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16 Muslim women in fray for May 6 elections

A quarter may emerge victorious: BNP

27 April 2010: As many as 16 Muslim women candidates are contesting the general election elections scheduled to be held early next month.

And, if predictions by the ‘Muslim News’ — a publication focusing on the Muslim communities in the UK — come true, up to a quarter are likely to win.

There are around 1.6 million Muslims in the UK, the majority from the Indian sub-continent.

According to the assessment, one fourth of the 16 candidates are in prominent positions to win parliamentary seats for the first time. It also predicts victory for at least one of the two Conservative candidates.

The Labour Party has selected Muslim women candidates Yasmin Qureshi, Shabana Mahmood and Maryam Khan to fight the Bolton South East, Birmingham Ladywood and Bury North seats.

The Respect Party/Unity Coalition leader Salma Yaqoob is believed to have an edge in Birmingham Hall Green, a `heavily colonised Muslim area’, according to the British National Party.

The first Muslim MP was elected in 1997, the second in 2001. Their number doubled during the previous election to four. So far, all have been Labour.

A majority of Muslim women candidates are of Asian origin — Pakistan.
Among male candidates, three of the four MPs — Sadiq Khan, Shahid Malik and Khalid Mahmood — are seeking re-election. In Glasgow Central, Anas Sarwar is seeking to replace his father, Mohammad Sarwar, who is stepping down.

Reacting to the assessment, the British National Party said the number of Muslim MPs has been growing in direct proportion to the `Islamification’ of Britain, steadily doubling in each election since 1997, when the first one was elected.

Among male Muslim candidates, three of the four incumbent MPs, Sadiq Khan, Shahid Malik and Khalid Mahmood are seeking re-election, while in Glasgow Central, Anas Sarwar is seeking to replace his father, Mohammad Sarwar, who is stepping down.

It is already clear that the Muslim votes will play a “pivotal” in 82 constituencies during the forthcoming general election.

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) has claimed the Muslim vote could prove decisive with 82 constituencies having a Muslim population large enough to determine the poll results.

MPACUK in a statement said: Our local campaigns are targeting MPs and candidates who ignore Muslim concerns….”

“Muslim voters can no longer be taken for granted by Labour as a new politicised generation is becoming swing voters, who demand action on issues from Palestine to anti-terror laws” said Rukiya Dadhiwala, MPACUK Campaign Coordinator.

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