Sadiq Khan attends Yom Hashoah ceremony
Sadiq Khan attends Yom Hashoah ceremonyReuters

London's newly elected Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, on Sunday paid respect to the millions of Jews slain in the Holocaust as his first public engagement in office, The Associated Press reported.

Khan received a hero's welcome from London's Jewish community at the end of the Yom Hashoah ceremony, which brought together thousands from London's Jewish community, including more than 150 Holocaust survivors and a combined choir from five Jewish elementary schools.

Khan attended alongside Lord Levy, one of his Labour party's most senior Jewish supporters and the party's former lead fundraiser.

"I was really privileged and moved to meet survivors of the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust as well as their children, their great-grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren," Khan said after being mobbed by well-wishers, according to AP.

Some said they had come specifically to meet London's first Muslim political leader. Many said they had been offended by recent anti-Israeli comments attributed to other Labour politicians, but they applauded Khan's attendance.

"Some people have said having a Muslim mayor will mean us Jews will all have to move to Israel, but I do not think so at all," said Mariam Mendelsohn, 78. "I think he will be good to all people. He looks like a very, very kind man. He has kind eyes."

Labour has been engulfed in controversy surrounding anti-Semitic statements from its members.

On Monday, the party suspended three members in one day over anti-Semitic comments, and later that day, sources in the party revealed that Labour has secretly suspended 50 of its members over anti-Semitic and racist comments in recent months.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has himself come under fire for having called Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends". Last week he rejected calls from Jewish leaders to denounce the two terrorist organizations, vowing to continue talking to them.

Khan, who has in the past blasted his own party for the anti-Semitism within its ranks, has spurned Corbyn since last week’s election, refusing photo ops with the party chief and even leveling thinly-veiled criticisms against him.