Posted on May 25, 2011

Bradford Appoints UK’s First Woman Muslim Lord Mayor

Daily Mail (London), May 24, 2011

Bradford council has announced that the city has appointed the UK’s first female Muslim Lord Mayor.

Councillor Naveeda Ikram was nominated by the council’s Labour Group to serve as Lord Mayor in the West Yorkshire city.

The mother-of-three, who was born in the UK, was given the title during a ceremony at Bradford City Hall today.

Cllr Ikram spent some of her teenage years in the Punjab, but has lived in Bradford for most of her life.

A psychology and sociology graduate, Mrs Ikram has served as deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford since 2009.

She will serve as Mayor for at least one year, with her husband Saqib Salam Shah serving as her consort.

Mrs Ikram, a Labour councillor for Little Horton, Bradford, since 2004, will, along with her husband succeed Peter Hill and his wife Gillian.

Aswell as becoming the UK’s first female Muslim Lord Mayor, she was also the first woman of Pakistani origin to become a councillor in Bradford.

She said: ‘I am the first British female Muslim Lord Mayor. It shows the progress that has been made in this country.

‘I am looking forward to being a positive and active ambassador for this wonderful district.

‘I’m keen to see more participation and better confidence from all communities in the democratic process.

‘I can say whole-heartedly I have had overwhelming and massive support and as a British Asian I think it shows what a tolerant society we are living in.’

Mrs Ikram said she wanted to focus on community cohesion on Bradford during her time in office.

Her father came to Britain from the Punjab in the mid-1960s and began working for Cadbury’s in Birmingham before landing a job at the Habib Bank.

He ended up as a bank manager and his family settled in the Little Horton area of Bradford, which Mrs Ikram has represented since 2004.

Indian-born Manjula Sood became Britain’s first Asian woman Lord Mayor in Leicester in 2008, while Councillor Asad Omar became Britain’s first Muslim Mayor when he took the office in Harrow last year.