Breaking Barriers: Muslim mayors make history

5/24/2023 7:53 AM

Muslims in England have achieved significant political milestones this month, with several assuming mayoral positions for the first time in their respective regions.

Civic and Lord Mayors hold prominent ceremonial roles within their respective regions. While their specific responsibilities vary, they typically act as ambassadors for their communities.

Here’s a look at some of the individuals who have been appointed to these positions this month.

Lubna Arshad - Oxford

In a historic moment for Oxford, the city welcomed its first Muslim and first-ever female of colour Lord Mayor. Lubna Arshad, a Labour councillor, was officially sworn in last week.

Arshad said serving the city she was born and raised in was an "honour of a lifetime,” adding that it was a "momentous occasion."

"I am deeply humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve as the lord mayor of the city of my birth," she added.

Yasmine Dar - Manchester

The City of Manchester appointed its first Asian Muslim woman as Lord Mayor. Yasmine Dar said she was "humbled and honoured" to be appointed Lord Mayor.  

She pledged to leverage her role to champion diversity and inclusion and work to create a welcoming and inclusive Manchester where everyone feels welcomed.

Tafheen Sharif - Tameside

Tafheen Sharif has become Tameside's first ethnic minority and Muslim mayor.

“I would love to open doors for many, and bring our flourishing communities closer together. We are one, we are the human race and we must do what we can to pull each other up, despite the challenging and difficult circumstances," she said during her inauguration.  

Atiqul Hoque - Salisbury

Councillor Atiqul Hoque was elected the mayor of Salisbury — the first British Bangladeshi Muslim to hold this esteemed position in the picturesque cathedral city.

Hoque said: “The people of Salisbury have made history by choosing their first British Bangladeshi Muslim mayor which simply demonstrates how Salisbury has become more diverse and welcoming. I’m hopeful my mayorship will encourage others to come forward and engage with Salisbury City Council.”

Syed Hussain - East Staffordshire

East Staffordshire will see its first Muslim mayor, as Syed Hussain assumes the role on May 26. The council called the move a "progressive step to bring communities across our towns together.”

The Burton and Uttoxeter Labour Party wrote on its Facebook page: "Councillor Syed Hussain will make history at the full council meeting on May 26 as he is set to become the first Muslim."