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Mohmmad Khan
Mohmmad Khan was a likeable old cove, the type of person I guess you find in yacht club bars. I can't remember him ever doing anything, though that doesn't mean he wasn't active in Muslim organisations of which I know little. See planning application for mosque in Leyton High Road. However, it may be telling that Fazlur, who knew a lot, did not point to his achievements in Islamic organisations when asked to comment for Khan's obituary. Of course, Fazlur was active in Walthamstow, Khan in Leytonstone. Basically Khan seemed to me to be a stuffed shirt and office collector. The perfect person to be mayor.
Return to autobiography
Ex-Mayor arrested Waltham Forest Guardian June 5, 1987.
Ex-mayor arrested Asian Herald June 4-10, 1987.
The inexorable ascent of Councillor Khan Garavi Gujarat September 30, 1989.
Town mourns muslim leader Waltham Forest Guardian March 3, 1994
Hundreds gather to mourn ex-Mayor Waltham Forest Guardian March 3, 1994.
Old street name gets edged out Waltham Forest Guardian July 20, 1995.
Councillors with heart disease  

Town mourns muslim leader

Former Mayor dies during Mosque prayers

FORMER Mayor and Muslim community leader Mohammed Khan (58) died on Sunday evening during Ramadan prayers in the mosque which he helped found.

After his heart attack in the prescence of 300 other male worshippers, he was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital, but nothing could be done to save him.

Only days before, he had insisted that builders finish the baths for the ritual washing of the dead at the Masjid (mosque) off Leytonstone High Road, his long-time friend Councillor Meher Khan told the Guardian.

Sadly, his was the first death after completion of the work.

Cllr Mrs Khan summed up the feelings of shock and grief of many local Muslims: "I find it difficult to imagine a leader like him. There is no-one to replace him."

Mohammed Khan was well known in the south of the borough at large as a sub-postmaster in Church Road, Leyton, and councillor for Grove Green ward.

While he made his civic mark as the first Asian Mayor of Waltham Forest in 1986/87, his co-religionists knew him best as a devout and active campaigner on their behalf.

He founded the Indian Muslim Federation in Granleigh Road, Leytonstone, and was chairman of the Muslim Burial Trust which succeeded in establishing a cemetery in Folly Lane, Walthamstow.

More than 1,000 men including borough Chief Executive Alan Tobias and Mayor Narinder Matharoo gathered at the cemetery on Monday for his funeral.

Shama Contractor, chairwoman of the Muslim Welfare Women's Association and of the Kiran Refuge project, has known Mr Khan since he was a child. She taught him at their home town in India when he was a boy.

She told the Guardian: "In the community, there are lots of quibbles, arguments and rivalries and he was the one person who could sort these things out amicably.

"In the process, he himself suffered a lot of abuse and a lot of bad feeling. There were jealousies because of what he achieved by hard work and dedication."

She said Mr Khan had made the mosque in Leytonstone into "a beautiful building". Recently, he had been collecting money to put a dome on it and work may start very soon.

"When I look around, I don't see any person of his dedication and energy, anyone who puts the effort into social work that he did. May his soul rest in peace."

Mr Khan leaves a widow, Rashida, and two sons, Nadeem and Sohil.

A one-minute silence at Monday's special meeting of the resources strategy committee marked his passing.

Waltham Forest Guardian March 3, 1994

Old street name gets edged out

A ROAD in Leytonstone has been re-named after former mayor, the late Mohmmad Khan, in honour of his work for the borough.

Edgecombe Road, a short stretch leading to the new Dacre Mosque in Leytonstone, was given its new name at a special ceremony with current mayor Councillor Doug Norman last week.

This unique honour was bestowed upon Mr Khan, who represented Grove Green ward from 1978 to 1990, at the request of his family following his death in February last year.

He was the first mayor to come from one of the borough's ethnic minorities when he was elected for the 1986-7 civic year.

Waltham Forest director of engineering John Grigg said: "It is a real mark of respect for a citizen of this borough, a pioneer in racial integration who worked for the whole community"

A nearby resident, Robert Gagg of Mornington Road, told the Guardian that he regretted the loss of a century old street name.

He said: "Five roads interjoin here and in alphabetical sequence are named Aylmer, Barfield, Carlton, Dacre and Edgecombe after lords or noblemen."

A spokeswoman for the council said: "Every road in this borough has some historical context one way or another. We think this has no bearing on the matter."

Waltham Forest Guardian July 20, 1995.

Hundreds gather to mourn ex-Mayor

Hundreds gather to mourn ex-Mayor

By Pat Stannard

OVER 1,000 mourners crowded into the Muslim cemetery in Folly Lane, Walthamstow, for the funeral on Monday of former Waltham Forest Mayor Mohammed Khan.

Mr Khan, who was only 58, died suddenly of a heart attack on Sunday evening as he took part with 300 other men in prayers for Ramadan.

He was taken from the Leytonstone Mosque -of which he was a founder member and former President-- to Whipps Cross Hospital, but was dead on arrival.

News of the event came as a profound shock to many of his former colleagues on the council and to the local Muslim community of whom he was a leading member.

He was chairman of the Muslim Burial Trust which manages the cemetery and founder of the Indian Muslim Federation, now based in Granleigh Road, Leytonstone.

Born in Baroda, India, Mr Khan came to London in 1966 and, within two years, was a member of Leytonstone Labour Party.

After spells as treasurer and vice chairman, he was elected as councillor of Grove Green ward in Leyton. He represented it until 1990 when he retired from the council.

In 1986 he became the first Asian Mayor of Waltham Forest an experience which brought him a mixture of pleasures and heartbreak.

Towards the end of his term of office, he moved away from his long-time home above his sub-post office in Church Road, Leyton, maintaining that a hate campaign had forced him to go.

He was subjected to a tirade of racial abuse in the form of death threats and hate mail throughout his year in office.

Latterly, Mr Khan lived in Redbridge with his wife Rashida and ran a sub-post office in Wembley. But he continued to be an ardent supporter of Muslim organisations in Waltham Forest.

Still stunned by grief, Councillor Meher Khan told the Guardian on Monday: "I find it difficult to imagine a leader like him. I have known him for about 25 years. We started off as friends and later he became a 'big brother' figure to me.

"He was very outspoken and sometimes that got him into trouble, especially as a councillor, but he was good at heart.

Another colleague, Cllr Fazlur Rahman, paid tribute: "I first knew Mr Khan when he was treasurer of the Community Relations Council (CRC) in the 1970s and was engaged in a number of welfare and community activities in the borough.

"In this active role, he should be rightfully described as the founder of the Asian Centre and the Afro-Caribbean Centre for which proposals were mooted in the late 70s."

Mr Khan leaves a widow, Rashida, and two sons, Nadeem and Sohil.

Waltham Forest Guardian March 3, 1994.

Ex-Mayor arrested

FORMER Mayor of Waltham Forest Mohmmad Khan is helping police with their inquiries after he was arrested last week over allegations of deception.

Mr Khan, last year's Mayor, was questioned at Leyton police station.

Police say he was released unconditionally last week without being charged. He is due to return to the station to further help police with their inquiries.

Mr Khan, a former sub-postmaster in Church Road, Leyton, has been a leading figure on Waltham Forest Council and in the community for many years.

In the local elections a year ago, Mr Khan was returned to the council with the largest vote for any councillor.
NOTE: Largest in Grove Green, yes. But Johnny Walsh, for example, in Cathall, seems to have had a larger personal vote (and got a larger total). See 1986 results.

During his year in office he was dogged by controversy. Racists hounded him out of his Leyton home in a barrage of hate mail and bomb threats.

He was also embroiled in a war of words with Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit over his attendance at a race festival organised by the Communist Party.

His chosen charity for the Mayor's Appeal, the Margaret Centre for the terminally ill, is due to open later this month following a last-minute reprieve.

Mr Khan was said by a council spokesman to be on holiday this week.

NOTE: At about this time I was contacted by the police (by phone) investigating the non return of an expensive bit of kit to a hire shop, by someone using my name and address. I explained that I was the victim of a hate campaign and the police did not contact me again.
Waltham Forest Guardian June 5, 1987.

The inexorable ascent of Councillor Khan

His achievements began early-- inspired by a need to serve the community and to work for racial harmony-- and was to be recognised years later, when at age 50, he would become Mayor of Waltham Forest in an uncontested nomination, in 1986.

Meet Mohmmad Khan. Born in India, he came to London in 1966 and two years later, became a member of the Leytonstone Labour Party, a vital step which would mark the beginning of a prestigious career, that may lead to a place in the House of Commons.

For Mr Khan is being put forward for the House of Commons, by two Inner London Constituencies and should he become a Member of Parliament, he hopes to continue his work toward a more united and understanding community and to add his voice to the call for increased Asian representation in the House.

Although, Mr Khan has a keen interest in Asian affairs, he sees himself as a representative of a community, which is multi-racial and of many cultures.


In his commitment to his ideals, he has served in diverse capacities and played many roles, including that of Chairman of the Police Committee, from 1986 to 1989. He, has also served as Vice Chairman/ Acting Chairman of the Race Relations Committee from 1987 to 1988 and continues as Vice Chairman, this year. He was a member of the Planning and Implemental Committee, which looked at planning from an ethnic viewpoint and served also on the Land Statistics Committee and the Education and Social Services Committee. In 1988, he was Vice-Chairman of the Housing Committee.

Mr Khan was also Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Leytonstone Labour Party and subsequently, in 1978, elected Councillor for the Grove Green Ward in Leyton, which he still represents. But his activities have not been confined to local government, although still encircling service to others. He has served as President of Leytonstone Mosque, as National Chairman of Asian organisations in Waltham Forest and as school governor as well as being active on many other Asian and Muslim organisations.

Such an impressive and certainly, time-consuming list of activities might have been enough for even someone as dedicated as Mohmmad Khan, if he was prepared to accept it as enough. But this energetic over-achiever, excelling in a competitive society with demanding yardsticks,was also able to successfully manage a sub-post office and in fact, is still managing one, today, although he had to give up the first sub-post office in Leytonstone, following three bomb attacks.

"Being a Councillor who manages a sub-post office means that I get to meet my constituents more frequently than most. Sometimes, my shop resembles a welfare office more than a post office." This is how he sums up his entrepreneurial efforts, which not unsurprisingly has interlinked with his community service.

A lot still remains to be said about Mr. Khan who can look back on his achievements in Waltham Forest with pride. Since he became Councillor in 1978, his pioneering zeal has seen progress in the form of seven magazines, a Hindu temple, a Sikh Gurdwara and and Asian organisation which was opened by Prince Charles. He has introduced Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi andd Punjabi in all schools in Waltham Forest as well as gaining holidays for such occasions as Diwali andd Eid in these institutions.He ensures the provision of Halal food in all schools for Muslims and vegetarian food for Hindu boys. Three acres of land were recently awarded for a cemetery for Muslims in Waltham Forest, at no charge.

Mr Khan has made vast strides in his campaign for equal opportunities in recruitment resulting in many of the ethnic minorities in Waltham Forest, being employed. The man who has spent a lifetime, in the work of others, does not intend to call a halt. Some of his goals for the future include the revival of a Statutory conference for Asians, held in the 1960's and an increase in the unity of the Asian Community. We salute Mr Mohmmad Khan, exemplary in his contribution to the community and outstanding in his ascent from an immigrant member of Leytonstone Labour Party to potential MP for an Inner London Constituency.

Garavi Gujarat September 30, 1989.

From one of the local papers in January 1987.