Mouna Hamitouche – first Algerian mayor champions children

Friday, 21st May 2010

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Published: 21 May 2010
by PETER GRUNER

BRITAIN’S first Algerian Arab mayor – mother-of-three Mouna Hamitouche – was installed in office at Islington Town Hall on Tuesday, writes Peter Gruner.

Cllr Hamitouche, 57, was the first Algerian councillor in the country when she was elected for Labour in Barnsbury ward four years ago. Her consort will be her 18-year-old daughter, A-level student Camellia-Sarah, a former pupil at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School.  

Algerian ambassador Mohamed Sarah Dembri was one of the first to congratulate the new mayor. 

Cllr Hamitouche, who is concerned about the lack of facilities for children, aims to raise money for Islington Play Association during her year in office. 

“As a mother I’m only too aware of how the IPA have been improving life for children for more than 30 years,” she said.

A council estate leaseholder in King’s Cross, she came to Britain to do a PhD in business studies at City University in 1991. 

Labour colleague Councillor James Murray paid tribute to her refusal to take no for an answer. “When one man refused to sign a petition for free school meals – a rarity – I remember Mouna attempted at length to persuade him,” he said. “When she could not get him on board and as we walked to the next door, Mouna noted his name. She looked at me with a grave expression, and said ‘I will come back.’ Later she added: ‘And I know his wife’.”

The new mayor is co-ordinator of Islington-based charity Algerian British Connection. Her husband, Abdel Hamid, is a legal advisor at the Algerian Consulate.  

Cllr Hamitouche thanked last year’s mayor, former Lib Dem councillor Anna Berent. “She has been a champion for older people’s rights,” she said. “Anna also needs to be thanked for raising money for charities helping struggling asylum seekers.”

 

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