Nov 4 2013
He is one of them! I’m the first London Mayor of ‘Muslim extraction’, Boris Johnson boasts as he pleads for Arab investment in the capital.
UK Daily Mail Boris Johnson has 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.’
However, he said Mr Hamdi was ‘overwhelmed by a technological disaster’ when American Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb. His son abandoned beeswax and become a controversial politician and journalist and was eventually assassinated, Mr Johnson said.
His great-grandfather ‘grew up knowing the Koran off by heart and he would have been stunned to find that his descendant had gone on to become Mayor of this city, and even more amazed to find that the world had so progressed that today we are welcoming the world’s first Islamic Economic Forum to take place outside the Muslim world’.
Mr Johnson announced a £100million fund to encourage tech start-ups from the Muslim world to move to Britain. (Gee, that’s money that will never get spent)
It comes after David Cameron unveiled a £200million new Islamic bond – known as a ‘sukuk’ – which complies with Islamic rules on investments and said the London Stock Exchange will launch a new Islamic index alongside the FTSE.
Mr Johnson said London was being transformed by new transport investments and developments that ‘turn out not just to be financed by Muslim investors but whose funding methods often turn out to be sharia compliant’.