Sheffield Mayor Magid Magid: 'Donald Trump is dangerous, a misogynist, and racist'

Sheffield Mayor Magid Magid: 'Donald Trump is dangerous, a misogynist, and racist'

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in July to protest Donald Trumps’ first state visit to the UK since becoming US president – including Sheffield's Mayor Magid.

"One of the greatest things about it was that there was a lot of people from different backgrounds that came together," he told indy100.

[We] shared that collective voice to say ‘we’re not going to stand up for his values.’

The 28-year-old Muslim Lord Mayor of Sheffield made no secret of his disdain for the US president.

The Green councillor went viral after he declared Donald Trump to be a ’wasteman’, and when he proclaimed that 13 July – the day he visited the UK – would be Mexican Solidarity Day.

Mayor Magid chuckled. "I branded him a wasteman – which is not as bad as some of the other words I could have used.

He’s dangerous, he’s racist, he’s a misogynist. He’s literally everything you can think of. Everything he embodies, as a country, and as people from Sheffield, we don’t stand for.

Whether that’s his Muslim ban, whether that’s his standing up for white supremacists like we’ve seen in America; where he stands on gun laws, the way he treats migrants, the way he abuses them by calling them the ‘s’ word.

He’s not somebody, as a country, we should be welcoming.

We are a tolerant country, and we’re actually also a country that celebrates our diversity and we have a long, rich history of welcoming people from all parts of the world and by bringing somebody – by allowing – somebody like Donald Trump, by rolling the red carpet for him, getting him to meet the queen, we’re just legitimising everything that he stands for.

Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has been praised by a number of British far-right politicians, like Nigel Farage.

The US president’s most recent iteration of a controversial travel ban prevents people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, and it has been widely branded religiously intolerant and discriminatory.

But across the pond for mayor Magid, a former refugee, immigrants are a vital and positive part of Britain writ large.

At a full council meeting he decided to wear a t-shirt that had the slogan ‘immigrants make Britain great’ on the front – a play on what has been dubbed America’s racist slogan ‘Make America Great Again'.

"First of all," he says. "Not only do I believe that, it’s statistically been proven.

Immigrants are more of a gain to society than they are a drain and I think that immigrants enrich our lives, whether that be music, food, healthcare –if you look at the NHS – in every corner of our society immigrants enrich our lives.

I think it’s time as a country to stand up for immigrants and value them rather than use them as scapegoats  - to [stop] using such language as they ‘swarm’ our country and really belittle them [the way] we have seen in media quite a lot.

Although the mayor speaks of Britain as a bastion for cultural and ethnic diversity, he admits that there is much that still needs to be done – especially for the Muslim community.

"The people that say Islamophobia doesn’t exist are the same people that least experience it themselves," he says.

If you were to ask my sister, my mother, who are Muslim, if you were to ask Muslim women – and I specifically say Muslim women because they visually stand out as being Muslim today – they are the ones on the receiving end of Islamophobia because they stand out. 

It’s rife within our communities.

If you look at the conservative party, where they’ve got a problem with Islamophobia. We’ve seen a recent report by the Muslim council of Britain demanding that there’s an investigation to take place.

I don’t think the government is taking it seriously. There was a massive rise in hate crime, Islamophobia, after the Brexit vote and I think there needs to be a bit of a stronger stance from the government to say ‘listen, we’re not going to tolerate this’ and we need to do all we can to make sure it’s not in our communities.

There is much, however, that mayor Magid believes society can do to tackle racism and discrimination.

First of all, what we first need to do is call it out when we see it, for what it is – whether that’s antisemitism, whether that’s racism – at any point we need to call it out.

We also need to educate people because a lot of those people who have those views are generally just scared of change.

I think it’s our responsibility to educate them but also just call it out for what it is

"As a society as well as celebrating all our differences, if we can also unite on the things that make us common, I think we’re onto a good start."

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