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Winners of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2016

29th Apr 2016
Winners of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2016

The Muslim News Awards is proud to announce the winners of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2016, we congratulate every individual and organization nominated and short-listed for the fourteenth awards.




Alhambra Award for Excellence in Arts

The prize is named after the exquisite collection of buildings in southern Spain whose beauty is unsurpassed even to this day. In recognition of the flowering of culture at that time, this award celebrates achievement in fine art, the performing arts or architecture. To this day, the magnificent buildings of Alhambra dominate the mountains of Granada. A testament to beauty and utility, the Alhambra’s Islamic design forms a focus for meditation. Its very walls proclaim the Majesty of the Creator, with stone inscriptions declaring that ‘there is no conqueror except Allah’. Unlike other buildings that boasts the signature of a recognised artist or a benefactor, the Alhambra feels and survives as the work of thousands of nameless artisans, each crafting an intrinsic but anonymous part of the greater picture. In the Alhambra, one sees dimensions missing from the conventional great masterpieces and edifices: spirituality and purpose.With all Islamically inspired ornamentation and construction, the motive (to glorify, and not compete with, the Divine), the form (essentially uncluttered and vegetal), and the structure (to facilitate usage and introduce function) are expressly part of the artistic technique. The result is awe-inspiring and few places illustrate this as superbly as the gardens, courts, doorways and palaces of the Alhambra.

arts Kate Green, MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities presents the award Swadeka (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Swadeka Ahsun. 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

This award characterises the spirit of the illustrious Harvard scholar whose forthright defence of Islam and Muslims defied the prevailing fashion to vilify the faith and the entire community. In keeping the torch of her courage alive, the winner of this award is a non-Muslim individual, initiative or organisation which has supported a Muslim cause. Annemarie Schimmel was a little-known Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture at Harvard University until she spoke out against Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. Millions of Muslims, precious few of them academics of any distinction, had debated, argued, and protested that the book, published in 1989, was a highly offensive slur on the religion of Islam. But the bastion of Western liberalism, the media, the arts and the seats of learning, were adamant that freedom of expression was paramount, and that responsibility for expression was a secondary consideration. And then the talented historian and polylingual Professor Schimmel, entered the debate. By doing so, by insisting that Muslims (not just a few, but the entire body of Islam and its beloved Prophet, in particular) were the victims of a carefully devised piece of literature, Professor Schimmel effectively took on the establishment.For her stance, she would be ostracised by the liberal establishment, particularly in her native Germany. In 1995 she won the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, an award also given to Albert Schweitzer, Martin Buber and Vaclav Havel. This would be condemned by several dozen German intellectuals, among them Günter Grass and Jürgen Habermas, who deployed the usual ad hominem attacks reserved for people courageous enough to defend Muslims. In the spirit of Annemarie Schimmel, this award recognises those who defend Muslims at considerable cost to their own reputation. They are an inspiration to Muslims and to the wider community.

championing a muslim causeMohamed Amersi, Founder of Inclusive Ventures Group presents the award to Jonathan Freeman (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Jonathan Freeman. Since January 2011, Freeman has been National Director of Mosaic, which is 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.

Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award for Excellence

They had been conferred the honour of being ‘the leaders of the youth of paradise’. In recognition, this award is granted for a child (5 to 15 years) who has demonstrated outstanding achievement. This award is named in honour of the beloved grandchildren of the Prophet Muhammad whose presence as children was often a source of solace for their doting grandfather. Hasan and Husayn resembled the Prophet closely and enjoyed unsurpassed love and affection while with him. The children enjoyed an age of protection and innocence unlike any other, they would sit on the Prophet’s chest as he slept and climb on his back as he prayed. As children, Hasan and Husayn lived exemplary lives and set an example for young people in that they did not seek fame or glory through might but rather by how they conducted themselves. That they were still tender in years did not prevent them from exercising tact and diplomacy. Once, the boys noticed a man performing his ablutions incorrectly. Rather than embarrass him by pointing out his mistake, Hasan and Husayn set about performing their own ablutions allowing the man to observe and correct himself. After the death of their father, Ali, who was fourth Caliph, the brothers became leaders by instinct and training; they grew to place the stability of the Muslim community above the tempting desire to wield power. Husayn was martyred at Karbala, Iraq in 683 defending the honour of Islam. When Muslims remember Hasan and Husayn, it is with joy and tears, and with the hope that we may see their exuberance and piety in our own children.

childrenDr Suhaib Hasan, Trustee, Muslim Aid presents the award to Bushra Ulfath (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Bushra Ulfath. Londoner Bushra 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.


Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development

He was the great African whose rule of Sokoto in modern-day Nigeria was marked by his desire to use his deep knowledge of Islam to affect profound social change in his community and his region. This Award captures his spirit as a great social reformer, and his desire to develop his society.In 1803, Uthman Dan Fodio became the new Caliph of Sokoto, in modern-day northern Nigeria, at a time when knowledge was very much the preserve of a few. With instruction predominantly in classical Arabic, elitist establishments in central and west Africa were unsuitable for the Fulani, Fulfilde, Hausa and Tawadic speaking people of the region. Moreover, these schools, were completely inaccessible to women. Social norms kept this status quo and the leader recognised the need to challenge this to improve the lot of his community. Known as the Shehu, or the Teacher, he deployed his impeccable credentials as an Islamic scholar to champion of women’s rights and he led a concerted drive to spread literacy among his people. His scholarship went hand-in-hand with his leadership. He had the ability to persuade and overcome traditional opposition to social progress. Dan Fodio’s personal and proactive intervention took community development to new heights, an achievement that still provides a guiding light today.

community developmentYasrab Daud Shah of Muslim Hands presents the award to  Monowara Gani collecting on behalf of Muslim Action for Development & Environment (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Muslim Action for Development & Environment, or MADE. One of the few Muslim organisations working in this field, 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’.


Al Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations

He was not only the foremost astronomer and philosopher of his time, he also acted as a firm bridge for mutual understanding between cultures and faiths in India. This Award is granted in memory of his steadfast exhortations to build better relations between Muslims and non-Muslim communities. The Eleventh Century (CE) Uzbek astronomer Abu Rayhan al-Biruni Muhammad ibn Ahmed was a polymath much sought after by the Indian Sultan, Mahmud of Ghazni. He gained a reputation for being a prolific poet, philosopher, historian and mathematician in his own right and acted as chief advisor to the Sultan.From his study of the stars, he wrote treatises on astronomy and discovered that the earth rotates around its own axis. He also saw the Divine truth, and the beauty of different civilisations created by God. He challenged some of the acts of intolerance and carnage carried out in the name of Islam. Speaking truth to power, he challenged the Sultan and recognised the scientific and cultural developments made by people of other cultures: he became keen student of Sanskrit and Hindu astronomy. Al-Biruni’s call to promote the common good, has lost none of its resonance – to this day, the Persians, Arabs and Indians jointly avow that he was one of their own.

community relationsDianne Abbott, MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development presents the award to Nasar Mahmood collecting on behalf of British Muslim Heritage Centre (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: British Muslim Heritage Centre. 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 designed 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.

Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education

This medieval African educational institution was a glittering citadel of scholarship, surpassing the reputation of similar institutions of that time. This award recognises excellence in education, as embodied in the values of this institution.Built a thousand years ago in the famed city of Timbuktu, the Sankore University came to represent excellence in education for many centuries to come.It was central to the development of the Mali empire, and in many respects, a precursor to a very early form of the knowledge economy.Sankore Mosque, with its unique pyramidal mihrab, was the focal point of Sankore University. The university’s reputation peaked in the Sixteenth century and at one point it boasted a student body exceeding 25,000 – more than the entire population of Timbuktu today. Students came from as far afield as Makkah to study for ten years at one of the university’s many colleges under the auspices of a single imam. Upon graduating in Qur’an studies, logic, literature, jurisprudence, mathematics, Islamic science, medicine and astronomy, a student would be presented with a prestigious turban – a mark of distinguished scholarship. Alas Sankore University’s glory days are long gone and its memory is threatened by conflict in Mali. We hope to remember its reputation through this award today.

educationRt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Labour Party candidate for the Mayor of London presents the award to  Dr David Browning (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Dr David Browning. As a lecturer, fellow of St. Cross College and a former diplomat, Dr 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

Fazlur Rahman Khan embodies this award for being one of the most revered structural engineers of the twentieth century. He is a role model for many Muslims, and is a testament to the modern Muslim contribution to the progress of science.The Sears Tower, now renamed as the Willis Tower, forms a distinct impression on Chicago’s iconic skyline. When it was built in 1975, the 110-storey structure was the tallest building in the world, earning its designer Fazlur Rahman Khan a place in design and engineering history. In 1963 he developed the revolutionary ‘tube concept’ in which the walls of a skyscraper are constructed and anchored into the ground as a single tube; the Sears Tower itself is a monument to Khan’s technological innovation.This earned him the honour of being regarded as the ‘father of tubular design for high-rises’ and he is regarded as one of the central figures behind the ‘Second Chicago School’ architectural movement. The cornerstone of Khan’s approach; science and durability in fusion with creativity, endures also in the less affluent parts of the world. Until his death in 1982, Fazlur Rahman Khan was profoundly concerned with the rapid urbanisation of developing countries and called for the application of workable and appropriate forms of technology.

engineering science and technologyRt Hon Angus Robertson MP, Scottish National Party Leader in Westminster presents the award to  Professor Tipu Zahed Aziz (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Professor Tipu Zahed Aziz. 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

The beloved first wife of the Prophet was unique in many ways, including in her position as one of the early business icons of the Muslim world. A role model to all people, this award recognises achievement in business and commerce.Khadijah was known as Ummul Mu’minin or the ‘Mother of Believers’, and was the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad. She was the first woman to accept the message of truth brought by Prophet Muhammad and is considered as one among the four perfect women along with Maryam, the mother of Jesus, Asiya, the wife of the Pharaoh and Fatimah, the Prophet’s daughter from Khadijah. Here we also remember Khadijah the entrepreneur. After the death of her father, Khadijah rapidly took charge and grew the family business. With the profits she made, she helped the poor, the widows, the orphans, the sick and the disabled. From her home in Makkah, Khadijah controlled her business, which spread into the neighbouring countries. What she had succeeded in achieving, would be remarkable in any country, in any for anyone – man or woman. Khadijah was older than the the 25-year old Muhammad when she proposed the idea of marriage to him. She married him in the year 595. Khadijah supported him throughout his mission to spread Islam.

enterprise 2Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government presents the award to  Farouq Sheikh (Photo: Abdul Datoo/ Muslim News)

WINNER: 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.

enterprise 1Rt Hon Greg Clark, presents the award to  Tariq Usmani, (Photo:  Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Tariq Usmani. As CEO of Henley Homes plc, 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.


Alija Izetbegovic Award for Good Citizenship

This award is named after the Bosnian leader who in the face of adversity, oppression and genocide, helped secure the right of Muslims to live in peace in Bosnia and Herzogovina. Those characteristics are sought in the winner of this award, who shows courage and determination in securing rights for British Muslims. Alija Izetbegovic is one of the greatest statesmen and Muslim thinkers of the modern age symbolising the struggle and the dignity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a country defiled by its neighbours, denied defence by the superpowers and effectively deserted by the rest of the world, Izetbegovic empowered his people with the only means available: faith and fortitude. He emerged a hero. In Bosnia, Izetbegovic is known as Dedo – a father figure to whom affection and respect is due. The award for citizenship is named after Izetbegovic’s animating spirit: good citizenship entails fighting for one’s rights, and the rights of others – the fight must be principled and steadfast. Izetbegovic displayed this when he was imprisoned in 1945 by the communist dictatorship of Josip Tito who wanted to close down all non-communist groups. He was arrested again in 1983 and, after a farcical trial, sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. With the collapse of the federal system in Yugoslavia in 1990, Izetbegovic was released subsequently to find himself and his people caught in the implosion of a genocidal war. Throughout his life, in word and in deed, Alija Izetbegovic has demonstrated outstanding courage and remarkable compassion to secure the rights of Muslims to lead meaningful and peaceful lives.

citizenshipLt General Gordon Messenger presents the award to collecting Minhaal Manjo on behalf of Harris Bokhari (inset) (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Harris Bokhari. Philanthropist and community organiser 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.


Ibn Sina Award for Health

Amongst the many accolades attributed to him, this polymath is also regarded as the father of modern day medicine. As a result, this Award is named after the great physician who made enormous contributions to medical inquiry. This award recognises those who promote excellence in health issues. Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina was one of Islam’s most famous and influential philosopher-scientists. Familiar to many in the West as Avicenna, he was born in 980 in Afshana, a village near Bukhara in Turkestan. Ibn Sina’s legacy is manifest is so many areas of modern science. The heart specialist of his day, he produced volumes on cardiology that continue to be of relevance. His clinical insight was unparalleled, he was the first to describe correctly meningitis and his rules for testing new drugs still form the basis of modern clinical drug trials. It is perhaps for his encyclopaedic Book of Healing and his famous Canon of Medicine that Ibn Sina is more instantly remembered. It is through these master compositions that one learns of the truly holistic nature of Ibn Sina’s practice. After centuries of development and refining, the fields of disease prevention and health promotion of health – comprising entire industries in the West – owe much to the tireless research of Ibn Sina

Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive of Human Appeal presents the award to  Kamran Khan collecting on behalf of Dr Zafar Iqbal (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Dr Zafar Iqbal. For many sports fans, Dr 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

He was the great traveller whose chronicles were driven by a mission to understand without fear or favour. This Award remembers the great Moroccan voyageur’s desire to explain and is granted to those who report a fair and balanced appraisal of Muslims at home and abroad. Abu Abdullah al-Lawati Ibn Battuta caught the travel bug when he left his hometown of Tangier in Rajab 725 (June 1325) to make the sacred pilgrimage to Makkah. Known as the Hajj, the journey to the holy city is compulsory on all adult Muslims who can afford it. For Muslims, it is considered the journey of a life-time. Ibn Battuta took the idea literally – he returned back to Tangiers 25 years later and took in half the globe. He embraced and lived the cultures he travelled through, witnessing the extraordinary pluralism of human society. He made his way by being a judge and diplomat to various kings, and marrying into local cultures. Starting in North Africa, he took in many countries including Iraq, Persia, Tanzania, Transoxania, Khurasan, Afghanistan, India, the Maldives and finally China. This Award is named after the traveller because, after his 25-year odyssey, Ibn Battuta provided a vivid and fair account of the traditions, thinking and news of people he came across three continents. Almost seven centuries on, the chronicles of Ibn Battuta urge the modern reader to look deeper, enquire further, and learn more about each other.

mediaImran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief presents the award to Assed Baig (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

WINNER: Assed Baig. Having reported from around the world including the Central African Republic, Myanmar and Libya, 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


Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport

Faezeh Hashemi has been a pioneer in campaigning for the right of Muslim women to participate in sport. This award recognises outstanding sporting achievement or the initiation of a sports project for the benefit of the Muslim community. Muslim sporting heroes are rarely away from the public gaze. From the track to the boxing ring, from all over the globe, Muslims are setting sporting records. One needs only to look at the sporting achievements of Muslim women at the last Olympics. An early pioneer was Faezeh Hashemi . An extraordinary woman by all means, Faezeh Hashemi’s achievements belie her appearance – modest and soft-spoken, she has been a tireless campaigner for women’s rights in Iran. Thanks to her campaigning as Vice President of Iran’s National Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee permits Muslim women to compete at the games wearing appropriate Islamic dress. This represents a tremendous victory for countless women who might otherwise have their sporting ambitions thwarted. Despite considerable opposition, Hashemi founded and is President of the Federation of Islamic Countries’ Women’s Solidarity and Sport. She arranged four major international competitions in Iran, demonstrating the keenness and ability of Muslim women to participate in Olympic-standard events. This Sports Award is therefore named after Faezeh Hashemi in recognition for her tireless campaign to give Muslims better access to sports.

sportBaroness Manzoor, CBE of Knightsbridge presents the award to Ayaz Bhuta (Photo: Adam Szczepanski/Muslim News)

WINNER: Ayaz Bhuta. 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’.


Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence

To be given to an individual, organization or initiative run by young people (16-25 years), whose principal aim is to support and create opportunities for their peers

young persons mediaRiaz Esmail, Trustee of The Salaam Centre presents the award to Saif-Abbas Chatoo (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

Winner: Saif-Abbas Chatoo. 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 students 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.


Iman Wa Amal Judges Award

This special award is granted at the discretion of the judges. This category draws its inspiration from the Islamic imperative to seek positive and meaningful change. Islam at its most fruitful is faith (iman) translated into action (amal). This special award is for individuals who, through their outstanding contribution to the diverse community of Islam, may be held up as role models. Faith and action are the operative terms for many a Muslim. It encourages selflessness in individuals, respect for other and a desire to build healthy, peaceful and harmonious communities. This idea demands change for the common good, and to uphold standards that will benefit everyone. Good practice is not an Islamic ideal, but an urgent preponderant imperative. It is described by Prophet Muhammad as an act of charity, incumbent upon every Muslim. The Prophet stressed that those who can provide money for the needy must do so, those who do not possess the immediate wealth must work in order to give a portion of what they save. He said that those unable to work should help, in person, the disadvantaged, those unable to assist should invite others to virtue. And for those unable to fulfil any of these obligations, there remains a final charitable deed: to refrain from evil. Social activism is inherent in the Muslim community’s DNA. Many Muslims are serving the community with no thought for reward in this world. They strive to please God and gain a reward in the Hereafter. We hope that by selecting an individual for this award, their good practice, their acts of charity, will remind us all to follow the shining example of our beloved Prophet.

iman wa amalWakkas Khan, Chair of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence Independent Panel of Judges presents the award to Professor Javed Khan (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

Winner: Professor Javed Khan. 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.


The Editor’s Lifetime Achievement Award

This Award recognises those who have made exceptional contributions to the life of Britain’s Muslim community. Unlike the other Awards – whose recipients are chosen by a strictly independent panel of judges – this tribute is granted by the Editor of The Muslim News. The winners of this Award personify the spirit of this entire initiative. They are our community’s unsung heroes who have diligently, courageously and persistently expended energy and striven to improve the lot of British Muslims.


Ahmed J Versi, Editor of The Muslim News presents the award to Adeeka Shabbaz (Photo: Abdul Datoo/ Muslim News)

Winner: Adeela Shabbaz. Each year, The Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi, recognises an individual or organisation for lifetime achievement. This year, the Lifetime Achievement Award is conferred to Adeela Shabbaz for her decades-long community work in South London. Adeela, 65, is currently a consultant in international development where she undertakes outreach and advisory work overseas. She is also undertakes outreach work for the mentally ill and is an advocate on behalf of Muslim and non-Muslim women by speaking to staff involved in their care, advising hospitals about religious needs and practises. She is a mediator in conflict resolution and trains people on conflict resolution at Lambeth Mediation Services. This latter work involves restorative justice and assisting neighbours and other parties resolve their differences. It also involves training children on conflict resolution at school. Adeela graduated from Surrey University in Business Management and obtained a Masters in Development Studies from London South Bank University. She is also a trained in pastoral skills at the Maudsley Hospital (Institute of Psychiatry) and has been involved in chaplaincy work at various hospitals for thirty years. Adeela was a member of the National Advisory Panel at the mental health charity, Mind, and helped set up DIVERSE MIND to cater for the mental health needs of people from other ethnic and minority groups in the UK. She has a Diploma in Islamic Jurisprudence from Markfield Institute of Higher Education. Adeela was a founder and leader of the Muslim Sister’s Jamaat and a trustee at AshShahada Housing Association and the North Brixton Islamic Cultural Centre. She was also involved in the establishment of the groundbreaking Muslim Women’s Helpline. Adeela also served on the board and has been a member of a range of community organisations including the Muslim Safety Forum, the Christian Muslim Forum and the New Muslim Project. Adeela was born in Guyana, South America, and came to the UK 45 years ago.

[Main photo: Guests at The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event. Photographer: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News]

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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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