Two women have been elected to the first ever leadership panel of an organisation reaching 20,000 Muslims across Redbridge.

Rayla Javaid and Sultanah Parvin were elected to the Federation of Redbridge Muslims’ (FORMO) leadership panel following chair Farouk Ismail’s completion of his four-year tenure.

FORMO is an umbrella body, representing 16 Muslim organisations across the borough.

At the organisation’s AGM, it was decided FORMO would move away from the model of a single chairperson, opting for its first ever elected panel.

Ms Parvin, a teacher at Apex Primary and newly-elected member of the FORMO Education Panel, said: "I feel honoured to have an opportunity to help Redbridge and Muslim faith institutions assert themselves in the face of any structural inequality to make the space for Muslim voices - women and men.

“The key to ensuring that education becomes an avenue for enhancing the lives of all children in Redbridge means ensuring we at FORMO are plugged into how to facilitate and hold to account those who are responsible for our children's’ education. Be it matters of faith or fulfilment of learning needs. We feel excited about engaging in that process."

The new panel consists of representatives from Ilford Muslim Society, IG-Soc, Apex School, Ilford Islamic Centre, Redbridge Talks and Redbridge Islamic Centre.

Jas Athwal, Leader of the Council said: "I welcome the new committee and look forward to working together to enhance the lives of our residents and tackling issues that blight our borough. Lots of good work has been done but there is a lot more to do and am excited for the future as I look forward to working with community stalwarts like Khalid Sharif and the entire panel to bring about positive results by working together. New year, new decade, new beginning."

Sam Tarry MP, newly-elected MP for Ilford South, added: “I want to build on my very strong relationship with Ilford’s Muslim communities, and I see FORMO as an important body. The election of an extremely divisive and openly Islamophobic Government mean we are going to have to work even harder, together, to defend communities and build tolerance and understanding in Ilford and across our country."