• Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Labour politicians condemn car firebomb attack on Oldham’s Muslim leader

Arooj Shah. (Photo: LDRS)

By: Pooja Shrivastava

POLITICIANS have expressed their shock after the Oldham Council leader was reportedly targeted in a firebomb attack on her car. 

The vehicle of Arooj Shah, the first Muslim woman council leader to lead a northern authority, was firebombed in the early hours of Tuesday (13), stated media reports. 

Emergency services were alerted, just before 1.30 am after hearing the vehicle had been set on fire in Goldwick, Oldham. Although no one was hurt in the incident, the flames from the vehicle were said to be so intense that a neighbouring property was also damaged.

Shah has been leading the local authority since May after previous leader Sean Fielding lost his seat.

Calling the incident a “cowardly attack,” the Labour peers and politicians across Greater Manchester town have strongly condemned the incident.

Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton Chair, Jim McMahon said “the full weight of the law must be seen to bring those accountable to book”.

“My solidarity with Cllr Arooj Shah, who has been targeted in such a cowardly way,” he tweeted.



Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South, said it was a “shocking attack on a Labour woman leader” and added: “I’m sending solidarity and I hope she and her family are OK.”




Oldham Liberal Democrats described the incident as “appalling”.

“It is a frightening attack on an individual, but it also demonstrates the threat to people in public life and stops decent people from being involved in it,” a spokesman for the party said.

“This cannot be allowed to continue, and not only must we stop this criminal attack, but also the abusive approach that has been too much of the politics in Oldham recently, and the UK, in recent years,” the spokesman said.

Greater Manchester Police, who is investigating the matter, has established that the “vehicle was deliberately ignited”.

Shah will not be commenting about the incident at the moment, the council has said.

Shah has lived in Glodwick, one of England’s poorest wards, her whole life after her parents reportedly moved to the UK from Pakistan in the late 1960s.

After being elected leader of the council in May, she has spoken of her struggles battling racism and misogyny, as well as the opposition she had faced from traditionalists within her community.





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