JNN 30 May 2013 LONDON – In a major leap for the Muslim minority in Britain, a Pakistani Born Muslim woman Naveed Ikram was named on Tuesday, May 24, as the lord mayor of the district of Bradford. Pakistan born British citizen, Councilor Naeem ul Hassan has been elected as the new Lord Mayor of Manchester, The Mayor of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames for the Municipal Year 2013/14 is Councillor Meena Bond.
Naveeda Ikram Lord Mayor of Bradford
“I am looking forward to being a positive and active ambassador for this wonderful district,” Naveeda Ikram told the BBC.
“I’m keen to see more participation and better confidence from all communities in the democratic process.”
Councilor Ikram was installed on Tuesday as the new lord mayor of Bradford. Chosen as the first Muslim woman for the post, Ikram is a Labour councilor for Little Horton since 2004.
A mother of three, Ikram, a former Deputy Lord Mayor, is one of the first Pakistan-born females in Britain to take on the leading civic role.
A psychology and sociology graduate, she was one of the only two Bradford councilors selected in 2007 to take part in a national course designed to identify future leaders.
The Muslim mayor is the co-founder of Bradford Unites in Disaster, an umbrella organization representing fundraising groups across Bradford. She is also a governor at Newby and Bankfoot primary schools in the district.
Though being the first Muslim to fill Bradford’s mayoral post, Ikram is not the first British Muslim to serve in a high-profile public post.
In 2007, Labour MP Shahid Malik became the first British Muslim minister after he was named as a minister under Secretary of State for the Department for International Development (DFID).
Malik has also served as Justice Minister, Home Office Minister and most recently as Minister for Race, Faith and Community Cohesion.
Another Muslim MP, Sadiq Khan, was appointed in 2007 as a government assistant responsible for parliamentary affairs.
In the 2010 parliamentary elections, eight Muslims were elected as MPs in the House of Commons. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a British-born of Pakistani origin, is the first Muslim woman to serve in the British Cabinet as minister without portfolio.
Last November, Lutfur Rahman became the first elected Muslim mayor of the East London borough of Tower Hamlets.
Ikram said it was “a great privilege” to be selected as Lord Mayor of Bradford.
“As a proud Bradfordian it’s a tremendous honor and privilege to be selected as the Lord Mayor of such a great, diverse and significant place as Bradford district,” she said.
“Although we face some difficult times right now I believe that we have a great future and, over the coming year, I hope to play my part as an ambassador for all our communities in projecting a positive, forward looking image of the district.”
Ikram’s selection was seen as a boost for women’s role in the political landscape.
“Unfortunately politics has a bad reputation with some things in Parliament viewed as an old boys’ approach,” Val Slater, the Deputy Lord Mayor, told The Telegraph and Argus.
“So it’s important Naveeda and I are there as role models so we can show there’s a different approach to politics.”
Councilor Slater, who was appointed as the Deputy Lord Mayor, said she and Ikram were determined to mark their year by showing the importance of women in politics.
“It’s really important to have women’s voices heard and women’s voices listened to,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to engaging with a really wide cross-section of Bradford’s community and being a really good ambassador.”
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2 million. The majority of the multi-ethnic minority has Indian, Bengali and Pakistani backgrounds.
She was the first Pakistani origin councillor elected on Labour Party ticket at Bradford council in 2004 from Little Baritone. She had spent a few years of her young age in the Pakistani Punjab and is proud of being a British Pakistani. Her father came to England in the sixties in search of job and served as Manager Habib Bank for some time.
Lord Mayor Naveeda Ikram has three children. Her elder son is 15, the younger one 14 while her daughter is 7. “My children especially my daughter is very social. Elder son’s GCSC’ preliminary results are good. He likes to study medicine but is also active at local level and does voluntary work. The middle child is fond of playing Rugby and is member of a Rugby club”.
Naeem Ul Hassan Lord Mayor of Manchester
MANCHESTER: Pakistan born British citizen, Councilor Naeem ul Hassan has been elected as the new Lord Mayor of Manchester.
“I have been lucky enough to work with the residents of Cheetham for the last seven years and I am extremely honored to now serve all of Manchester as Lord Mayor,” the new mayor said while talking to the media.
“As Lord Mayor I’m looking forward to not only meeting the people who make up our culturally diverse cosmopolitan city but also visitors from right across the globe” he added. He was first elected in 2006 to represent the Cheetham ward and had been serving as race officer and then community liaison officer for the Lancashire region .
He completed a BTEC in Engineering and an A-level in Information Technology. Following his study Councillor Hassan became an instructor and internal NVQ assessor. Outside of politics Councillor Hassan is a keen sports fan and in particular enjoys both playing and watching cricket.
Hassan has been happily married for 28 years to his wife Zulleh Huma Hassan.They have five children, Sumera, Saima, Anna, Naveed and Sahil. Councillor Hassan’s wife and children are all professionals working in fields as varied as education, medicine, legal and finance.
Meena Lord Mayor of London Borough of Richmond
Each year in May the Council elects a Mayor of the Borough to represent it at various civic functions and to raise money for local good causes.
The Mayor of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames for the Municipal Year 2013/14 is Councillor Meena Bond.
Councillor Meena Bond has been was formally invested as mayor of Richmond.
Coun Bond, who has lived in the borough since 1971, also announced Stephen Speak as her deputy at Tuesday’s full council meeting.
She said: “I am honoured to be the borough’s 48th mayor. I have lived in this area for nearly all my life and I truly feel blessed to live here.”
Coun Bond has been a member of Kew ward since 2010 and previously worked in recruitment. She founded an after-school craft club and was involved with several charities.
As mayor, she will support Avenue Club in Kew and Home-Start Richmond.
She said: “Home-Start Richmond trains volunteers to support children and parents when they are experiencing issues such as post-natal depression, low income or a disability.
“The Avenue Club is a charity of more than 330 members. They provide a social life line for older people in the Kew area.
“Both of the charities are very close to my heart and I will do all that I can over the next year to help raise as much money as possible.”
Biography for the Mayor, Meena Bond
Born in 1965, Meena left East Pakistan during the Civil War in 1971. Initially she lived in Richmond, moving to Kew the following year. She attended Putney Park School, Richmond College and London College of Journalism (previously London College of Printing), graduating in Business Studies and Communications.
She had a successful career in recruitment but decided to take a break when her children were born. A few years later she started a company called Crafty Kids, an after school crafts club. She has since sold the business and has been involved with various organisations and charities, working on projects where she provided marketing advice and help with fund raising activities.
Meena is married to Tim and they have three children. Her interests are photography (particularly birds, flowers, and insects) and art. She enjoys sailing, rowing, and walking. She also loves music, everything from Bob Marley to Black Sabbath! Meena regularly attends concerts and music festivals.
Meena was elected as a Councillor for Kew Ward in May 2010. She served as Deputy Mayor during 2011/2012.