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20 May 2012

NRI is first Muslim Lord Mayor of UK town

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London: Indian-origin councillor Abdul Razak Osman has become the first Lord Mayor of the Islamic faith to hold the high office in the multi-cultural town of Leicester, which has a large minority of Indian origin people.

Osman was born in Kenya and arrived in the UK in 1971. His late father Yousuf Razak worked on the East African Railway, and worked for a local engineering firm after moving to Leicester.
The Lord Mayor is Leicester's first Citizen and has a high profile role maintaining and promoting the interests of the city and its citizens, by attending a variety of civic engagements during the year.

Leicester previously had Hindu and Sikh Lord Mayors, but Osman is the first Muslim to hold the high office.

Incidentally, the office of the Deputy Lord Mayor of Leicester is also held by an Indian-origin councillor, Mustafa Kamal, who hails from Ferozepur, Punjab.

Osman has worked with several charity organisations and was instrumental in fundraising to build two villages and a school in Kutch, Gujarat for orphaned children, following an earthquake in 2011.

Osman, who joined the city council in 1996, takes over from Councillor Rob Wann.

Osman said after being sworn in at the Town Hall last night: "It's an important year, with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, so it's a privilege for me to hold office with everything that's going on".

He added: "I want to focus on visiting the communities and raising the profile of the office of Lord Mayor. I'm proud to be the first Muslim councillor to hold the position - we've had Christian, Hindu, Sikh and now I'm able to bring the Islamic faith to the office which is a great honour".
Osman, who previously held the office of High Bailiff and Deputy Lord Mayor, is married to Shaina, who will serve as the Lady Mayoress.

The couple have two children. The term of Leicester's Lord Mayor is one year, and runs from May to May.

Each year the longest serving City Councillor is offered the role.

Leicester has had a Mayor since the year 1209. From 1928, the Mayor became a Lord Mayor. The town also has a separately elected Mayor, currently Peter Soulsby (Labour).

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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