a string of reports of letters advertising “Punish a Muslim Day”.
Social-media users in London and Birmingham also reported receiving the letters.
Mr Khan, a practising Muslim, read out a selection of the inflammatory tweets he has received to a business event in Texas in the US.
“Treason is still a crime punishable by death in this country. Your name will be at the top of that list,” @Latino_Amante wrote to him last year.
Then just two months ago, @SpeedwagonPRST wrote: “I’d pay for someone to execute Sadiq Khan.”
Last June @billwall69 tweeted: “I say kill the Mayor of London and you will be rid of one Muslim Terrorist?”
Then last August, @MemAuSe wrote: “Deport all Muslims and make London white again, all problems will be gone”.
The next month @warprivia tweeted: “@sadiqkhan is just a gay muzzie terrorist.”
In 2016, @Emmanuel_Maris tweeted: “Muslims have no dignity. I wish Sadiq Khan would blow himself up like they all do. He might get his 12 virgins.”
Mr Khan said: “I could go on and on, but I won’t. 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?
“Or someone thinking about becoming a politician?
“And what about young girls and women who are being driven from these platforms – reversing our long fight for gender equality?”
Mr Khan, who was born in south London to a British Pakistani family, was given the Politician of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards in 2016.
Anna Soubry, a former business minister, called for a legal definition of Islamophobia following the series of letters sent to Muslims at the weekend.
“This isn't really a hate crime. This is actually an act of blatant incitement to terrorism,” said Ms Soubry.
Victoria Atkins, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, condemned the letters as “abhorrent”.
Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, asking an urgent question in the Commons, said the letter calling for an attack on Muslims on April 3 offered rewards of 10 points for verbal abuse, 50 points for throwing acid, 1,000 points for bombing a mosque and 2,500 points to “nuke Mecca”.
“Can I ask the minister if she can explain why no government minister in the last eight years has ever made a speech on the rise of anti-Muslim hatred,” she asked.
Ms Atkins said the Government had brought in new plans to tackle hate crime as well as investing millions of pounds to protect places of worship.
“The Government condemns the content of these letters as clearly abhorrent with no place in decent society,” she said. “In terms of the definition of Islamophobia, there are many definitions. The definition that is used by the Runnymede Trust tends to be the one that I think most people adhere to.
“We don't accept the need for a definitive one, but we do know that Islamophobia is clearly recognised and we have very effective monitoring of race hate crimes.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies