The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2016 Short-list

26th Feb 2016
The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2016 Short-list

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 April, when the finalists are announced for the [15] coveted Awards for Excellence

Alhambra Award for Excellence in Arts

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. In May 2015, Golubeva’s work was featured in a documentary entitled “Orient in their Arts” broadcast on Al Jazeera English. Her art was also showcased at the MOCAfest at the World Islamic Economic Forum in 2014.

An accomplished poet and calligrapher, Sadiq al-Sayegh has had his art showcased around the world and his poetry published in his native Iraq and around the Middle East for the last 50 years. Sadiq’s poetry has also been translated into English and was published in the Independent on Sunday. His attempt at modernising the Arabic script and studying its vitality for painting has resulted in some of the most interesting contributions to Arabic writing in the modern art movement in Arab culture and internationally. His Hurufi paintings are new addition to both Arabic calligraphy and the Arabesque. Sadiq’s cultural career began in Iraq where he was involved in poetry, theatre, television, newspapers. Later he pursued his cultural life in London. After the fall of Saddam Hussain, Sadiq had the opportunity to showcase his work in Iraq once more.

An artist and an advisor on Islamic issues, Swadeka Ahsun’s work is a blend of Islamic and Western art. She has participated in many group and solo exhibitions both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Swadeka, who was born in Mauritius, studied at the University of Westminster in London, where she graduated with BA (Hons) and MA in Islamic Studies. Swadeka studied art privately receiving tuition from several distinguished art scholars including Professor Critchlow of the Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts Department (VITA) of the Prince of Wales Institute of Islamic Architecture, whilst undertaking postgraduate studies in fine arts at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Inspired by her religion, Swadeka’s Islamic paintings are mainly abstract and decorative, at times portraying geometric with floral and calligraphic designs that focuses on the spiritual representation of objects. Her paintings are in public and private collections worldwide. She is also engaged in interfaith activities and high profile campaigns for women’s rights.

Annemarie Schimmel Award for Championing a Muslim Cause

As the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Education Outreach Programme Director, Andy Gillman MBE has for over a decade been involved in helping Muslim children and young people all across the UK with curriculum support, personal development and employability skills. Andy established the MoD’s programme in 2002, and has rolled out it out to schools, academies and colleges in challenging locations. The outreach programme undertakes workshops such as mentoring, specialist speakers, application form and CV completion, all geared towards helping the next generation achieve that higher course, or getting to university or that first job in the 21st century competitive world. One of the most acclaimed strands is Andy’s MoD International Crisis workshop – where Muslims students role play an unfolding crisis involving UK nationals in other parts of the world. The Programme has won awards across Government including the HR award in the Civil Service awards, the mentoring award from Race for Opportunity. Andy was also invested with the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen.

Since January 2011, Jonathan Freeman has been National Director of Mosaic, which is HRH The Prince of Wales’ mentoring charity. Based in London, Mosaic is a Muslim led initiative, which inspires young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential. Jonathan has worked with Mosaic since its very earliest days and having served as National Operations Director from March 2009. Jonathan was previously a member of the Senior Civil Service in the UK Government. By leading Mosaic Jonathan has been a tireless champion to highlight positive role models in the Muslim community and help the most vulnerable in the community.

Following the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in 2013, Muslims around the country endured Islamophobic attacks. In North London, the Somali Bravanese Centre was burnt to the ground and what was remaining was far-right graffiti. The local community came together in solidarity of the centre, not least Rabbi Miriam Berger who worked through Citizens UK to generously open her synagogue to the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association every late night for a month to host them. Rabbi Miriam did not stop there. She has worked as part of Citizens UK to take action to ensure the borough committed money for a rebuild. Barnet Citizens 2014 council election assembly was hosted in her community – Finchley Reform Synagogue – and she ‘pinned’ the Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, to commit £1.1 million to a rebuild and a timetable for doing it too.

Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award for Excellence

Recently ranked Number 11 in the under 12s for Great Britain, 13-year old Ali Habib is a rising star tennis player with much promise. Ali has just moved into the 14 and under age group and is ranked 59. He has a rating of 3.2. Over the years he has won many Lawn tennis association tournaments. He was recently selected as a national-funded player by the LTA and is recognised as an Aegon Futurestar. Ali is currently sponsored by HEAD and by local sports retailer, Tennis Nuts. Ali has had the opportunity to train with professional coach Judy Murray as a HEAD sponsored player. He represented Middlesex in the county cup for the under 12 and managed to reach the finals. Last year, he was runner up in the men’s open at the Virgin Active Northwood club. And last summer Ali represented Watford Grammar Boys under 16 team.

Londoner Bushra Ulfath is a talented student of Islamic studies who has committed the Qur’an to memory while looking set to do well in her GCSE’s at Mulberry School in Tower Hamlets, East London. Bushra already has a qualification in Arabic from Egypt. In 2012 Bushra achieved first grade in the national Qur’an competition held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2014, she participated in a UK National Tahfeez Competition where she beat 1500 competitors. And in 2015, Bushra took the opportunity to participate in an international European Qur’an Competition in Zagreb, Croatia.

Despite undertaking his GCSE’s Zakari Arsalaan Hashim manages to devote four and half hours a week to volunteering at his local Husayni Madrasah in North Harrow. He is excelling in his studies and is predicted A grades in all his subjects except maths – where he is predicted an A*. Highly ambitious, Arsalaan dreams of being a businessman in the future. He uses his vocabulary, confidence and wit to build relationships and network. He even reports that the most enjoyable aspect of madrasah volunteering is the ability to meet, talk to and befriend different people of different ages. He is the youngest member of the administration team but Arsalaan still manages to work well with all staff members.

Uthman Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development

Born on the Brava Coast in Somalia, Asmaa Mohamed Ali came to the UK in 1992 having spent much of her childhood in Kenyan refugee camps. Now working in Barnet at the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association, Asmaa has built a thriving centre and education programme that supports 200 students and their families. Despite being a mother of five, Asma runs classes in English, maths and science and has seen many of her students become doctors and other professionals. In 2013, her Bravanese community hall was burnt down in an Islamophobic arson attack. But within a week, while six months pregnant, Asma forged ties between the local Jewish and Muslim communities to keep the students’ programme going, and led community action to raise £1.1 million to rebuild the hall. Asma is the recipient of many awards including the Point of Light award and the Women on the Move award.

A councillor in Nottingham sitting on a number of committees, Halimah Gulzar Khaled received an MBE in 2015 for her services to charity and to community relations. She launched the Al-Nisa charity, which provides a helpline and education for victims of domestic violence and forced marriages. Her charity work and community cohesion initiatives spans 15 years and in 2002 she founded the Nottingham branch of Wellbeing of Women, a national charity which funds research into reproductive health; to date, she has raised over £100,000. Halimah has won the Daily Mail’s Inspirational Woman of the Year Award in 2010 and the Alliance Boots Community Hero Award in 2008. Halimah is on the committee for the Nottinghamshire Police’s Prevent Violent Extremism Steering Group and is a fund-raiser for the Nepalese charity PHASE, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Nottingham Hospital’s Trust.

One of the few Muslim organisations working in this field, Muslim Action for Development & Environment, or MADE, is a Muslim-led movement of young people who want to see our community leading the fight against global poverty and injustice. It has pioneered change in dynamic, creative and impactful ways with young Muslims, as well as gained the acclaim of leading bodies like Oxfam and hard-earned international development funding from Government. There are many campaigns that MADE can highlight. These include the creation of a completely unique curriculum for Muslim schools and youth groups to teach them about key global issues and support them to campaign for change. The initiative received an award from Think Global earlier this year. It has also established an award scheme for UK mosques to recognise action to become more environmentally friendly. So far 10 mosques have achieved the award with a further 8 on track to complete it by the end of the year. MADE is also one of the founding members and inaugural Chair of ‘Muslim Climate Action’.

Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education

Named after the late Nawazish Bokhari OBE, who was posthumously given a Muslim News Award in 2013, the Naz Legacy Foundation aims to imbibe the spirit of the UK’s first Muslim headteacher. The Foundation is led wholly voluntary by a group of educationalists, philanthropists and community leaders, and implements its vision through supporting key initiatives and charities within education. Two examples that represent the work and the impact of the Foundation best are the Naz Bokhari Award, and the Annual Diversity Programme – both initiatives placed schools and pupil aspiration at their heart. The Foundation has proven to be highly successful, raising over £1.75m for various educational charities in just three years. A range of figures have recognised the Foundation’s work including HRH The Prince of Wales, education secretary as well as bodies in the education sector such as former General Teaching Council and College of Teachers. In 2014 the Foundation was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s “Big Society Award”.

Through dedication and hardwork, and a generous loan to come to the UK and study, Nazmina Panju has been able to excel in education and receive degrees from various universities including the University of Cambridge. Today, Nazmina runs a successful company with her husband in Bedfordshire that enables students from developing countries to study at some of the best universities in the West. Students from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Pakistan and other parts of the world come and study in universities predominantly in the UK but also Canada, Australia and the US. BCIE Ltd brings in about 1500 students annually from these countries into the UK. Over the years her company has helped educate over 12,000 students.

As a lecturer, fellow of St. Cross College and a former diplomat, Dr David Browning was already well established at the University of Oxford when he became one of the founding members of the university’s Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. David became the Centre’s founding registrar and the Centre quickly established itself as a centre for learning about Islam and the exchange of views between Muslim and non-Muslim scholars through the establishment of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. In his 2015 book, The Dreaming Minaret, David envisaged that the Centre “…should be wide in scope and undertaken by scholars, irrespective of their faith, who are best qualified to do so and have the most relevant knowledge and experience.” His work at the Centre has distinguished David for his interest in dialogue between the West and Islamic worlds.

Rahman Khan Award for Excellence in Engineering, Science or Technology

A Professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Head of Computational Geomechanics Group in the Department of Engineering at Exeter University, Professor Akbar Javadi has over 20 years of research, teaching and consulting experience in various disciplines of engineering. His main research interests include development and applications of numerical modelling techniques and computer models for a wide range of engineering systems. He has extensive experience in broad range of related fields. The results of his research have been published in over 256 technical publications in international journals, book chapters, conference proceedings, and research reports. He is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. His contribution to engineering is also significant thanks to his personal interest in mentoring a new generation of engineers and engineering academics. He has educated, trained and supervised more than thirty outstanding PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, out of which more than fifteen are from Muslim countries.

Having worked in both in the private sector and academia for over a decade, Dr Sheraz Gul has over a decade’s experience in exploring new treatments for heart disease. He has a BSc, PhD and 5 years postdoctoral research from the University of London and worked in various senior drug discovery roles at GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently the Vice President and Head of Biology at European ScreeningPort, Hamburg, Germany. He is responsible for the management of assay development and Medium and High Throughput Screening activities for academic and commercial partners across Europe. His research experience has ranged from the detailed study of catalysis by biological catalysts (enzymes and catalytic antibodies) to the design and development of assays for High Throughput Screening. Sheraz is a co-author of numerous papers, chapters and the Enzyme Assays: Essential Data Handbook. He writes for and is on the editorial board of the European Pharmaceutical Review. He is also an advisor to several pharmaceutical companies and is active in educating scientists in drug discovery research around the world.

An internationally renowned neurosurgeon and scientist, Professor Tipu Zahed Aziz is a professor of neurosurgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Aarhus Denmark and Portugal and lecturer at the medical schools in Magdalen College, Oxford and Imperial College London. Tipu is a specialist in researching and treating several diseases like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dystonia, spasmodic torticollis, fixed abnormal posture of the neck, tremor, and intractable neuropathic pain. He is known for being personally active in laboratory studies in the non-human primate pursuing better ways of alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. He arrived in Britain at the age of 17 with just three O-levels, but after passing A-levels, he studied Neurophysiology at University College London, where he became interested in deep brain stimulation. With a long and unenviable reading list to his name, Tipu has not only made significant academic contributions to his field, he has also made forthright interventions in the support of scientific testing on animals.

Ummul Mu’minin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise

Dome Tours International provides a much needed public service to the thousands of British pilgrims wanting to make the solemn Hajj and Umrah journey to Makkah. Dome Tours International’s reputation as a reliable supplier of this service began when its Director Abdur Rahman El Helbawi was a student and offered Hajj and Umrah tours at low cost for fellow students. The company leads a team that offers a service beyond the usual provision of transport. Through seminars in London, and local teams in the destinations of its customers, the Company is noted for its personalised service.

Farouq Sheikh’s business interests encompass healthcare, private equity, property investment and development. A resident of Hertfordshire, he is best known as co-founder, along with his brother Haroon, of CareTech Holdings PLC, a highly respected national provider of specialist services to adults and children with learning or physical disabilities or mental health problems which now supports over 1800 service users and employs more than 3500 staff. Farouq’s most recent business enterprise is as Director of a property and equity investment group, Sheikh Holdings Group (Investments) Limited. In 2007 Farouq became Entrepreneur of the Year in the prestigious Laing and Buisson business awards. In 2008, both Farouq and his brother Haroon were winners of the highly valued Coutts Family Business Prize and widely applauded for the quality and social integrity of the company they created. They were both finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2009. They established the COSARAF Charitable Foundation to benefit communities and individuals in the UK and abroad. They are also Patrons and Enterprise Fellows of the prestigious Prince’s Trust.

As CEO of Henley Homes plc, Tariq Usmani has turned this property development company in London into an award winning, efficient and profitable firm operating around the capital. Tariq is responsible for formulating strategy for the business and ensuring its effective implementation. He is also an Advisory Board Member for the LGHR Fund, a Luxembourg-based specialist hotel and property fund. Tariq has given a number of speeches to professional forums and mentoring organisations about his strategic business knowledge and the experience of surviving the recession. In addition, Tariq is Chair of the West London Islamic Centre, a Trustee of the Black Prince Trust, and Chair of Mosaic’s Ex-Offender Programme. He is founding Chairman of the Better Community Business Network, a charitable business networking forum bringing together key government officials, professionals and heads of charities to facilitate community engagement. It has raised over £850,000 in funds for UK community causes and attracted support from respected, high profile figures.

Al Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations

Established in 2007 to celebrate ‘Muslim Heritage and making it accessible to all’, the British Muslim Heritage Centre has quickly become Manchester and the North leading centre for Muslim culture. The Centre offers an active learning environment for both Muslims and the wider community alike. It holds regular Islamic Heritage workshops, organises and holds an annual Islam and Science Conference. The Centre has developed and design an interactive ‘Muslim time line exhibition’ (first of its kind in the world) which will be open to the public from 2016. Working with universities and museums around the country, the Centre also has developed a new exhibition, ‘100 untold stories of sacrifice’ which documents Muslim stories from the First World War. The British Muslim Heritage Centre has around 150,000 visits every year for the various services, events and activities that it offers. It has enjoyed wide-ranging support from the local community to the highest level of the UK Government

Working tirelessly in the area of community cohesion for over 10 years, Julie Siddiqui is co-chair of the Nisa-Nashim Network, a newly established Jewish-Muslim women’s interfaith work. She nationally co-ordinated the Big Iftar during Ramadan 2014. Julie was the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Britain from 2010-2014 where she pursued a campaign against sexual grooming as well as peace initiatives following the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. She has spoken on many major news programmes including Radio 4 and Newsnight. Julie was previously a member of the Government’s National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group and mentor for the Prince of Wales Charity, Mosaic. She was part of Cambridge University’s Contextualising Islam in Britain and Narratives of Conversion and is an alumni for both the Cambridge Coexist Leadership Programme, 2013 and the Women in Leadership, from Windsor Leadership, 2015. Julie is Founder and Director of Sadaqa Day, a one day Muslim-led focus on social action, which was launched in March 2015.

Humanitarian charity Muntada Aid is an UK-based organisation that aims to responds quickly and effectively to help those in need. It’s award-winning flagship health programme ‘Little Hearts Project’, has saved the lives of over 700 children who suffered from congenital heart defects and would have had shortened life without a life-saving operation from Muntada Aid’s team of volunteer medical professionals from across the globe. The project is now moving into phase two with the construction of the Little Hearts Paediatrics Cardiac Centre. The centre, which will be built in the heart of Mali’s capital Bamako, will be the first paediatric heart centre in the entire country. In 2015, the project won the Big Impact Award at the Third Sector Awards. The charity is also spearheading initiatives to open trauma centres for women and children refugees arriving in Europe.

Alija Izetbegovic Award for Good Citizenship

By day, Haroon Mota commutes from Coventry to London to work at University College Hospital offering recreational and therapeutic support to young people who have cancer. By night, and most of his weekends, Haroon literally runs the extra mile to raise money for charity, earning him the title ‘Marathon Man’. As a long standing supporter of Islamic Relief, Haroon ran the London Marathon in 2013, despite the unexpected death of his father, raising over five thousand pounds for Islamic Relief’s work in Syria. He climbed to Mount Everest Basecamp, trekked the Inca Trail in Peru, completed the Three Peaks Challenge, Skydived and Bungee jumped, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for various causes. He switched to Marathon running, only in 2012 after signing up to the 2012 London Marathon with Teenage Cancer Trust. He vowed never to run again after such a painful experience, but after losing his father in a tragic car accident, he returned a year later with the spirit of charity to honour his father and he has never looked back since.

Philanthropist and community organiser Harris Bokhari has been working to bridge gaps between communities and mentor young people. Since 2009, he has been a leading board member of Mosaic, enabling it to support over 6000 students in over 200 schools and 1100 mentors. In 2011 Harris founded the Naz Legacy Foundation to continue the work of his late father (the first Muslim head teacher Naz Bokhari OBE). The Foundation provides mentoring and work experience for young students who have achieved a university place through adversity. In 2012 he founded the Patchwork Foundation which has helped engage over 7000 young people from underrepresented communities to get more involved in mainstream politics through events and training programmes. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Beacon Award for Philanthropy and in 2014 the Big Society Award. And in 2015 he was named an OBE for services to youth and interfaith dialogue

A leading figure in the UK public and voluntary sectors, Professor Javed Khan has developed thirty years’ experience of successfully managing change through key high profile leadership roles. He is currently Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, the UK’s oldest and largest children’s charity. Last year it helped transform the lives of more than 240,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable children, young people and their families. Previously, Javed was CEO at Victim Support, which helps over a million victims and witnesses each year, having 600 sites across England and Wales. Under Javed’s leadership the charity successfully managed significant change where it restructured itself; embraced major financial challenges; raised its public and political profile; generated new business opportunities, and was recognised in major awards including short lists for Charity of the Year, Best Campaign of the Year, Best Partnership Initiative and the Queen’s Jubilee Award. Prior to this, Javed held several senior roles in Government including Executive Director to the London Serious Youth Violence Board, Director of Education at the London Borough of Harrow and Assistant Director of Education at Birmingham City Council. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Children’s Commissioner for England and a lay member on a London Clinical Commissioning Group. In 2015 he was conferred an honorary doctorate from the Birmingham City University.

Ibn Sina Award for Health

Already recognised for pioneering methods of health care in Manchester, Dr Faizan Ahmed has been credited for turning round an inner-city medical practice, Manchester Medical, of which Faizaan is managing medical partner. As part of the practice’s innovative outreach work they were the first practice in the country to pioneer a rapid GP face-to-face triage system for urgent same-day presentations in 2013 and an innovative video consultation service using Skype in 2012. The practice took on its first GP registrar in 2013. Faizan’s work was awarded the Prime Minister’s Challenge Award in 2014, Provider of the Year by the National Association of Primary Care and GP Enterprise Awards 2014. As a founder council member of the British Islamic Medical Association, Faizan has led the response of Muslim doctors to use of gelatine in Intranasal influenza immunisation and the attempt to ban Niqaab adornment within the NHS.

With over twenty years’ medical experience, Dr Syed Qamar Abbas has developed expertise in Palliative care and alleviating the suffering of the terminally ill. Serving at the St Clare Hospice and Princess Alexandra Hospital, he embarked on developing hospice as a training service developing posts for General Practice training and Foundation year doctors. His passion for Palliative care education led to his appointment as Hospice Education Lead. He organised Royal College of Physicians accredited training days and contributed heavily to West Essex General Practice and neighbouring hospices’ teaching as well as undergraduate training at University of Cambridge. In 2013, he was appointed Senior Clinical Tutor at University of Cambridge. In 2010, he was elected national Association of Palliative Medicine (APM)’s central SAS committee. Syed Qamar has served on various respectable committees including Essex Research Ethics Committee, Hospital Ethics Committee, as well as various Hospice committees. He lobbied local MPs successfully on issue of Assisted Dying Bill in Parliament.

For many sports fans, Dr Zafar Iqbal has the dream job as a team doctor for leading football clubs. Currently he is Head of Sports Medicine at Crystal Palace Football Club having recently held the same post at Liverpool Football Club. He qualified as a doctor at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London School of Medicine in 1999 and specialised in Sports and Exercise Medicine in 2005. Zafar initially worked for the England FA youth teams and for 2 years as club doctor at Leyton Orient FC. In 2007 he became the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club Academy doctor. Since 2005 he has been Chairman of the FA Medical Society, organising regular educational sessions for doctors and physiotherapists working in professional football. Zafar is also a lecturer to doctors in Sports and Exercise Medicine at Queen Mary’s University of London and Liverpool John Moores University. He regularly writes in various magazines and newspapers on Sports and Exercise Medicine including Emel and Men’s Health.

Ibn Battuta Award for Excellence in Media

Having reported from around the world including the Central African Republic, Myanmar and Libya, Assed Baig is currently working at the Investigations Unit at Channel 4 News. He has bylined in print, online and broadcast for a range of leading media outlets including Vice News, the BBC and Anadolu Press Agency. In all this time Assed has carried out ground-breaking journalism that gives a fair representation of Muslims and the issues they face. In the UK, Assed’s report for Channel 4 News on Muslims in Birmingham was noted for charting the view of ordinary Muslims and how they felt about counter-terrorism legislation and the increased spotlight on Britain’s Muslim communities. He has undertaken similar reports on the Government’s PREVENT strategy which has since been criticised for targeting Muslim communities. Internationally, Assed exposed atrocities against Muslims in the Central African Republic and atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Assed also maintains an active social media profile to highlight issues affecting Muslims.

An award-winning freelance journalist, Nabeelah Jaffer has worked and written for globally renowned publications, including The Economist, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2012 she won the Sunday Times Tom Walker Trust award for a young foreign correspondent, for a story about witchcraft in Ghana. In 2015 she wrote a longform feature for G2 about western women who support Isis. The feature involved Nabeelah spending several months speaking to women who have made the journey from the west to Islamic State, and to others who are considering making the same journey. In the final feature, she showcased their voices and analysed their motivations, while challenging their relationship with Islam. The feature was nominated for the prize of ‘feature story of the year in print/web’ at the Foreign Press Association’s annual media awards. Throughout her work, Nabeelah goes the extra distance to uncover stories that deserve greater public attention and compassion: from Christian Iraqi refugees in Syria, to the way in which perpetrators of neonaticide are often harshly punished, while the role mental illness plays in their crimes is ignored.

As a dedicated broadcaster, Sufiya Rehman, is a DJ, researcher and station manager for Salford City Radio and also researcher for BBC Radio Manchester. Sufiya has her own shows where she broaches a range of subjects affecting the community. She has worked for Salford City Radio for over five years. Sufiya also joined Chief Editor David Ross and sat in with him and his team on a BBC Radio File On Four program and had an input into the particular subject of sexual abuse towards people with learning difficulties being covered by the radio programme at the time. Sufiya is also part of the North West Interfaith Media Forum, looking at the way the media covers matters of faith or sometimes abuses matters of faith.

Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport

Despite being born with a crippling disability that has left him wheelchair bound, Ayaz Bhuta, has overcome this handicap to become one of the world’s best wheelchair rugby players and paralympic athlete. He works as a customer service adviser for a bank and was selected to play for England at the tri-nations tournament in Australia in 2010. He earned a European Bronze Medal and trains regularly with both club and country all around the UK and abroad. He has competed in major tournaments all over the world such as Australia, USA, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Poland and Switzerland and has picked up many individual awards for best player in position. He has been on the World Class Performance Programme for two years and is training for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. In 2015, the Daily Telegraph dubbed Ayaz as the ‘Jonah Lomu of wheelchair rugby’.

A professional footballer for Northampton Football Club, Kashif Siddiqi is one the few British Muslim and South Asians who have made it to the professional ranks of the beautiful game. Kashif’s international and club team experiences have taken him around the world; from playing professional football in California to playing the sport in the Persian Gulf. He was the first British South Asian to have been awarded a scholarship for soccer in the USA. He made his debut for the Pakistan National Team in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Qualifiers. In 2012, he set up The Kashif Siddiqi Foundation aimed at using sport as a catalyst to create awareness of health and further education. In 2013, he Co-Founded the Football For Peace (FfP), a diplomatic Sports Movement which creates dialogue and unites people. The vision is to create neutral environments through the (FfP) Peace Process that inspire understanding and people to people diplomacy. The initiative is sanctioned by the United Nations Sport For Development and Peace.

A kickboxing athlete, Ruqsana Begum is currently the British female Atomweight (48–50 kg) Muay Thai boxing Champion. She became world title competitor and fought for a world title in the atom weight category in February 2016. On top of her own professional commitments, Ruqsana is a personal trainer and instructor. Based in London, Ruqsana is a boxing and Muay Thai coach for Fight for Peace, a charity which uses boxing as a prevention and rehabilitation model to confront the problem of child and youth participation in crime, gangs and gun violence within disadvantaged communities. She is also an ambassador for Sporting Equals, a charity who help people from ethnic minorities to access sport, whoever you are and at all levels. In September 2013, Ruqsana was awarded Sports Personality of the Year at the Asian Achievers Awards. In 2012, Ruqsana was shortlisted for the Muslim Women’s in Sport Foundation Ambassador Awards for the United Kingdom Sportswoman of the Year award held at Wembley Stadium.

Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence

A keen philanthropist, Fatemah Manji is always found immersed in a charitable venture. At the age of 12, she took part in a sponsored abseil down a 100 foot building, in order to raise money for St. Luke’s Hospice. She also takes the initiative to collect funds during the month of Ramadan at Mahfil Ali – her local community centre in Harrow – by encouraging people to take part in games such as ‘Guess the Sweets in the Jar’. She singlehandedly raised £1200 for The Salaam Centre project – a new, modern, state-of-the-art community centre scheduled to replace the one she currently attends. Fatemah also gives up her weekends in order to tutor GCSE-level Chemistry to students from various backgrounds living in the local area. Fatemah has been practising Tae Kwon Do since the age of 10, and in April 2015, achieved her black belt. She works part time at a Kumon education centre, while also pushing to complete the Kumon Mathematics programme herself.

High achieving Hamid Majeed is currently a student at the London School of Economics after achieving the best grades at his sixth-form in Walthamstow, East London. Even now, Hamid continues to volunteer his spare time to return back to his former College to assist young people in several projects, including tutoring in the Study Plus Centre and training new Student Ambassadors. More recently Hamid chaired the Citizens UK vigil outside Westminster Cathedral, addressing a crowd of nearly 1000 people, calling for the UK Government to step up its response to the international humanitarian refugee crisis, to which the Prime Minister has responded. Hamid is also a national badminton sportsman; he currently plays of the borough of Middlesex. Hamid is aspiring to work in the United Nations or join the UK International Development department in the future. In September 2015, Hamid won his sixth-form College’s Governors’ Award.

As an energetic student organiser at his local madrasa Islamic school in Stanmore, North London, Saif-Abbas Chatoo has distinguished himself for his entrepreneurial zeal and his commitment to community cohesion. Saif-Abbas has mentored peers and younger learners in over 20 workshops on issues ranging from the environment and entrepreneurship to medical ethics and travelogues. He has prepared and delivered workshops where fifty students between the ages of 15-18 years learned about the challenges women face during childbirth from Professor Arri Coomarasamy, a leading clinician whose research has been implemented to save mothers lives in East Africa and Asia. Saif-Abbas organised the sale of roses to the madrasa learners and raised over £750 through this initiative to fund the speaker’s life-saving work. And Saif-Abbas has demonstrated his commitment to interfaith understanding by co-ordinating and facilitating a workshop at his madrasa by a leading Christian theologian and a Rabbi.

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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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