Airdrie & Shotts MP Anum Qaisar-Javed has launched her new internship programme – which she has named after the late first Asian MSP elected to the Scottish Parliament.
Bashir Ahmad made history back in 2007, and he dedicated much of his work to encouraging youngsters to make a positive contribution to society.
The Glasgow-based politician was widely respected across the political divide, made clear by the many tributes to him following his sad passing in 2009.
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Ms Qaisar-Javed became the only sitting MP of colour, representing a Scottish constituency, when she won the Airdrie & Shotts by-election last month.
She told Lanarkshire Live : “When Bashir Ahmad was elected to the Scottish Parliament, it sent out a powerful and important message that regardless of your background you can make a genuine difference in society.
“His election was, and still is, an inspiration for so many – including myself – but it was his commitment to empowering those around him that made him truly stand out.
“This internship is, I hope, a reflection of that determination to give voice to young people and those from under-represented groups, who are passionate about giving back to their communities.
“We can all learn from Bashir’s example, and I hope to be able to build on his legacy through my own work, as we strive to inspire the next generation of young leaders.”
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who served alongside Mr Ahmad, said: “Bashir was an inspiration to so many in the Muslim community and beyond. In the quiet and unassuming way that endeared him to people across the political spectrum, he encouraged young people to believe in themselves.
“And, as our first Asian MSP, he paved the way to a more diverse politics. We’re not there yet though, and with so much work still to be done, this internship could not be more important or timely.
“Bashir would have loved it – and he would be very proud of Anum and all those, perhaps future MPs, MSPs or First Ministers, who will benefit from this opportunity.”
Mr Ahmad’s family added: “The late Bashir Ahmad believed that we live in one of the best countries in the world.
“Bashir took massive pride in his family, his country and his community. His election symbolised how Scotland’s democracy reflects all of Scotland and all of our increasingly rich and diverse communities.
“He brought the dignity of his faith to the very centre of our democratic process and his lasting legacy will be one of hope, decency and inclusion. Bashir encouraged us all to give opportunity to those who might not have had otherwise.
“This internship provides that chance for young people to learn and to grow as individuals. Therefore, we’re delighted to provide support for Anum Qaisar-Javed MP’s internship. It will be an exciting opportunity for whoever is successful. “
The paid, part-time role is expected to last around seven months, with Ms Qaisar-Javed particularly encouraging applications from those from under-represented communities, including working class communities.
More information about the Bashir Ahmad internship can be found here
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