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  coveted Awards for Excellence.
Alhambra Award for Excellence in the Arts
Shahida Ahmed is a ceramic artist and painter. Her past work is a fusion of calligraphy and pattern influenced by her local Lancashire roots together with the traditions of the Mughal period. Her clay artworks are decorated with traditional Islamic art. Based in Pendle, Lancashire, she was awarded a licentiateship in 1996 from the Society of Designer Craftsmen in London. For the last six years, Shahida ran the Hoopoe Club, a creative arts workshop for children. Shahida has showcased her work internationally, most recently at the Mayor of London’s Eid in the Square event at Trafalgar Square.
Ruh Al-Alam is an artist, designer, calligrapher and entrepreneur who has deployed his talent across multiple disciplines for almost two decades. From a fine art background, Ruh studied at Central St. Martins College of Art & Design in London. Having trained in traditional Arabic calligraphy from master calligraphers in Egypt, he is now known for developing his own range of Arabic scripts and typefaces which he calls ‘British Arabic scripts’ that are uniquely influenced by his upbringing. His passion for calligraphy stems from his love of typography and visual communication. As such, the creative agency he founded in 2000 has since become one of the leading specialist creative studios dealing with Arabic, Middle Eastern and global Halal markets. While he has worked with big brands such as Sony, Channel 4, BBC, National Portrait Gallery, he has also exhibited at local galleries around the world.
Shahed Saleem is Founder and Director of the architectural practice Makespace Architects. He pioneered fusing mosque architecture with the local British landscape. His mosque projects include the innovative designs in Hackney and Aberdeen. His book on the social and architectural history of the British Mosque is due to be published by English Heritage this year. He is also the author of A History of Mosques in Britain. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Bartlett UCL, leading the Survey of London’s fieldwork in Whitechapel. He is also a member of the East London Mosque’s Archive Project Steering Group, to which he has been providing advice on a pro bono basis. Shahed is also currently a visiting lecturer and course tutor on the Architecture, Cultural Identity & Globalisation MA at the University of Westminster.
Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence
Samer Al-Ghazaly is a bright young student completing his A Levels in north-west London. He has been nominated because while being a promising a student he has somehow managed to find the time to be a dedicated volunteer at his local Sunday Islamic school in North Harrow, Middlesex. Each week, Samer gives up his precious time to help with the running of the Islamic school and with its administration. Without fail, Samer consciously takes on a variety of tasks, from teacher-cover and supervision administration and to clear-up. He does all this while also taking care of his siblings and taking on extra-curricular subjects such as French which he is undertaking in A level without lessons or guidance in school.
Ali and Abbas Kermalli pioneered and designed the Model United Nations Club team at their local madrasah in Stanmore, North London. They led the formulation of this club, training student delegates in the art of debate, persuasion chairing meetings and the workings of the UN. Weekly training sessions meant the delegates were able to improve their performance and, in time, were able to send ‘ambassadors’ to debate with other schools, the first voluntary sector institute to do so in the region. In the space of six months, the club managed to win Outstanding Delegation (1 of 3 schools to do so) at Reigate Grammar MUN (ReiMUN), a remarkable achievement for the delegates and Ali and Abbas Kermalli.
Shaheen Mohammed Al Mamun has quickly made his mark as a young lawyer and using his advocacy to further human rights and civil liberties. He is a trustee of the Habeas Corpus Project, which provides pro-bono legal representation in challenging unlawful detention of migrants in the UK. He has already received recognition for his work and his potential. He was conferred with the University of Westminster Student Achievement Award and was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Junior Lawyer of the Year by the Law Society Excellence Award 2016. Outside his profession, Shaheen was elected the BME Officer for the London Green Party and serves his local community at the Holborn Muslim Community Association.
Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport
The Muslimah Sports Association is a volunteer-led organisation based in Ilford, East London, committed to providing opportunities and empowerment through sports to Muslim and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women. They offer a diverse range of sports, from basketball to karate, to squash and football, benefitting over 400 women from Muslim and BAME backgrounds. They have collaborated with the Football Association and Badminton England for courses aimed at Muslim and BAME women, and have also developed free football coaching for local Islamic primary schools in the area in partnership with Essex FA. They currently have six trustees and are going from strength to strength with their brand now recognisable not only across East London but country-wide.
Stanmore Jaffrey’s Sports is a youth sports club providing a range of sporting and physical education opportunities for the Khoja Shia Ithna’asheri Muslim Community in north London. Run by a dedicated team of volunteers, the club runs a broad range of activities on a weekly basis for men and women of all ages, including football, volleyball, cricket, netball, badminton and swimming. Teams are entered into various regional, national and international tournaments, and they also occasionally host competitions. Over 100 people benefit from these services. Additionally, the club runs summer youth camps for cricket, tennis and football.
Khadijah Safari is a Black Belt Muay Thai kickboxing instructor in London. She has helped many women and children maintain demanding fitness regimes through this sport. Recently, she launched a ladies-only kickboxing class to teach Muslim women about fitness, healthy living and self-defence. Khadijah’s work has recently gained an added importance in an atmosphere of increasing Islamophobia and attacks against Muslims in particular. As such, Khadijah’s work has been featured in the media most recently by the BBC and Vice News for her work helping Muslims feel empowered and break down barriers.
Ibn Battuta Award for Excellence in the Media
Faisal Islam is Political Editor at Sky News and is one of the country’s most senior journalists of Muslim background. Faisal has progressed quickly in his career after graduating from Cambridge and then City University. He was the Economics Correspondent at the Observer, he then moved to Channel 4 News as Business Correspondent and then Economics Editor. At the young age of 36, he became Sky News’ Political Editor, interviewing prime ministers and leading political figures. In 2009, Faisal won the Wincott Foundation’s award for Best Television Coverage of a Topical Issue. At Sky, he launched ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’, a digital forum where 16 to 25-year-olds can post videos, articles and comments on issues that affect them. Faisal is an Ambassador to the Journalists’ Charity, which provides financial assistance to journalists in need.
Aisha Gani is a senior reporter at Buzzfeed. A promising journalist, she has made her mark covering issues affecting Muslims, including extensive coverage of the Burkini ban in France last August. After graduating from King’s College London in History and then City University in journalism, Aisha took up internships at the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times and the Independent. She then became a newsdesk reporter for the Guardian in 2013. There she reported on a variety of topics ranging from Parliamentary debates to the junior doctor strikes. In 2013 she was given the Your London award by the Media Trust and was awarded by the London School of Journalism in 2013 with a distinction in Teeline Shorthand. Aisha has also devoted time to charity work, supporting the Tooting Sunday Circle which helps Muslim girls gain skills and get involved in community and charity projects.
Nabila Ramdani is an award-winning French-Algerian journalist, columnist, and broadcaster who specialises in French politics, Islamic affairs, and the Arab World. She has established a long-standing reputation for producing fearless, balanced and honest reporting across a wide variety of media outlets. Nabila’s bylines have appeared in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian and Evening Standard. While she has produced exclusives and interviews from the Muslim world and Arab Spring, Nabila has also covered issues that are applicable to all Muslims living in western societies such as Britain, writing with acute sensitivity to the lives of Muslims living in the UK and in France. In the Charlie Hebdo debate, she argued vigorously on the BBC against the magazine’s bigotry: opposing terrorism while also objecting to hate publications. Nabila, who lives in London, was also the first journalist in the UK to expose poorly sourced stories linking refugees to attacks against women.
Ibn Sina Award for Excellence in Health
Dr Sayyada Mawji is a doctor who has utilised her health expertise to lead a number of successful health campaigns. Nationally Sayyada is the Screening Coordinator for the Ramadhan Health Awareness Campaign – a national campaign aimed at screening the UK Muslim population during Ramadan to identify existing co-morbidities, educate on prevalent conditions and encourage engagement with healthcare. Sayyada has travelled to a number of countries to contribute to international relief work including East Africa, Lesvos, Calais and Iraq to offer her medical skills as a doctor in refugee camps. Sayyada, from North London, currently works for a number of NGO’s, leading medical relief campaigns in developing and war- torn countries. In a recent project, she raised £20,000 to support young children of all religions in Iraq to be taken to India to have life-saving heart surgery.
Dr Mehrunisha Suleman is a bioethicist at Balliol College, Oxford, where she is researching Islamic perspectives on the ethics of Global Health Research in Developing Countries. She holds a BA in Biomedical Sciences Tripos from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Global Health Sciences from Oxford University. As a trustee at the Centre for Islam and Medicine, she has been instrumental in shaping the vision and agenda and has applied her knowledge and experience to advance the Islamic bioethics discourse. Before joining Oxford, she worked with the Department of Health’s QIPP Right Care Programme. As a UNESCO trainer for ethics teachers, Mehrunisha has facilitated and delivered ethics teaching for researchers and practitioners through courses held in Kenya and Bangladesh. She is an honorary Clinical Teaching Fellow at the Oxford Radcliffe Trust, and a teaching associate for the MSc Global Health Sciences programme at Oxford.
Professor Anwar Padhani is an internationally recognised Oncological MRI Radiologist. His current research is focused on developing and validating next generation whole body imaging to assess new therapies for breast and prostate cancer that has spread. He is Professor of Cancer Imaging at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and a chairperson of the executive board and Trustee of the International Cancer Imaging Society. He is also a trustee of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. His expertise has taken him to lecture circuits around the world and he is widely published, with over thirty-three books to his name and over a hundred scientific peer-reviewed articles and journal reviews. He has been conferred several education awards including Outstanding Teacher from the ISMRM (2011, 2012, 2014) and honoured educator from the RSNA (2011, 2014). In his spare time, he constantly coaches Muslim doctors and young people who have an interest in the profession.
Alija Izetbegovic Award for Good Citizenship
Malia Bouattia became the first Muslim woman to be elected the President of the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2016. She previously held the role of NUS Black Students’ officer. As a student leader, Malia has campaigned tirelessly for equal rights and for the underprivileged. In her acceptance speech, Malia said, “When we talk about liberation, it’s not just about women, black, LGBT+, or disabled students. It’s about us all.” Malia has addressed the UN in Geneva about the harmful effects of Prevent, Britain’s anti-extremism scheme in schools; she has worked on the Why Is My Curriculum White campaign, and she has a strong network of student supporters on social media. Malia has taken on these tasks even though she has herself been vilified in the media for taking up principled positions. Malia lives in Birmingham with her family and is a student at the University of Birmingham.
Esmat Jeraj is an active community organiser, currently acting as the Secretariat for the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life and undertaking national research on barriers to Muslim participation. Esmat is also the Media and Communications Officer for Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation where she helped secure a Government commitment to increase the living wage. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Esmat has taken on leadership roles in both Muslim and interfaith contexts. Esmat is head of Press for Who is Hussain, the international social justice organisation, and is a trustee of her local mosque. She was a Public Affairs Officer for the Muslim Council of Britain and is currently an Executive Member of the Patchwork Foundation, which seeks to politically engage young people from underrepresented and minority communities.
Mohammed Zafran is a community worker who set up a charity in Birmingham in honour of his murdered brother-in-law. The tragedy led Mohammed to set up All 4 Youth And Community and numerous educational and sporting projects to help young people and Asian women in deprived areas of the city, including Bordesley Green, Ward End, Alum Rock and Handsworth. Over 16,000 young people have since benefitted from his work. His work has been recognised through fifteen national awards including the Sir Bobby Moore Trophy at Wembley Stadium and the Asian Football Awards. In 2014, he was given the ‘Pride of Birmingham Award’. He has been listed on the Junior Chamber International ‘ten most outstanding young persons in the UK 2015’ and was included in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List 2015. In that year, he was named in the Queen’s Honours list with a British Empire Medal.
Ummul Mu’minin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise
Zohra Khaku is founder of Halal Gems, a website dedicated to showcasing the very best halal restaurants. Zohra’s mission is to change the way people eat. Accompanied by a restaurant finder app and a digital magazine, Halal Gems serves the needs for insatiable millennial Muslims on the hunt for good halal cuisine. As a leading halal dining digital platform, Halal Gems has reached number one in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. She produced and presented the first halal food restaurant TV show, The Curious Foodie, on Sky’s British Muslim TV. Zohra has showcased her work most recently at the renowned Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) and in 2016, The Sunday Times featured Zohra as an example of a successful young entrepreneur.
Shahzad Younas is the founder and CEO of ‘Muzmatch’, a Muslim matchmaking app described as the Muslim and halal equivalent of Tinder. London-based Shahzad established the company after a career in investment banking. Having taught himself coding, he established the website in 2014. The service applies Islamic principles to what has become traditional online dating apps. Already, the site boasts 30,000 members and 300 successes. Shahzad established and expanded his company after successfully pitching for start-up funding and now runs the service with a small but growing team. Shahzad’s work has attracted the attention of the media, featured by a range of outlets including Buzzfeed, the BBC, the Daily Mirror and in a special entrepreneur section of Management Today.
Andalucian Routes, a family-run business of over 25 years, provides tours centred in Southern Spain. The company’s success reflects the growing market in Muslim tourism. It is one of the few tour groups that offer packages that capture the rich Islamic heritage of the region. As part of the business model, it launched Project Convivencia to engage young Muslims in Andalusian history using classroom-based learning and creative workshops. It professionally runs trips for schools and youth groups based in Birmingham and London. The trips also give the youth the opportunity to understand the true history of Muslims in Spain, different to the commonly understood notion of the Moors invading from North Africa, and shed light on how their integration into Spanish life can give context to the current challenges facing British Muslims today.
Fazlur Rahman Khan Award for Excellence in Engineering, Science and Technology
Dr Mohamed Bashir Gadi is an Associate Professor at Nottingham University and Director and Admissions Tutor for the MSc course Renewable Energy and Architecture. He has so far written and published over sixty conference and journal papers/articles on renewable energy and architecture, computer modelling and software engineering and postgraduate education. Dr Gadi was awarded the Gold Medal for best research work on energy modelling presented at the international Energex’98 conference. He also developed, modelled and tested a Novel Energy Conscious Building-integrated System for low-cost housing, for which he was awarded the Gold Medal. He has presented at several academic conferences around the world, including at UNESCO, and the United Nations. He has been a Fellow of the International Energy Foundation for over 20 years. His expertise is called upon by major publishers who have commissioned Dr Gadi to evaluate books, journal articles and papers.
Professor Azizur Rahman is a specialist in Photonics Modelling at City, the University of London. There he leads a research group examining the use of rigorous and full-vectorial numerical approaches to design, analyse and optimise a wide range of photonic devices. He joined City as a lecturer and later became a professor. He has published more than 500 journal and conference papers, and his journal papers have been cited more than 3558 times, with an h-index value of 30. He has supervised twenty-six students to complete their PhD degrees as their first supervisor and received more than £9M in research grants. Professor Rahman is Fellow of all the three major professional societies in Photonics, namely, the Optical Society of America Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (USA) and the International Photonics Society.
Professor Iqbal Mohammed Mujtaba is a Professor of Computational Process Engineering and is the Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Bradford. At Nottingham, Professor Mujtaba leads the Mechanical and Process Engineering research group in the School of Engineering. Professor Mujtaba is actively involved in many research areas including dynamic modelling, simulation, optimisation and control of batch and continuous chemical processes with specific interests in distillation, industrial reactors, refinery processes and desalination. He has successfully won grants for his work and faculty. He has published over 230 technical papers in major journals and has supervised twenty-four PhD students since 1997 and is currently supervising eight PhD and one MPhil projects. He has given over 60 invited lectures home and abroad and several keynotes in international conferences.
Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education
Ameen Hussain has devoted most of his professional life to education. At Sedgehill School, Ameen gained the respect of students and peers for his commitment to teaching maths. He then went on to pioneer ICT teaching at the school, a tough task given the subject was relatively new and the school had hardly any computers. In 1990, he joined the Asian Resource Centre, as a part-time ICT coordinator and in no time set up and developed ICT facilities and training. After his early retirement from teaching, Ameen, from Welling, Kent, was appointed as the Manager of the centre and took no time to set up state of the art cutting edge technology ICT training and establishing a range of courses including an Access to Teaching course in partnership with the University of Greenwich.
Dr Hojjat Ramzy campaigned and founded the Iqra School, Oxford’s first Islamic school, following the regional reorganisation of the state school system and the closure of the last single-sex girl’s state school. He is a former member of Standard Advisory Committee for Religious Education and a former governor of several Oxfordshire Secondary Schools. Dr Ramzy was also a Vice-Chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s Education Committee and a member of its Interfaith Relations Committee, and a member of the RE Council of England and Wales. He has acted as an imam at Oxford University and is also on religious advisory board at Oxford Brookes University, where he is the Muslim Chaplain. He delivers lectures on Islam and peace at a number of universities across the country. He has worked for a number of years with local, national and international religious leaders of all faiths.
Rukhsana Yaqoob has taught for 30 years in a range of secondary schools, credited for being an outstanding teacher and school leader. Rukhsana, from east London, significantly contributed to her last school by raising standards so that it gained the highest GCSE results in the area. As a member of the inclusion team in the National Strategies, Rukhsana worked to raise the attainment of Muslim pupils from underachieving schools in English, Mathematics and Science nationally. As President of the Muslim Teachers’ Association, Rukhsana has supported many teachers in various ways by providing training, advice, mentoring and networking opportunities. She gives her time off engaging in a variety of voluntary activities. She has been a governor for 22 years and was the Managing Director of Kiran, a refuge for abused women.
Al-Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations
Emdad Rahman is a dedicated community activist, involved in raising money for many charities, most notably the Whitechapel Missions. He has led a soup kitchen in Tower Hamlets and is a Dementia Friends Champion. He has also acted as a mentor and worked with young people at schools in his local area of Tower Hamlets, written on various social issues including domestic violence and served as an independent advisor to the British Transport Police. As a result of his work, he has been a recipient of numerous civic awards, from the Mayor of the City of London as well as being named ‘Londoner of the Day’ by Mayor Boris Johnson. He was a Queen’s Baton Bearer at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2015. He was named an MBE in the Queen’s 2014 Honours List. A keen sportsman, he is voluntary chairman of Scintilla Cricket Club, writes poetry for football and has run 10k for charity.
Dr Islam Issa, from Birmingham, is an academic whose work has been instrumental in demonstrating the Muslim contribution to British and Western society and culture. In January 2016, he launched an exhibition at the British Muslim Heritage Centre entitled ‘Stories of Sacrifice’, which according to the Independent, was the ‘first exhibition devoted to the Islamic contribution to World War I.’ He spent a year researching previously unseen materials in archives and then curated the entire exhibition, including securing rare photographs, videos and artefacts. After trawling through thousands of personal letters, historic archives, regimental diaries and census reports, Islam discovered that at least 885,000 Muslims were recruited by the Allies. The Discovery Channel noted that he ‘more than doubled the previously estimated figure of 400,000 Muslim soldiers. In 2016, he published Milton in the Arab-Muslim World (Routledge) which was awarded the ‘Outstanding Book Award’ by the Milton Society of America.
Muslim Association of Croydon established a Feeding the Homeless project in April 2013. The purpose of this project is to feed those who find themselves homeless and unable to eat on a regular basis. The project was also set up to show that the Muslim community in Croydon, south London, was part of a greater Croydon community and was here to play an active role in their wellbeing. Every Friday, the Association serves 125 people at its soup kitchen with a hot meal, tea and coffee as well as providing meals to hostels around Croydon occupied by single parent families and asylum seekers. Since its conception, Muslim Association of Croydon has supplied over 19,000 hot meals. Funded by donations from the local community, the Association also provided halal turkeys to hostels and food banks for the last two years at Christmas.
Uthman Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development
Tay Jiva is a longstanding social worker who established ‘Muslim Fostering’, a unique service that aims to increase awareness of fostering in Muslim communities and increasing the number of Muslim foster carers. As part of this, Tay produced a twelve-part TV series for British Muslim TV called ‘My Muslim Fostering Family’. Tay has consulted with the Department for Education and the Home Office to help them to understand the needs of Muslim foster carers. Tay, who lives in Bolton, Greater Manchester, started her work with vulnerable children 15 years ago in a therapeutic care home with severely abused children who had behavioural problems. She has since worked in youth offending teams, probation, CAFCASS (writing reports for courts when couples are separating and there are concerns about the children), post-adoption and Cat A and B secure units (dangerous offenders).
Shazuli Iqbal is Chair and Co-founder of the Wiltshire Islamic Cultural Centre (WICC), which was formed to serve the educational, social and moral needs of the growing Muslim Community in Wiltshire and to reach out to the wider community. Under his leadership, a soup kitchen has been set up for the local homeless people. Under his guidance, WICC has also managed to secure a grant from Wiltshire Council for youth activities. Shahzuli is also a trustee of the Wiltshire Racial Equality and a former trustee of Stepping Stones, an organisation for children with special needs. With a keen interest in this area, he managed to convince the senior management team of a Special needs school to accommodate Muslim children and asked the school to translate the leaflet in different languages; which helped the parents understand the services of the school.
Aliya Jafri Azam is a teacher at Al-Sadiq and Al-Zahra Schools founded by Al Khoei Foundation. She has combined her teaching duties with an outstanding commitment to voluntary work. She is part of the Football Association’s Faith in Football Task to ensure the FA’s strategic goal of ‘Football for Everyone’. She worked alongside North London Citizens to train young people to be confident and to participate in public life and to become proactive citizens. Aliya has worked with the Joseph Interfaith Foundation creating a safe space for Muslim and Jewish women to interact with each other. Aliya is a Shia Muslim President for the Christian Muslim Forum and has organised conferences shared equally between nearby mosques and churches. She is a board member and trustee of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales. She was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with an MBE in 2015.
Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award for excellence
Shanzay and Shezil Butt are twins and have been nominated for doing well at school in London despite suffering from a health condition that severely restricts their attendance in school. Despite prolonged absences, they return to school, catch up with the class and are always within the top 10% of academic performance in all their subjects. Not only do these girls excel academically, the twins take part in varied extracurricular activities. They have taken part in the debating club and have entered competitions against more senior students. Both girls have volunteered with St John’s Ambulance, and are currently training to become St John’s Ambulance cadets and have also learnt sign language to enable them to help the deaf.
Maliha Ahmed is a gifted student who has already made her mark as a talented and exceptional scholar. At the age of only 13, she has scored 162 in a MENSA (High IQ) test held recently at the University College London campus. In year 9, Maliha added GCSE Law alongside her other subjects and pursued GCSE Arabic through her Saturday Islamic school. She has been cited for a Bronze Arts Award from Trinity College London and an award for Tower Hamlets Creative Writing Competition in year 7. Maliha is now working towards a Duke of Edinburgh Award. Maliha has high ambitions, intending to read law at Cambridge, become a top barrister and one day a judge.
Ayan Qureshi is a tech genius who, at the age of five, became the world’s youngest computer specialist by passing the Microsoft Certified Professional course. The test is usually taken by people who want to become IT technicians. Coventry-based Ayan developed an interest in computers and high-tech gadgets at a very early age to the point that today he claimed the title of being the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional. He built his own home computer lab where he likes to spend his leisure time in the lab. Ayan’s achievement has attracted the attention of the global media, with his story being told in a range of outlets including the BBC, Daily Mail, Gulf News and much more. He aims to create E-Valley, Britain’s answer to Silicon Valley.
Annemarie Schimmel award for Championing a Muslim Cause
Peter Oborne is one of the country’s most renowned political journalists shortlisted here for challenging Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination in sections of our media and political class. The award-winning journalist has written for major newspapers and is currently a Daily Mail columnist. In 2008, Peter presented a seminal programme for Channel 4 scrutinising the anti-Muslim bias in the British media. He exposed the influence of the pro-Israel lobby in UK politics. In 2014, Peter resigned as Chief Political Commentator from the Daily Telegraph after it refused to publish an article he wrote highlighting how the HSBC bank had summarily closed down the bank accounts of leading British Muslim activists. In writing about Muslims, Peter has been principled in insisting that they be treated fairly in the UK and that transparency is maintained for all dealings.
David and Liz Gould are dedicated community workers who, despite losing their daughter Helen to the horrific terrorist bombings in London on 7 July 2005, have vigorously supported the most vulnerable refugees, particularly Muslims. Inspired by their Christian faith, the couple set up Sanctus St Marks, an organisation that aims to welcome, support and walk alongside people who are isolated, due to leaving behind the country of their birth to seek sanctuary in the UK. They also established Interfaith Council in Carlisle. Through this initiative, in 2010 they organised the first ever Indonesian Evening at the Carlisle Cathedral which was the first time that seven different scriptures were read in that building in 900 years. David and Liz, who live in Stoke-on-Trent, have for over five years through donations and speaking engagements, supported Woman’s Voice, a grass root charity which helps women in distress.
Martin Cottingham is a pioneering media professional who was perhaps the first non-Muslim to hold a senior role at a British Muslim charity. With over two decades of charity work under his belt, Martin has brought significant experience to his role and has transformed the messaging and output as Global Communications Director of Islamic Relief. He led many high profile campaigns for the organisation and ones that fused and educated the British public on the Islamic faith’s emphasis on charity for all. During the month of Ramadan in 2016, Martin, from Bristol, spearheaded the organisation’s ‘SubhanAllah’ bus campaign, which generated global coverage but also criticism from bigots. Martin valiantly defended the campaign and was up against notorious Tommy Robinson who accused Martin of being a ‘traitor’ to his Christian faith. Martin nevertheless stood firm and is a distinguished example of a non-Muslim befriending and supporting the Muslim community with sincerity and professionalism.