Enfield borough’s first Bangladesh-born mayor sworn in

Mohammad Islam grew up in the South Asian country before emigrating to the UK in 2004, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Enfield Ann Cable MBE (left) and new Enfield mayor Mohammad Islam (right) receiving his chains of office

Mohammad Islam has been elected as Enfield’s new mayor for 2024/25 – the first in the borough’s history to be born in Bangladesh.

Cllr Islam, a Labour councillor, took over as mayor from Suna Hurman. Margaret Greer will be his deputy for the year.

The Ponders End ward councillor, who was elected into office in 2022, held back tears as he thanked his family, his fellow Labour councillors and Cllr Hurman for their support.

He said: “I’m proud and honoured to stand here as the elected mayor of this great and vibrant borough of ours. My fellow councillors bestow a great privilege and honour upon me and I express my sincere appreciation for placing your trust in me.”

Cllr Islam spoke briefly about his journey to becoming mayor, detailing his move in 2004 to the UK from Bangladesh where he was born.

The new mayor highlighted how he obtained his British citizenship from the same chamber he was being elected as mayor and that, in Bangladesh where he grew up, only a “small percentage” of children in the village completed secondary education.

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“I am privileged that my father relocated our family to the capital city [Dhaka] for my higher education,” he said.

Cllr Islam explained that after moving to the UK and completing his further education at the University of Roehampton and Queen Mary University, he worked during the evenings in Tesco and taught in colleges during the day. 

Council leader Nesil Caliskan thanked the outgoing mayor, Cllr Hurman, for her work in the borough and voiced her support for Cllr Islam. 

Cllr Caliskan said: “He has been a dedicated individual in his role [as deputy]. I look forward to seeing him take up the role of mayor, I got to know him before he became a councillor as someone who was involved in the community. 

“He particularly cares about Ponders End which he has chosen to make his home. I have no doubt in the year ahead the commitment he has shown to residents will be the same level he shows in the role as mayor.”

Opposition leader Alessandro Georgiou seconded support of Cllr Islam, describing him as “kind man, a gentleman, fair on committees, and a friend on the backbenches”. 

Cllr Greer, ward councillor for Upper Edmonton, was elected as deputy mayor, after being nominated by Cllr Caliskan and seconded by Cllr Georgiou. 

Cllr Georgiou said: “Cllr Greer has been fair and given me the time, sometimes too much time Cllr Caliskan might say, to put my point forward.

“The harshest critic of anyone in this chamber is Michael Rye and if Cllr Greer is alright in Cllr Rye’s book then she’s alright by me.”

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