Baronness Sayeeda Warsi

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

Sayeeda Warsi was born in England to a Pakistani family. She studied law at the University of Leeds and after completing her studies went on the practice as a solicitor in a number of different legal offices.

Her political career began in 2005 when she ran in the general election for the Conservative Party. This was a major moment in the history of the party as she was the first Muslim woman chosen by the party to run for election. She was unsuccessful in winning a seat in the election, however she was named the special advisor to Michael Howard MP as well as being named by Prime Minister David Cameron the Vice Chair of the Conservative Party.

In 2007 she was named the Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion. This was another historic moment for her as at the age of 36 she became the youngest person to join the House of Lords. It was during this time that she made national headlines as a result of her role in the mediating the case of a British teacher who had been jailed in the Sudan for insulting Islam. (The teacher, Gillian Gibbons was later released).

In 2010 she was appointed as a Minister without a Portfolio creating yet more history as the first Muslim to serve in the British Cabinet. In addition, she was named Chairman of the Conservative Party. She focused a lot of her work on faiths and started discussions centred on people “standing up for faith”. She also led the government’s campaign to end forced marriage. In 2012 as a result of her work she was named Senior Minister of State in the Foreign Office and Minister for Faith and Community. During her time in these roles she worked with religious leaders to promote the tolerance of all faiths as well as creating stronger communities.

In 2014 Warsi resigned her post in opposition to David Cameron’s government’s stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict. In her resignation letter she said the government’s “approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically”. She would go on to discuss her regret at not speaking up in 2012 when Britain did not recognise the Palestinian statehood. She faced some backlash from Conservative Party members for her stance however the Labour Party commended her for her views.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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