Breaking barriers and setting a significant precedent, Fozia Janjua has made history by becoming the first Muslim Pakistani American, and South Asian woman to hold the position of mayor in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The Township Hall witnessed a groundbreaking swearing-in ceremony, where Janjua not only celebrated a personal milestone but also proudly displayed her cultural heritage by holding a copy of the Holy Quran.
Early Life and Dedicated Service to the Community
Born in the United States after her father’s migration in the 1970s, Fozia Janjua has always been dedicated to community service. Her lifelong commitment to improving lives led her to establish a non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on educating prisoners and underprivileged children.
Janjua’s political journey began at a state governor’s party, where her leadership potential caught the eye of a fellow woman leader. Encouraged by this recognition, she embarked on a path that culminated in her historic appointment as mayor. Her achievement as the first Pakistani and Muslim woman mayor in Mount Laurel is a source of pride not only for herself but for the entire Pakistani community.
Promoting Positive Aspects of Muslim Culture
Mayor Janjua, beyond her political duties, actively works to showcase the positive aspects of Muslim culture. In her role as Deputy Mayor, she advocates for understanding and appreciation, contributing to the diverse tapestry of Mount Laurel’s community.
Diverse Cultural Celebrations
During her swearing-in ceremony, Mayor Janjua underscored the importance of celebrating all cultural events together. This inclusive approach aims to highlight the rich heritage of Mount Laurel’s community, incorporating cultural celebrations such as Juneteenth, the Menorah holiday tradition, and Eid into the shared experiences of the community.
Deputy Mayor’s Positive Initiatives
Nikitas Moustakas, appointed as the municipality’s Deputy Mayor, emphasized positive efforts within the community. These include streamlined communications, investments benefiting the entire community, park and recreation improvements, and support for small businesses. Both Mayor Janjua and Deputy Mayor Moustakas received standing ovations and vocal support from the standing-room-only crowd at the meeting.
Commitment to Diversity
Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, who administered their oaths, highlighted that the selection of Janjua and Moustakas reflects a commitment to making Mount Laurel Township more diverse, stronger, and community-friendly. Councilman Stephen Steglik, the immediate past mayor, expressed confidence in the community’s unwavering support for Janjua and Moustakas through both highs and lows. The duo’s leadership promises a future marked by inclusivity, positive change, and unity within Mount Laurel.