Breaking       Bristol, 1 Rabiul Awwal 1434/13 January 2013 (MINA) – Making history in the south-west British county, a Labour councilor Faruk Choudhury has been selected  as Bristol’s first Muslim lord Mayor, being the youngest person to hold the office.

      “I’m absolutely jubilant to have been selected,” Faruk Choudhury, the youngest person to hold the office, told This Is Bristol, according to report received by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) Sunday (13/1).

       Being the first Asian and the first Bangladeshi, Choudhury will also be the youngest person to hold the office at the age of 38.  He also will represent Eastville ward which he has served for nearly six years.

       He will be entitled to chair full council meetings which are held in the council chamber and attended by all of the city’s 70 councilors.

       Choudhury took the office after winning Labour party’s nomination to stand as Lord Mayor.  He will be installed at the council’s annual meeting in May.

       Though being the first Muslim to fill Bristol’s mayoral post, Choudhury is not the first British Muslim to serve in a high-profile public post.

        Last May, councilor Abdul Razak Osman has been sworn in as the first ever Muslim mayor in the multi-cultural town of Leicester.

       In May 2011, Councilor Naveeda Ikram was named as the lord mayor of the district of Bradford, the first Muslim woman to hold this high post.

       Earlier in November 2010, Lutfur Rahman was elected as the mayor of the East London borough of Tower Hamlets, the first Muslim mayor in Britain.

      In 2007, Muslim 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 also 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.

Serve Community

       Selected as Bristol’s first Muslim lord mayor, Choudhury has pledged to drive up blood and organ donations to serve the British community. “Many people die every year as a result of donor deficiency,” he said.

       Choudhury hopes to use his year in office as Bristol’s first citizen to encourage people, especially among ethnic minorities, to give blood and become organ donors.

       “If I am Lord Mayor, then my wife, Shilpi and I will work across many organizations, encouraging blood donor sessions, especially among multi-ethnic communities as well as becoming an organ donor,” he added

       A similar blood drive was encouraged earlier this year by the British Muslims.  The blood donation drive, led by the Islamic Unity Society (IUS), aims to increase the number of regular blood donors from the Muslim community in Britain.

        Working in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), sessions were organized in several British cities to encourage Muslims to donate blood.

        Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2 million.

        In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.

        Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.  The percentage came higher than average across the population which scored only 79%. (T/R-010/R-006)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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