Search

First Muslim mayor in Barking and Dagenham ‘proud’ to serve community

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 May 2017

Cllr Abdul Aziz, the new Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, pictured with wife Najma Aziz. Photo: Barking and Dagenham Council.

Cllr Abdul Aziz, the new Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, pictured with wife Najma Aziz. Photo: Barking and Dagenham Council.

Archant

The borough’s first Muslim mayor will focus on “making people happy” in his year in office.

Cllr Abdul Aziz enjoyed a packed mayor-making ceremony on Friday as he took on the figurehead role for Barking and Dagenham from his predecessor, Cllr Eileen Keller.

“It was an excellent day for me, all my friends came,” he said. “It was like a wedding with Pakistani and English food,” added the 64-year-old, a councillor for Barking’s Gascoigne ward since 2010.

The father-of-five was born in 1953 in Kuthiala Sheikan, a small town halfway between Islamabad and Lahore in north-east Pakistan. He was raised by his sister after losing his mother at the age of four, and grew up in a family of land owners.

In search of adventure he headed to Denmark in his mid-twenties, where he set up a number of businesses and met his wife Najma, now 54. The family then moved to Barking and Dagenham in 1997 to get the best education for their children.

“Barking and Dagenham has changed a lot since then, there’s been a lot of development,” reflected the St Ann’s, Barking resident.

Cllr Aziz says his main focus as Mayor will be supporting the British Heart Foundation and DABD UK as his charities of choice.

“My hobby is making people happy,” he explained. “I feel I’ll be the best mayor I can be if I can do more social work and charity work and help people.”

The polyglot, who speaks eight languages including Danish, German, Punjabi and Urdu, also hopes to hold a festival for Eid-al-Fitr – celebrating the end of Ramadan – for the whole community, regardless of religion.

“I want it to be for everyone,” he said. About fasting in his first month as mayor, he added: “I’m used to fasting so it’s fine. The main thing is it gives us more opportunity to understand the experience of people who are poor, who don’t have any food.”

Cllr Aziz is supported in his role by two mayoress daughters, Iqqra and Hinna Abdul, and his consort son Shoaeb.

“All my family want to support me, I wouldn’t be mayor without my family,” he said, adding: ”I’m proud of representing the best borough in London.”

Related articles

Latest Barking and Dagenham News Stories

Yesterday, 17:56

An man has today been arrested in east London on suspicion of dissemination of terrorist publications.

Yesterday, 17:01

Jury deliberations began today in the murder trial of much-loved club doorman Ricky Hayden.

Yesterday, 14:00

Three thugs stole two bicycles and an Armani bag from three boys at knife-point after ambushing them in Dagenham Road, leading vigilante parents to take action.

Yesterday, 12:39

The Overground line between Barking and Gospel Oak could be closed over the Christmas period to allow electrification work to be completed.

Yesterday, 11:39

With summer in full swing, here are some of the days, and nights, out families can enjoy over the next few weeks.

Yesterday, 10:16

CCTV has been released of the moment a prisoner made his escape from Homerton Hospital in his socks, being chased by a medic and the police officer who was supposed to be guarding him.

Yesterday, 07:54

Police are becoming increasingly concerned about a 15-year-old girl who went missing in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Tue, 16:25

A driver who failed to stop at the scene of a crash, which killed a Dagenham dad-of-three, has been given a fourth month suspended sentence.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now