Salma Yaqoob is a prominent anti-war activist and Respect’s co-founding member and vice-chair. With a total of 10,498 she came second with 27 percent of the vote in Birmingham’s Sparkbrook & Small Heath constituency in the May 2005 General Election. In May 2006 she was elected councillor for the Sparkbrook ward in Birmingham. In December 2006 she acted as an electoral monitor in the Venezuelan presidential elections.
Born in Bradford but raised in Birmingham, Salma has proven to be a remarkable icon not only for Muslim women, but for Muslims and activists throughout the country. Being a mother of three boys never stood in the way of Mrs. Yaqoob campaigning tirelessly for what she believed in and for positive change in her local community and way beyond.
Salma Yaqoob has addressed numerous demonstrations and meetings all protesting against the War in Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. She has continued to fight for civil liberties in Britain and against all policies that target those freedoms and liberties, including the anti-terrorist law recently proposed. She is a strong advocate for the right of Muslim women to wear the Hijab. Her campaigning for the rights of the elderly and those most in need, has already won her widespread support.
She is author of ‘Global and local echoes of the anti-war movement: A British Muslim prespective‘, in International Socialism Journal (autumn 2003), ‘The ‘war on terror’ and racism, asylum and immigration’, in Arguments against G8 (eds Gill Hubbard and David Miller, Pluto press 2005) and British Muslim radicalism post 9/11 in Islamic Political Radicalism: A European Comparative (ed Tahir Abbas, Edinburgh University Press, 2006).
Writing in the socialist journal ‘International Viewpoint’ in January 2008, following the Respect Party’s conference in November 2007 that was a fraught affair due to withdrawal of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), she noted, “The SWP have suggested that there is a retreat from engagement in radical politics by Muslims, and that George Galloway was adapting to this reversion to conservative community politics. They locate this retreat in the impact of the 7/7 bombings. This claim is wrong. There is no evidence that Muslims, radicalised by the impact of war and Islamaphobia, are falling in behind Home Office attempts to incorporate establishment figures on the basis of softening opposition to British foreign policy or to their campaigns of demonisation against Muslims. The handful of Muslim figures who have taken such a view patently do not have the support of the wider community. Any political benefits the Labour party have gained from the ?Brown Bounce? have very much disappeared. While there is fear and concern over new government threats to our civil liberties, there is simply no evidence that the Government?s agenda is substantially weakening the anti-imperialist or anti-racist consciousness among any significant layer of Muslims in Britain today”.
Salma Yaqoob | Protest For Gaza