Fazlul Kabir was officially sworn in as mayor of College Park during Tuesday’s city council meeting. Prior to this, he served as a council member representing District 1 since 2011.
Fazlul Kabir, who is believed to be the first Muslim mayor in Maryland, said he is grateful for the accepting community he has found in College Park and for his new opportunity to continue serving the city.
“I am an immigrant, I am a person of color and I am a Muslim, yet you all entrusted me with the biggest opportunity to serve you,” Fazlul Kabir said during the meeting. “You have genuinely shown the best of College Park.”
City Hall was nearly full during the swearing-in. The audience included Arif Kabir, the new mayor’s son.
Arif Kabir said his father used to keep to himself. But, he said, this changed once his father saw a need for service in the community.
“That’s been the most amazing growth I’ve seen… how much he’s willing to put himself out there,” Arif Kabir said.
His father has never enjoyed politics, Arif Kabir said, but he enjoys service.
Some people who came to see the former council member be sworn in said they have been personally touched by this commitment to service.
Mahbub Rahman, the new mayor’s neighbor, said Fazlul Kabir successfully helped him with an immigration issue and connected him with his local congressman.
“That is the most beautiful thing that you can easily [attribute] to Fazlul Kabir: you can tell him a problem and he’ll try to help,” Rahman said.
Rahman, who volunteered for Fazlul Kabir’s mayoral campaign, said Fazlul Kabir immediately responds to his concerns and that he always asks how he can help Rahman and his family.
Jamie Lark, who was one of Fazlul Kabir’s constituents when he was a council member, said he always helped whenever she had an issue with something in the community.
“He cares not just about just District 1, but he cares about the whole city,” Lark said.
Rudy Smith, another attendee of Tuesday’s ceremony, said he’s seen Fazlul Kabir at community events before and hopes Fazlul Kabir can continue the progress made in the city for years to come.
“We hope to move forward to build on whatever was built… and hopefully reinvigorate the community,” Smith said on what he hopes Fazlul Kabir will do during his term.
Fazlul Kabir will serve as mayor until this November, when the mayor and council member positions will all be up for re-election.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as your mayor and I pledge to work tirelessly to make College Park an even better place to call home,” Fazlul Kabir said after he was sworn in.