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Celebrating achievements of young Muslim poets and writers

26th Jan 2018
Celebrating achievements of young Muslim poets and writers

Umar Ibrahim from Cambridge winner of the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017

(Photo: Young Muslim Writers Award)

Ahmed J Versi

Ten young Muslim writers won the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017 on December 9 in central London. In addition, a Special Recognition Award was presented to a young boy for his bravery in saving lives and for championing the right to education.

350 people joined in the celebration of recognising young talents in the Muslim community at the fifth awards event, a project of the Muslim Hands organised in association with Yusuf Islam Foundation.

Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, 15, received the Muslim Hands Special Recognition Award for his bravery in saving lives and for championing the right to education. 144 people, mostly children, were shot dead when gunmen open fired at Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014. A student at the school, Khan, was shot four times after helping four children to safety and whilst trying to save a friend. Paralysed from the waist down, his family appealed for help on national TV, securing the support of many celebrities and property developer Malik Riaz Hussain. The family were able to raise funds for Khan’s treatment in London. Since his treatment, he is able to walk again and has settled in London where he has now started his GCSE’s.

“Thank you to Muslim Hands for this award. We, the children, are the future. The future lies in our hands, but only through knowledge. Education is the only solution; education must come first,” Khan said.

Umar Ibrahim, 6, won the Writer of the Year 2017 award as well as winning Key Stage 1 Short Story and Short Poetry.

“I was shocked and exhilarated to win the Young Muslim writer’s Award. It was totally unexpected. I can’t wait to enter next year!,” Ibrahim told The Muslim News.

Ibrahim tries to capture the beauty of nature in his writing. “From the cacophony and pandemonium in the medinas of Marrakech to the silent wilderness of the African bush where Cape turtle doves coo in their nests and tufts of old man’s beard drift through the evening air – all these experiences are ineffable but I try to capture some of this magic in my writing.”

Muhammad Ibrahim Khan received the Muslim Hands Special Recognition Award for his bravery in saving lives and for championing the right to education (Photo: Young Muslim Writers Award)

He loves sitting up in the trees “with my binoculars and watching the birds and animals. This inspires me to write stories about them.”

“After camping out in the Sahara desert I wrote about sleeping under the stars by a crackling fire and witnessing shooting stars and the Milky Way stretching across the heavens. The best way to write and create good descriptions is by experiencing it first,” he added.

For him, the most enjoyable way to share his stories is with his family “There is nothing more exciting than lighting your own fire and sitting around with your family sharing stories under a blanket,” he said.

Deputy CEO of Muslim Hands, Shahid Bashir, said, “You cannot have a pluralistic, multicultural society that is at peace without understanding one another. We have to communicate sincerely, and with creative writing, there is no substitute for this. To all the writers here today and the writers of tomorrow, you are bastions of that peace. You are the defenders and the propagators of that.”

 

Winners of the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017

Key Stage 1 Poetry: ‘Oggletrog’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)
Key Stage 1 Short Story: ‘The Tree Kings’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)
Key Stage 2 Poetry: ‘All Those Creatures Around Our Home’ by Maryam Hafsa Khan (from Silsden, West Yorkshire)
Key Stage 2 Short Story: ‘The Adventures of the Super Strawberry’ by Haadi Siddiqui (from Middlesex)
Key Stage 3 Poetry: ‘Play That Song’ by Amaani Khan (from Oxfordshire)
Key Stage 3 Short Story: ‘Verily, With Hardship’ by Ruqayyah Ahmed (from Forest Hill, London)
Key Stage 4 Poetry: ‘Am I’ by Hanniya Kamran (from Leicester)
Key Stage 4 Short Story: ‘The Game’ by Nada El-Hammoud (from Paddington, London)
Key Stage 3 Journalism: ‘Child Terrorism’ by Zaina Khan (from Bradford)
Writer of the Year Award: ‘The Tree Kings’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)

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