Councillor Muhammad Afzal becomes Birmingham’s new Lord Mayor. The veteran Labour politician was sworn in to be the “First Citizen” of the city where he’s lived for more than 50 years now. Muhammad Afzal who was first elected as a councillor way back in 1982 from city’s Aston Ward is currently the longest serving Muslim councillor in the UK.
Mohammad Afzal, who originally belongs to Dina near Jhelum, Pakistan, went to the UK in 1969. He also happens to be the first Muslim elected as a councillor in Birmingham. Mohammed Afzal is Birmingham’s 5th Muslim Lord Mayor of Pakistani background. Other four are Councillor Mahmood Hussain followed by Councillor Abdul Rashid JP, Councillor Shafiq Shah and the current Lord Mayor Councillor Muhammad Azim.
Councillor Mahmood Hussain was the first Muslim Lord Mayor of Birmingham, while councillor Shafi Shah holds the record of being the youngest ever Lord Mayor. Muhammad Afzal was selected by city council’s ruling Labour group back in January 2020 after the full council meeting. He was set to become Lord Mayor in May 2020 but due the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown it wasn’t possible for him to take charge.
He has replaced Councillor Mohammad Azim as Lord Mayor as the later steps down from the post serving two years at the Lord Mayor office. Normally the lord mayors are secured to serve for one year only.
Muhammad Afzal has also served as the chair of Labour’s BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) group. Cllr Afzal was also elected to be the Lord Mayor back in 2016, but soon after he withdrew from running the post after his alleged remarks about then Prime Minister David Cameron. He was criticized for accusing David Cameron as “Islamophobe” over the government’s anti-terrorism program “Prevent” during a rally at Birmingham Central Mosque.