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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 11:38 GMT
Livingstone gets Muslim backing
Ken Livingstone
Mr Livingstone welcomed the support
A Muslim group is backing Ken Livingstone to be re-elected as mayor of London.

The British Muslim Initiative said it was in the best interest of Muslims to vote for him in the 1 May elections.

It praised the mayor for his continued support of a multicultural society and for protecting Muslim communities against racism and Islamophobia.

Mr Livingstone's Tory rival Boris Johnson said he was not worried about the statement of support.

A document signed by 63 main Muslim organisations and figureheads who represent the overwhelming majority of Muslims in London said Mr Livingstone had been "an outstanding mayor of London".

Proudest achievements

"He has enhanced London's standing in the world and helped improve the lives of all of the city's communities."

Mr Livingstone said: "One of my proudest achievements is that over the last seven years racist attacks in London have fallen by almost 60%.

"The fundamental basis of London's openness and choice is that every Londoner should be able to live their life as they freely chose with the sole condition that they do not prevent others doing the same."

Mr Johnson said he was "not remotely worried" by the statement of support and warned against "divide and rule" politics.

I am proud of my Muslim ancestry
Boris Johnson

"My grandfather was a Muslim and so was my great-grandfather. I am proud of my Muslim ancestry," he said.

"But I want to talk about the interests of Londoners. I don't care what religion they are. I want to look after people from all communities."

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said: "London is a better place because it has a strong Muslim community.

"The best way to support minority communities and to create a more united London is not by taking sides and creating controversy, as Ken Livingstone has done, but by promoting everyone's right to live in peaceful coexistence with each other, whatever they believe, provided they do not harm others."


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