Thursday, July 05, 2007

Muslim in UK Shadow Cabinet

The UK Tory leadership appointed a Muslim woman as a minister in its shadow cabinet.

CAIRO — A few days after Prime Minister Gordon Brown named two Muslim ministers in his new cabinet, the UK Tory leadership appointed a Muslim woman as a minister in its shadow cabinet, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday, July 3.

"These changes strengthen the shadow cab team and harness new talent within the party," Conservatives Party leader David Cameron said.

He reshuffled his top team to include Sayeeda Warsi, who has Pakistani background, as community cohesion minister.

Cameron stressed that the decision aims at enhancing the opposition's cohesion drive.

"Two of the big challenges facing this country today are security and community cohesion."

Brown has named two British Muslims in his diverse cabinet.

Labour MP Shahid Malik was named as a minister serving under Secretary of State for the Department for International Development (DFID).

MP Sadiq Khan was also appointed to be a government assistant responsible for parliamentary affairs.

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

The majority of the multi-ethnic minority has Indian, Pakistani and Bengali backgrounds.

  • Tory's first

Warsi is the first Muslim minister to join the Conservatives shadow cabinet.

Although not well known to the public, she has a high profile in the opposition party.

Warsi has been Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Cities since 2005.

She had served as a special adviser on community relations to former Tory leader Michael Howard.

At the 2005 election, she was the first Muslim woman to be selected by the Tories to fight a parliamentary seat.

She lost in her home town of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, to Labour's Malik.

Warsi, married with a daughter, will now be given a peerage to enable her to enter the shadow cab.

A solicitor by profession, she has worked for the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Warsi has also worked overseas for the Ministry of Law in Pakistan, on a forced marriage project with the Foreign Office, and in Kashmir as Chair of the Savayra Foundation, a women's empowerment charity.

"There has been a terrible myth created that it's an Asian issue, worse still, a Muslim issue," she told the BBC.

"There is no place for it, certainly in Islam."

Warsi is fluent in Punjabi, Urdu and Gujarati, which would help her to reach out to the large Asian community.

The 36-year-old mother was dubbed by BBC Radio London "as the most influential Asian woman in British politics today."

Info : IslamOnline