Donald Trump 'playing into the hands of Daesh' says Khan

Sadiq Khan Image copyright PA

London mayor Sadiq Khan has accused US presidential candidate Donald Trump of "playing into the hands of Daesh".

The mayor said the Republican candidate's message showed a "lack of understanding".

Mr Khan was addressing a global progress summit in Montreal with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Mr Khan was involved in a row with Mr Trump earlier this year over Mr Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.

Mr Khan told the assembled audience at the summit: "Donald Trump said that Muslims from around the world - I'm paraphrasing - would not be welcome into the United States of America.

"Not only does that show a lack of understanding and awareness of the great country that is the USA and its history and legacy, it's also inadvertently playing into the hands of Daesh and so-called Isis because it implies it's not possible to be a Western liberal and mainstream Muslim.

"I think it's important that the USA maintains her role as a beacon for tolerance, respect and diversity."

While the name "Daesh" does not mean anything in Arabic - it merely represents the letters that make up Isil (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in Arabic (al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa al-Sham) - it sounds similar to an Arabic verb that means to tread underfoot, trample down, or crush something.

As a result, politicians have taken to using it to refer to the so-called Islamic State group.

Later Mr Khan said he would be open to meeting Mr Trump during his trip, along with any other presidential candidate.

He also said the UK should follow Canada's lead and do more to help Syrian refugees.

Canada accepted 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 2016, while the UK has pledged to resettle 20,000 by 2020.

The mayor's north America tour is intended to show London is "open for business" in the wake of the UK's vote to leave the European Union. He will make further trips to Chicago and New York as part of a five-day visit.

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