US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says his proposed ban on Muslims from entering the United States might not apply to London’s newly-elected Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan.
“There will always be exceptions,” the Time quoted the real estate mogul as saying in response to a question about whether Khan was an exception to his ban.
According to the US news magazine, Trump said he was “happy” to see Khan elected, and wished him well.
“You lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job… that would be a terrific thing,” he added.
Trump made his controversial proposal after the Daesh-claimed attacks in Paris killed more than 130 people in November last year.
Prior to that, he had also proposed a national database to keep track on Muslims while calling for all mosques in the US to be shut down.
Khan, a Labour politician and the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver, was sworn in as London’s mayor on Saturday after scoring a landslide victory against his Tory rival Zac Goldsmith.
Shortly after being declared as a mayor, Khan accused Goldsmith and his firm ally, British Prime Minister David Cameron, of borrowing tactics from Trump’s “playbook” to incite ethnic divide and stop him from winning the mayoral election.
Goldsmith had accused Khan of “pandering to extremists” and providing them “oxygen.”
Cameron backed those accusations, saying Khan was linked to extremist groups and terror “sympathizers.”
In a separate interview with the Time, he added that he will visit the US before January because he will not be allowed into the country if Trump enters the White House.
“If Donald Trump becomes the president I’ll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith, which means I can’t engage with American mayors,” he said.
Trump’s proposal has been condemned by Muslim and human rights groups as well as his Democratic rivals and many of his Republican presidential opponents who describe the proposal as divisive, counterproductive and contrary to American values.
The billionaire businessman became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee last week after all his rivals bowed out of the race.