Salma Yaqoob: Wikis


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Salma Yaqoob

Leader of Respect party
Assumed office 
Preceded by Linda Smith

Born 1971
Ethnicity British Pakistani
Political party Respect
Children 3
Alma mater Aston University
Religion Islam
Website Salma Yaqoob's official website

Salma Yaqoob is the leader, and former vice-chair, of Respect – The Unity Coalition and a Birmingham City Councillor. She is also the head of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and a spokesperson for Birmingham Central Mosque [1][2]



Salma was born in Bradford in 1971 but later moved to Birmingham. She is a qualified psychotherapist.[3]


In her youth she was concerned about the treatment of women in countries such as Pakistan, and even considered converting to Christianity but remained after researching that women did have equal rights in Islam.

Yaqoob became more politically active after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. She made a memorable appearance as an audience member on the political BBC programme Question Time just days after the attacks[citation needed], which became a somewhat infamous episode due to the large number of Muslim activists in the audience who made explicit reference to the widely held view that 9/11 was tied in with the American government's foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East region. Yaqoob was spat at in the streets of Birmingham in the days following the attacks.[4]

Yaqoob had been involved in the 'Justice for the Yemen Seven' campaign after her family became embroiled in the proceedings.[citation needed] This campaign was to support seven (later, eight) British Muslims who were accused by the Yemeni authorities for terrorist activities in its capital Sana'a in December 1998. After their conviction, protests and lobbying in Britain eventually resulted in release of most of them.[5] Those detained in Yemen included both the son and the stepson of the radical Islamist preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri who is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.

At the Clash of Civilisations conference, organised by Ken Livingstone on 20 January 2007, Salma Yaqoob described the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London as "reprisal attacks".[6]


In the 2005 general election, she stood as the Respect candidate for the Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath constituency against Labour's Roger Godsiff MP, with the backing of the Muslim Association of Britain. She finished in second place, ahead of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates, and with 27.5% of the total vote. During the campaign, Yaqoob had faced harassment and death threats from al Ghurabaa, a takfiri Islamist group later banned under the Terrorism Act 2006. Al-Ghurabaa claimed that it is an act of apostasy for Muslims and women to participate in Western democratic elections, and its members defaced her election posters with the word 'Kafir'.[7]

Yaqoob was elected with 49.4% of the vote in the Sparkbrook ward of Birmingham City Council in the 2006 UK local elections. She claimed that her election "challenged the traditional conservatism in Islam that denies leading public positions to women, and challenged the old order, which treats our communities as silent voting fodder. And it was only possible because we united people around a progressive message of anti-racism and social justice".[8]



External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Linda Smith
Leader of RESPECT

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