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The Muslim News Awards for Excellence: Exceptional Covid Response Award

29th Apr 2022
The Muslim News Awards for Excellence: Exceptional Covid Response Award

Muslim communities across the UK have responded awe-inspiringly to the Covid pandemic, despite, sadly being disproportionately impacted by it. They have and continue to embody the teachings of Islam amid the crisis.
The Muslim News Exceptional Covid Response Award serves to showcase precisely how resourceful, resilient, and inspiring the community can be when challenged, as evidenced by both the sheer number of grassroots initiatives conceived and the high proportion of Muslims working and volunteering on the frontline during the pandemic. It 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.
Our readers nominated them en masse, and our distinguished independent panel of judges reviewed, deliberated, and mused over the list. We proudly present the shortlist for The Muslim News Exceptional Covid Response Award, who, along with others shortlisted, guests, and sponsors, will attend the 18th The Muslim News Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner in June.

The Muslim News Exceptional COVID Response Award shortlist


The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA)

As the country’s leading body for Muslim medical professionals, the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) sprung into early action to deal with the pandemic around the country. From the outset, the BIMA partnered with Muslim organisations, giving crucial guidance for Muslim communities to adapt to new worshipping practices. In addition, the BIMA gave rapid advice on lockdown regulations and information on ritual watching practices for Muslim victims of the pandemic. The BIMA confronted the growing disinformation about the Coronavirus, by providing myth-busting infographics, working with mosques and collaborating with Facebook to disseminate correct information.

When the vaccine became available, the BIMA’s effort to increase uptake in Muslim communities was commended by the then Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.

The BIMA offered support to medical professionals facing the inevitable strain. The BIMA’s proactive and deep engagement with Muslim communities and medical professionals was accompanied by a partnership with the NHS, government departments, and others.

The BIMA provided input into crucial policy-making forums such as the G7 Vaccine Summit, the All-Parliamentary Health Group round-table discussion on vaccine hesitancy, and the British Medical Associate (BMA) COVID Review Roundtable. In all these forums, the BIMA has sought to warn policymakers of the need to address the pervasive health inequalities afflicting our communities for many decades.


Dr Sagida Bibi

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 overcame the mammoth logistical challenge to produce a final product within months, rather than the number of years normally taken by such processes.

Sagida, who is of Pakistani heritage, 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 of being away from her home in Birmingham but also found time to undertake community outreach work to drive public engagement around the COVID-19 vaccines.



The Muslim Burial Council of Leicestershire (MBCOL)

With so many Muslims sadly succumbing to COVID-19, the Muslim Burial Council of Leicestershire rose to the challenge by ensuring the correct Muslim rituals were adapted for the many victims of the virus.

For the Council, like many Muslim organisations, there was no blueprint for dealing with the challenges COVID-19 posed to Muslim ritual practice. A week before the country entered into lockdown, the Council quickly mobilised Muslim organisations, scholars, NHS and other service providers and health experts to quickly deal with the coming crisis.

MBCOL played a crucial role in ensuring that health experts and the latest information were available to scholars, who could then give the necessary Islamic guidance for families anxious to ensure their loved ones were laid to rest in a safe but respectful way.

The Council lobbied hard for an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill 2019-21 that would allow dead bodies to be cremated against the wishes of the families. Additionally, MBCOL’s expertise was sought by the Government as it took part in Government taskforces on dealing with the virus. MBCOL’s work at this time served as good practice for other communities to follow.


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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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