February 4, 2020

"I want everyone living in the UK to be able to freely practice their faith and culture but also be proud to be British"

"I want everyone living in the UK to be able to freely practice their faith and culture but also be proud to be British"

As a former refugee and belonging to an ethnic minority here in Britain the issue of integration is of priority for me. UK is experiencing an increase of far-right extremism which is caused by the lack of integration from some communities that are completely isolated with no interactions with other faiths and cultures, causing hate and division. That is why we must do more to prevent this from growing.

Integration is an important part of this country’s identity, and this is what I am advocating for, I want everyone living in the UK to be able to freely practice their faith and culture but also be proud to be British.

As the first woman of Afghan origin to become a Conservative Party activist, I am really proud of how far I have come, and all of this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for my purposeful father. He taught me the most valuable lesson in life: Do not be defined by your gender, your identity or your surroundings, but take responsibility for you own destiny.

Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years from now?

“Being a woman, whose origins is from one of the worse places to be a woman in the world, Afghanistan – I want my legacy to be of cultural transformation. To change the way, we think and talk about gender”

My focus is on women’s empowerment globally. There was a time when women social activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But, this time, I want women to stand up for themselves. I am not asking men to step away from speaking for women’s rights rather I am focusing on women to become independent and to fight for themselves.

A female leader that truly inspires me is Margaret Thatcher, however she wasn’t just the first female Prime Minister; she was our greatest peacetime PM, our longest-serving PM, a politician who had a bigger impact on Britain than any other in living memory. She rebuilt our economy, helped to defeat communism, saw off aggression overseas and defined a decade, changing the centre ground of politics for ever. She didn’t just show that women could make it in politics — she showed that they could do it better.

Shabnam Nasimi, Founder and director of The Conservative Friends of Afghanistan