Shahid Rafique Malik (born 24 November 1967) is a British Labour Party politician who became the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dewsbury in 2005 after defeating Conservative Sayeeda Warsi, now Conservative Chair Baroness Warsi and remained so till 2010 when Conservative candidate Simon Reevell won Dewsbury. In 2007 he became Britain's first Muslim Minister as International Development Minister, and subsequently served as a Justice Minister, Home Office Minister and most recently as Minister for Race, Faith and Community Cohesion at the Department for Communities and Local Government. He lost his seat in the House of Commons at the 2010 general election following significant boundary changes.
Malik was born in Burnley, Lancashire, in 1967. His father Rafique Malik was a district councillor between 1976 and 2006 and a mayor of Burnley, having emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s. His mother was a Justice of the Peace. He attended Barden High School and Burnley Sixth Form Centre before studying Business Studies at the South Bank Polytechnic in London and later attending Durham University.
Prior to Parliament, his three main areas of work have been in the urban regeneration and development field; the voluntary and community sector; and domestic and international anti-poverty, education, human rights and equalities sector.
In local/regional regeneration terms after graduating Malik initially worked with the East Lancashire Training and Enterprise Council in a business development capacity. This was followed by roles as Group Chief Executive of the Pakistan Muslim Centre (PMC), Sheffield; Head of Policy and Development at the Greater Nottingham Training and Enterprise Council; and then as Chief Executive of Haringey Regeneration Agency, managing a £150 million development programme.
He also served for three years as Chair of the Board of Directors of VONEF (voluntary organisations network for European funding in Yorkshire and the Humber); and served as National Chair of the voluntary sector body Urban Forum (1999–2002) elected annually by the 400 plus member organizations. The Forum was a respected national regeneration policy network made up of residents and community organisations, with the aim of pushing power to local people in deprived neighbourhoods.
Following the Good Friday Peace Agreement of 1998 he was appointed by then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Rt Hon Mo Mowlam MP, as an Equality Commissioner for Northern Ireland (1999–2002). The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland was born out of the 'Good Friday’ peace agreement and was charged with dealing with equalities issues between Catholics & Protestants, Unionists & Nationalists, and discrimination by race, gender, disability, sexuality and age. Malik served as the only ever person from England, Scotland or Wales (Great Britain) to have been appointed a Commissioner in Northern Ireland.
From 1998–2002 he was appointed as a Commissioner to the Commission for Racial Equality. The organization was a law enforcement agency under the Race Relations Act 1976 and worked to eliminate racial discrimination across Great Britain. It has subsequently been subsumed into the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). He served for six years as an Independent Governor of Sheffield Hallam University; and for several years as a member, Queen Mary University Policy Advisory Board and as an Adviser to Middlesex University.
Internationally, Malik served Vice-Chair of United Nations body, UNESCO UK, working to engage UK civic society in UNESCO's work in contributing to world peace, security, justice and human rights, by promoting collaboration between nations on educational, scientific, cultural and communications projects. Malik also served as an international election monitor for the Palestinian Presidential elections in 2005 (and subsequently, as an MP helped monitor the Palestinian Parliamentary elections in January 2006).
Between 2001-2005 he also worked as an adviser to Government on Community Cohesion and Neighbourhood Renewal. He has also been a Fellow of the Institute of Management (FIMgt) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
In June 2001 Malik was arrested and allegedly beaten by police during racially motivated riots in Burnley. He said he had been trying to stop the violence and told the BBC he had been arrested by "very hyped-up" police. "The riot shields were smashed in my face, causing four to five stitches above the eye, a black eye, lacerations to the arm, bruises on the back of the head, on the body and on the legs.
On leaving Burnley General Hospital Malik said: No recriminations. This incident should not stereotype all police officers. No charges were brought by Lancashire Police and Malik was offered an apology. In April 2003 Malik won a public apology and substantial libel damages after being wrongly accused of throwing bricks during the riots in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph on 17 January 2002. Malik's lawyer told the High Court in London: At the time referred to in the article, he was in fact acting as a mediator and peacemaker in a volatile situation following disturbances in Burnley.
In 2000 Malik was elected as the first non-white member to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. He was re-elected each year until 2005 when he stood down after being elected as an MP. Malik sought selection in a number of seats including Leeds Central and Tottenham. In 2002 he had hoped to be selected in his home town of Burnley where Peter Pike had indicated he was standing down. However, the National Executive Committee decided that the Constituency Labour Party should have an all-women shortlist. He then stood for selection in Brent East after Labour lost the 2003 by-election but was left off the shortlist despite having gained the most nominations in the selection process.
In 2004 Malik was selected as the Labour candidate in Dewsbury for the 2005 general election. Labour saw a 6% drop in its vote nationally in 2005, and despite a 4.2% swing to the Conservatives in Dewsbury, Malik comfortably retained the seat for Labour with a majority of 4,615 ahead of Sayeeda Warsi, now Conservative Chair Baroness Warsi. Upon his election Malik became one of the first British born Muslim's to become an MP.
At the 2005 House Magazine Awards, he was awarded the best Maiden Speech among the one hundred plus new MPs elected in 2005. In February 2006 he was runner-up in the Channel Four News awards in the 'Rising Star' category. Upon election, Malik was appointed to the Home Affairs Select Committee. He also served on the Environmental Audit Select Committee until the cabinet reshuffle of May 2006 when he was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then Minister of State for Schools Jim Knight. He served as an international monitor for the Palestinian Presidential elections in 2005 and Parliamentary elections in January 2006. In June 2007 Malik became Britain's first Muslim Minister after Gordon Brown appointed him as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for International Development.
In October 2008, Malik was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and in March 2009 was subsequently appointed into a dual role as a Home Office Minister. In June 2009 was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government.
In the 2010 general election Malik lost his seat. There had been significant boundary changes in his constituency which he felt had counted against him. Malik commented that the changes "'brought in 26,000 extra Tories' from rural areas including Denby Dale and Kirkburton". In his speech on election night Malik also drew attention to the role played by an independent candidate, Khizar Iqbal. He said Iqbal had been "brought forward not to win but to make sure that I lost". Iqbal had been supported by anti-sleaze campaigner Martin Bell. Iqbal's election agent, Jonathan Scott, was also a former Conservative Councillor and had been the election agent for Baroness Warsi in her unsuccessful bid to become the Dewsbury MP in 2005. Councillor Khizar Iqbal was allowed to re-join the Conservative party in May 2011.
Soon after his election to the House of Commons in 2005 Malik became one of the public faces of Muslim leadership in the UK and a leading voice in the battle with Islamic extremism in Britain. In the government reshuffle of 9 June 2009 Malik was given ministerial responsibility for issues of race, faith and community cohesion. In 2008 Malik was made an honorary Doctor of the University of Bradford for his contributions as Member of Parliament and, in particular, in recognition of the distinctive role he has played in working towards community cohesion and in striving for racial harmony.