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New British Government includes First Muslim Woman Minister


Source: CNN

(CNN) — Chalk up another “first” for the new British government. Not only does it have the youngest prime minister in almost 200 years and the first peacetime coalition government in nearly 70, it has the first Muslim woman to be a full member of the Cabinet.

She’s Sayeeda Warsi, a Conservative who was named minister without portfolio.

It’s not immediately clear what her responsibilities will be, a spokesman for the government said.

In opposition, she was the Conservatives’ point person on “community cohesion and social action.”

Not yet 40 years old, she’s also just been appointed chairman of the Conservative Party.

Warsi was also the politician the party put forward to take on far-right politician Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, last year.

She clashed with Griffin and mainstream politicians on “Question Time,” the BBC’s flagship political discussion program, in October.

She blasted him as a “thoroughly, thoroughly deceptive man” who “demonizes Islam, just as he demonizes Christianity.”

“Mr. Griffin here preaches extremism in the name of Christianity and brings that faith into disrepute as well,” she said.

Having stood up to the white far right in London, she came under attack a month later by protesters who threw eggs at her in the town of Luton, north of London.

Press reports at the time said the protesters accused her of not being a proper Muslim and of supporting the death of Muslims in Afghanistan.

She was hit by two eggs but not hurt, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

On her Web site, she names her proudest political achievement as securing the release of a British teacher from jail in Sudan when the woman was accused of insulting religion.

Gillian Gibbons had been accused of allowing her students to name a teddy bear “Muhammad.” Warsi and Lord Nazir Ahmed flew in to negotiate her release.

A trained lawyer from Dewsbury in northeast England, Warsi also lists herself as a campaigner on racial justice, forced marriages and prison conditions.

She did not immediately respond to attempts to contact her.

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Ify Okoye is a Muslim woman, a convert, born and raised in the U.S. She is from New York and her parents are from Nigeria. Despite the petty hassles of work and school, Ify finds time to travel usually for AlMaghrib Institute seminars and to visit beautiful places. Pronunciation primer for her name, say it like this: E-fee O-coy-yeah!



  1. Shariq

    May 14, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    I had the pleasure of sitting with Baronness Warsi two years ago when I went to England with the Foreign Office. She seemed like a really nice lady and someone committed to integrating ethnicities from South Asia and the Muslim population in general. One of her goals was to de-ghettoize the Muslim population and provide easier access to education and government.

    I’m pretty positive she’ll bring a faith-based approach to her work with the government for the betterment of all insha’Allah.

    May Allah make it easy on her and provide her with good judgement and foresight.

    • Amir

      May 16, 2010 at 11:29 AM


  2. Riad

    May 15, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Warsi is a great role model for why Muslim should NOT join western political party’s.

    Prior to her appointment to the Shadow Cabinet, Warsi, a qualified solicitor who had set up her own specialist practice George Warsi Solicitors in Dewsbury, spoke openly about the need to engage a wider spectrum of Muslim opinion including so called ‘extremist’ voices. “We must start engaging with, not agreeing with, the radical groups who we have said in the past are complete nutters,” she said in 2005. Warsi criticised the idea that pressure should be placed upon British Muslims to root out extremists within their midst, commenting that “when you say this is something that the Muslim community needs to weed out, or deal with, that is a very dangerous step to take.” She once wrote: “if terrorism is the use of violence against civilians, then where does that leave us in Iraq?” Also, regarding Kashmir, she said, “We have a community in Britain, a Pakistani and Kashmiri community, who holds a very, very strong view about Kashmir and the scope of freedom-fighting in Kashmir. It would concern me if… the definition of terrorism was to cover maybe (the) legitimate freedom-fight in Kashmir.”



    Warsi was also accused of disributing leaflets in Muslims areas during her 2005 election campaign to court the Muslim vote. These leaflets which have reportedly redistributed by former counciller Mr Scott, read:

    “Labour has scrapped Section 28, which was introduced by the Conservatives to stop schools promoting alternative sexual lifestyles such as homosexuality to children as young as seven years old.

    “Labour reduced the age of consent for homosexuality from 18 to 16, allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships.”

    HOWEVER after her appointment to the shadow cabinet everything CHANGED!

    In an interview with The Guardian,after her appointment to the shadow cabinet Warsi said:
    “I look back at lots of my election leaflets and think, ‘God – why did I phrase it like that? What was I on?'” she told the paper.
    After her appointment Shadow Minister Warsi has even gone on to say that people who back the British National Party (BNP), may even have a point;”They have some very legitimate views. People who say ‘we are concerned about crime and justice in our communities – we are concerned about immigration in our communities'”.
    Furthermore On 22 October 2009 Baroness Warsi represented the Conservatives on a controversial edition of Question Time marking the first ever appearance of Nick Griffin leader of the BNP.[12] During that broadcast she strongly criticised the BNP, and when directly asked whether she was in favour of civil partnerships, replied “I think that people who want to be in a relationship together, in the form of a civil partnership, absolutely have the right to do that.”

    Source: Question Time, 22 October 2009

    Sayeeda Warsi typical example of those who tred the failed path of political participation in westminister and is an example of how one has to conform to the secular norms to get ahead at the expense of their values and principles. The reality of the road of political participation in wesminister is the quickest way for Muslims to LOOSE their Islamic voice.

  3. Abu layth

    May 16, 2010 at 12:33 PM


    syeeda warsi epitomises the compromises Muslims have to make to their deen in order to climb the greasy ladder.

    Appearing on Question Time with BNP leader Nick Griffin last year, she said that gay people “absolutely have the right” to have civil partnerships.

    The following is a question and answer session with syeeda warsi taken from the independent newpaper

    Do you disapprove of sex before marriage?

    Syeeda warsi’s answer
    “Individuals are free to live by their own moral codes.”

    Do you find the tone of the debate over Muslim integration profoundly depressing and faintly racist?

    Syeeda warsi’s answer

    “People are coming at cohesion, and not just Muslim integration, from a tabloid perspective. For example Sharia law and whether it should be used in this country is often badly misrepresented. But Sharia law is not about chopping off hands. Muslim women should not be at the behest of unscrupulous Sharia councils; they should have the same protection as non-Muslim women. People should also think about the language they are using, terms used can create misunderstanding and have a negative impact on community cohesion.”

    How do we engage with the angry young men on the streets and prevent them turning to extremist and terror groups?

    Syeeda warsi’s answer

    “We need to inspire people to feel part of Britain, so we need to explain its institutions and democratic process. We need to explain to people that there is room for dissent, by lobbying Parliament, signing petitions, demonstrating in the streets or even living in a shack outside Parliament. What we need to make clear is that we don’t do bombs. We have learnt from Northern Ireland that progress can be made if you get people round the table talking.”

    “You appeared upset by the Government’s repeal of Section 28 and the lowering of the age of consent for gay people. How can someone so anti-gay be a leading figure in the cuddly Cameron Conservatives?

    Syeeda warsi’s answer

    “I am not anti-gay, I am a strong defender of civil liberties. I have strong views on sex education, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and believe parental choice takes precedent. It should be the parents’ decision whether their child receives sex education at school. Personally I believe the parent is the best person to educate their child on this issue.Britain’s got the highest number of teenage pregnancies in Europe, this doesn’t suggest to me our current approach is working.”

    • Shariq

      May 16, 2010 at 12:36 PM

      So…. what exactly did she say in those answers which would epitomize compromises in the Deen?

    • PakistaniMD

      May 17, 2010 at 4:44 PM

      I agree with Shariq. Ms. Warsi may have said some things that not all politically active Muslims may like (see iengage’s take on her), she is still a Muslim and committed to helping fellow Muslim Pakistanis, Indians, Bengalis, and others to become better integrated. We all know that Muslims in the UK are not as well integrated overall as Muslims are in the US. Even though UK has many more Muslim politicians, British Muslims fail to come to terms with societal balance and fail to effectively integrate with the wider community.

  4. Abu layth

    May 16, 2010 at 1:29 PM


    She is for gay marriage.

    She believes people are allowed to follow their own moral code which means she isn’t against zina

    she isn’t against homosexuality

    shariah law isn’t about cutting the hand of theif. Indeed there are many aspects of the shariah but it also includes cutting the hand ofthe thief

    oh and I forgot she is also against polygyny.

  5. Abu layth

    May 16, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    that’s the reference for her saying she’s against polygyny.

  6. sabirah

    May 16, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    again the muslims are catching the ball thrown from the western media. She’s a muslim woman part in a western government. So what? Obviously she would have western opinions- she is not a scholar or a shaykha. She doesn’t stand for muslims, that’s just what CNN is making us believe.
    Germany has a muslim woman from turkey minister too since last week, she is member in the catholic christian democratic party (!). Nobody has thrown eggs and stones at her yet alhamdullillah

  7. Abu layth

    May 18, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    Integrate is a synonym for assimilate. It’s about secularising the Muslim community. So yes you can be a Muslim and edge up in the cabinet but those societal views of Islam have to be stripped away.

    Here is what jack straw said about westernising the Muslims in Europe.

    “Together with the leaders of the Muslim community we must do more to counter the influence of fundamentalists over disenchanted Muslim youth. Democrats, for example, can never accept that religious injunctions take precedence over temporal laws to do so would threaten the very basis of democratic society. Quite simply this is a central tenet of democratic political practice.”

  8. Abu layth

    May 18, 2010 at 10:10 AM


    Is this the nature of American integration?

    • Riad

      May 19, 2010 at 2:11 PM

      Exactly. This is what happens when you ‘integrate’. Rima Fakih and Sayeeda Warsi are two sides of the same coin.

      I hope Muslim Matters and everyone else in the Muslim community in the US will speak out against the example Rima Fakih is setting.

  9. Mahmud

    May 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Why this is even a news here? Is she maintaining Hizab? Islam did not permit women to lead or work in places where she will be mixing with non-mahram women. She had to transgress that boundary first to become a minister. How can this be an exciting news for Muslim?

  10. Raja Majid Zia

    May 26, 2010 at 1:05 AM

    Assalam o Alikum

    Dear Sayeeda warsani,

    This is a great effort that you win and elect muslim woman parliment member.I proud for this great achivement. I am from AJK Pakistan.ALLAH bless you.

    Best OF LUCK.

    Raja Majid Zia

  11. Abu layth

    June 5, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Riaz. She wasn’t elected she was appointed as a member of the house of lords after she lost the elections and then she was appointed as cabinet minister.

    Strange democracy.

    • sabirah

      June 6, 2010 at 2:17 AM

      the UK is no democracy.

  12. tover

    June 5, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    I agree with Abu layth, its clear as daylight her contradictory views with Islam yet some still blindly support her and thus indirectly her views as well.

  13. Yaqeen needed

    June 5, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    Relevant ayah

    أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَى سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَى بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
    سورة الجاثية –

    لَكَ فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يَتَّبِعُونَ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ بِغَيْرِ هُدًى مِّنَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
    سورة القصص

    أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا
    سورة الفرقان

  14. Iftikhar Ahmad

    June 15, 2010 at 9:45 AM


    Syeda Warsi was appointed the first Muslim cabinet member. She was not the elected member. Indian High Commissioner was the first to welcome and congratulated her. The reason is that there is no difference between the mentality of a Hindu and an English. She is the “show boy” of the British Establishment. She is going to be used against the interests of the Muslim community by the British Establishment. She welcomed the introduction of English tests for immigrants from the sub-continent. After entering Britain, they could easily learn English in local accents, wherever they live. She will prove to be the foot and mouth disease of the Pakistani and Muslim communities in the future.

    She is the product of British education system which makes a man stupid, according to Lord Bartend Russell. She is unable to enjoy the beauty of Arabic/Urdu literature and poetry, I guess. She is just an economic slave of the British society and a British citizen.
    Iftikhar Ahmad

  15. Obid

    March 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Why all this bad mouthing of another believer? There seem to be many double standards in the supposedly “muslim/Islamic world” It makes me wonder how many muslim men are responsible for her having the views she has about society in the UK. How many Muslim “educators” inadvertently had an off-putting effect on her? What drove her to choose the current path she is on, which clearly raises several conflicts of interest, judging by the way she answered guardedly and defensively, afterall isn’t a muslim allowed even to reject shahadah if they fear for their life? What if a person fears for their life but (with modern media) also fears the backlash if such words of (supposedly) disbelief, result also in death… such that it leaves the believer in utter confusion..unable to make a decision in their own favour.. perhaps without having any 2nd chances? A true believer is fearless to what people say and think, as people are often in error and more judgemental of others than their own selves, fearing only the almighty and hoping for the merciful one of all mercies to relent and show compassion, and a way out of adversity and tribulation.

    May this be a lesson to us all. Much of these comments are wasteful idle chat. I hope Allah perfects us in our faith, and redeems us from our own carnal nature.

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