Muslim Council of Britain elects Zara Mohammed as first female leader

Zara Mohammed has been elected as the first female leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

Ms Mohammed, a training and development consultant, is the new secretary-general of Britain's largest umbrella body of mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim associations.

She said she felt "humbled and truly honoured" to take on the responsibility.

"I am really grateful for the opportunity and the trust that the delegates and the MCB have put in me to carry this role forward," she said.

"Being a young female, it is quite a good representation of the future leadership that we need to see now."

Ms Mohammed, a masters graduate in human rights law, hopes her election would inspire confidence in other young women.

She added: "I think women sometimes hesitate to take on leadership roles even though they are more than qualified to do so.

"It is really important to engage young people, engage more women and diversify the organisation and the work we are doing."

The 29-year-old from Glasgow is also the first Scottish secretary general of the MCB.

She won the majority of affiliate votes against Ajmal Masroor, an Imam, teacher and broadcaster who was also running for the post.

London mayor Sadiq Khan congratulated Ms Mohammed and said it was "terrific" to see her elected.

As part of her manifesto, Ms Mohammed pledged to help develop practical solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: "We want to challenge misinformation and we want to continue to promote the guidance, the clarity and reassure the community as part of the united and national effort.

"So definitely promoting the vaccine, encouraging our communities to follow the guidance and keep safe. So that will definitely be at the forefront of the work we are continuing doing."

As well as looking at how ethnic minority communities have been impacted during the pandemic, Ms Mohammed also said Islamophobia was a "pervasive" issue she wanted to continue to challenge.

She succeeded Harun Khan, who completed the maximum of four years as the organisation's head.

Mr Khan said: "I wish the very best of success to Zara Mohammed - may she continue to lead this organisation to greater heights for the betterment of our communities across the country."

She previously served as assistant secretary-general for the MCB.