(Top L-R) Rafaat Moghul OBE, Faiza Khan MBE, Salim Sidat MBE, Mahmood Ahmed OBE, (bottom) Zaidah Ahmed MBE, Ameen Hussain MBE, Zanib Rasool MBE and Asim Hafiz OBE.
Elham Asaad Buaras
Twenty British Muslims were recognised in the New Years Honours (8 OBEs, 10 MBEs and 2 police medals), for their varying contributions to society, seven more than last year. However there were no knighthoods.
Seventeen members of the Hindu and Sikh communities were also awarded (1 Damehood, 1 CBE, 4 OBES, 10 MBEs and 1 BEM). Nineteen members of the Jewish community were also awarded; they included 1 Knighthood, 1, CVO, 3 CBEs, 3 OBEs, 7 MBEs, 2 BEMS and overseas OBE 1, MBE 1.
One of nine Muslim female recipients is women’s rights activist Rafaat Mughal who is to be made an OBE for her empowerment of women from disadvantaged backgrounds. Mughal, founded JAN Trust in 1989, has since helped thousands of women across the capital. Speaking to The Muslim News Mughal said she was “flattered” by the recognition for her 25 years of work for victims of domestic abuse and disadvantaged women.
Mughal has also lectured internationally and worked as a researcher on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) issues. She was also one of the first Muslim women to be elected as a councillor in Haringey. She was runner-up for the Lifetime Achievement Award 2012 in the Directory of Social Change Awards.
Mahmood Ahmed, Chair of Birmingham’s Labour Party, is to be made OBE for his voluntary political service. He told The Muslim News he was delighted to receive an honour he thought were “for other people and not for someone like me. I am absolutely delighted to be receiving this honour.”
Ahmed has been involved with Labour since the 1980s and has over the years played many roles.
He started his political activism as a volunteer and now chairs the Party in Birmingham where he works with other members, officers, councillors and MPs.
Ahmed immigrated to the UK from Kashmir as teen with his father but it wasn’t until a “life changing experience” 1981 work experience in Nigeria that the engineer decided to take an active political life.
“I saw political mismanagement and exploitation of people at its worst and the profound effect it had on the masses. When I returned from Nigeria in 1982 I decided that I wanted to take a stand for working people of all backgrounds.”
Imam Asim Hafiz, the first Imam to the Armed Forces and now Islamic Religious Advisor to Chief of the Defence Staff and Service Chiefs, has been awarded an OBE for services to Defence “especially in support of Operations in Afghanistan”. Hafiz became the first and only Imam to the Armed Forces in 2005 to provide spiritual and pastoral support to Muslims serving in the Armed Forces and advise the military on religious and cultural affairs.
From 2010 to 2012 he was regularly deployed to Afghanistan. This included a six month tour in Helmand Province where he helped improve religious and cultural understanding between the international forces and Afghans. Hafiz, 37, says he was privileged to serve Muslim soldiers, adding he hopes his award will strengthen the relationship between the Armed Forces and the Muslim community.
“Better understanding and respect of each other’s faiths and culture at home and globally is an essential ingredient to peace and stability in the world,” said Hafiz.
Asian Resource Centre (ARC) Manager, Ameen Hussain is to be made an MBE for his services to adult education and community in Greenwich. Hyderabad born Hussain moved to the UK in 1967. He started teaching at Sedgehill School in Lewisham where he taught Math and Computing. He was also instrumental in starting the computer studies department.
While teaching Hussain was convinced by friends to start teaching ICT to home bound Asian women, traders and students in Greenwich. For 12 years Hussain juggled teaching with volunteering for the ARC, where he set up several projects including teaching project in partnership with the Greenwich University, Saturday school teaching 8 languages including Arabic for the Council, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), an annual Asian Mela. “My great passion has been for the adult training as I strongly believe that one can learn at any age,” he told The Muslim News.
Blackburn Labour Councillor, Salim Sidat, has received an MBE for his services to the community and policing in Blackburn. Sidat, who represents the Audley area of the town, is also an independent advisor to the police, and has worked hard to improve community cohesion.
A trained football coach, Sidat first became involved with the local community when he set up Blackburn United FC to get children off the streets.
Working closely with the Professional Footballer’s Association he bought a minibus. He also worked closely with the Indian Football Federation as well as Kick Racism out of Football, who nominated him for a national award.
He said: “My father was in the first set of immigrants who came here in the fifties, they gave up a very good lifestyle to come over here, and mixed within society, and I am the result of that. He would have been very proud.” Despite suffering a series of health issues including two brain surgeries the father of three has continuously worked for the community including helping with immigration, domestic violence and help organise funerals and working with the local coroner and hospitals. He is also a volunteer and fundraiser with East Lancashire Hospice.
South Yorkshire ladies Zanib Rasool and Zaidah Ahmed are both to be made MBE for their community work in Rotherham.
As Project Manager for Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST) Rasool took the club into the heart of the community helping them win Football League Community Club of the Year in 2012. Her expertise in community cohesion was honed by various funding initiatives such as Sport England, Football Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund, BBC Children in Need where she helped raise in excess of 1.4 million to the Trust in the 5 years.
Her career started in the mid 1980s with the Multi-Cultural Centre, the first BME NGO in Rotherham working mainly at the time with Pakistani women. She set up ESOL provision, mother and toddler groups, toy libraries, women’s health projects.
She has also taken a keen interest in early learning development. She’s currently a school governor, chairs a children centre and runs a parents support group which helps parents access activities and first step learning at the school through external funding.
She also supports to disability NGOs. She is secretary of Rotherham Disability Network and sit on management committee of BME Carers and Young People group, which supports BME families with disabled children.
Speaking to The Muslim News Rasool thanked all the women who supported her, “The voluntary sector I work in has so many inspirational people and my passion has always been to promote social integration and community cohesion and support more BME young people to take part in our national sport, football.”
A teacher by profession Zaidah Ahmed is also a councilor, careers and connexions advisor, youth and now currently leads on Community cohesion for schools engagement in Rotherham.
She has worked for Rotherham Council for 18 years and is respected in her field of community cohesion and community engagement with BME communities and hard to reach communities. Her current work involves developing cohesion toolkits for delivery in schools, educational establishments and local community forums within ethnic minorities.
She devotes much of her time supporting disadvantage groups access mainstream and voluntary sector provisions.
“A lot of my work has been to support British and Non-British ethnic backgrounds around capacity building, integration and values of a cohesive society. This has been a challenging experience within a very difficult environment of hostility, economic downturn, deprivation, poverty and other social and confidence barriers. My satisfaction and reward comes from knowing I have been able to assist and deliver for others,” Ahmed told The Muslim News.
Also picking up an MBE is Detective Constable Nighat Hubbard, who joined the Met police in 2006 having previously run her own business but chose to change career directions when a friend was the victim of domestic abuse.
Hubbard also champions breast cancer awareness amongst Asian women and is a trustee for the Development In Literacy Trust UK that supports 200 schools in Pakistan which educate girls, and in the UK supporting mothers of underachieving children and projects involving terminally ill children.
Deputy CEO and Director of Policy and Communications for National Council for Voluntary Youth Service’s (NCVYS) Faiza Khan, has been appointed a MBE for her services to young people. She has spent her career advancing policy for better outcomes for children and youths. In recent years, she has been working across the NCVYS membership and partners including government to bring youth issues to the forefront of policy making.
Speaking about the award Khan told The Muslim News, the honour “recognises the importance of services to young people and I hope will be a boost to the wider staff team, young people and the charities we work with. There is still much to do to help young people get the outcomes they deserve and I look forward to continuing to work for a better deal for all our young people.”
Other Muslim honoured
OBE: Dr Hamid Ghafoor Mughal, Director of Global Manufacturing, Rolls-Royce plc, for services to technology, innovation & manufacturing. Muhammad Khawar Amin Mann, Chair, Mosaic, for voluntary and charitable service. Shahed Ahmed Battiwala, Head Teacher, Elmhurst Primary School, Newham, for services to education. Sofina Aktar Motin Islam, Head Teacher, Stanton Bridge Primary School, Coventry, for services to education. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, for services to business and to the Asian community in Scotland. MBE: Aysha Esakji, Prevent Officer, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham & Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, for services to challenging extremism. Fathir Khan, for services to the Asian community in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Gulam Siddiquie, General Secretary, Lanarkshire Muslim Welfare Society, for services to cultural integration and to the community in Lanarkshire. Yasmin Shabir Khan, Admin Officer, Personal Tax, Bradford, HMRC, for services to equality and diversity. Queen’s Medal for Distinguished Service: John Ahmed Anwar, Police Constable, Derbyshire Constabulary. Akra Mullah Khan, Chief Superintendent, Nottinghamshire Police.