A COMMUNITY has celebrated 'progression and success' after Eastleigh elected one of the 'first British-Bangladeshi councillors in the south'.

A ceremony was held at Kuti's Brasserie in Southampton in honour of Labour Councillor Shere Sattar.

He was elected to represent the newly created Cable Ward for Eastleigh Town Council.

The event, on Monday, was attended by a number of distinguished guests including H.E Anwar Choudhury, retired British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Cllr Matt Renyard, Professor Dr Sanawar Choudhury and Cllr Rita Begum of London Borough of Brent.

Cllr Sattar said: "I thought this night would encourage not only the British-Bangladeshi community but other ethnic groups as well to come forward and get involved in mainstream politics.

"I think this is the only way for us to get involved in shaping our next generation's future.

"If you want something for the next generation, you have to get involved.

"I would encourage other ethnic minorities to come forward and get involved in politics."

Cllr Sattar joined the Labour Party in 1992, and became active in 1997 when Tony Blair won the election by a landslide. 

He is also the chief advisor to Eastleigh Masjid and Islamic Centre.

Speaking about winning the election, he said: "At first it was unbelievable, I couldn't believe myself that I was elected.

"In the south of England, not many ethnic minorities are getting involved in politics. We need to get involved in the shaping of society."

H.E Anwar Choudhury, retired British High Commissioner to Bangladesh and a proud member of the British-Bangladeshi community, said: "If you want something done talking about it is one thing, but if you can see the progress that is real, someone becoming a Minister, someone becoming a chief executive, doing outstanding on their A level result, people get inspired by that.

"With Cllr Sattar becoming one of the first councillors of British-Bangladeshi background I think it will encourage others to say that this is possible for us and we want to be there."

He added: "I think it's important that communities don't become ghettoised and that somebody like you [white British] can represent a community of people of Asian heritage, and visa-versa that somebody of Bangladeshi origin can be the MP in Worcester or up in Scotland.

"That gives real meaning to being British, that this is our country, you become normalised.

"That is not happening yet, I think we have found ourselves in little groups hidden under the banner of multi-culturalism, which is actually not very progressive.

"I'm interested in people from my sort of background feeling empowered and enabled to do whatever they aspire to do just like anybody else."

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