London, 24 Rajab 1436/13 May 2015 (MINA) – Elected as Scotland’s first Muslim MP, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has vowed to engage with the Muslim community and speak for it across UK.
“Just elected few days ago but I am hoping to engage with people across all Muslim communities in the country,” she said On Islam as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
“Hopefully they can see me as a point of contact, somebody who will stand up and always speak for equality, fairness and prosperity. So I am looking forward to engaging with all communities and hope they do contact me.”
Ahmed-Sheikh, 44, won the Ochil and South Perthshire seat for the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate in last week’s general election.
Becoming the only Muslim lawmaker in Scotland, the mother-of-four was part of a wave of SNP candidates who unseated Labour and Liberal Democrat lawmakers to take 56 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies.
“More than 50 percent of the people in Scotland voted for the SNP, this is important,” Ahmed-Sheikh said.
“With 56 MPs, its historical for us in terms of our numbers. All eyes are on us to make a difference on the ground and that is the job that we are going to do.”
Along with Ahmed-Sheikh, three Muslim candidates won seats for the first time for the opposition party, in addition to the five who were re-elected.
Yet, Anas Sarwar in Glasgow, who was the only sitting Muslim MP for Labour party was not re-elected after falling victim of the sweeping SNP victories.
A record of 13 Muslim lawmakers have been elected in one of the most unpredictable and extraordinary general elections in Britain, doubling the number from 8 in 2010.
Leading Scotland’s wing against the Conservatives, the SNP is expected to oppose welfare cuts planned by the Tory government.
“We are the anti-austerity party,” Ahmed-Sheikh said.
“We are disappointed that we have a Tory government. So, I believe the SNP will be the voice of opposition and the voice of change and the voice of fearless.”
She argued that her constituency in Clackmannanshire borough contains pockets of deprivation, where one-in-four children live in poverty.
“Anti-austerity is on our agenda because austerity is not working for the people of Scotland. We need to invest in our economy, boost jobs and stop the dreadful thing that people rely on food banks. These are our priorities.”
The SNP also opposed anti-EU voices, part of which were clear in Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign promises to hold an in-out referendum on Britain remaining in the bloc.
“We will be working to ensure Scotland stays within the EU,” she said.
Scotland has about 75,000 Muslims. About 40% of them live in Glasgow.
Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country, which has around thirty mosques. (T/P006/NMT)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)