‘GLASGOW Girl” Roza Salih has launched a bid to enter politics – by standing for the SNP at the upcoming council elections.

If successful, it is thought that Salih would be the first Kurd and first asylum seeker elected to public office in Scotland.

Her election would mark just how far the 27-year-old has come since arriving in Scotland as a refugee in 2001. She fled her home city of Kirkuk, Iraq, with her parents and younger sister after her teacher dad spoke out against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The family were housed on the 22nd floor of a tower block in Knightswood, Glasgow, from where 12-year-old Salih looked out at her new country.

From there, she became one of seven school pupils whose lives were thrown into turmoil when one was taken into immigration detention in a frightening dawn raid. Their campaigning secured her release and helped change government policy on the detention of children.

Dubbed the Glasgow Girls, their efforts won them headlines and have now been adapted into a critically-acclaimed stage show and a BBC production.

Salih now has leave to remain here, and she hopes to represent the area and “pay back” the community for the support they have shown her.

Standing for selection for Glasgow’s ward 13, which includes lower Knightswood, Garscadden and Scotstounhill, she told The National: “I feel like the area is part of me. I used to look down at the view of Glasgow. It was just beautiful.

“I started out having zero pence in my pocket as an asylum seeker. I didn’t have anything.

“I just want to be able to serve the people and make them proud. They welcomed me to Scotland and I really want to give back to them.”

Salih, who works for Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens, went on: “I could stand as myself, but I’m standing for the SNP because I believe in independence.”

After leaving school, Salih went on to study law and politics, serving as the vice president of diversity on the student union at Strathclyde University.

During this time she secured scholarship funding for three asylum seekers, and has also advocated for workers’ rights as a member of the Unite union, as well as for greater rights and protection for refugees and for change in Kurdistan.

Salih, whose two uncles and grandfather were executed by the Hussein regime, says her family is “proud” of her work for social justice, adding: “They always worked for democracy and peace.”

Currently the four-member ward is represented by Labour members Liz Cameron and Paul Rooney and the SNP’s Chris Cunningham and Graeme Hendry.

Predictions suggest Labour will suffer losses in the city in May after dominating the council for years.

Several Labour councillors have confirmed their names will not appear on the ballot paper this time, and one unnamed source told reporters the party was ready to be hit by “an SNP tsunami” and could not hope to win.

Salih has passed pre-selection assessments and will face the Anniesland SNP branch with other hopefuls at the start of next month.

She said: “With my background and experiences, I can bring something new to the council.”

Cunningham, convener of Anniesland SNP, said: “We have been delighted by the people who have put themselves forward for selection for the May elections and we are obviously pleased that one of them is Roza. The SNP in general, and Anniesland SNP in particular, is welcoming of all our citizens who care about the future of Scotland, regardless of their personal background and origin.

“We believe in a Scotland that welcomes immigrants and the contribution they can make to our future – a contribution that includes representation at all levels of our democracy.”