Shahid Malik

Unsuccessful in being re-elected for MP for Dewsbury in the May 2010 General Election Shahid Malik was elected to the House of Commons as a Labour MP in May 2005 for Dewsbury.

Labour MP in May 2005 for Dewsbury.

He fared badly in the MP’s expenses scandal in May 2009, when he was suspended from Government after reports that he rented a three-bedroomed home in his Yorkshire constituency at a below-market rate of less than £100 a week. He was subsequently reinstated as the Minister for Communities at the Department of Communities & Local Government.

In the October 2008 reshuffle he was promoted to a ministerial position – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State – at the Ministry of Justice.In August 2007 he was appointed a minister in the Department for International Development.

He was born in Burnley in 1968, the Lancashire town where his father has served as Deputy Mayor.

Notwithstanding his work in community relations and his role on the Labour National Executive, in June 2001 he was beaten by the police, handcuffed and arrested while trying to calm a confrontation involving young Asian youths provoked by the BNP.

Malik was a Commissioner of the Commission for Racial Equality from 1998 to 2002 and member of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission. He is vice chairman of UK UNESCO and a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee. He is Chief Executive of Inclusive Futures, Burnley and a race equality adviser to the Home Office, Prison Service and Middlesex University. He is also a member of Gordon Brown’s Economic Policy Commission.

In October 2007, he was detained by US Homeland Security while departing from Dulles Airport in Washington DC, and stopped and searched. On the incident he stated, “After a few minutes a couple of other people were also taken to one side. We were all Muslims – the other two were black Muslims, both with Muslim names….Obviously, there was no malice involved but it has to be said that the US system does not inspire confidence.”

Shahid Malik has admonished Muslim community organisations in recent years, for example observing,”Ruth Kelly, the Communities Minister, has set down the rules for engagement with government. Attending Holocaust Memorial Day is a prerequisite. The MCB [Muslim Council of Britain] cannot enjoy the privileges of partnership with government without shouldering responsibilities”.

Notwithstanding this impeccable fealty, Ruth Kelly’s successor, CLG Secretary of State Hazel Blears could not countenance Shahid’s participation in 2008 IslamExpo:”Britain’s first Muslim minister has been prevented from addressing an Islamic conference after an interdepartmental row over the alleged political affiliations of an organiser of the London event…Hours before the event, Malik contacted Anas Altikriti, one of the directors of the conference, and apologised for the fact that he would not be able to attend.” (The Guardian, 14th July 2008).

A further admonishment from the junior minister came in January 2009, following MCB’s abstention from the Holocaust Memorial Day event:~ “I’m sad to be writing critically about the Muslim Council of Britain on the issue of the Holocaust Memorial Day once more …For the record, as a former humanitarian affairs minister, I was angry at the Israeli military action in Gaza and at the BBC’s decision not to air Gaza appeal, but I am also a proud member of the HMD Trust – there is no contradiction” (The Guardian, 29th January 2009).

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