Sayeeda Warsi Britain's most powerful Muslim woman
AFP, March 25, 2009
LONDON (AFP) — Britain's most powerful Muslim woman is Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who notably helped rescue a Briton jailed in Sudan for calling a teddy bear Mohammed two years ago, a panel of judges said Wednesday.
Warsi, a 38-year-old member of the House of Lords, said her Pakistani origins and her "strong faith" contributed to her career success, highlighted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Other names in the top five of the Muslim Women Power List, chosen by a panel of the commission's judges, were BBC News presenter Mishal Hussain, Grange Park Opera chief executive Wasfi Kani and Farmida Bi, a banking partner for law firm Norton Rose LLP.
"I personally come from a family of all girls and was brought up to believe that anything was possible and being a Muslim woman should in no way be seen as a barrier but as an asset to achievement," Warsi said.
"I'm extremely proud to be named as the most powerful British Muslim woman and I'm sure my Pakistani origins, my strong faith and my Yorkshire upbringing has played a huge part," she added.
Trevor Phillips, head of the commission, said, "Our list of female Muslim high achievers challenges many stereotypes, celebrating some truly impressive individuals."
Warsi was one of two British peers who secured the release of Gillian Gibbons in 2007.
Gibbons, a 54-year-old teacher from Liverpool, was arrested in November 2007 and sentenced to 15 days in prison for insulting religion by allowing children at an English school in Sudan where she worked to name a teddy bear Mohammed.