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The Muslim News Awards for Excellence: 2022 winners

8th Jul 2022
The Muslim News Awards for Excellence: 2022 winners

The Muslim News is proud to present the winners of this year’s The Muslim News Awards for Excellence


Alhambra Award for Excellence in the Arts

Nadifa Mohamed receives her award from Doureine Hiridjee, presenting on behalf of The Imaan Trust (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

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.

Sponsored by The Imaan Trust

WINNER: Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somaliland in 1981. Her two novels have attracted critical acclaim and her writing has been published in the New York Times, The Independent, and anthologies celebrating the best of modern African fiction and marking the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth.

Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, won the Betty Trask Prize, was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. In 2013, she was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

Her second novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls, was published in 2013 and won the Somerset Maugham Prize and the Prix Albert Bernard. She was long-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize and shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Following the 2017 lorry bomb attack in Mogadishu, Nadifa helped fundraise over £32,000 for Aamin Ambulance.

Nadifa has volunteered with many mentoring schemes for Muslim children in London, including Baraka Youth in Portobello, and was active in the various volunteer efforts following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. She has also worked at the Hackney Christmas Dinner, which was set up by poet Lemn Sissay to give young people just out of the care system a family-style Christmas Day.


Annemarie Schimmel Award for Championing a Muslim Cause

Patricia Parker MBE, receives her award from Owais Khan, Head of Communications, Human Appeal (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

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 that has supported a Muslim cause.

Sponsored by Human Appeal

WINNER: Patricia Parker MBE, is the founder and CEO of Kids for Kids, a UK charity which provides aid to Darfur, Sudan. Kids for Kids has transformed the lives of over half a million people living in 100 villages in North Darfur, providing sustainable projects that communities identify and run themselves.
One of Patricia’s first encounters with poverty in Darfur in 2001 moved her to return to the UK to raise funds. In six months, £54,000 was raised to install a hand pump for a village and to purchase livestock for the most afflicted. Through the work of Kids for Kids, children could attend the local school during the day because they no longer had to walk miles across the desert to fetch water. In the UK, Patricia raises awareness of the plight of others through her presentations at schools throughout the country.


Al Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations

Elinor Mair Chohan MBE receives her award from Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Minister, International Trade (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

Al Biruni was not only the foremost astronomer and philosopher of his time, but 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 Muslim and non-Muslim communities

Sponsored by The Salaam Centre

WINNER: Elinor Mair Chohan MBE worked as a nurse for twenty years before turning to the voluntary sector. Among her many current appointments, Elinor is Director of the Miri Roshni Foundation, a registered family charity for the benefit of people in the UK and abroad.

Elinor is also Chair of North West Remembering Srebrenica, a position in which she has overseen an annual Civic Remembrance Service at Manchester Cathedral to mark the Bosnian genocide. As co-chair of the Manchester section of Nisa–Nashim, Elinor helps bring together Jewish and Muslim women in a spirit of cooperation and sisterhood.

As Muslim adviser to RECLAIM, Elinor plays a role in a youth-led initiative seeking to promote community cohesion and character building, now being piloted at seven secondary schools in Manchester. Elinor is a trustee of the British Muslim Heritage Centre and was awarded an MBE in 2018.


Uthman dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development

Madiha Raza receives her award from the Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

Uthman Dan Fodio 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, including to champion women’s rights, including access to education. This Award captures his spirit as a great social reformer, and his desire to develop his society.

WINNER: Madiha Raza is the Global Communications Coordinator for Muslim Aid. Her role involves the development of relief programmes, particularly in emergencies, through developing communications channels and processes with all stakeholders. Her aid assessments and delivery around the world have enabled her to bring the real stories of disaster-stricken people to millions of viewers and readers in the UK.
In the last year, Madiha has helped support survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire; travelled into the heart of war-torn Mosul; worked with Rohingya refugees who had fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar, and was in Damascus during the intense bombing of Eastern Ghouta. In her spare time, Madiha loves to travel and explore new cultures and adventures, including deep-sea diving and bungee jumping.


Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award for Excellence

Fatema Zahra Mithwani receives her award from Pir Syed Lakhte Hassanain, Chair, Muslim Hands (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

They had been conferred the honour of being ‘the leaders of the youth of paradise.’ In recognition, this award is granted to a child (5 to 15 years) who has showed 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.

Sponsored by Muslim Hands

WINNER: Fatema Zahra Mithwani is an exceptionally talented and imaginative writer of poetry and short stories and a gifted memoriser of the Qur’an. She is the winner of the Light of the Qur’an Poetry Competition in the 7–10 year age category for two consecutive years (2016, 2017). In 2018, the youngster from Watford, Hertfordshire, won both the Young Muslim Writers Awards in the KS2 poetry category and the Poetry Zone Website 20th Anniversary Anthology Competition, the latter being organised by the acclaimed children’s poet Roger Stevens. Fatema has also received awards for Qur’an memorisation, art, and mathematics. Fatema aspires to become a memoriser of the Qur’an and an author and illustrator. in the under 14 female teams.


Alija Izetbegović Award for Good Citizenship

Abdul-Karim Abdullah receives his award from Afzal Khan MP, Shadow Justice Minister (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

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 Herzegovina using courage and determination; these are the characteristics that are sought in the winner of this award.

WINNER: Abdul-Karim Abdullah is Lambeth’s community champion, working with young people across the borough to help them escape a life of violence and trauma. As a key member of the London Independent Youth Safety Board, he has played a key role in changing the approach of the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime toward violent crime. This has led the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to set up the London Violence Reduction Unit, now led by Lib Peck, the former leader of Lambeth Council and a supporter of Abdul-Karim’s work.

Abdul-Karim Chair’s Lambeth’s Stop and Search Monitoring Board, Lambeth’s Youth Violence Forum, and the Metropolitan Police’s Youth Independent Advisory Group. A recipient of the National Diversity Award, he is invited by the media to share his expert opinion on violence and crime among young people. He is a spoken word poet, producer of the documentary Road 2 Recovery, and the youth and community events manager of Brixton Mosque.


Ibn Sina Award for Excellence in Health

Dr Kawther Hashem receives her award from Dr Muhammad Asaria, Emergency Medicine Consultant, Luton & Dunstable Hospital presenting on behalf of Lady Fatemah Trust (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

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 pioneering physician who made enormous contributions to medical inquiry. This award recognises those who promote excellence in health issues.

Sponsored by Lady Fatemah Trust

WINNER: Dr Kawther Hashem researches nutrition at Queen Mary University of London. She is the Campaign Lead for Action on Sugar which is part of Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar, and Health, a charitable organisation concerned with the effects of salt and sugar on health. Kawther’s research has helped uncover the astonishing amount of salt and sugar added to our food and has driven her to be a vociferous campaigner for healthier food products. Her regular local, national, and international media appearances and interviews have helped her place pressure on food manufacturers and governments to review food policy. Consequently, and with the efforts of her colleagues, the UK Government launched the Sugar Reduction Programme and the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. Kawther is optimistic that these programmes will have an important impact on public health and is committed to monitoring their effect. In 2017, Kawther was a recipient of the GG2 Leadership Young Achiever Award in acknowledgement of her work.


Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education

Collecting on behalf of Raising Explorers, (left) Tanveer Qamar and Aweis Asghar, Co-founders, Raising Explorer receive the award from Yvonne Ridley, author and journalist presenting on behalf of Al-Khair Foundation (Photo: Riyaz Mamdani//Muslim News)

The Sankkore University was a medieval African educational institution that was regarded as a glittering citadel of scholarship, surpassing the reputation of comparable institutions of that time. This award recognises excellence in education, as embodied in the values of this institution.

Sponsored by Al-Khair Foundation

WINNER: Raising Explorers is an out-of-school learning and Ofsted registered childcare centre in Bradford. Open every day and all-year round, the centre provides support for both academic studies and Islamic learning. Over the last five years, thousands of children and families have benefited from the services offered. Raising Explorers provides daily pickup service from over fifty Bradford schools and prepares nutritious home-cooked meals for children when they arrive. Children then do their homework and coursework while waiting for Islamic lessons to start.
Raising Explorers mentors’ parents where required and works closely with other organisations such as Approachable Parenting, Together Women Community Project, The Catalyst Project, NHS Dental Programme, and the BBC. They also work closely with charitable institutions such as Islamic Relief and Charity Right, enabling the youngsters in their care to explore fundraising initiatives.


Fazlur Rahman Khan Award for Excellence in Engineering, Science or Technology

Zainab Chatoo, receives the award on behalf of Najwa Jawahar (inset) from the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Speaker of the House Of Commons.

(Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

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.

WINNER: Najwa Jawahar works for WSP, a leading global engineering consultancy, and has successfully contributed to several multimillion-pound projects, including the Merchant Square Development and London Wall Place. Najwa has also led the design of the Key Bridge House, a complex development across five buildings.
In 2016, she won the WeAreTheCity’s Top 50 Rising Stars in the property services category. In 2017 she was named the Best Young Structural Engineer at the European Women in Construction and Engineering Awards, and in 2019 she made the Northern Power Women’s Future List.
Najwa takes pride in guiding and mentoring young engineers and has been featured on several of WSP’s internal and external platforms as a role model.


Ummul Mu’minin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise

Jamal Ahmed FIP (L)  receives his award from Aaron Usmani, Construction Director, Henley Homes plc (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

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.

Sponsored by Henley Homes

WINNER: Jamal Ahmed FIP is a leading privacy expert who, on observing a dearth of accessible expert services in data protection and GDPR compliance, founded Kazient Privacy Experts to offer compliance solutions to small, medium, and large businesses. Jamal, from Romford, East London has delivered privacy and GDPR compliance solutions to organisations across six continents and in thirteen jurisdictions, helping to safeguard the personal data of over 54 million data subjects worldwide. In 2019, Jamal was awarded the Fellow of Information Privacy by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the first British Muslim conferred the status. Passionate about raising the profile of GDPR compliance among Muslim businesses and organisations, Jamal has also been featured on various Muslim media platforms and works closely with several Muslim charities. Jamal combines his professional activity with philanthropy, raising £15,000 to fund 100 communal kitchens for refugees in Calais, over £100,000 to provide iftar [breaking of fast] meals for displaced people in Syria; and £25,000 to provide rice to flood victims in Bangladesh.


Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence

Asifa Pradhan, collecting the award on behalf of Arqam Al-Hadeed (inset) from  the Rt Hon Lord Newby OBE, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, House of Lords  (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

This award honours the indomitable spirit of the American Muslim activist who was driven by an uncompromising desire for freedom and justice. He was one of the most dynamic, passionate and exemplary individuals of modern times. This is granted to an individual, organisation or initiative run by young people (16-25 years), whose principal aim is to support and create opportunities for their peers.

WINNER: Arqam Al-Hadeed has been recognised nationally for his tireless efforts to unite all races, religions, and cultures. In 2018, he received the Leeds Young Person’s Award for his work in uniting the city’s communities. In 2019, he was the youngest recipient of the British Muslim Award.
He has been elected to represent his city as a youth member of the UK Parliament and is one of the top five champions of Make Your Mark, the UK’s largest consultation of young people. Arqam has worked to establish the Grand Muslim Youth Council, an organisation working in Leeds, led by young people for young people
. Within one month of the organisation’s launch, it convened the Kashmir Solidarity Youth Conference, the largest of its kind ever held in the UK. The conference was attended by MPs, MEPs, and councillors from Manchester, Leeds, and Bradford and was concluded with remarks from the President of Kashmir. This conference was aired internationally and watched by millions. The Grand Muslim Youth Council has raised over £3,000 for homeless people in Leeds and £12,000 for other good causes.


Ibn Battuta Award for Excellence in the Media

Asma Raheem, collecting the award on behalf of Nesrine Malik (inset) from Faisal Islam, Economic Editor, BBC (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)


Ibn Battuta was a 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.

WINNER: Nesrine Malik is a columnist and writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She was named Society and Diversity Commentator of the Year at the 2017 Comment Awards. Nesrine’s writing aims at busting myths regarding Islam and Muslims and seeks to expose misreporting. She was one of the few to reveal the false reporting of The Times concerning a child who had been placed in the foster care of Muslim parents. She has also written about how debates over free speech are exploited by racists and ethnic cleansing advocates. Nesrine writes without fear, despite the personal abuse she receives on social media. She received her undergraduate education at the American University in Cairo and the University of Khartoum and her postgraduate education at the University of London. Prior to becoming a journalist, she spent ten years in emerging markets for private equity.


Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport

Abdul Shakur collecting the award on behalf of Anwar Khattak BEM (inset) from the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC, Former Attorney General (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)


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.

WINNER: Anwar Khattak BEM founded the Birmingham Youth Sports Academy (BYSA) as a way to get his nephews and their friends to take part in sports during the weekend. The academy works in the Small Heath, Alum Rock, and Sparkhill areas of Birmingham to keep young boys away from trouble through football. Thousands of boys between the ages of eight and 18 have benefited from the club, and some BYSA players are members of Worcester City FC academy teams. BYSA currently benefits from a partnership with the Albion Foundation, which sees professional coaches leading sessions for BYSA members.
In addition to physical activity, BYSA offers educational advice and job-hunting guidance, with many past members now pursuing professional careers in sport. Anwar has also initiated a sports club in Birmingham for girls and has recruited female volunteers to develop the project. In 2015, Anwar was awarded the British Empire Medal for voluntary service to his community.


Iman wa Amal Special Award

Dr Sagida Bibi receives her award from Othman Moqbel, CEO, Action For Humanity (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

This is a special one-time accolade granted to a member or organisation of the UK Muslim community who has made an exceptional contribution to the response to the coronavirus crisis in the UK.

Sponsored by Action for Humanity

WINNER: Dr Sagida Bibi played a crucial part in the race to find a vaccine for COVID-19. As a Senior Scientist and Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford, Sagida was an integral member of the senior team behind the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, with 2.6 billion vaccination doses released worldwide. Nearly two-thirds of those doses have been delivered to low- and middle-income countries.
Under Sagida’s leadership, the Oxford/AstraZeneca team managed to overcome the mammoth logistical challenge to produce a final product within months, rather than the number of years normally taken by such processes.
Sagida played a critical role in establishing clinical trials, directing a worldwide network of scientists and coordinating and dealing with the data from an army of over 10,000 volunteers. Sagida and her team managed all this during multiple lockdowns and exhausting hours whilst tackling ongoing complexities such as a constantly changing trial protocol. Sagida and the team had to stay abreast of these changes and ensure they were clearly communicated to the trial sites.
The pressure to ensure all this was accomplished smoothly was intense, especially as interest in a vaccine that could provide protection against COVID-19 was growing day by day and from all quarters.
Sagida withstood the pressure, being away from her home in Birmingham, but also finding time to undertake community outreach work to drive public engagement around the COVID-19 vaccines.


Iman wa Amal Special Award

Collecting on behalf of East London Mosque Archives Project, Sufia Alam (R), Maryam Centre Manager receives the award from Rakhia Mohammed Ismail, Chair, Independent Panel of Judges (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

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.

WINNER: The East London Mosque Archives Project is an invaluable milestone for documenting the longstanding contributions of Muslims in British society. In creating the project, the East London Mosque became the first Muslim institution in the UK to construct a secure, purpose-built archive storage room. The archives storage project, which was formally opened in 2017 by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, includes financial records detailing fundraising efforts for mosque development and international disaster relief in both Muslim and non-Muslim parts of the world. Additionally, the archive contains correspondence from notable Muslims in British history, including Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, A. J. Arberry, and Muhammad Hamidullah. Records of early interfaith initiatives and wartime accounts also feature in the archive. The project has received substantial support from The National Archives and has a reading room service run by volunteers. The archive project seeks to provide British Muslims with a sense of rootedness and to challenge the misconception that British Muslim history began with post-World War II immigration.


The Editor’s Lifetime Achievement Award

The late Rubabbai Master with her award. Her daughter-in-law, Fatima Master addresses the audience at the awards ceremony. (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

This accolade recognises those who have made exceptional contributions to the life of Britain’s Muslim community. Unlike the other awards judged by an 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 unsung heroes who diligently and persistently strive to improve the lives of British Muslims.

WINNER: 83-year-old Rubabbai Master was born in 1936 in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania. After marriage, she moved to the archipelago of Zanzibar, where her family would publish a Gujerati and then an English language newspaper, “The Samachar.” Rubabbai played a pivotal role in helping in this work until 1964 when the political upheaval forced The Samachar and all the newspapers to be nationalised by the government.
They then moved to Dar-es-Salaam where Rubabbai would devote her life to serving its Muslim community as a teacher, community worker, and philanthropist. She played a pivotal role in the development of the community.
A deep love for the Qur’an led her to devote over forty years of her life to studying and teaching (both students and teachers) the holy book, starting in a Dar-es-Salaam Madrasah and later in Birmingham, throughout the UK, and internationally. Rubabbai encouraged others to study the Qur’an to help them to develop their lives according to the Holy book.
Her zeal and determination to learn and grow in diverse areas have long been salient character traits, for which her students respect and affectionately remember her. Her quest for knowledge never ceased. She completed her GCSE in Arabic at the age of sixty and went on to study Arabic at Damascus University.
Her unceasing persistence and passion for learning serve as an inspiration for many to seek higher education and Islamic learning, even after they have passed the prime of their youth. She has authored three books, reprinted multiple times by various publishers, on Qur’anic recitation. Today, her books are used worldwide to teach Qur’anic recitation and Tajweed. Rubabbai has also taught Tafseer and Quranic Arabic, including in various youth summer camps for girls and served as a judge in numerous Qur’an competitions. She has also produced various books on supplication and prayers. Rubabbai has long dedicated her time to teaching and inspiring the youth within her community and beyond.
A leader in community service, Rubabbai also assumed various senior roles over the years, including the Madrasah in Birmingham, burial (washing and shrouding of the body in the Islamic way) and the matrimonial committee. She has lectured in many of the UK communities such as Milton Keynes, Leicester, and Peterborough as well as in Europe including Sweden, Portugal, and France. She was also a pioneer in starting Islamic classes for children in Birmingham.Rubabbai has truly served as a beacon of faith and inspiration to others and given lifelong service to the community and beyond.


TOP STORY: Women major winners at The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event

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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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