The City of London’s first-ever female Muslim city councillor, Marium Hamou, believes that such representation on council can inspire others in the city.
“People who feel that they’re ‘other’ can see themselves in me and they can be inspired to do these things: running for council, running in politics, doing all of these things,” said Hamou, who was sworn in as Ward 6 councillor Wednesday at City Hall.
“I remember when I was in my teens,” she said, “I saw a Muslim woman who was a hijabi that was in politics, but in Turkey, and I remember seeing a picture of her going, ‘I want to be that,’ and I’m doing it here in Canada. So, yeah, you just have to see it.”
She also thinks that because there’s so many Muslims in London, it’s good to have this sort of representation in city council.
Hamou supports rethinking election process
Council formally voted in Hamou on Tuesday, 11 to three.
There was debate prior to the vote, which questioned the process, or lack thereof, in electing Hamou as well as newly elected Ward 13 Coun. John Fyfe-Millar.
The two council seats became available when Coun. Phil Squire resigned in October to accept an appointment to Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board, and in September when former Ward 13 Coun. Arielle Kayabaga was elected MP for London West in the federal election.
Hamou believes that something needs to be done in regards to the process.
“I agree with the idea that there has to be a process because it’s not fair,” she told CBC News after being sworn in. “It doesn’t make council look good and I think that if there’s a problem, generally it’s process. If we can fix the process, we can fix the problem.”
She suggested that sorting out the process might be first item she’ll tackle as London’s newest councillor.