These 8 Muslim-majority countries elected Christian leaders before London elected Sadiq Khan

Published: May 12, 2016
Kamran Michael, a Catholic Christian, is currently Pakistan’s minister of Ports and Shipping. PHOTO: APP

Kamran Michael, a Catholic Christian, is currently Pakistan’s minister of Ports and Shipping. PHOTO: APP

With Sadiq Khan’s election as the mayor of London, a new debate has erupted with many believing that a Muslim-majority city would never elect a Christian leader.

I’m not a Muslim leader, says London mayor

One Facebook user, however, decided to set the record straight listing all the Muslim-majority countries that have Christian leaders on high-profile governing positions, including Pakistan.

This European city had a Muslim mayor before London

Here are the 8 Muslim countries that elected Christian leaders well before London elected Sadiq khan:

1. Februniye Akyol, co-mayor of Turkish city of Mardin. Turkey is 99.8 per cent Muslim.

Mardin’s co-mayor, Februniye Akyol, represents the new face of Christian political representation in southeast Turkey. Photo: Don Duncan via

2. Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, governor of Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta. Indonesia is 87.2 per cent Muslim.

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Photo: Reuters

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3. Alees Thomas Samaan, became the first Christian and first woman to chair Bahrain’s upper house of Parliament, the Shura Council in 2005. Bahrain is 70.3 per cent Muslim.

Alees Thomas Samaan (middle) Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flikr via Independent

4. Kamran Michael, Pakistan’s minister of Ports and Shipping. Pakistan is 96.4 per cent Muslim.

Kamran Michael PHOTO: APP

5. Boutros Boutros Ghali was Egypt’s Foreign Minister for 14 years. Egypt is 90 per cent Muslim.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali PHOTO: REUTERS

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6. Janet Michael was the mayor of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.


7. Late Léopold Sédar Senghor was the president of Senegal for 20 years. Senegal is 95.4 per cent Muslim.

Léopold Sédar Senghor PHOTO: INDEPENDENT

8. Michel Suleiman was the president of Lebanon. Lebanon is 54 per cent Muslim.

Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman PHOTO: REUTERS

This article originally appeared on Independent

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Fawad
    May 12, 2016 - 2:32PM

    But only people took notice of religion of mayor after Muslim mayor was elected. And those who were elated and screamed news out of it were Muslims or Pakistan as he was of Pakistani origin. Nobody took notice about religion of Christian mayor, as nobody should think about religion of leader.Recommend

  • vinsin
    May 12, 2016 - 3:24PM

    Except one all of them were/are appointed not elected.Recommend

  • Johnny James
    May 12, 2016 - 4:58PM

    They are not immigrants…….they are born and brought up in the same country…Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    May 12, 2016 - 5:32PM

    tariq aziz, deputy prime minister of Saddam’s iraq. unfortunately, the country is fighting a sectarian civil war after freedom pioneered by Bush Recommend

  • Shah
    May 12, 2016 - 5:38PM

    Most of these people were selected not elected. Recommend

  • Haider
    May 12, 2016 - 6:07PM

    Contrary to the comments here, all these people were elected except for Kamran Michael. Recommend

  • farhan
    May 12, 2016 - 7:01PM

    the notion that non muslims did not held high public positions is a fallacy…well authored.. I think there will be more people found of non muslim background…Recommend

  • farhan
    May 12, 2016 - 7:24PM

    @Haider: Kamran Michael was elected for the minorities seat…Recommend

  • curious2
    May 12, 2016 - 8:06PM

    Most of the World doesn’t care what religion you are — Pakistan is an obvious exception. I suppose that might be natural based on how/why Pakistan was formed ….. but lets hope that one day you will grow out of that mindset. Recommend

  • Khilari
    May 12, 2016 - 9:34PM

    Hard to please Indians. They never find anything positive in Pakistan. First they crib that the constitution does not allow. When you give examples then they crib that they were not elected. Being a minister means they are representing people, in this case Muslim population. When we don’t have any objection to that why are you pointing [email protected]: Recommend

  • Khilari
    May 12, 2016 - 9:38PM

    Obviously you know nothing about Pakistan or Pakistanis. This is what happens when you are brainwashed day and night by your leaders and media, ignorant [email protected]: Recommend

  • AK
    May 13, 2016 - 2:46AM

    There were also two non-Muslim chief Justices of Pakistan’s Supreme Court (Justice Cornelius and Justice Bhagwandas). Mr. Corenelius during General Yahya Khan and Mr. Bhagwandas only in the recent past.Recommend

  • Shetty
    May 13, 2016 - 5:45AM

    I agree with my Pakistani brothers..they do take care of there minorities..if at all there are..may b 2%..ohh sorry ;)
    We Indian are bad at this..we kill our minority..make the shahruk ..salman..sania mirza..Dr.Abdul kalam ji..Mr.Premji etc etc.Recommend

  • Hameed
    May 13, 2016 - 8:16AM

    Almost all situations are fake as almost none of them have the freedom that Sadiq has.Recommend

  • shehryar bukhari
    May 13, 2016 - 9:07AM

    @Johnny James:

    Sadiq Khan isn’t a lahori either . He was born and brought up in EnglandRecommend

  • Reader
    May 13, 2016 - 10:40AM

    Karachi the Capital of Pakistan for many years before Islamabad, had Jamshed Nusserwanji Mehta as its elected mayor for many years. One of the best mayors not only of Karachi, but perhaps any city anywhere in the world. Karachi was washed clean every morning, there was little or no crime, people were civil, and Karachi was called the cleanest city east of the Suez. Not only were its citizens taken care of, but even animals, he was a wonderful human being. Karachi misses him, and people like him.Recommend

  • Robin
    May 13, 2016 - 11:19AM

    Most of them are selected/appointed. Btw, who elected Kamran Michael?Recommend

  • Aziz
    May 13, 2016 - 2:02PM

    @ Robin,

    You mean just like Indian Premier Mr. Manmohan Singh?Recommend

  • Khilari
    May 13, 2016 - 9:58PM

    Or like Abdul Kalam [email protected]: Recommend

  • Milind
    May 14, 2016 - 12:08PM

    @khilari – Read this to get an idea.. Rather than have a stray ‘trophy’ Christian/Hindu, why not give equal rights to all.

  • Xman
    May 14, 2016 - 1:36PM

    It’s a pity to see Indians and Pakistanis pointing fingers at eachother when they are next door neighbours, and should be friends. Guys don’t forget our forefathers got freedom from goras like Trump, and Cameron. It’s them actually, who will never tolerate a brown skin to be among their ranks in position of power, religion is just an excuse. Recommend

  • ramdar
    May 15, 2016 - 12:29AM

    Quite amused to read about the 8 Christen achievers in Muslim countries. India -80% Hindu- has hundreds of Muslims elected or selected in important positions like president, cabinet ministers, chief ministers, state ministers, speaker of house, mayors…. Recommend

  • Khilari
    May 15, 2016 - 3:14AM

    As if everything is hunky dory in India. Each country and its system has merits and demerits, even India has. Pay attention to what’s happening in your backward instead of pointing fingers at [email protected]: Recommend

  • ramdar
    May 18, 2016 - 9:44PM

    Manmohan Sigh was first elected to the position of Member of Parliament by people voters, then selected as a leader of elected MPs of his party to qualify as a Prime Minister. This is the only way for anyone in India to become PM.
    Both election & election are equally welcome for minority candidates if the position provides authority & opportunity.Recommend

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