Ajmal Masroor

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Ajmal Masroor
Ajmal Masroor.jpg
Masroor at Lancaster University in March 2008
Personal details
Born (1971-10-19) 19 October 1971 (age 45)
Sylhet District, Sylhet Division, Bangladesh
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Henrietta Szovati
Children 2
Residence Haringey, London, England
Occupation Imam, television presenter
Profession Politician
Religion Sunni Islam
Website www.ajmalmasroor.com

Ajmal Masroor (Bengali: আজমল মাসরুর; born 19 October 1971) is a Bangladeshi-born British Imam, broadcaster and politician. He is well known for being a television presenter on political discussions and on Muslim channels.

Early life[edit]

Masroor was born in Sylhet District, Sylhet Division, Bangladesh and came to Britain at the age of one when his parents immigrated from the country.[1] He moved back to Bangladesh a few years later at the age of nine due to his father's concerns about different cultures and the possibility of losing their Muslim identities. However, they returned when he was at the age of 13.

When living in the East End, Masroor experienced racism against the Bangladeshis in the areas, with properties being damaged.[2] He was brought up in Shadwell, and attended the Bluegate Fields School on Cable Street. He is the oldest of six children. At the age of 19, his father attempted to force him into a marriage in Bangladesh, but was unsuccessful because Masroor challenged his father, saying forced marriage is not acceptable in Islam. He then married a Hungarian, Henrietta Szovati (who had converted to Islam), and they now have two children.[3]

After his GCSEs and A Levels, he was very active in student unions and Islamic societies.


Masroor is a local imam, who leads Friday prayers weekly at four different mosques in London: Goodge Street mosque, Palmers Green mosque, West Ealing mosque and Wightman Road mosque in Haringey.[4]

Masroor is a member of the Muslim Council of Britain. He is the Central Working Committee spokesperson for and member of its national consultative body of the Islamic Society of Britain. He is Chairman and Director of Communities in Action. He is the Chairman of ChildrenPlus, a charity that focuses on providing humanitarian assistance to poverty stricken and most vulnerable children around the world. He runs the Barefoot Institute, which provides support and education for Muslim relationship, including marriage, divorce and family mediation.

Masroor was selected as Liberal Democrats prospective parliamentary candidate for West Ham in the 2010 General Election, but stood down after being criticised for posting on the Muslim Public Affairs Committee forum.[5][6]

He stood in the 2010 General Election, for the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency in East London, representing the Liberal Democrats,[7] came second with 10,210 votes (20.1%) to Labour candidate Rushanara Ali won with 21,784 votes (42.9%).[8][9][10]

Masroor is a well known television presenter on various TV channels in the UK. He currently presents his own programmes on Islam Channel and on Channel S,[11] where he presents an English programme called Let's Talk.[12] He is also part of the panel in a programme broadcast by Channel 4, called Shariah TV.[13] On Channel 4, he also presented a programme called Make Me a Muslim - he asks six non-Muslims and one lapsed Muslim to follow Islamic teachings for three weeks.[14] On 10 May 2009, Masroor presented a programme called "Celebrity Lives - Sharia Style" which was broadcast on BBC One.[15][16]

He has also appeared on major news channels such as the BBC, CNN and many other channels as a commentator on social, political and religious issues.[17] On 30 January 2011, he appeared on the BBC show The Big Questions.[18]

In October 2013, Masroor was alerted by anti-terrorist police that he and a number of other prominent Muslim figures in the UK who had spoken out against Islamist extremism were targeted by a propaganda video created by Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group responsible for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya: the video urged jihadists in the UK to take action, citing the murder of Lee Rigby as an example to follow.[19][20] Interviewed by Al Jazeera, Masroor said of the video: "It is a terrible piece of work and the content is vile and disgusting and horrific in many ways. It is a group of people who are glorifying violence and death. It didn't make me scared. It just made me angry and more determined."[20]

In July 2015, Masroor was interviewed by Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network about his Ramadan memories.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Masroor currently lives in Haringey, London. His interests include learning about new cultures and world food, playing badminton, and reading based on history, society and politics.

On 17 December 2015, Masroor was stopped by a U.S. embassy staff from boarding Virgin Atlantic flight at Heathrow Airport[22][23] to John F. Kennedy International Airport.[24] Masroor was informed that his U.S. business visa had been revoked and received no further explanation as to why he was being prevented from travelling,[25] despite travelling to the U.S. four times earlier in the year.[24] On 22 December, he was invited to the U.S. embassy to speak about the matter but was still not given a reason, nor an apology.[23] On 13 January 2016, it was reported that he was prevented from travelling to the U.S. and his visa was revoked over concerns about one of his 28,000 Facebook followers.[26][27][28][29] Masroor set up a website, called www.flyingwhilemuslim.org.uk, so other Muslims can document any similar experiences they have faced while trying to travel to U.S.[24][27][28][29][30][31]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In January 2013 and 2015, Masroor was nominated for the Religious Advocate of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.[32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Children of the ghetto': A discussion on immigrant integration in the East End". Queen Mary University. 3 May 2009. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  2. ^ Masroor, Ajmal (30 November 2004). "Ajmal Masroor, 33". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "Forced Marriages of People with Learning Disabilities". The Judith Trust. Archived from the original (DOC) on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Are UK's imams modern enough?". BBC News. 7 July 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "Liberal Democrat candidate resigns". The Daily Telegraph. 19 Apr 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Bethnal Green and Bow". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "Ajmal Masroor selected as PPC for Bethnal Green and Bow parliamentary constituency". Liberal Democrats (Tower Hamlets). 26 September 2008. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  8. ^ "Bethnal Green and Bow results". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Election results for Shadwell". Election results for Bethnal Green & Bow. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Ullah, Ansar Ahmed (2 July 2010). "An exclusive interview with Britain's first lawmaker of Bengali origin". 9 (27). Bangladesh: The Daily Star. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Ajmal Masroor". The Guardian. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Eid In One Day? - Let's Talk" (Video (IslamicTube)). Channel S. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2008. 
  13. ^ "Shariah TV". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  14. ^ "Faith and Belief - Make Me a Muslim". Channel 4. 16 December 2007. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "Celebrity Lives -Sharia Style". BSkyB. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2009. 
  16. ^ "Celebrity Lives -Sharia Style". BSkyB. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  17. ^ "Inspiring Guest Speakers". The Future's Bright. 9 September 2007. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "The Big Questions, Series 4, Episode 4". BBC One. 30 January 2011. Archived from the original on 23 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  19. ^ Shiv Malik, Duncan Gardham and Vikram Dodd (17 October 2013). "Prominent UK Muslims under police protection after al-Shabaab threats". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Hooper, Simon (26 October 2013). "British Muslims defiant over al-Shabab threat". "Al Jazeera English". Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "Ajmal Masroor's Ramadan Memories". BBC Asian Network. 12 July 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  22. ^ Gani, Aisha; Holpuch, Amanda; Sparrow, Andrew (23 December 2015). "UK imam's US business visa 'revoked without explanation' before flight". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  23. ^ a b Ng, Kate (23 December 2015). "Ajmal Masroor: At least 10 more British Muslims denied entry to the US, says imam". The Independent. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  24. ^ a b c Harley, Nicola (14 January 2016). "Imam banned from flying to New York because US did not like one of his Facebook followers". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  25. ^ Patel, Romil (24 December 2015). "UK Muslims increasingly barred from US travel with practice of Donald Trump style shutdown". International Business Times. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  26. ^ "London imam stopped from flying to US over 'Facebook follower'". BBC News. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  27. ^ a b Alwakeel, Ramzy (13 January 2016). "Imam was 'barred from boarding Heathrow plane because of a Facebook follower'". London: London Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  28. ^ a b "British imam banned from flying to New York over Facebook followers". Pakistan: The Express Tribune. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  29. ^ a b Joshi, Amita (14 January 2016). "Imam claims he was 'barred' from Heathrow flight because of a Facebook follower". London: Get West London. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  30. ^ "'Flying While Muslim': Imam barred from US launches site documenting travel bans". Russia: Russia Today. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  31. ^ Berger, Sarah (14 January 2016). "Flying While Muslim: Imam Launches Website After Being Barred From Plane". International Business Times. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  32. ^ "Winners honoured at British Muslim Awards". Asian Image. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  33. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled". Asian Image. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 

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