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'Anything is possible': Meet Sheffield's first Somali Lord Mayor Magid Magid Open in fullscreen

Sheeffah Shiraz

'Anything is possible': Meet Sheffield's first Somali Lord Mayor Magid Magid

Sheffield Mayor Magid Magid poses at town hall [Twitter/Chris Saunders]

Date of publication: 19 May, 2018

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The New Arab Meets: Magid Magid, whose election as Sheffield's new Lord Mayor marks many firsts for the 28-year-old black, Muslim and former refugee.
Magid Magid has just taken up his post as Lord Mayor of Sheffield. He is the first Somali-born mayor, first Green Party mayor, and at 28, he's the youngest mayor ever elected to the city.

Magid arrived to Sheffield when he was five-years-old after six months in an Ethiopian refugee camp with his mother and five siblings who left Somalia "to find a better life". 

He later went to University in Hull where he studied Aquatic Zoology and was also the President of Hull University Union. Magid says he then joined the Green Party in 2015 during the rise of the far right party UKIP.

The young lord mayor has vowed to end the "archaic" nature of the post and was widely lauded for his unconventional mayoral portrait squatting atop a staircase at the city's town hall and wearing black Dr Martens boots.

One tweet alone, by @Rivettian, was liked 47,000 times and had the caption: "Already a big fan of the new lord mayor of  Sheffield based on his inaugural portrait alone". 

The New Arab spoke with Magid Magid about his election and what he plans to do as mayor of the South Yorkshire city. 

Congrats! How does it feel to be the new Lord Mayor of Sheffield?

It honestly all seems a bit surreal. But I am so excited and filled with so much joy. The love and support from people from all over the world has been crazy. I wouldn't have achieved this if it wasn't for my amazing friends and family.

How do you aim to make a difference with your new role and title?

Firstly, just by me being elected into this position has made a difference, Alhamdulillah (All praise to Allah). But my main two themes are to support and empower young people as well as to celebrate all the culture we have in my city.

Being black and a Muslim, how significant do you think this new role is? 

In a time where the language of hate and fear is so prominent in the media, it is important to counter it with messages of hope and unity. And if I, as a black Muslim immigrant, can play a role in that, then fantastic.

I've faced a lot of backlash from far right wing media, which I expected, to be honest. My belief in having a republic also annoyed some people and of course there were some racist comments. But on the whole it has all been amazing.

What are your future aims and goals?

My future aims and goals are to inspire as many people as possible. Especially those with the same background as me to show that anything is possible.

When it comes to future life aims, I don't know, I never really know to be honest. But as long as I'm pushing myself, taking myself out of my comfort zone and I'm positively contributing to those around me then great.

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