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Meet the independent panel of judges…

28th Feb 2020
Meet the independent panel of judges…

Photos: Rakhia Ismail, Revd Karen S F Rooms, Iskander Ding, Dr Kasia Narkowicz and Dr Qadir Baksh MBE

…reflecting a diverse range of experience and background who have selected the shortlist and winners of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence

Educated in Sydney, Paris, Oxford, and London, Iskander Ding is a freelance consultant and translator. A true citizen of the world, Iskander works with a range of clients to manage security risk. Of Hui Chinese heritage and a competent linguist, Iskander has knowledge of many modern and ancient languages and can converse in Arabic, English, French, Mandarin, Persian, Portuguese, Turkish, and Uyghur. Iskander is a member of the London Uyghur Ensemble with which he plays the frame drum (dap) and the Kashgar rubab. He has performed with the SOAS Silk Road Collective with musicians from Japan, India and Iran.

Rev Karen S F Rooms is Canon Missioner at Leicester Cathedral and Transition Parish Priest. In her role, Karen leads the Cathedral’s social engagement activities and works with vulnerable people. A previous role within the church saw Karen help set up The Coffee Shop café in Moshi a district in northeastern Tanzania, a project which enabled and inspired women to take a greater role in improving their lives. As a trustee of the national charity Citizens UK, Karen continues to play a role in organizing communities to act together for power, social justice, and the common good. Other charity roles have brought Karen into close contact with BAME communities, asylum seekers and refugees. Raised in Glasgow, and having spent many years in Nottingham, Karen’s work with the church and the voluntary sector started with managerial roles at Boots and Procter & Gamble. Karen has been known to occasionally run in 10 K and a half-marathon races.

Raised in Sweden and born in Poland, Dr Kasia Narkowicz is a lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Gloucestershire. Her research focuses on issues of discrimination and exclusion, especially racism and Islamophobia in Europe. Before taking up her current position, Kasia toured India and was invited to lecture at several leading institutions. Kasia’s expertise has been sought by a number of leading media outlets including Al-Jazeera and BBC World.

Dr Qadir Baksh MBE headed the Race Relations Unit of the London Borough of Waltham Forest from 1986 to 1998 and is a former Director of Gravesham Borough Race Equality Council in Kent. He has a passion for addressing the social challenges faced by BAME and faith communities through better governance and public policy. He is Managing Editor of Cheetah Books which he founded in the early 1980s to publish overlooked multicultural material. Alongside his work with Uswa-e-Hasna Institute, which aims to promote good role models for young Muslim children through the publication of Islamic literature, Qadir also serves as a non-executive director on various NHS trusts. He is a founding executive committee member of London East Three Faith Forum and has been involved in interfaith activities for over forty years. He was awarded an MBE in 2011 for community service.

Somali-born Rakhia Ismail grew up in Abu Dhabi before moving to London in the late 1980s. Rakhia was first elected to public office in 2012 and is currently Mayor of the London Borough of Islington. Rakhia is the first Somali mayor in the United Kingdom to don the hijab. Rakhia is a fervent opponent of inequality and prejudice — including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism — and campaigns against knife crimes and county lines drug running. Before becoming a local councillor, Rakhia worked as a freelance surface pattern designer, exhibiting her work at venues in several European and African cities including the British Museum where Rakhia co-curated an exhibition of Somali arts and crafts. Other prestigious venues include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the October Gallery, and Islington Museum not to mention the many grassroots level projects convened in churches, schools, and playgrounds.

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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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