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Awards winners reflect inclusivity and diversity of UK Muslims

4th May 2018
Awards winners reflect inclusivity and diversity of UK Muslims

David Lidington MP delivers his keynote speech (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

Abdul Adil

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence reflects inclusivity and diversity of the Muslim community. This was evident at this year’s award winners.

It truly represented a wide array of ethnicities and backgrounds, including members of the deaf and visually-impaired communities and those with mobility issues. Once again, over 50 percent of the awards recipients were women.

Over 580 people from all sections of society, from the worlds of politics, business, sport, the arts, bloggers, as well as civic and religious leaders came together to celebrate the achievements of the unsung heroes of British Muslim and non-Muslim communities on April 23 in central London.

 

Ahmed J Versi, founder of the awards and Editor of The Muslim News with David Lidington MP (Photo: Adam Szczepański/Muslim News)

 

In his keynote speech, David Lidington MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, said we are all here to celebrate “the fantastic achievements of this wonderfully rich and diverse community we have here in our country.”

The Minister said the achievements “are something of which we should all be proud, wherever we come from in society, and can celebrate with enthusiasm, pleasure and sheer gratitude.

“Congratulations to all of those winning awards; thank you for everything you have done for this country; and please continue all your work to make this a better, fairer, more tolerant country still one in which we can all feel we can live in peace and pride.”

Lidington praised the Muslim community for their inspirational contributions to the society.

“There really is no community which demonstrates more pride, enthusiasm and pure inspiration, than that of British Muslims across our country – many of whom are gathered here in this room tonight,” he said.

The Guest of Honour highlighted British Muslim high achievers.

“There are British Muslims who really are the role models, the thinkers, the visionaries. Everywhere I look around this country, British Muslim men and women are leading the way in whatever field they choose.

“Sir Mo Farah, with yet another record yesterday, is one of the finest sportsmen the United Kingdom has ever produced.

“And it’s why it is right that we come together tonight to recognise the achievements of the whole British Muslim community.”

Ahmed J Versi, Editor of The Muslim News, founder of the awards, said, “These honours are all the more important in today’s landscape. They are an antidote to the negativity that surrounds Muslims in the mainstream media.

“The reason The Muslim News Awards for Excellence were created back in the year 2000 was to counter this media narrative and to help us seek out good Muslim news stories which we can all celebrate.

“Tonight’s event showcases the many wonderful achievements of Muslims. They inspire and motivate us to excel, as well as celebrate these positive contributions to society as a whole.”

Ian Blackford MP, SNP Westminster Leader, congratulating the shortlisted people and the winners, said the awards “showcases talents and celebrates shining lights of the UK’s Muslim community. Your achievements are an example of the hard work, drive and determination that make our society the great place that it is today.”

Yasmin Qureshi MP, Shadow Justice Minister, said at the awards we are “celebrating the huge contributions Muslims make to Britain. Events like this challenge a narrow intolerant view about Islam and Muslims that still exists in this society and most parts of the world.”

However, Qureshi added that “there are more glass ceilings need to be broken so that Muslims in all parts of our country can make to the top in politics, judiciary, police, media, finance and business.”

Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Exiting the EU and International Trade, congratulated the shortlisted people and said: “it must have been a difficult task [for the judges] to work out who to award .”

Dominic Grieve MP, Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, who has been participating at the awards for many years, said about Muslims that “I am pretty optimistic about the future and I would like to say what a privilege it is for me to be here.”

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Chair of the independent panel of judges, said they were impressed by the quality of the nominations.

“If the quality of the nominations is a barometer of the progress and contribution of Muslims to the flourishing of our society, then I can assure you that in so many fields of public life, they are having an enormously positive influence.  As a group of judges, we appreciated the creative and imaginative ways that so many of our nominees were extending their skills, knowledge and energy for the benefit of their communities, whether locally, nationally or professionally.”

One of the guests, Mohamed Ladha, who is a Partner of St James’s Place Wealth Management, found the event inspiring.

“Not having been to such an event in the past, and not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by the level at which these awards are held on an annual basis.  The stories of all the nominees and the winners, in particular, are truly inspiring; to see how these individuals are making a difference in society, and overcoming individual hurdles to excel in their commitment to show the best of who we are. “

Party leaders sent congratulatory messages to the shortlisted people and winners.

Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, who has attended the event in the past, said: “The achievements of British Muslims from all across our country are an inspiration to us all. From youth work, sport and the arts, to politics, business and engineering, your influence reaches every sphere of society.

“We do not thank you enough, but these awards provide a wonderful opportunity for us all to pause and recognise the work your community does throughout the year.”

Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP, said: “Every year, The Muslim News Awards for Excellence does a brilliant job of recognising the fantastic achievements made by so many in the British Muslim community.

“In an age of rising of Islamophobia and other forms of racism…..events like The Muslim News Awards for Excellence are so important. They celebrate the huge diversity, creativity and dynamism that exists within the British Muslim community, highlighting the contributions of individuals in every field, from the arts to the charity sector, to education.”

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Vince Cable MP, thanked The Muslim News for the “hard work in celebrating the achievements of Muslims.

“These awards are an important recognition of the tremendous, and often selfless, contributions British Muslims make to our society. Since its inception, the awards have inspired many and play an important part in challenging intolerant and unfounded views.”

All winners received a beautifully and intricately designed brass astrolabe, the iconic symbol of the sixteenth awards ceremony. The astrolabe was a highly developed tool used throughout the Muslim world to measure the altitude of stars and planets. By the eighth century, they were used to aid navigation, locate the qiblah (Ka’bah in Makkah), calculate the lunar calendar and to assess meteorological conditions.

Winners of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2018

 

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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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