Nation's first female Muslim MPs rejoice
May 9, 2010
Proud new member... Rushnara Ali.
BRITAIN's first female Muslim members of parliament are celebrating after
winning seats in the general election.
Rushanara Ali, the first person of Bangladeshi origin to be elected to the
British Parliament, won the east London seat of Bethnal Green and Bow for the
Labour Party with a comfortable majority.
''To millions of Bangladeshis around the world, it will mean so much to them
that somebody of their background has been elected to the mother of all
parliaments,'' said the 35-year-old, who was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh, and
moved to east London when she was seven.
East London is the heart of the Bangladeshi community in Britain. Some street
signs around the Brick Lane area are written in both English and Bengali.
Labour's Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi were also being feted for being
among the first wave of Muslim women ever elected to the House of Commons.
Ms Mahmood won the seat of Birmingham Ladywood in Britain's second-biggest
city. The constituency has the highest percentage of citizens claiming
unemployment benefits in Britain.
Ms Mahmood was born and bred in Birmingham. She studied at Oxford University
then became a lawyer.
She described her victory as ''a real breakthrough''.
''I think it sends a powerful message . Parliament should reflect the people it
Ms Qureshi, 46, a Pakistani-born lawyer, moved to Britain when she was nine.
She was elected in Bolton, north-west England.
''I'm absolutely delighted. Obviously, I am very pleased the voters of Bolton
South East chose a Labour candidate and elected a Labour MP. It is a truly
humbling experience and I promise to work very hard.''
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