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Boris Johnson: I’m the First London Mayor of Muslim Extraction

4 November 2013 General No Comment Email This Post Email This Post


By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor

Boris Johnson has boasted of being the first Mayor of London of ‘Muslim extraction’ as he sought to attract billions of pounds of Arab money for the capital.

He told the story of his great-great-grandfather Ahmed Hamdi, a Muslim entrepreneur who made his money in beeswax.

Mr Johnson defended Britain’s immigration policy, boasting that the spirit of openness could be seen in ‘shisha bars’ across the capital.

Addressing the Ninth World Islamic Economic Forum, Mr Johnson urged wealthy figures from across the Arab world to invest in London.

He told them: ‘Let’s build up trade, co-operation and partnership and let us do it in a city that has risen since the days of Offa to become the greatest on Earth.

‘With more American banks than NY, more museums than Paris, less rainfall than Rome and the greatest centre for Islamic finance in the world.’

Mr Johnson drew on his own background to make the case for the capital.

‘I am very proud to be here this morning because I am sure that I am the first Mayor of London of partly Muslim extraction, and indeed the descendant of a Muslim entrepreneur by the name of Ahmed Hamdi.

‘My father’s father’s father’s father – a pious man of Anatolia who made the Haj and who more or less cornered the beeswax market in Istanbul, which was a very good idea because you needed beeswax candles to light the mosques.

‘So he was in the same commercially agreeable position as the big six energy companies in Britain today, though his prices were obviously more reasonable.

‘He flourished mightily minding his own beeswax, as we say in England.’

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