London's first Muslim mayor urges weapons fair to cancel

London's first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan tells weapons fair to cancel event and not return:report
2 min read
30 August, 2021
Sadiq Khan has urged a weapons fair to cancel an event in London.
Khan is London's first Muslim mayor [Getty]

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has told the organisers of an upcoming arms fair in the UK capital to cancel their event and never come back, according to reports.

Khan, London's first Muslim mayor, urged organisers of Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) not to hold their weapons expo in two-weeks-time, saying it would be inconsiderate to those living in London who have fled wars, according to letters seen by The Independent newspaper.

London is home to the thousands of people who have escaped conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries and Khan believes the expo is an unnecessary reminder of their past suffering.

"[London is] home to many people who have fled conflict and suffered as a consequence" of weapons "like those exhibited at DSEI", he wrote in the letters to organisers, according to the UK daily.

"For it to be used as a marketplace for those who wish to trade in weapons to some countries that contribute to human rights abuses goes completely against our values."

The arms expo usually attracts around 30,000 people every years with 1.600 exhibitors selling everything from sniper rifles to warplanes.

Khan wrote there was "significant opposition" to DSEI's presence in the capital, leading to 5,609 police being deployed for the 2019 event at a cost of over £2.5 million.

He wrote to event director Grant Burgham: "I strongly urge you to reconsider this year's event and any plans you have to host future events in the city."

 Burgham responded: "The event serves only the interests of the legitimate defence and security industry, which is the most highly and tightly regulated in the world.

"We will be welcoming ministers from the UK government, as well as MPs from across parliament, who will meet British companies and underscore the important role that the defence and security sector plays."

The event, due to be held at Excel London from 14 to 17 September, is often met with dozens of human rights protesters demonstrating outside exhibition centre.