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The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2020 shortlist

28th Feb 2020
The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2020 shortlist

Our readers nominated them and our distinguished independent panel of judges reviewed, deliberated and mused over the list. We proudly present the illustrious men, women, children and initiatives deemed worthy of short-listing for a Muslim News Award for Excellence. These exemplars of good practice, excellence – our future role models – will be treated to a gala evening in the presence of their peers and other renowned guests in March, when the finalists are announced for the [15] coveted Awards for Excellence.

Please note this just a brief summary of the write-ups inspected by the judges.


Click here for 2021 nomination form


Alhambra Award for Excellence in Arts

Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somaliland in 1981. Her two novels have attracted critical acclaim and her writing has been published in the New York Times, The Independent and anthologies celebrating the best of modern African fiction and marking the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth.Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, won the Betty Trask Prize, was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. In 2013 she was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Her second novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls, was published in 2013 and won a Somerset Maugham Prize and the Prix Albert Bernard and was long-listed for The Dylan Thomas Prize and short-listed for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.Following the 2017 lorry bomb attack in Mogadishu, Nadifa helped raise over £32,000 for Aamin Ambulance. Nadifa has volunteered with many mentoring schemes for Muslim children in London, including Baraka Youth in Portobello, and was active in the various volunteer efforts following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. She has also worked at the Hackney Christmas Dinner which was set up by poet Lemn Sissay to give young people just out of the care system a family-style Christmas Day.

The P21 Gallery plays a crucial role in facilitating cross-cultural dialogue between London and the Middle East through the medium of contemporary art. With many of its events open to the public and free, it is a community space as well as an art gallery. Through its diverse programming, P21 consistently strives to showcase as many perspectives as possible. From organizing events promoting Sudanese literature to presenting a selection of artworks from Gaza in Palestine, P21 is committed to challenging the misinformed notion that the Middle East and the Arab world are static and monolithic blocs. The gallery is committed to experimenting with new ideas and working with new individuals, a case in hand being the exhibition titled Even We Didn’t Go Through It, which presented parallels between undocumented narratives in South Korea and Lebanon.

Shams Un Nisa’s contribution to art takes the form of hand-embroidered Islamic calligraphy. Her breath-taking interpretations of classical Islamic calligraphy have been exhibited in over eight countries and, in their splendour, can be appreciated by people of all faiths and none. Shams, from Surrey, uses gold, silver, and coloured threads along with beads, sequins, pearls, semi-precious stones, and appliqué work. Her work is framed and mounted on attractive backgrounds, some striking a traditional tone and other pieces more contemporary. She has over 1,500 pieces of hand-embroidered artwork that include Qur’anic designs and has worked on dresses for the British royal family.

Annemarie Schimmel Award for Championing a Muslim Cause

Feed The Homeless Bristol & WSM has been providing hot meals, sandwiches, snacks, warm clothing, blankets and sleeping bags to the needy and homeless since early 2016. The volunteers are from diverse communities – Jews, Hindus, Christians and Muslims. The supplies are distributed by the assigned volunteers on Fridays and Sundays in Bristol city centre and every day of the week in Weston Super Mare. The meals are cooked by a separate team of volunteers. The management team ensures the growth of the charity, and its objectives are met. The charity is not affiliated with any other group and in 2018, won the National Diversity Award and was nominated for European Diversity Award.

Dr Katy Sian is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York. She has pioneered research on conflict and prejudice between various Sikh and Muslim communities, both in South Asia and other contexts such as North America. Her work has been given greater reach through community and media engagement and maintaining a keen awareness of public policy outcomes. At a time when more and more research is being done on Islamophobia with a narrower and narrower focus, Katy opens up this discussion onto the crucial question of the dynamics of inter-ethnic relations between ethnic minorities in general and South Asian diasporas in particular. Katy’s books include Unsettling Sikh and Muslim Conflict: Mistaken Identities, Forced Conversions, and Postcolonial Formations and the co-authored Racism, Governance and Public Policy: Beyond Human Rights.

Dorking-based Patricia Parker MBE, is the founder and CEO of Kids for Kids, a UK charity which provides aid to Darfur, Sudan. Kids for Kids has transformed the lives of over half a million people living in 100 villages in North Darfur, providing sustainable projects that communities identify and run themselves. One of Patricia’s first encounters with poverty in 2001, in Darfur moved her to return to the UK to raise funds. In six months £54,000 was raised to install a hand pump for a village and to purchase livestock for the most afflicted. Through the work of Kids for Kids, children were able to attend the local school during the day because they no longer had to walk miles across the desert to fetch water. In the UK, Patricia raises awareness of the plight of others through her presentations at schools throughout the country.

Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award for Excellence

At the tender age of 10, Fatema Zahra Mithwani is an exceptionally talented and imaginative writer of poetry and short stories and a gifted memoriser of the Qur’an. She is the winner of the Light of the Qur’an Poetry Competition in the 7–10 years age category for two consecutive years (2016, 2017). In 2018, the youngster from Watford, Hertfordshire, won both the Young Muslim Writers Awards in the KS2 poetry category and the Poetry Zone Website 20th Anniversary Anthology Competition, the latter being organized by the acclaimed children’s poet Roger Stevens. Fatema Zahra has also received awards for Qur’an memorisation, art, and mathematics. Fatema Zahra aspires to become a memoriser of the Qur’an and an author and illustrator.

Jameel Mohamed-Hussain attends a mainstream school in Birmingham with a resource base for the visually impaired. Complications following an operation meant that he could not regularly attend the first year of school. Until 2017, he was fed through a tube due to difficulty with chewing. Jameel’s teachers and parents strove to maintain his education and Jameel now reads and writes using Braille. His world is what he can touch, feel, and hear, and he regularly surprises those around him with his displays of knowledge — not just spelling and arithmetic — but also memorisation and recitation of the Qur’an which has impressed competition judges.

A talented athlete with a strong work ethic, Muhammad Mustafa Ali has been boxing for four years and has won numerous national and international titles. His passion has inspired other students at his Leicester-based Muslim school to pursue their sporting prowess and become champions in Mixed Martial Arts. Muhammad is keen to help others with their training and development. He has travelled across the globe for training and development initiatives provided by the England Talent Pathway Programme.  His numerous accomplishments include winning England Boxing School’s National Champion, GB Three Nations Champion, England V Wales International Tournament in 2018; winner at England V Wales International Tournament, England V Ireland International Tournament in 2019 as well as many other championships. He adheres to a lifestyle of a boxer through diet, nutrition and fitness. An outstanding sportsman, he adheres to principles of Islam and attributes his success to hard work and commitment.

Uthman dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development

Khizra Mosque & Community Centre in Manchester stands out for engaging with the wider community and not just its members. Besides traditional mosque facilities, Khizra regularly hosts events for all ages in the areas of health and exercise, education, poverty relief, and interfaith. Examples include mosque tours, careers fairs, blood donation clinics, charity fundraising, language classes, and all types of clubs from youth to gardening. Khizra has organized street cleaning and provided support for flood victims in Cumbria and Somerset. Khizra has received many awards and recognitions for its activities, including the Be Proud Manchester Special Recognition Award following the 2017 attack at the Manchester Arena, the UKIM Best Mosque Award in 2018, and seven awards at the Beacon Mosque Awards 2019. While being active in community development, Khizra is undergoing development in the form of construction work aimed at furthering its endeavours.

Madiha Raza is Global Communications Coordinator for Muslim Aid. Her role involves the development of relief programmes, particularly in emergencies, through developing communications channels and processes with all stakeholders. Her aid assessments and delivery around the world has enabled her to bring the real stories of disaster-stricken people to millions of viewers and readers in the UK. In the last year, Madiha has helped support survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire; has travelled into the heart of war-torn Mosul; worked with Rohingya refugees who had fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar, and was in Damascus during the intense bombing of Eastern Ghouta. In her spare time, Madiha loves to travel and explore new cultures and adventures, including deep-sea diving and bungee jumping.

Born in Mauritius, Mohammad Ryad Khodabocus is Community Relations Development Officer for Luton Council of Faiths. He has a passion for helping others to empower and develop themselves and is a sports coach specializing in archery. Many community projects that Ryad has pioneered include the Faith Woodlands Communities Project where 3,000 people of different faiths came together to transform derelict land into peace gardens; Making Luton a Fairtrade Town campaign which saw Luton gain Fairtrade Town status in 2011 and 2012; and the rebranding of Luton’s Annual Interfaith Pilgrimage which now draws hundreds of people every year. Ryad’s community presence is further seen in The Luton News, for which he writes a weekly column called Faith Matters.

Al Bīrūnī Award for Excellence in Community Relations

Elinor Mair Chohan MBE worked as a nurse for twenty years before turning to the voluntary sector. Among her many current appointments, Elinor is Director of the Miri Roshni Foundation, a registered family charity for the benefit of people in the UK and abroad. Elinor is also Chair of North West Remembering Srebrenica, a position in which she has overseen an annual Civic Remembrance Service at Manchester Cathedral to mark the Bosnian genocide. As Co-chair of the Manchester section of Nisa–Nashim, Elinor helps bring together Jewish and Muslim women in a spirit of cooperation and sisterhood. As Muslim adviser to RECLAIM, Elinor plays a role in a youth-led initiative seeking to promote community cohesion and character building, now being piloted at seven secondary schools in Manchester. Elinor is a trustee of the British Muslim Heritage Centre and was awarded an MBE in 2018.

Qaisra Shahraz FRSA is an award-winning novelist, scriptwriter, peace ambassador, community activist, humanitarian, and educationist. Qaisra is the founding director of Muslim Arts and Culture Festival and adviser to various charities and journals. In 2016, she gained national recognition by winning the prestigious National Diversity Lifetime Achiever Award for services to literature, education, gender, and interfaith relationships. Her name has been included at the top of lists of influential women and in 2018 Qaisra was included in the Muslim Power 100 list. Qaisra is a trustee of Manchester Multi-Faith Centre, Co-chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester, Co-chair of We Stand Together, and executive member of Manchester’s Muslim–Jewish Forum. To improve community relationships, she has hosted annual international twinning events with Muslim and Jewish communities in schools, universities, synagogues, and mosques in Greater Manchester.

For almost a decade Suleman Khonat has exhibited extraordinary vigour in raising the profile of the hospice services for the Asian community in Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn, and the Ribble Valley. As a result of his efforts, an increase in patients from the BAME community using all hospice services has been observed. Through Suleman’s organization over £40,000 has been raised during one Ramadan alone. Suleman has been nominated for the Asian Image Man of the Year Award, a Radio Lancashire Community Hero Award, and the 2BR Radio Station Community Champion Award.


Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education

The East London Mosque is the first British Muslim institution to have established a strong room to store securely a substantial collection of paper records dating back to 1910. Formally opened in 2017 by Mayor Sadiq Khan, the East London Mosque Archives Project is an important step for documenting the longstanding involvement of Muslims in British society. The archives include financial records which detail fundraising efforts for mosque development and international disaster relief in both Muslim and non-Muslim parts of the world. The archive also contains written correspondence with important figures in the history of Muslims in Britain such as Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, A. J. Arberry, and Muhammad Hamidullah. Records of early interfaith initiatives and wartime accounts also feature in the archive. The project has received substantial support from The National Archives and has a reading room service run by volunteers. The archive project seeks to provide British Muslims with a sense of rootedness and to challenge the view that British Muslim history began with post-World War II immigration.

Mehmet Asutay is currently a Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Political Economy & Finance at Durham University Business School. Over twenty years Mehmet has contributed to the burgeoning of the field of Islamic economics and finance. His career has seen him share his passion for moral and socially-conscious economics to international audiences and a vast number of students. Under his leadership, Mehmet’s department at Durham Business School has become a globally recognised centre of excellence in Islamic economics and finance and for the last ten years, Mehmet has run the annual Durham Islamic Finance Summer School.

Raising Explorers is an out of school learning and Ofsted registered child care centre in Bradford. Open every day and all year round, the centre provides support for both academic studies and Islamic learning. Over the last five years, thousands of children and families have benefitted from the services offered. Raising Explorers provides daily pickup service from over fifty Bradford schools and prepares children nutritious home-cooked food for when they arrive. Children then do their homework and coursework while waiting for Islamic lessons to start. Raising Explorers mentors parents where required and works closely with other organizations such as Approachable Parenting, Together Women Community Project, The Catalyst Project, NHS Dental Programme, and the BBC. They also work closely with charitable institutions such as Islamic Relief and Charity Right, enabling the youngsters in their care to explore fundraising initiatives.

Fazlur Rahman Khan Award for Excellence in Engineering, Science and Technology

Hawra Milani is a computing researcher and educator specializing in cybersecurity and its effects in the education system. Currently studying for a PhD at University College London in the Department for Security and Crime Science, Hawra dedicates a lot of her time to attending, organising, and speaking at community events aimed at raising awareness about technology. Hawra is a Community Lead in the Google Developer Ecosystem, where she is the lead organiser for GDG Oxford and GDG Najaf. She is also a Google Women Techmakers Ambassador both in the UK and Iraq, where she runs events to further female participation in the tech field. Hawra is founder and CEO of Code 2 Serve, a community organization which teaches children how to code and get ahead in the software development industry. She uses her international speaking platform to advocate for the #HijabisInTech movement that she began, aiming to give a voice to Muslim women in tech by sharing their stories, successes, and challenges.

Mariam Ahmadi-Moghaddam is an architect who works for Weston Williamson. She has been instrumental in the firm’s expansion into new areas, both in the UK and overseas. Mariam’s work has greatly contributed to the success of two high-profile infrastructure projects, the award-winning Paddington Integrated Project and Crossrail Paddington Station. Mariam was a 2017 finalist for the Women in Construction Awards Best Woman Architect and has been nominated this year for the Woman in Rail award. Her work with non-governmental organizations in Tehran for the promotion of women’s education and opportunity has also been recognised. London-based Mariam is a co-founder of Women at Weston Williamson, a group which aims to redefine the understanding of women’s capabilities and contributions in the workplace and shares her experiences with university students as a mentor.

Najwa Jawahar works for WSP, a leading global engineering consultancy, and has successfully contributed to several multimillion pound projects, including the Merchant Square Development and London Wall Place. Najwa has also led the design of Key Bridge House, a complex development across five buildings. In 2016 she won the WeAreTheCity’s Top 50 Rising Stars in the property services category, in 2017 she was named as the best Young Structural Engineer at the European Women in Construction and Engineering, and in 2019 she made Northern Power Women’s Future List. Najwa takes pride in guiding and mentoring young engineers and has been featured on several of WSP’s internal and external platforms as a role model.

Ummul Mu’minin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise

Farzana Rahman from Stanmore, Middlesex, is founder of the Desi Doll Company, a company which aims to help children learn about Islam through quality-made toys. The fun interactive toys that she has designed and produced stimulate the senses of children so that they effortlessly learn verses of the Qur’an, the teachings of the Prophet, and Islamic etiquette. Some of Farzana’s creations include talking dolls, audio puzzles, audiobooks, Qur’an and prayer pillows, an Arabic dough cutter set, and an electronic device to teach the ritual prayer. Her quest to bring Islamic education to children through play follows her own experience of motherhood and being unable to find suitable toys to educate her children. For over ten years the Desi Doll Company has been a pioneer of Islamic toys with toys being sold in over twenty-six countries and business turnover doubling year on year. This year socially conscious Farzana will continue to strive to bring Islamic toys to mainstream high street retailers and will look forward to unveiling a new range of dolls that help promote respect and tolerance.

Jamal Ahmed is a leading privacy expert who, on observing a dearth of accessible expert services in data protection and GDPR compliance, founded Kazient Privacy Experts to offer compliance solutions to small, medium, and large businesses. Jamal, from Romford, East London has delivered privacy and GDPR compliance solutions to organizations across six continents and in thirteen jurisdictions, helping to safeguard the personal data of over 54 million data subjects worldwide. In 2019 Jamal was awarded the Fellow of Information Privacy by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the first British Muslim conferred the status. Passionate about raising the profile of GDPR compliance among Muslim businesses and organizations, Jamal has also been featured by various Muslim media platforms and works closely with several Muslim charities. Jamal combines his professional activity with philanthropy, raising £15,000 to fund 100 communal kitchens for refugees in Calais, over £100,000 to provide iftar [breaking of fast] meals for displaced people in Syria, and £25,000 to provide rice to flood victims in Bangladesh.

For the last forty years, Mohamed Iqbal Asaria CBE has been a key figure behind the growth and implementation of Islamic finance, banking, and insurance in the UK. His practical experience of investment and banking and his grasp of the jurisprudence of Islamic commercial law has enabled him to make a unique contribution to his field. Iqbal was a member of the working party set up by the Governor of the Bank of England to report on issues relating to the introduction of Islamic financial products in the UK. Since 2005, he has been Special Adviser on Business & Economic Affairs to the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and teaches postgraduate courses at several leading universities. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE for services to international development.

Alija Izetbegović Award for Good Citizenship

Abdul-Karim Abdullah is Lambeth’s community champion, working with young people across the borough to help them escape a life of violence and trauma. As a key member of the London Independent Youth Safety Board, he has played an important role in changing the approach of the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime toward violent crime. This, in turn, has led the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to set up the London Violence Reduction Unit which is now being led by Lib Peck, the former leader of Lambeth Council and a supporter of AbdulKarim’s work. AbdulKarim is the Chair of Lambeth’s Stop and Search Monitoring Board, the Chair of Lambeth’s Youth Violence Forum and the Chair of the Metropolitan Police’s Youth Independent Advisory Group. A recipient of the National Diversity Award, AbdulKarim is invited by both print and broadcast media to share his expert opinion on violence and crime among young people. AbdulKarim is a spoken word poet, producer of the documentary Road 2 Recovery, and the youth and community events manager of Brixton Mosque.

Moawia Bin-Sufyan FRSA is the founding Chair of the Council on Welsh Islamic Relations, an organization which seeks to enhance the understanding of Islam in Wales, and is currently in the process of setting up a forum for BAME leaders from across Wales. Moawia has been and continues to be, involved with many charitable and statutory organizations including the Prince’s Trust, the South Wales Police Accountability Panel, the Prison Advice Care Trust, Social Care Wales, and the Muslim Welfare Association. Among his many accolades and honours are the Queen’s Award for Charity, the British Citizen Award for Services to the Community and Education (BCA), and the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award. Moawia is a governor of two schools and a magistrate at Cardiff Magistrate Courts. He has helped raise over £145,000 for the charities he supports.

Mohammed Roziur Rahman works for the NHS as a Muslim chaplain and was previously the Muslim chaplain for Newcastle and Northumbria universities. He is a Director of Newcastle’s Council of Faiths and a regular adviser to local organizations. He is a 2015 recipient of the British Imams and Scholars Awards for community engagement and a finalist at the British Muslim Awards 2017 in the category of religious advocacy. His community initiatives include convening interfaith Eid meals for disadvantaged people and holding vigils in support of the victims of the Manchester Arena attack. Roziur Rahman is a hafidh [memoriser of the Qur’an] who has taught Islamic subjects in Newcastle for many years. He is regularly approached by the BBC and ITV for his views on current affairs.

Ibn Sīnā Award for Health

Professor Hashim Ahmed is an internationally renowned expert in prostate cancer diagnosis, imaging, and biopsy as well as minimally invasive therapies for prostate cancer. He is a Professor and Chair of Urology at Imperial College London — one of the youngest chairs of a surgical department in Europe. He is also Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute’s Prostate Research Group and Chair of NHS England’s Prostate Clinical Group. Hashim has pioneered research that means men suspected of prostate cancer can avoid invasive biopsies and instead have accurate MRI scans. He is recipient of the British Medical Journal Award for Innovation (2015) and has been awarded the Health Services Journal Award for Innovation in both 2016 and 2018. With over 200 peer-reviewed papers to his name, Hashim currently holds a prestigious Wellcome Trust fellowship and leads a team of twenty researchers.

Dr Kawther Hashem researches nutrition at Queen Mary University of London. She is the Campaign Lead for Action on Sugar which is part of Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar, and Health, a charitable organization concerned with the effects of salt and sugar on health. Kawther’s research has helped uncover the astonishing amount of salt and sugar added to our food and has driven her to be a vociferous campaigner for healthier food products. Her regular local, national, and international media appearances and interviews have helped her place pressure on food manufacturers and governments to review food policy. Consequently, and with the efforts of her colleagues, the UK Government launched Sugar Reduction Programme and the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. Kawther is optimistic that these programmes will have an important impact on public health and is committed to monitoring their effect. In 2017 Kawther was a recipient of the GG2 Leadership Young Achiever Award in acknowledgement of her work.

Dr Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal is Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Bradford Royal Infirmary and holds honorary senior lecturer positions at both the University of Leeds Medical School and the University of Bradford Health Studies Department. He is the current President of the British Islamic Medical Association and a founding member of the organization. In his post, he has overseen the Lifesavers Project, rolled out to over seventy UK mosques in 2019, which aimed to impart crucial first aid skills to mosque-goers. Sharif sits on the Muslim Council of Britain’s National Committee and offers his input into how British Muslims should be served. He is a keen campaigner among Muslim communities to address misconceptions surrounding organ donation. Sharif has led trips to southern Turkey and Jordan to treat refugees affected by conflict and, in his capacity as Chair of the Syrian Association of Yorkshire, has raised awareness about health matters with Syrian refugees more locally. Sharif is a founding member of the International Society for History of Islamic Medicine and is one of the editors of its journal. He regularly presents papers at universities and conferences on the influence of Muslim physicians during the “golden age” of Muslim civilization.

Ibn Battūta Award for Excellence in Media

Nesrine Malik is a columnist and writer for The Guardian and the New Statesman. She was named Society and Diversity Commentator of the Year at the 2017 Comment Awards. Nesrine’s writing aims at busting myths regarding Islam and Muslims and seeks to expose misreporting. She was one of the few to reveal the false reporting of The Times concerning a child who had been placed in the foster care of Muslim parents. She has also written about how debates over free speech are exploited by racists and ethnic cleansing advocates. Nesrine writes without fear, despite the personal abuse she receives on social media. She received her undergraduate education at the American University in Cairo and the University of Khartoum and her postgraduate education at the University of London. Prior to becoming a journalist, she spent ten years in emerging markets private equity.

Dr Saeed Al-Shehabi is a London-based Bahraini, journalist, political activist, and commentator. He is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media and since 2000 has written a weekly column for Al-Quds Al-Arabi. Saeed is a trustee of the Abrar Islamic Foundation and Dar Al Hekma Trust. In association with other Muslim activists, he set up The Muslim Unity Forum, which has so far held an annual conference for eleven years in parallel with conferences on Christian–Muslim relations. Previous endeavours by Saeed include founding the Gulf Cultural Club in 1994 and, along with colleagues, the Muslim Solidarity Committee in 1979. From 1983 to 1999 Saeed edited the London-based pan-Arabic weekly, Al Aalam. He has authored a number of academic articles in his specialist engineering field and also a book on the documents held by the UK Foreign Office relating to Bahrain.

Shabnam Mahmood is a London-based journalist who specializes in covering topics relating to the British Asian diaspora for a national and international audience. She has sensitively tackled taboo subjects within the Asian community such as the rise of HIV in South Asian communities, radicalization, LGBTQ, and grooming. She was one of the few reporters permitted to enter a mosque to cover the funeral of one of the Grenfell Tower fire victims. Shabnam also covers entertainment matters, interviewing Bollywood figures such as Asha Bhosle and Shah Rukh Khan. She regularly reports for BBC News as well as the News Channel and World TV. Her reports have been aired on Radio 4’s Today and Women’s Hour and her digital videos are viewed by thousands.

Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sports

Anwar Khattak founded the Birmingham Youth Sports Academy (BYSA) as a way to get his nephews and their friends to take part in sport during the weekend. The academy works in the Small Heath, Alum Rock and Sparkhill areas of Birmingham to keep young boys away from trouble through football. Thousands of boys between the ages of eight and 18 have benefited from the club and some BYSA players are members of Worcester City FC academy teams. BYSA currently benefits from a partnership with the Albion Foundation which sees professional coaches leading sessions for BYSA members. In addition to physical activity, BYSA offers educational advice and job hunting guidance with many past members now pursuing professional careers in sport. Anwar has also initiated a sports club in Birmingham for girls and has recruited female volunteers to develop the project. In 2015, Anwar was awarded a British Empire Medal for voluntary service to his community.

Fitasista is a sports initiative with an Islamic ethos which operates in Teeside. Founded by exercise coaches Amanda Khalid and Louise Marr, FitaSista promotes health and fitness among women. Activities include running, self-defence, outdoor pursuits, and online fitness classes. Ramadan fitness advice sessions are convened annually as is a festive fun run to purchase Christmas gifts for a local hospice or nursing home. Many of FitaSista’s activities are suitable for Muslim women requiring female-only spaces for exercise and who may have to also care for children while exercising. At FitaSista faith and fitness belong together and it is with this vision that the sports initiative has raised thousands of pounds through physical activity for local, national, and international charities. From helping a local child purchase a wheelchair to sending aid to Syria, FitaSista raises funds for both Muslim and non-Muslim charities.

Established in 2009 in Peterborough, the Iqra Academy is a full-time independent secondary school for girls.with an Islamic ethos and is the first of its kind in the city. Since 2017 several sport and health initiatives have been introduced in the school for the betterment of all students and staff. Of a particular note is the level to which Iqra has successfully engaged with sports networks locally, regionally, and nationally, becoming a “Sister School” of Arsenal Ladies FC and partnering with two local football clubs, ICA and Peterborough United, to benefit from professional coaching. In 2018 the school football team won the annual Interfaith Midlands School Games and became the first Muslim faith school to do so. In 2017, the school football team became champions of the Association of Muslim Schools National 7-A-Side in their first year of entering the competition and their first year of playing together. In 2018, girls from Iqra retained the trophy for their school. The school netball team won the bronze medal at the AMS Midlands Interfaith School games in Coventry. Iqra Academy has shared its success through a number of outreach programmes and is the recipient of the FA Community Award for Best Inclusive Project.

Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence

Arqam Al-Hadeed has been recognised nationally for his tireless efforts to unite all races, religions and cultures. In 2018, he received the Leeds Young Person’s Award for his work in uniting the city’s communities. In 2019, he was the youngest recipient of the British Muslim Award. He has been elected to represent his city as a youth member of the UK Parliament and is one of the top five champions of Make Your Mark, the UK’s largest consultation of young people. Arqam has worked to establish the Grand Muslim Youth Council, an organization operating in Leeds, led by young people and for young people. Within one month of the organization’s launch, it convened the Kashmir Solidarity Youth Conference, the largest of its kind ever to have been held in the UK. The conference was attended by MPs, MEPs, and councillors from Manchester, Leeds, and Bradford and was concluded with remarks from the President of Kashmir. This conference was aired internationally and watched by millions. The Grand Muslim Youth Council has raised over £3,000 for homeless people in Leeds and £12,000 for other good causes.

Mohamed-Zain Dada founded the Khidr Collective, which is a UK-based multi-disciplinary arts collective. The group produces the Khidr Collective Zine, a biannual print publication showcasing the work of Muslim artists. The publication has been well received for its ability to address the everyday experiences of young Muslims in creative and bold ways, receiving recognition from VICE, TimeOut, Metro, Critical Muslim, and other publications. As an upcoming curator of the arts, Zain is the season producer for This is Private at the Free Word Centre. He recently directed the short film The Moon is a Meme which creatively weaves together symbols that contribute to the everyday invasion of privacy in the lives of young Muslims and their resulting emotions. Zain has conducted his reviews and interviews to showcase the work of young creatives in London, including Elijah Quashie, the star of The Pengest Munch series and playwright Javaad Alipoor. Zain from London recently received a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to visit community arts organizations across America.

Somali Youth For Integrity (SYFI) is a student-led umbrella organization for Somali student societies across the UK, including in the North, the Midlands as well as London. Founded in 2015, it is the first organization of its kind. In its year of inception, SYFI raised over £1,000 for a mental health hospital in Mogadishu and has since raised much more for the relief of poverty and disaster, in sometimes very creative ways. In 2017, for example, £50,000 was raised with the support of Human Appeal to provide emergency relief to victims of one of the worst droughts in Somalia’s history. Also in 2017, following one of the worst bomb attacks in the history of Somalia, over £16,000 was raised in the space of two weeks. In 2018, SYFI members raised £58,000 within one month to build a school in the southwestern Somali city of Baidoa. SYFI has also organized Black History Month events, worked to help vulnerable youth in the UK, and run mentorship programmes and workshops.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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