First British Muslim woman made head of diplomatic post

Fouzia Younis paid tribute to her mother's influence after being appointed Consul General to Toronto

British diplomat Fouzia Younis sent a message to 'girls who look like her', telling them, 'don't let anyone dim your power'. Photo: Fouzia Younis
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British diplomat Fouzia Younis has made history as the first British Muslim woman to be appointed head of a UK diplomatic post.

Ms Younis, who currently serves as director of communications at the British High Commission in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, has been appointed as His Majesty's British Consul General to Toronto, Canada's largest city.

In tweets, she expressed gratitude to her father, who used to drop her at the coach station at 4am for her work interviews and her late mother, who supported her decision to go to university and would walk her home through dark streets.

The new Consul General acknowledged her parents' sacrifices for their family's future.

Ms Younis paid tribute to her mother, Zohra Begum, who recently passed away after suffering from Covid-19.

Ms Begum was a strong advocate of girls' education who raised four successful children, said her daughter.

In her tweets, Ms Younis sent a message to "girls who look like her", telling them, "don't let anyone dim your power".

Ms Younis shared on Twitter her mother's first experiences in the UK as a bride who arrived in a cold February in 1977.

Despite facing prejudice and discrimination, her mother persevered and devoted herself to her family and community, Ms Younis recalled.

She battled Islamophobia after 9/11 and sexism from within her own community.

Ms Younis credits her mother's strength and positivity as the inspiration behind her own success.

She has previously served in diplomatic posts in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and worked at No 10 Downing Street.

In her tweet, Ms Younis also acknowledged the support of other family members, colleagues and bosses who helped her to find her voice.

Ms Younis expressed her excitement at starting her new role in Toronto, representing and serving the UK.

Updated: March 24, 2023, 6:00 PM