After the historic Brexit vote Thursday, London's new Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan had a message for the nearly one million European citizens living in the United Kingdom's capital: "You are very welcome here."
"As a city we are grateful for the enormous contribution you make," he wrote on his Facebook page Friday, "and that will not change as a result of this referendum."
Immigration concerns have been the beating heart of the Leave campaign. Since the European Union was created decades ago, the U.K. has had a massive increase in immigration, which has fostered a politically driven backlash to the continent's open-border policy. Indeed, the leader of the Leave movement, Nigel Farage, and his brand of populist demagoguery have been likened to Donald Trump.
Mayor Khan's comments are especially poignant in this post-Brexit world as the continent's largest city grapples with the tension between an anti-immigration sentiment and the diversity that makes London, and cities like it, thrive both economically and culturally. "[London's European citizens] bring huge benefits to our city," Khan wrote, "working hard, paying taxes, working in our public services and contributing to our civic and cultural life. We all have a responsibility now to seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign — and to focus on what unites us, rather than that which divides us."