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So proud, says city’s first Bangladeshi councillor
5:00am Monday 2nd June 2014 in News
OXFORD’S first city councillor from a Bangladeshi background has spoken of her pride at being elected.
Farida Anwar became a councillor for Headington Hill and Northway last week, winning a majority of nearly 300.
The Headley Way resident has lived in Oxford for about 40 years and was in tears when she was elected at the Town Hall.
She said: “It was very emotional for me. I am very proud that I have become Oxford’s first Bangladeshi councillor.
“The news has gone all the way to Bangladesh and they are also very proud that I have become a councillor in a city as famous as Oxford.
“I am very much looking forward to starting work.”
Mrs Anwar, a Labour councillor, is married to Sayedul Hague and is a grandmother of three.
During her career she worked as a civil servant in the Department for Health and Social Security and as a local government commissioner in the London Borough of Camden.
She is an honorary secretary of the Oxfordshire Bangladeshi Association.
Mrs Anwar said: “There are a lot of issues in my ward and this is my first time as a councillor so I have to talk to people and find out what their concerns are.
“One of the issues in my ward at the moment is the traffic and the safety of the roads.”
Mrs Anwar, a practising Muslim, came to the UK in 1966 as a student.
She said: “In the elder generation, Oxford’s Bangladeshi community has a lack of language skills and they are not getting their welfare rights and education.
“Housing is also a big issue and you often find families with a lot of children living in small houses. They need someone from their culture who can represent them.”
According to figures from the 2011 Census, there are 1,791 people of Bangladeshi origin in Oxford, making up 1.1 per cent of the population.
Last year Mrs Anwar’s colleague Mohammed Abbasi, originally from Pakistan, became Oxford’s first non-white Lord Mayor.
At last month’s elections, Labour increased its majority on the city council by three, meaning it now has 33 of 48 available seats.
Mrs Anwar’s seat was previously held by Lib Dem Mohammed Altaf Khan, who is now a city councillor for Headington.
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