The Muslim News postpones prestigious annual Awards due to coronavirus concerns

24th Mar 2020
The Muslim News postpones prestigious annual Awards due to coronavirus concerns

Harun Nasrullah

Due to the unprecedented uncertainty regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, The Muslim News has postponed its prestigious annual awards ceremony until late summer.

“It was a difficult decision, but the health and safety of the guests must come first,” Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi, said when announcing the postponement of the eighteenth awards on March 9.

The event was due to take place in London on March 30. Previous guests have included Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Sadiq Khan, Tony Blair and HRH Prince of Wales.

Versi added that it was important to postpone the event with more than 500 guests even though the Government had decided not to ban large gatherings. “We felt it was important we postpone the event to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus at the event,” said the founder of the awards.

The cancellation of the event, which was launched in 2000, came at a considerable financial cost to the newspaper. The cost of hiring hotels in late summer is almost double and for a community newspaper, it is huge. “We are now looking for more sponsors to help with the increase in the costs,” said Versi.

The Awards are the highlight of the British Muslim calendar and celebrates the achievements of a wide spectrum of people: Muslims and non-Muslims from the world of politics, sports, and cultural life of Britain. It is attended by members of all faiths and denominations.

It is also intended that by identifying Muslim achievers and success stories around the UK, we will go some way towards providing the much needed positive role models for our youth, and towards countering the misconceptions and prejudice that, more often than not, surround Muslim community representation in the media.

The guests welcomed the decision to postpone the awards event.
“Thanks for letting me know about the postponement of the forthcoming event. Under the cloud of this viral epidemic, it was a wise decision,” said Khwaja.

“Thank you, Ahmed, for your kind and very understandable message,” said Batool.

“Thank you for letting me know about the postponement. It is disappointing – and must be more so for you and your team – but perfectly understandable, and given the current circumstances, absolutely the right action to take,” said Fauzia.

“Thanks for letting me know, and I very much understand the decision. I hope that it doesn’t cause too much fallout for you, in terms of work and finance. I do wish you the very best!” said Katharina.

“It’s totally understandable that the event has been postponed under the circumstances, and it’s commendable that the health and safety of all concerned has been so carefully considered. We pray that Allah keeps us all safe and that things return to normal soon,” said Faeza.

“Let us pray that, God willing the Coronavirus is contained and Mankind is spared,” said Yahya.

“I support your decision as I agree it will help keep everyone safe inshallah. Looking forward to hearing about the new date for the award,” Saleem.

Note*: Since writing this article the UK Government has announced a nation-wide lockdown.

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