A Historic Speech Wearing Hijab in the House of Commons 
By Jon Nurse

A student is 'honored and humbled' after her historic appearance wearing a hijab in the House of Commons.

  Sumaiya Karim, Wokingham's Member of Youth Parliament (MYP), led a winning debate in the chamber on Friday, November 23.

  The 16-year-old is believed to be the first person to wear a hijab while speaking at the dispatch box in Parliament.

  "It was absolutely brilliant and a fantastic experience for all of us," Sumaiya said.

"This was one of the best things I've ever done - something I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

"I was feeling a bit nervous, but I've been told that didn't come across."

 The Maiden Erlegh School Year 12 pupil, who is hoping to study medicine at university, has decided to wear a Muslim headscarf for most of her time at secondary school.

 "It was a decision I arrived at myself," she said. "I did a lot of reading when I was growing up and decided it was time to start wearing the headscarf."

  "It's such an honor [to be the first to speak in Parliament wearing a hijab] and I've been humbled by the response from everyone. I've been getting loads of emails and phone calls."

 "Parliament should be representative of the population and there are so many Muslim women in the UK. I want to show we are into politics and are part of the future of the UK."

 Sumaiya, from Lower Earley, opened a debate calling for the national curriculum to be overhauled to include wider life skills.

 "This is something I feel really passionate about," she said. "I think it's really important we address this and it's the perfect time to do it.

 "It's really important we have access to education and diverse cultures have the same opportunities. It's about engaging young people and getting them involved in these issues and engaging them for later in life. A lot of our education makes us the people we are and we are the future."

 The A-level pupil was greeted with applause at the close of her speech, after she asked why her favorite chocolate bar had risen in price from 10p to 20p.

 The national curriculum motion was one of five debated by the UK Youth Parliament at the event, chaired by the Speaker Rt Hon John Bercow MP, and received 154 of the 295 votes cast.

 Sumaiya will step down as Wokingham's MYP after deciding not to reapply for December's election.

 

Back to Pakistanlink Homepage

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 pakistanlink.com . All Rights Reserved.