A niqab-wearing candidate may not be a familiar scene in any British local elections. Thus, niqabi candidate Fajila Patel hopes to inspire change and challenge misconceptions when she represents Conservative party in the upcoming May 5 Blackburn with Darwen council elections.
“I wanted to help make a difference in my own community and help to bring about change,” Fajila, 38, told Lancashire Telegraph.
“You can only do that by getting involved. It is not easy and people may not always agree with what you say or do but you can only try.”
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Mother of four, Fajila is the wife of the Altaf (Tiger) Patel, who became a household name last year for his viral videos.
“The main reason is I want to break down barriers. I wanted to help inspire other women to come forward and be confident enough a stand as a councillor. We all know that local politics in our community continues to be male dominated,” Fajila said.
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Though she will run for the Conservative Party, Fajila does not totally agree with its policies.
“I do not agree with everything a Conservative Party politician says or does. In the same way that not every Labour campaigner agrees with everything a Labour politician says.
“Some comments are indefensible. I am not trying to make a statement I am just trying to show that as a woman I can make a difference.”
Cllr Tiger Patel said: “The local Conservative Party has been supportive and she wanted to help break down barriers. I am supporting her much as I can.”
The estimates of 2009 suggested a total of about 2.4 million Muslims over all the UK. According to the Pew Forum, the number of Muslims in Britain could now be around 3 million.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not just a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is free to cover or show her face or hands.