The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 Short-list

27th Feb 2015

The readership of The Muslim News selected and nominated them, and our distinguished independent panel of Judges reviewed, deliberated and mused over the list and here they are. The illustrious men, women, children and projects deemed to be 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 [16] coveted Awards for Excellence

Alhambra Awards for Excellence in Arts

Halima Cassell is a sculptural artist who fuses Asian cultural roots with a fascination for African pattern work and a passion for architectural geometry. Born in 1975 in Pakistan, brought up in Manchester and now lives in Blackburn, Lancashire, her varied, multi-cultural background is tangibly present in her work. Her artwork is showcased in exhibitions globally, including at the V&A in London, Japan and India. Halima has had numerous achievements, from winning Public Art Commissions and through to achieving residencies and scholarships, she is one of the few British Muslim women who works with sculptures and ceramic materials at such a high standard.

Described by the Daily Mail as the ‘break-dancing mother’, Hanifa McQueen Hudson is an urban street performer who has been at the forefront of urban creative art and dance. She is credited as being the UK’s first female break-dancer when the form became popular in the UK in the 1980. Hanifa now fuses her Islamic faith with her art and has become a role model to young Muslims. In 2009 she launched a new art form called ‘Art Breaker’ where Hanifa produces the striking pieces of art by pulling jackhammers, windmills and kick-outs at her studio in Wolverhampton. The work became an instant success and was showcased for the 2012 Olympic exhibition at the Wolverhamption Art Gallery and Museum.

Born and raised in Russia, Maryam Golubeva is British artist with Turkish ancestry currently residing and teaching in Lancaster. Maryam uses traditional Russian paper-cutting and engraving techniques to deliver a cross cultural narrative that aims to re-establish the deep seated historic bonds between the East and West. She is currently involved in the “Different Moons” art project aimed to preserve South Asian heritage in the North West of England. Maryam created two 9 ft. by 5 ft. single sheet paper cut installations for the exhibition space as well as delivering a series of workshops for the local community groups. Her art was recently show-cased at the MOCAfest at the World Islamic Economic Forum in 2014.

Annemarie Schimmel Award for Excellence in Championing a Muslim cause

The Three Faith’s Forum’s (3FF) innovative Urban Dialogues programme uses the arts to illuminate complex issues and generates understanding and meeting across difference. The programme has for six years been commissioning new and exciting art from a wide range of artists of all faiths, including Muslims. Urban Dialogues actively supports collaborations between artists from different faith traditions, and it promotes their work to a wide audience. Some of the most successful commissions which Urban Dialogues has supported have been between Muslim and Jewish artists. Muslim women make up over 30% of audiences and artists engaged in programme’s ‘Female Voices’ initiative. Such forums have created safe-spaces for Muslims and people of other faiths and none to share their different points of views.

Dr Swee Ang is a Singaporean doctor and humanitarian whose life was transformed after she left her comfortable job as an orthopaedic surgeon in London to respond to the plea for medical help after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Having witnessed and tended to the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians at a refugee camp in 1982, Ang returned to London and established Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP), a charity striving to achieve the highest attainable standard of healthcare for Palestinians in hostile and difficult conditions. Ang Swee Chai’s experience and concerns are charted in her book From Beirut to Jerusalem: A Woman Surgeon With the Palestinians. In 2014, she was deported from Israel by the authorities and prevented from carrying out her humanitarian work.

Chris Doyle is the Director of Council for Arab British Understanding (CAABU), the UK’s foremost forum for Arab-British relations. He is acknowledged as the leading expert on the region and done considerable work to bring about a better appreciation of Arabs and Muslims in Britain. These include lobbying successfully for Palestinian statehood vote, labelling of settlement products, and speaking out against Islamophobia. Chris has organised over 50 Parliamentary delegations to the Arab World taking MPs from all parties including former and current Cabinet ministers. 16 of those MPs who spoke in the Parliamentary debate on statehood had been on Caabu delegations. He has also organised many major fundraising events for Palestinians. For his work, Chris won a Special Tribute award from the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival in 2001 for his work with the media.

Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award for Excellence

Ayan Qureshi is a tech genius who, at the age of five, became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) on the 27th September 2014. He is currently a year one student at Clifford Bridge Primary School, Coventry. Ayan developed an interest in computers and high tech when he was three, he built his own home computer lab and likes to spend his leisure time in the lab. He was very happy when he setup his first computer network in the lab. Ayaan’s remarkable achievement in passing the MCP led to worldwide attention with the BBC and the Daily Mail amongst the many media outlets profiling the youngster. With his life still ahead of him, Ayan has expressed interest in becoming a tech pioneer when he eventually grows up.

Isha Kausar Hakeem has managed to devote a great part of her spare time in Glasgow to charitable causes despite serious illness and family heartache. She has supported her mother while Isha herself battled a brain tumour, and continues to look after her mother as a young carer. Amidst this, Isha has also found time to be a very active community worker. She has helped raise money for Amina – the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre as well as for the charity drives at Glasgow’s Radio Ramadhan, the Well Foundation of Scotland and Ucare Foundation. Isha has also sang nasheeds at events organised by the UK Islamic Mission and Islamic Awareness Week. As an active citizen, Isha has also appeared on Scottish Television to speak about poverty and how it affects her.

Maaz Bin Saud is three times world kickboxing champion. At the age of 11 he won his first world title in Portugal in 2010 then second time in Spain in 2011 and last year he won the world title in two different categories third time in Montreal, Canada. The achievement crowned a string of victories for Maaz where he won number of tournaments including the British Open Championships, English National Championship, and the MAI Open Championship. Maaz continues his studies at his local school in Liverpool and attends Madrassah where he is doing hafiz Qur’an memorising – classes. In 2010 Maaz was named Junior Sports Personality of the Year at the British Asian Sports Awards. Because of his achievements he was also invited to 10 Downing Street.

Allama Iqbal Award for Creativity in Islamic Thought

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (UK) established a London office in 1981 and has since been particularly dynamic and creative in intellectual development, pursuing a range of activities to enable Muslims to deal effectively with present challenges and contribute to the progress of human civilization. The Institute has published several ground-breaking publications, and translated important works into the English language. The Institute has also forged links with leading academic institutions from around the world. For example, the conference The Future of Faith in the Age of Globalization held in Sarajevo in 2010 involved co-operation with universities and academic centres in Sarajevo, Cambridge, Westminster, and Georgetown. The Institute’s London office was also closely involved with the ‘Contextualising Islam in Britain’ project conducted by the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge and supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Professor Mashood Adebayo Baderin is a Nigerian/British citizen who has made significant academic and religious contributions towards better understanding of the role of Islamic law in modern international relations. He is currently a Professor of Law at SOAS, University of London, where he was Head of the School of Law from 2009 to 2012. He is the first Nigerian to be appointed as full professor at SOAS and also the first African as Head of the SOAS School of Law since the establishment of the university. Through his impressive list of publications, he has managed to offer an Islamic perspective on discussions surrounding human rights policy in the UK and internationally, raising awareness of possible positive interaction between Islamic law and international human rights law, which is very much needed in today’s world. His work has led him to be an expert advisor to the Foreign Office, Department for International Development and the UN Human Tights Council which appointed Mashood in March 2012 as the UN Independent Expert for Sudan.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Jabbar Beg was a distinguished historian of the Muslim world with an extensive reading list to his name. Despite ill-health, he managed to complete a comprehensive biography of Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, after a thorough study of classical and modern sources, as well as writing more than 300 biographies of the Prophet’s companions, published in a multi-volume series. He was perhaps the only Muslim historian with more than twenty entries to his credit in the prestigious and world-class The Encyclopedia of Islam. Dr Beg was a widely read and erudite historian, as exemplified in his seminal work of 2006, Essays on the origins of Islamic Civilisation. The collection demonstrated the late academics grasp of architectural history, the seerah, numismatics, urban development, social structures, early Islamic science or music. His distinguished academic career was boosted after he gained a PhD from Cambridge University, and took in lectureships around the world. The late Muhammad Abdul Jabbar sadly passed away after he was nominated for this award.

Uthman Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development

Dr Bilal Hassam is a community and inter-faith activist after training as a medical Doctor at the University of Nottingham. He is a co-founder of The Leaf Network which supports, inspires and trains young people to develop skills to serve society in thought, action and spirit. Bilal is currently a senior producer at British Muslim TV and a PR consultant for the charity Penny Appeal. Bilal also has a strong inter-faith focus, being a Faith Act Fellow for the Global Inter-Religious Ambassadors of the UN Millennium Development Goals and a board member for the University of Cambridge Coexist Leadership Programme. He is also a consultative council member of the Three Faiths Forum and Muslim Youth specialist at the Christian Muslim Forum.

The East London Mosque is one the UK’s oldest Muslim centres of worship, and one of the country’s busiest with over 10,000 worshippers, users and visitors going through its doors each week. It not only serves the spiritual needs of the community, but also acts a busy hub for community development and renewal. In 2004, the Mosque established the London Muslim Centre which houses a fitness centre, schools and various initiatives, including a project to support deaf Muslims. The Mosque is the only UK Muslim centre of worship to have Friday sermons translated into sign language. In 2013, the East London Mosque continued its pioneering pace by establishing the Maryam Centre, a multifunctional space dedicated to women. This was accompanied by its campaign ‘Imams Against Domestic Abuse’ to ensure there was a clear Islamic stance against this. And in 2014, the East London Mosque entered into a partnership with the National Archives to record the rich history of the mosque and begin the process of institutionalising British Islamic heritage.

Penny Appeal is one of the fastest growing charities in the UK, which aims to make charitable giving affordable. In just five years, Penny Appeal’s growth has been phenomenal. The charity now operates in thirty countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, benefiting the maximum number of people possible through its core campaigns. The charity began by supporting orphans in a small village in northern Pakistan and enabling them to attend school. Since then its orphan care programme has expanded to include other areas of Pakistan and also other countries. Penny Appeal opened its first orphanage, Mera Apna Ghar, in January 2012 and, in 2014, opened an orphanage in the Gambia. OrphanKind is the name given to the charity’s orphan sponsorship programme which provides orphans with first-class care within a loving foster family and a good education. With a strong online presence, a growing band of volunteers and a variety of fun or extreme fundraising challenges to get involved with, Penny Appeal appeals to the young as well as to traditional givers. Penny Appeal is based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and has offices in Bradford and Islamabad.

Alija Izetbegovic Award for Good Citizenship

Fayyaz Afzal OBE is a highly skilled lawyer who has been able to work on a range of complicated cases across a number of legal disciplines. His many roles have included being a Junior to the Midland Circuit and a Chambers Pupillage Coordinator and an active member of five committees at the Bar. Fayyaz sits as a Legal Assessor for a healthcare regulator and as a Deputy District Judge in the County Court. He is a Legal Adviser to the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants Disciplinary and Regulatory Committees. Afzal’s achievements have already been recognised through many awards including the Society of Asian Lawyers Community Lawyer of the Year 2007. In 2008 he was conferred an OBE and in 2010 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Staffordshire University.

Shahid Azeem is an award-winning, British-Pakistani entrepreneur who has set up and run a string of successful multi-million pound businesses within the IT Industry, whilst at the same time investing greatly into youth empowerment and strengthening community relations. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, a Director of the British Pakistan Foundation and an active member of the Surrey Rotary Club. Shahid is also Chairman of Aldershot FC where he is using the power of sport to integrate communities.

Zaidah Ahmed MBE is a magistrate and an active citizen of Rotherham and has sat on many leadership positions to make the town a better place. Zaidah has helped establish and run summer schools for the past six years and has served as a school governor. She has also helped bring to Rotherham initiatives such as School Linking, the MOSAIC Project (endorsed through the Princess Trust) and Model UN programme (MUN). She was a Trustee of Rotherham United Football Community Sports Trust, a non- Executive Director of South Yorkshire Housing Association, and a Director of an Executive Mosque Management Committee. Other key positions have included being on the BBC Regional Audience Council and Vice Chair of South Yorkshire Women’s Development Trust. In 2014 she was conferred an MBE.

Al Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations

Jewels of Islam is a small women’s group in Kircaldy, Fife, which aims to bring about better relations between Muslims and fellow Scots in the area. The group works with Kircaldy’s local mosque and was responsible for establishing a rapport with the woman parishioners of St Marie’s Church. A bond was established between both groups and they have since shared many community celebrations including Eid and Burns Night. Now Jewels of Islam plays a pivotal role in the Fife Interfaith Group, organising events and fundraising activities. They played a leading role in the establishment of community food banks in Fife and have a close working relationship with many of the elected members and service providers. They also played a key role within the mainstream community during the recent Gaza protests.

Save Muslim Heritage is a grassroots campaign to raise awareness of the on-going destruction of historical sites around the Muslim world. With ongoing conflict in the Muslim world, and the rise of extremism this campaign was formed to try and do something about the subsequent threat to historical sites. Though this campaign’s focus is on Muslim heritage sites, the campaign has managed to attract a cross section of support not only from within the Muslim community but also from other faiths as well. The campaign’s success lies in enlisting the support of this diverse range of people, including Christian clergy and MPs. The main aim here was to ensure that the preservation of Muslim heritage was not only a Muslim issue, or an issue amongst groups of Muslims, but one that affects all of mankind.

Who is Hussain is an awareness and social action campaign inspired by the ultimate sacrifice made by Imam Husayn, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace. Husayn’s story is one of sacrifice and standing up to tyranny while focusing on the dispossessed. Accordingly, this campaign aims to bring worldwide awareness of his message while relating it to tackling a modern social problem. As a result, the campaign has attracted a global following online, while its social action initiatives have gathered attention and praise for serving those in need, regardless of colour or creed. Last year, the campaign launched “#TeamGiveBack”, which saw acts of compassion of all flavours across the globe: Blood donations, homeless initiatives, water bottle handouts, awareness and interfaith events and much more. In a climate of creeping Islamophobia, Who is Hussain is doing its bit to demonstrate that Islam’s values have a place in modern Britain.

Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education

Ian Fenn is a Muslim Head Teacher of Burnage Academy for Boys in Manchester where he is credited for turning round this inner city school with a high BME pupil intake beyond leaps and bounds. As such, Ian is regularly invited by the BBC and other TV channels to share his school’s best practices and discuss education policies and socio-educational issues. Outside of school, Ian is a Board Member of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization, a not-for-profit organisation devoted to using the historical roots of scientific inventions and innovations to enhance social cohesion and inter-cultural appreciation in a non-political and non-religious environment. He is also a Trustee of Curriculum Enrichment for the Future a charity dedicated to helping young people discover their shared heritages in this global interdependent age.

The Markfield Institute of Higher Education was one of the first bodies to offer an opportunity to study Islam in an Islamic institution within the context of Higher Education in the UK. It offers post-graduate students the advantage of a friendly and attentive environment with opportunities to address multi-dimensional issues by exercising critical judgment and self-discipline. It has an Islamic studies programme at BA and Masters levels as well as a pioneering postgraduate course on Islamic Banking, Finance and Management. In 2003, it was the first to deliver a Muslim Chaplaincy course. The course enables chaplains to support Muslims in various public sectors. Outside of its ground-breaking programme of academic and vocational courses, the Institute plays hosts to several academic conferences and events, as well as a string of interfaith programmes.

The Nida Trust is a charity that works with the community to educate young people through empowering and supporting students, teachers and parents. Over the past ten years, the Trust has offered high quality structured courses to teachers from full-time Muslim schools and supplementary schools and madaris around the country. Through its leadership courses, the Trust has trained over a 100 head teachers and senior Muslim school leaders. The Trust also supports teachers from mainstream schools through its You Teach programme. The Nida Trust has deep roots within the Muslim community and has fostered excellence in education through a variety of other initiatives. Its Muslim Education Fair provides a platform for showcasing Muslim education in the UK, while its various awards celebrates the achievements of teachers, pupils and parents.

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

Fatima Jichi is a Medical Statistician working at the Biostatistics Group of the Joint Research Office of University College London, University College London Hospital and Royal Free Hospital. Her main research interests are in the design and analysis of clinical trials, risk models and methodology for modelling longitudinal data and she lectures on these subjects at University College London. Fatima has already established herself in her field by creating a risk prediction model to identify patients at high risk of sudden cardiac death so that it can inform cardiologists. Having only graduated in 2009, Fatima has already developed an impressive publication list in her chosen field.

Dr Shozeb Haider is an Excellence Fellow in Computational Medicinal Chemistry at University College London. The focus of his research is cancer target validation and exploiting structural information for drug discovery. Since being awarded a PhD in Biophysics at the Institute of Cancer Research in London in 2003, Shozeb has quickly made a mark in his field, receiving fellowships and helping to make breakthroughs in his field of science. For his work, he was invited to the prestigious Young Scientists for the Next Decade Symposium by Roche Pharmaceuticals. In 2005, he was awarded the CRUK Senior Research Fellowship at the London School of Pharmacy, where the focus of his research was small ligand molecules design of protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid inhibitors.

Dr Simi Ali is currently a Professor in Immunobiology at the Institute of Cellular Medicine, Medical Faculty at Newcastle University. Her main area of research has been studying the immunobiological processes that result in tissue damage during organ transplantation. She holds many senior management responsibilities within and outside the university. Simi also regularly reviews grants for organisations including Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Asthma UK Foundation and the Singapore Biomedical Research Council role has been recognised by the Inspirational Women of North East England which considered her commitment to help tackle the unequal representation of women in science and to improve career progression for female academics. She was awarded special recognition award by Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation for her contribution to transplantation research.

Ibn Battuta Award for Excellence in the Media

Fatima Manji is a General Reporter for Channel 4 News, one the UK’s best-known evening news programmes. Fatima joined the programme in January 2012 and since then has worked on a variety of stories including the NatWest banking problems, Apple unwittingly encouraging phone theft and returning to her own school to look at job prospects for school leavers. Before this Fatima was a reporter, presenter and video journalist for the BBC in the East of England, where she investigated stories including exploitative landlords and hate crime against migrants. While breaking news stories is what Fatima should mainly be known for, she also broke a glass ceiling by being the first broadcast journalist to appear in a hijab on a major UK news show.

British Muslim TV is a community television channel which has quickly established a reputation for high-quality programming that connects with the diverse British Muslim community. Developed by British Muslims for British Muslims, the station aims to appeal to all sections of Muslim society by remaining non-sectarian and open to different views – helping to bring fragmented communities together. With a focus on quality production, and through showcasing the best of British and the best of Muslim, the aim of the channel is to make British Muslims feel confidently Muslim and comfortably British. The channel was launched last year in Ramadan and aims to deliver original and innovative content for the British Muslim community, without neglecting a wider, interested audience, as well as becoming a major voice for British Muslims.

Shabnam Bashir Mahmood is a senior broadcast journalist with the BBC, specialising in British Asian and British Muslim stories for a national audience. Her reports have appeared on a range of BBC channels including the BBC Asian Network, World Service, World TV, Radio 5 Live, Radio 4 and the News Channel. Last year Shabnam was behind the award winning documentary about Temporary Marriages in Islam (Nikah Mut’ah). She was the only media person to track down a Bradford City football fan wearing a hijab whose photo from the match went viral – the story was one of the most read on BBC Online. Her knowledge and sensitivity of Muslim culture has been useful in her role as a Cultural Advisor to the Masood Family in Eastenders. She was behind the award winning (TV Awards) wedding of Amira (Priya Kallidas) and Syed (Marc Elliott) for which she was praised.

Ummul Muminin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise

Hajera Memon is the Managing Director of Shade 7 Limited and author of the first Islamic pop-up book The Story of the Elephant. Hajera left her job as a city lawyer to establish Shade 7 and began by raising over £40,000 through crowd-funding for an initial production-run of 5,000 books. The Story of the Elephant became an instant success thanks not only to the creative output but also to Hajera’s business-acumen and entrepreneurial drive. Shade 7 is now a global multilingual publisher of premium Qur’anic educational children’s pop-up and novelty books and 3D digital interactive apps that help children learn about Islam in a fun way. Hajera was also awarded a scholarship by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Doug Richard, at his ‘School for Creative Start-ups’ year-long mentoring programme. In 2014, Hajera was awarded the British Female Exceptional Creative Winner Award and the Special Recognition Award at the British Invention Show.

Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE is the Chief Executive of Mitie Group plc, the strategic outsourcing company. Ruby qualified as an accountant at BDO Stoy Hayward in 1991 before taking financial roles for Serco, SGI Babcock International and Mitie. Ruby joined Mitie in 2002 and became CEO in 2007. She is one of a small number of women holding the position of Chief Executive in the FTSE 250 or FTSE 100 and is the first Muslim woman to be appointed in such a role within that group of companies. She has overseen a £1.5 billion growth in revenue. Ruby has a number of other roles and charitable and community interests. Her roles include being a non-executive Director at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and an ambassador of ‘Raising the Roof’, a Great Ormond Street Hospital charity. She was conferred a CBE in 2012 for services to business and promoting diversity.

Salma Chaudhry is the Director of The Halal Cosmetics Company, a firm which provides a luxury range of halal premium skincare. Salma started her first business at the age of 23, one the first regional bridal magazines in the UK, she then went on to work within the fashion industry, designing formal wear and wedding dresses. In 2007 Salma took a break from running her own business and began working as a Business Advisor. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Salma embarked on a journey that eventually led her to establish The Halal Cosmetics Company. While undergoing treatment, and continuing to work as a business advisor, Salma researched for and developed her idea and in 2013, launched the company. In June 2013 Salma was awarded the Fusion ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award and was shortlisted as a finalist in the Enterprise Vision Awards for the ‘Beauty Business of the Year’ category.

Ibn Sina Award for Excellence in Health

The Imam Hussain Blood Donation Campaign is a volunteer-led initiative that has spearheaded encouraging Muslims in the UK to see giving blood as an innovative way of expressing their Islamic values and remembering the ultimate sacrifice paid by Imam Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him. Starting from modest beginnings in 2006, the campaign has now gone nationwide with 434 blood donations given across 13 cities last year. The campaign aims to help an acute shortage of blood donations coming from the Muslim community and demonstrates the value highlighted in the Qur’an of saving life, and thus saving humanity. The campaign has attracted media attention from national and local press, including national TV. It has also led to partnerships with leading organisations including the UK Thalassemia Society and Sickle Cell Society.

Dr Mohammedabbas Khaki is a final year General Practice Trainee, who has actively contributed to numerous medical projects globally. Whilst training, he has achieved diplomas in Family, Reproductive and Women’s Health and has been training medical students and juniors for a number of years, gaining multiple prizes for his efforts. He was recently appointed as the GP Trainee London Chair and he is also the Deputy Associate In Training Chair for London on the National GP AIT committee, where his work includes widening access to General Practice. Outside of these commitments, Mohammedabbas has worked tirelessly to promote Health Awareness and Healthy Living within the community, particularly the Muslim community. His voluntary work also extends internationally where he has offered his expertise to charities such as the NGO WAMA Foundation in Tanzania.

Dr Mudher Alkhairalla is a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Foundation Trust. There he helped design a streamlined pathway to improve cancer diagnosis. He has developed expertise in bronchoscopy and pleural intervention and helped set up services for patients. This is in addition to his teaching roles for students and doctors in training. He has published two medical books and is an experienced examiner for the Royal College of Physicians. He is a medical director in advanced life support training at his trust. Voluntarily, Mudher has also worked hard to utilise his skills to set up a chest centre in Iraq and establishing an ‘expert panel network’ with the Iraqi Medical Association in the UK.

Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport

Abdi Jama is a wheelchair basketball player having played at local and national levels. He has played for his local Vikings club in Liverpool, and recently co-captained the Great Britain Paralympic Team, leading them to the bronze medal game where they narrowly lost to the USA. He was a double European Champion with the GB Junior Team; Abdi won bronze at his Paralympic debut in Beijing (2008). In 2010, Abdi assisted the senior GB Team to fifth place at the World Championships before, in 2011, playing a fundamental role in the team’s gold medal campaign at the 2011 European Championships. Abdi was born in Burao, Somalia and grew up in Liverpool in a large Muslim family. Abdi is currently the one point player in the GB wheelchair basketball team and is seen by many in the sport as one of the world’s best ‘one point’ players.

Moeen Ali has become one of the country’s top, and most loved, cricketers. He is a left-handed batsman and off-spin bowler who played county cricket for Warwickshire before moving to Worcestershire after the 2006 season. As of 2014, Moeen is a regular on England’s Twenty20 International and Test sides. Moeen is not only known as an excellent cricketer, but also a man devoted to his faith. His trademark long beard has earned him the homage ‘the beard that’s feared’. Speaking in 2014, he said: “I wear the beard as a label…One of my aims is to try to show that you can have faith and play cricket. I feel my job as a Muslim is to change that and show people what my faith is really like.” Moeen is also an Ambassador of StreetChance, a programme providing free cricket coaching sessions in deprived areas.

Striker Academy Schools aims to help children from all background abilities and skill levels in Warrington play football to their very best. It was established and is still run by Imtiaz Jamil who has grown the business from coaching just 6 children a week to now over 120 children every week and growing. Inspired by his faith, he ensures that good manners, good language and harmony in all training sessions. Striker Academy has helped develop future talent and many alumni have gone on to play for professional academies like Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton to name a few.

Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence

Ammaar Hussein is a champion for deaf issues, while continuing to excel in his studies. He is a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Young People’s Advisory Board, and in 2014 he was named an Anti-Bullying Champion for the Princess Diana Award. He has taken part in many activities to raise awareness of deaf issues and has raised money for his local deaf club in Harrow, Deaf Research UK and now Operation WellFound. He was also awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award for volunteering and the Jack Petchey Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Kawsar Zaman was born and raised in London where he attended his local state comprehensive school. At 24, he has already achieved excellence in academia while holding down a comprehensive set of voluntary positions. He graduated with First Class Honours in Law from the London School of Economics, and an LLM at the University of Oxford. Prior to embarking on his legal career at a magic circle law firm, Kawsar completed a tenure as a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Law School. In between studies, Kawsar worked at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, House of Commons and the Department for Education. In 2009, Kawsar was a Global Fellow of the Prime Minister. Outside of school and office, Kawsar has initiated, led and been part of a range of extra-curricular serving the community. This includes raising money for Muslim Hands at the age of 14, acting as an ambassador to the Social Mobility Foundation and recognising excellence amongst Muslim youth groups by establishing the Muslim Council of Britain’s Young Beacons Awards.

Sameen Siddiqui is a gifted and well-rounded student who has found the time to also undertake a range of voluntary activities. She received exceptional grades at GCSE, and achieved Gold certificates for the UK Maths Challenge. She has also published with Young Writers. Outside of academia Sameen was awarded Silver and Bronze at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Rounders Young Leader and Preliminary Rounders Umpiring Awards. Sameen volunteers at the Barnado’s Indigo Project and St John’s RC School which has given her the chance to be able to work with children and young people with disability in an after school club. All these achievements were recognised in a prestigious Jack Petchey Award

One Response to “The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 Short-list”

Ian Barnettt.March 14, 2015

Good luck to all those listed above – however and notwithstanding all that they stand for and taking the situation as a whole and in general terms, the fact still remains that sadly islam and muslims contribute nothing worthwhile either to the world in general or even to their own communities. There is nothing new in the concept of one G-d and islam brings nothing new or worthwhile to the table. The followers of islam and especially the ‘islamists’ ‘ayatollas and imams lack the ethics and integrity are are not worthy of respect. It will be a very hard uphill slog over many many years before you all earn the respect you maybe once had. Do not expect respect to be thrust upon you as an automatic right. You have lost that right. Good luck anyway.


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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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