Iraq-born refugee could become first Arabic speaker to head Britain’s Jews

Source: The Guardian

Baghdad-born candidate standing for presidency of UK’s most powerful Jewish group says more diverse representation is needed
Edwin Shuker on a trip back to Baghdad in 2015.
 Edwin Shuker on a trip back to Baghdad in 2015. Photograph: Courtesy of Edwin Shuker

The most influential organisation representing British Jews could soon have its first leader from a Mizrahi – or Arab – background.

Edwin Shuker, one of four candidates campaigning to be the next president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was born in Baghdad before fleeing persecution and arriving in Britain as a refugee.

Shuker, whose first language is Arabic, says the board, which has played a crucial role in recent controversies about antisemitism in Britain, must be more diverse and inclusive, and is in urgent need of a change of culture to pay more attention to grassroots concerns within the community. “I want to be a voice for the community, and the authority of that voice comes from carrying all parts of the community, their concerns and aspirations, with you,” he told the Observer.

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