When originally chosen as Labour's mayoral candidate, he was the logical choice as a two-term leader of the Council. However, he was the subject of a "dog-whistle" campaign by opponents.
Just as conservatives in the U.S. use coded language to raise the hackles of racist voters against Barack Obama, similar language is used against Rahman, hinting at "links" to the Islamic Forum of Europe. That led to his decision to run, successfully, as an independent, and his victory has done little to increase the love.
Going to a mosque with "links" to other Muslim groups alleged to be "Islamist" provokes reflexes in a surprising range of people, from left-liberals alert to insinuations of anti-semitism to conservatives for whom it is a convenient cover for racism.
Anton Wahlberg profiles Lutfur Rahman, mayor of Tower Hamlets.