A Muslim mum-of-four standing for election within the ‘red wall’ subsequent month is hoping to turn out to be the primary British politician to put on a niqab.
Fajila Patel, 36, says she desires to ‘inspire’ extra girls to get into politics — together with those that undertake the complete veil — by looking for election in Blackburn.
If profitable, she would be the first Conservative councillor to put on the Muslim modesty garment, which covers the entire face aside from the realm across the eyes.
And she believes she would even be the primary of any social gathering within the UK to carry such a place.
She is being supported by her husband, Tory councillor Tiger Patel, whose viral video helped him safe an unlikely victory within the Labour heartland final 12 months.
Fajila stated she had ‘no concerns’ about Islamophobia within the Tory social gathering, regardless of a May 2021 report stating that anti-Muslim sentiment ‘remains a problem’ amongst members.
But she branded feedback made by PM Boris Johnson in evaluating girls sporting the complete veil to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’ as ‘indefensible’.
She stated: ‘I don’t agree with the whole lot a Conservative Party politician says or does.
‘In the identical means that not each Labour campaigner agrees with the whole lot a Labour politician says.
‘Some comments are indefensible. I am not trying to make a statement, I am just trying to show that as a woman I can make a difference.’
Ms Patel will stand as a councillor within the Bastwell and Daisyfield ward of Blackburn on May 5, the place almost 84% of persons are of Muslim religion.
She defined: ‘The essential motive [I’m standing for election] is I need to break down limitations.
‘I wished to assist encourage different girls to return ahead and be assured sufficient to face as a councillor.
‘We all know that native politics in our neighborhood continues to be male-dominated.
‘There are far too few girls concerned in native politics and this wants to alter as I do know girls could make an enormous contribution.
‘It is important for women to have their voices heard.’
She added: ‘This was at all times my very own determination.
‘There can also be an incredible false impression about females who put on the complete veil within the UK.
‘This is based on the media’s portrayal. I do know many who’re clever and utterly impartial.
‘I wished to assist make a distinction in my very own neighborhood and assist to result in change.
‘You can only do that by getting involved. It is not easy and people may not always agree with what you say or do but you can only try.’
Julian Arnold, chairman of Blackburn Conservative Association and a parish councillor, stated Ms Patel’s candidacy within the native elections was a ‘breakthrough’.
He stated: ‘Fajila is an excellent particular person, supporting her giant household and Tiger, however desires to make a distinction to interrupt down boundaries and assist her neighborhood.
‘Fajila chooses to put on the niqab, which is her proper and a proper that we might at all times defend.
‘Conversely we would always defend somebody who didn’t want to put on some other non secular insignia.
‘It is the best of the person to indicate their non secular beliefs in the way in which they’re snug with, and as Conservatives we assist that proper.
‘We continue to make groundbreaking moves to advance the Conservative Party in Blackburn.’
Mr Arnold, 51, went on: ‘I’ll say this as nicely, we had points with Islamophobia.
‘I took over this party three or four years ago. There is no room for any type of racism in a party that I head up, and I will be quite straight with you, we’ve needed to take away folks.’
He stated he was ‘immensely proud’ to assist Ms Patel’s election bid — even when it triggered ‘upset’ in the neighborhood: ‘It may upset some people. But I will defend to the hilt Fajila’s proper to put on the niqab.
‘It’s not a gimmick. It’s what she wears, and it’s what she’s about. She has a niqab. It’s what she feels snug in together with her religion.’
He added: ‘The values of serving to folks, of neighborhood, of neighborhood involvement chime, clearly, with the Muslim religion that each Tiger and his spouse are very dedicated to.
‘Michael Gove wants to meet Tiger and Fajila when she gets in — fingers crossed. It’s what the Conservative Party is about — and we’re ground-breaking.’
Mr Patel, 52, stated: ‘This is the primary lady within the UK standing within the Conservative Party, in any social gathering, who wears the niqab.
‘The local Conservative Party has been supportive, and she wanted to help break down barriers. I am supporting her as much as I can.’
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