Sheffield's new Lord Mayor shares the racist things people have been writing about him

Jake Hall
Thursday 31 May 2018 14:00
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Despite being named the Lord Mayor of Sheffield just a few weeks ago, much has been written about Magid Magid.

He announced his new role alongside a brilliant official photograph, which depicted him - dressed in black Doc Marten boots and his now-signature gold chain - crouched on a polished, marble staircase.

It was an unconventional portrait of a man whose presence in politics is automatically subversive, as evidenced by the widespread praise of the photograph.

When he was just five years old, Magid and his family were forced to flee an Ethiopian refugee camp in Somalia; they relocated to the United Kingdom and set about building a new life for themselves, learning a new language and fighting to establish stability in their new surroundings.

A little more than 20 years later, Magid has worked his way up - he is now Sheffield's youngest mayor, its first Green Party mayor and its first Somali mayor.

But his achievements haven't come without a backlash; he shared a tweet featuring two excerpts of newspaper columns, one written by a disgruntled racist named Paul Wake and another by Magid in response.

In the initial comment, Wake - who identifies himself as a 71-year-old man born and raised in Sheffield - states first that Magid represents "everything that is going wrong" with England, and follows up this claim with a suggestion that only white people should be allowed the title of Lord Mayor:

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that such an esteemed role such as the Lord Mayor (first citizen) of Sheffield should only be reserved to a person of white English descent and especially not to a moslem (sic) immigrant, because that is our tradition and culture which is unfortunately slowly being eradicated.

In what appears to be an official response, Magid states that the reaction to his appointment as Lord Mayor have largely been overwhelmingly positive. He does, however, acknowledge that messages like these are also not infrequent.

It hasn't gone unnoticed that I have also sadly received messages and comments filled with nothing but hate and racism.

Believe it or not, I'm not here to cause trouble like one of these letters states, neither am I here to change the world. I am here to champion and celebrate all that is great about our city while bringing my own flavour to the role with the hope of engaging with a wider audience.

Undeniably, his approach is working. Earlier this morning, Magid appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss, among other topics, the day-to-day requirements of his role, his own life and experiences in Sheffield and the importance of diverse representation in politics.

Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, 'Immigrants Make Britain Great', Magid also fielded the suggestion that he should lead the Green Party, clarifying:

Caroline [Lucas] has been a formidable force in Westminster politics but, for me, it's not a route I intend to take, to be honest.

More: Everyone loves this picture of Sheffield's new lord mayor

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