Maryam Monsef, of Afghanistan, was recently named minister of democratic institutions in the Canadian government under newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, becoming the first Muslim minister in the history of the country.

Monsef emigrated to Canada at the age of 19 and was previously the head of the Municipality of Peterborough in 2014. She won a seat in the federal elections as a Liberal Party candidate in October.  However, Monsef is not the only Muslim to rise through the ranks in Western politics.

Below are nine Muslims, out of many other success stories, who have achieved high offices in Western countries.

1. Hadia Tajik, Norway

Hadia was born in Norway and is of Pakistani origin. She received her Bachelor's degree in human rights from the British Kingston University. She was elected as a member in the Norwegian Parliament in 2009 and in September 2012 as a representative of the country’s Labor Party.

2. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France


Najat was born in the town of Bani Shiker in the rural area of Nathour in the north of Morocco. At the age of 4, she went with her mom and older sister to France where her dad was working, and received French nationality at the age of 8. She received her bachelor's degree in general law and a diploma from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. She later became a legal consultant in a law office between 2000 and 2002. When Francois Holland won in the presidential elections, he appointed her minister for women’s rights and the official speaker of the government. Then in April 2014 she was appointed minister of women rights and youth and sport under Manuel Valls. In August 2014, she was appointed minister of education, becoming the first woman to occupy this position in France.

3. Sayeeda Warsi (Baroness Warsi), Britain

Sayeeda Warsi, of Pakistani origins, worked as a British lawyer and politician, and occupied the position of the participating president for the conservative British party between 2010 and 2012. She is the first Muslim woman to serve in the British Cabinet as well as the third Muslim minister in the UK. In September 2012, she took a ministerial position in the government until she resigned Aug. 5, 2014, unable to tolerate the politics of the government toward the crisis in Gaza.

4. Shahid Malik, Britain

Shahid Malik was born to a Pakistani father who emigrated to Burnley Lancashire in Britain during the '60s. He studied business and held several posts, including at the training and incorporation council in Lancashire and the Pakistani Islamic Institute. He was a member in the national executive council of the British Labour Party and in 2005 became a member in the British Parliament. In 2007, he became the minister of international development. Malik was the first Muslim minister in the UK and first elected Muslim minister in the Western World.

5. Imran Hosein, Britain


Imran Hosein is Pakistani and was raised in the town of Bradford in Yorkshire, Britain. He is the first to be educated among his family members. He used to clean up and organize the shelves in a supermarket during his teenage years, before he went to university to study law. In 2008, he was elected as the vice of the leader of the work group in the council. In 2010, when the Labour Party won the majority of seats in the council, he became the vice president of the council of Bradford and remained in his post for five years until the general elections in 2015, when he was elected to the House of Commons.

6. Rushanara Ali, Britain

Rushanara was born in Bangladesh and immigrated to Britain with her parents at the age of 7. She was the first in her family to go to university. She studied philosophy and politics and economics at Saint-John's College in Oxford. She entered the world of politics as an assistant in the elections campaign of MP Oona King before she worked as a consultant for the minister of exterior and then interior. She became an MP in 2014 and occupied the post of minister of education in the shadow government until 2014, when she resigned to refrain from voting for the British military intervention against ISIS.

7. Yasmin Kureishi, Britain

Yasmin Kureishi was born in Pakistan and migrated to Britain with her parents in 1972. She studied criminal law and was a member of the Labour Party in London. She worked as the consultant of the President of the Municipality of London in human rights affairs and headed the team working on human rights and civil freedoms in the Islamic association for lawyers. She won in the 2010 elections becoming thus the first female Muslim to enter Parliament.

8. Keith Ellison, USA

Keith Ellison was born in Detroit. He is of African origin and converted to Islam at 19. He studied law in the University of Minnesota before he joined the Democratic Party. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress and the first African-American elected to the House of Representatives from Minnesota. He took a firm position against the war in Iraq and called for the withdrawal of American forces instead of the surge.

9. Emine Bozkurt, Holland

Emine Bozkurt was born in Zandam, Holland, and is of Turkish origin. She is a member in the Labor Party of Holland, which is part of the European Socialist Party. Bozkurt is a member in the committee of civil freedoms and justice and interior affairs as well as the committee of women’s rights and gender equality in the European parliament since 2004.

This article was originally posted in Arabic on YallaFeed .