Muslim Council of Britain elects first-ever female secretary general

31 January 2021, 21:58

Zara Mohammed was elected as the first female secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain
Zara Mohammed was elected as the first female secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has elected Zara Mohammed as its first-ever female secretary general.

Britain's largest organisation for representing mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim associations backed the Glasgow-based 29-year-old during a virtual annual general meeting on Sunday.

She beat Ajmal Masroor, an Imam, teacher and broadcaster, by 107 votes to 60.

Ms Mohammed - who also became the first Scottish secretary general of the MCB - obtained a masters in human rights law and is a training and development consultant.

The Glaswegian said she felt "humbled and truly honoured" to take on the role and all its responsibilities.

"I am really grateful for the opportunity and the trust that the delegates and the MCB have put in me to carry this role forward," she said.

"Being a young female, it is quite a good representation of the future leadership that we need to see now."

The human rights law graduate also said she hoped her election would give other young women the confidence to challenge for such roles.

She added: "I think women sometimes hesitate to take on leadership roles even though they are more than qualified to do so.

"It is really important to engage young people, engage more women and diversify the organisation and the work we are doing."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan congratulated the 29-year-old and said her victory was "terrific" news for the council.

Ms Mohammed pledged to help develop practical solutions to the coronavirus pandemic as part of her manifesto.

She said: "We want to challenge misinformation and we want to continue to promote the guidance, the clarity and reassure the community as part of the united and national effort.

"So definitely promoting the vaccine, encouraging our communities to follow the guidance and keep safe. So that will definitely be at the forefront of the work we are continuing doing."

The training and development consultant branded Islamaphobia a "pervasive" issue that she wants to continue to challenge.

She also said she wants to look at how ethnic minority communities have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Mohammed previously served as assistant secretary general for the MCB and succeeded Harun Khan, who completed the maximum of four years as the head of the organisation.

Mr Khan said: "I wish the very best of success to Zara Mohammed - may she continue to lead this organisation to greater heights for the betterment of our communities across the country."

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi said she was "delighted" to see the MCB elect its first female secretary general, while her colleague Wes Streeting also offered his congratulations.

Afzal Khan MP branded Ms Mohammed's contribution and service to the community "inspiring", while Zarah Sultana MP also gave a "huge congratulations" on Twitter.