Lord Mayor's Biography
Lord Mayor's Biography
Bangladeshi by birth, born in 1973 at Islampur Munshi Bari, fourth son of a Taylor who worked at the factories in London, brought up in the rural villages of Umor Pur Union, Sylhet Bangladesh. I did not have the opportunity to receive primary education, I started secondary education in Bangladesh and eventually completed GCSE studying at Rutherford School in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne, having arrived with my mom and brothers to the UK back in 1985 aged 12 with no grasp of any English at all. I completed my A Levels at Rutherford School before attending Newcastle College where I studied and obtained a Diploma in Business and Finance.
I began working from a very young age, working part time at local restaurants and soon learnt the art of cooking. I have continuously worked in the catering industry mainly helping my brothers at their restaurants/takeaways. My passion was to become a professional footballer, however the opportunity was not there for an aspiring young Asian player to make it into football! I soon set my aims to become a Youth and Community worker, initially becoming a volunteer with the United Black Youth Association (UBYA) and eventually holding a part time post by 1992 whilst completing my education and undergoing further career training.
My teenage years were very packed, undergoing training whilst working as a part time Youth Worker, I continued to play football for local teams - 'still dreaming to make it' - as well as holding a second job working in the catering industry until I secured my first full time post as a Youth Worker in 1996 working for the Racial Harassment Project, this was a specialist project working with both Black and White young people to foster cohesion, integration and bringing young people together. I left this project in mid 2000 to work for North Tyneside Council as a Senior Youth Worker based at Wallsend. I worked as a Welfare Adviser for the Citizens Advice Bureau in South Shields after leaving the Youth Service.
I married my wife Rubi Sultana in March 2001, together we have 3 sons, 18 year old Hamza, 16 year old Tamim and Ridwan aged 5. All my boys study in Newcastle, Hamza is looking forward to studying at Sunderland University later on this year.
I served as a management committee member for 'Show Racism the Red Card' a project I continued to support, the project is one of my chosen charities for which I hope to raise as much funds as possible. Football was my dream and I continued to play for my school and then local teams. In 1996 I established the Newcastle Tigers Football Club offering Black and Asian players the opportunity to play in local leagues, challenging racism at grassroots level. I gained a qualification as a football referee and coach, however gradually lost interest in the game.
I used to love the rough camping experiences during my teenage years exploring the lakes and UK locations, a tradition which continues with us, my boys always look forward to our annual UK holiday discovering new locations, however rough camping trips are replaced with caravans or cottages!
Since arriving in the UK I have always lived in Elswick Ward, I have always been politically active and many did see me entering politics at some point in my life and although I have been a Labour Party member for many years, I finally contested my first election in 2010 when I was elected as a Councillor for Elswick Ward.
I have enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to solve problems on a ward basis for residents but, as will be appreciated, it is a never-ending task! During my time at the Council I have served on many committees including Regulatory and Appeals Committee, Health Scrutiny Committee, Cooperative Parenting, a member of SACRE, Law Centre and Centre West Board. I held the Communities portfolio only becoming the City's first non-white and Muslim Cabinet member in 2018.
I am the first non-white Muslim Lord Mayor of Newcastle in all of its 800 year history, which comes with a certain level of expectation! However, I look forward to my role as Lord Mayor. I look forward to visits throughout the City and meeting distinguished guests, above all I look forward to visiting various wonderful projects and the multi diverse communities that make our City one of the most friendly and welcoming Cities, welcoming people of all ethnicities and faiths who choose to make Newcastle their home to study, live and work in.