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Black Muslim refugee becomes Sheffield’s youngest Lord Mayor

Black Muslim refugee becomes Sheffield’s youngest Lord Mayor

Categories: Latest News

Monday May 21 2018

British Muslims are getting involved in all areas of public life. They are doctors, nurses, teachers, taxi drivers and any other profession you can think of. While Muslims have been historically underrepresented within British politics, it is clear that there is no limit to the enthusiasm for British Muslims to actively lead and support their local communities.

This week, Sheffield and Swindon appointed a Muslim Lord Mayor and a Muslim Mayor, respectively, demonstrating just how eager British Muslims are to engage with political and civic society. Moreover, such appointments are solid evidence against many of the accusations that are levied against British Muslims and their supposed “failure to integrate”.

Mr Junab Ali is set to become Swindon’s first Muslim Mayor and Mr Magid Magid is set to become Sheffield’s youngest Lord Mayor.

Mr Ali, sworn in last Friday, 18 May 2018, spoke about how “proud” he feels about being the “first Muslim Mayor of the town”. He has previously served as a ward councillor for central Swindon and as deputy mayor for the past year.

Mr Jim Robbins, a fellow Labour councillor, said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing Junab Ali sworn in as the new Mayor. Having our first Muslim Mayor in Swindon, and the first of Bangladeshi descent, shows the amazing multiculturalism we have in Swindon and he will be a huge asset to the town”.

Mr Magid was sworn in last Wednesday, 16 May 2018, as the Green Party’s first candidate to hold the post of Lord Mayor in Sheffield and, at the age of 28, is the youngest person to hold the post. Many have taken to social media platforms to commend his achievement but also highlight his humorous approach to the role.

His unorthodox inaugural photos have gone viral, with people dubbing him the new ‘Batman of Sheffield’, and he has garnered popularity for his choice of music at the annual mayor-making ceremony. The Imperial March from Star Wars was followed by the Superman theme tune as invited guests took their seats.


Mr Magid, speaking about his background, age and personality, said that his “being in the post brings and element of difference to the role” and hoped it would “engage those that have not previously engaged before”.

Speaking to BuzzFeed, Mr Magid said: “Firstly, it was Alhamdulillah [all praise is due to God alone] and then I was thinking. Wow, this is a bit mad. Even now, it feels a bit surreal”.

In a statement, he further said: “Me and my family came to Sheffield from Somalia to look for a better life and this city has truly welcomed me and many others with open arms…This is one way of giving back to this incredible city”.

He added: “It really is an honour and privilege to hold this role and I will most definitely be bringing a different approach to it with the hope of engaging with all the hard to reach communities as well as celebrating/championing all that is great about Sheffield”.

Being a former refugee, his family fled war-torn Somalia and arrived in the UK when he was five-years-old. He said that adapting to a new culture and learning a new language was difficult, however, he “remember[ed] just being happy” and “playing around as you do as a kid”.

As the two mayors take up their role, it is important to highlight the importance of increasing minority representation in British politics with only 8% of Members from the House of Commons and House of Lords hailing from a BME background. This is compared with 13.6% of the UK population as estimated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Population Survey 2016.

Therefore, further steps need to be taken by the Government, political parties and minority communities to remove structural, social and cultural barriers preventing members of minority communities from engaging with British politics. Fair representation is imperative in ensuring all communities have a voice in our political system, and in ensuring conscious and unconscious bias, racism and discrimination are identified and addressed effectively.





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