Muslim mayors making history

Westminster City Council saw its first Muslim lord mayor take the oath of office earlier this week, while a borough in West Sussex appoints its first female Muslim mayor on Friday.

Hamza Taouzzale replaced former mayor Westminster City Council mayor Andrew Smith at a ceremony on Wednesday.  

On Friday, West Sussex’s Worthing Borough Council appoints its new mayor with Labour nominating Henna Chowdhury for the role. Chowdhury became the first female Muslim councillor in Worthing when she was elected in 2019 and will be the borough’s first female Muslim mayor.

As well as being the first Muslim, Taouzzale becomes Westminster City Council’s first Black, Asian or minority ethnic person to hold the position and, at the age of 22, the youngest.  

“Just want to say a big thank you to everyone for all the really kind messages and tweets! It really means a lot and I am looking forward to the year ahead!,” tweeted Taouzzale after his appointment.  

The Londoner of Moroccan heritage was selected following the Labour Party’s victory in the local elections on May 5, when Labour took control of Westminster Council from the Tories for the first time ever.  

Imam becomes Lord Mayor’s chaplain for the first time  

Another first is that the Lord Mayor’s chaplain will be an Imam. Taouzzale has appointed Kabbir Uddin, who runs an Islamic School and is a chaplain at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. When in office, the mayor can choose a chaplain to offer spiritual, pastoral and moral support/guidance to the mayor.  

Taouzzale became a member of the Youth Parliament six years ago and soon joined the Labour Party. He was elected as a Westminster City councillor in 2018, becoming its youngest ever member.  

Congratulations and praise came in thick and fast after the new mayor’s inauguration.  

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