First Muslim Woman in British Cabinet, and Co-chairman of the Conservative Party
Hijri 1391-Present (AH); Common Era 1971–Present (CE)
In 2007, Sayeeda Warsi became the first female Muslim member of the British cabinet. Considered to be the most powerful Muslim woman in Britain, Sayeeda serves as co-chairman of the Conservative Party.1 Born in Dewsbury, England to Pakistani immigrants, she was raised and educated in Britain, at the University of Leeds in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and the York College of Law in York, respectively.2 Since assuming public office, Sayeeda has spoken passionately on Islam-related issues, and has even contended directly with Muslims of more extremist leanings. In 2007, for example, she traveled to Khartoum, Sudan along with Lord Nazir Ahmed to arrange for the release of a British schoolteacher condemned to prison after permitting her students to call a teddy bear “Muhammad.”3 In 2009, while traveling in Luton, a group of Muslims threw eggs at her and accused her of not being a “proper” Muslim.4 Despite such allegations, Sayeeda has remained committed to countering Islamophobia. During a recent speech at Leicester University, Sayeeda opined that Islamophobia has become so acceptable in Britain that it has “passed the dinner table test.”5 Such statements testify to her willingness to publicly address issues of anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination in Britain.  Sarah Joseph and Aisha Mirza, “A Colorful Conservative,” Emel Magazine, April 2011.  Sayeeda Warsi's Official Cabinet Website  "Teddy bear teacher arrives back in Britain," Daily Mail.  "Tory Muslim peer pelted with eggs," BBC.  "Syeeda Warsi: A matter of pride and prejudice," The Guardian.