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

53 minutes ago

There was no evidence to suggest that a three-month-old baby whose death was staged on a bus in Stratford “would experience serious physical harm” despite a series of warning signs, a serious case review has found.

A four-year-old girl who was found in Spain after going missing with her mum has returned to England.

A Islamic State fanatic showed videos of beheadings to children as young as 11 to “foster and encourage” them into adopting his extreme ideology, a court heard.

14:18

Elutec students are hoping to be crowned champion gunrunners.

09:08

Medical failings stretching back more than two decades cost Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust millions of pounds a year.

13:18

Two fraudsters claiming to be builders tried to swindle a Dagenham woman out of money for roofing “repairs”.

An Islamic State-inspired terrorist plotted attacks in the UK on a range of targets including Big Ben and the Queen’s Guard, a court heard.

11:50

Barking and Dagenham residents can win two tickets to The Broadway theatre.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

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