London party

UK: ‘I don’t talk about change, I make change’: London politician campaigns to become East End’s first Muslim Liberal Democrat female mayor

Presiding over one of London’s poorest boroughs, Bangladeshi-born Muslim Rabina Khan, a councilor for the Shadwell area, hopes to transform London’s Tower Hamlets borough if she wins the mayoral election on May 5. The city covers most of the traditional East End of London, which has a Muslim population of over a third, the highest number in the country. She herself has lived in the borough for more than half her life and is raising her family there while juggling a checkered political career that spans more than a decade.

Khan was first elected in 2010 as a Labor Party councillor, but following a political falling out she joined the Liberal Democrats. She was the first counselor to work with local police and helped set up the Lethal Weapon Searches program in 2017 to address issues such as youth knife crimes and acid attacks. Affordable housing and the rights of the disadvantaged are the bedrock of her current mayoral campaign, an issue close to her heart since she became the first Muslim woman to hold the housing and regeneration portfolio. until 2015. This project has created more than 4,500 houses in the borough.

If Khan is elected mayor, she will go down in history as the first Liberal Democrat Muslim woman to do so in the region. As a Muslim woman of color, Khan chooses to deal with negativity in a positive way. Working in a predominantly white, male field has forced her to reflect on her experiences and learn from them. As a hijabi, Khan says the first thing most people notice about her is her headscarf and it is assumed that she is forced to wear it. She hopes to change that narrative by speaking out about her experiences and encouraging others to do the same.

“I don’t talk about the change, I make the change,” Khan said.

American Muslim Today: How did you get into politics? Has this always been a goal?

Rabina Khan: Although I have had a career in writing, broadcasting and community work and have always been driven to help people, I never thought I would get involved in politics. However, I realized that I was better able to give a voice to the marginalized and disadvantaged by entering politics and fighting for the rights of my community – not just the Muslim community, but my whole community – for children. victims of neglect and abuse, for those in the poverty trap, for the lonely and homeless, and for anyone struggling with a wide range of issues.