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The Muslim News Awards for Excellence: 2023 winners

30th Jun 2023
The Muslim News Awards for Excellence: 2023 winners

The Muslim News is proud the announce the winners of the nineteenth The Muslim News Awards for Excellence.


Alhambra Award for Excellence in the Arts

Collecting on behalf of Grace & Poise Academy (GPA), Maisie Byers, Director, GPA, is presented with the award by Lord Hussain, Liberal Democrats Peer. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Grace & Poise Academy, established in 2019, is the world’s first no-music Muslim ballet school with a ballet-to-poetry syllabus. The company runs seven sites across the UK and aims to increase accessibility and create a community that leaves a positive impact.

G&P welcomes all students, regardless of religion, providing inclusivity for diverse communities. G&P has partnered with many Islamic schools to support children’s development. Ballet exams help students gain UCAS points, raising their prospects. Additionally, the company aims to run teacher training programmes to attain professional ballet standards. G&P uses poetic storytelling and movement based on prophetic tales and positive morals to inspire children with Islam. Furthermore, G&P provides a safe space for women to maintain their physical and mental health and build a sense of community.

Annemarie Schimmel Award for Championing a Muslim Cause

Rev. Alan Green is presented his award by Naz Shah MP, Shadow Minister for Crime Prevention. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Reverend Prebendary Alan Green joined St. John’s in Tower Hamlets in 1998. In 2010, he was made a prebendary of St. Paul’s Cathedral in recognition of his interfaith work and encouragement of the arts. After the 7/7 bombings, he organised with the Bishop of Stepney to issue a joint statement condemning the attack. In solidarity with the East London Mosque, he formed the United East End to challenge far-right groups. In 2011, Alan led an interfaith delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina to witness atrocities committed against Muslims. He later established the No Place for Hate platform to create a space to report hate crimes. Alan has chaired and worked with the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum for sixteen years, bringing people of all and no faiths together to work in harmony. He was integral in trying to keep places of faith open during the pandemic.

Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award for Excellence

Maryam Jazeem is presented with her award by Pir Syed Lakhte Hassanain Shah, Chair & CEO, of Muslim Hands. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Maryam Fathimah Jazeem is a multi-award-winning Qur’an reciter, public speaker, social media activist, and “kidpreneur”. She enjoys spreading Islam to people of all ages in a fun and interactive way through social media. She has been widely recognised by well-known Islamic scholars, notably Imam Wisam Sharieff.

Her many accolades include Reading Challenge Champion Medals at ages 2 and 3 from The Reading Agency UK in collaboration with Guinness World Records, as well as the Verbal Commendation Award at age 8 at the 41st International Model United Nations conference in 2021. Maryam has participated in and won many Qur’an competitions, including the National Qira’ah Competition by Islam Channel TV in 2021, and was crowned ‘Best Qur’an Reciter’ in the UK. In 2022, her achievements were recognised through the Milton Keynes Mayor Award as well as the TruLittle Samaritan Award from the Cause 4 Children Foundation.


Uthman Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development

Collecting on behalf of London’s Community Kitchen (LCK), Mumtaz Khan MBE FRSA (R), Founder, LCK is presented the award from Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Minister for International Trade. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

London’s Community Kitchen (LCK) operates in multiple boroughs, including Brent, Harrow, and Enfield. Its founder, Taz Khan, has collaborated with several high-profile stakeholders to tackle food poverty, for which he received an MBE. The main principle is for the LCK “to look and feel like London feels.” Two thousand people receive free hot meals and drinks weekly through the LCK. It aims to provide jobs and opportunities for locals. It collaborates with community groups by holding cooking classes. Most recently, Taz has been critical in setting up an LCK hub at the Central Mosque of Brent in Willesden Green on Fridays, supplying hundreds of people affected by the cost-of-living crisis. During the pandemic, the kitchen served 450 high-risk families and established a regular supply chain with the Felix Project and City Harvest.


Al-Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations

Collecting on behalf of Ramadan Tent Project (RTP), Toib Olomowewe, Chair of Trustees, RTP is presented with the award by Mansura Manji, Trustee, The Salaam Centre. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

The Ramadan Tent Project (RTP) is an award-winning charity that brings communities together during Ramadan. It aims to create spaces of dialogue, mutual understanding, and belonging to build bridges between people of all faiths and no faith. RTP organises Open Iftar, the UK’s largest annual community Ramadan event, which has to date, connected over 500,000 people. It features inspirational guest speakers at various locations around the UK (including Wembley Stadium and Cambridge Central Mosque). Ramadan 2023 marks a decade since its inception. In 2022, it reached over 350 million people globally, and the Trafalgar Square event made history, hosting Western Europe’s largest open Iftar event. During the pandemic, the Open Iftar hosted a virtual 24-hour event, reaching six continents. RTP’s vision is a world where everyone lives in harmony.


Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education

Professor Hassan Abdalla (L) is presented with his award by Imam Qasim Rashid Ahmad, Executive Chair, Al-Khair Foundation. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Professor Hassan Abdalla has achieved high-profile academic roles such as Provost of the University of East London and Executive Dean, winning awards nationally and internationally. He has been instrumental in the development of the higher education sector in the UK, the UAE, Europe, and Egypt. He led major global collaborations between universities in the UK and other Muslim countries. He is currently a member of the Egyptian Ministerial Board responsible for developing the higher education strategy for 2032. He has led the ministerial review and development of the creative industry in the UAE. Professor Abdalla is an expert in various fields, including innovation and sustainable development. He sits on the board of governors for UTC LDE, which offers highly specialised education to thousands of Muslim students. He is currently coordinating HRH’s visit to UEL for the Royal Dock Centre opening.


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

Yama Farooq Mujadidi is presented with his award by Dominic Grieve, Former Attorney General. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Yama Farooq Mujadidi is a clinical trialist, IT and development lead at the University of Oxford, and a member of the Oxford Vaccine Group, which played a critical role in the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. His responsibilities include leading the design and implementation of the data infrastructure for vaccine trials in the UK and abroad and working on regulatory submissions. Yama has undertaken strategic planning and oversight of the Oxford Vaccine Group’s data infrastructure to help deliver on the group’s research requirements. He consistently contributes to scientific research and has co-produced reports and publications for journals. He has led the design and implementation of the data infrastructure for clinical trials assessing other vaccines’ efficacy and safety. Yama has set up several ventures in Afghanistan, including Oxus Academy, which provides decentralised education services.


Ummul Mu’minin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise


Farzana Rahman is presented with her award by Kevin Hollinrake MP, Minister for Enterprise, Markets, & Small Business. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Farzana Rahman launched The Desi Doll Company (TDDC) 14 years ago. Having searched for Islamically educational toys for her children, she spotted a gap in the market and decided to create her own. Her business is thriving, with the interactive Aamina and Yousuf dolls selling in over thirty countries. Farzana recognised that children could be taught Qur’anic chapters, Islamic etiquette, and a solid religious foundation through play. Her high-quality toys have been the first to market with innovative Islamic ideas, earning her the accolade of being a pioneer in her industry. Farzana intends to expand her international operations after listing toys at Asda and Morrisons. TDDC is bringing out the My Little Muslim Friends line that aims to promote respect and understanding amongst Muslim children and their peers, encouraging friendship and faith.


Alija Izetbegović Award for Good Citizenship


Dr Mahamed Hashi (L) is presented with his award by Stephen Flynn MP, Scottish National Party Westminster Leader. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Dr Mahamed Hashi delivers numerous strategies to provide platforms and support for young people and the most vulnerable, as showcased by his co-founding of the Brixton Soup Kitchen in 2013 and the founding of the New Beginnings Youth Provision. He has been part of numerous advisory groups, including the Pan- London Community Monitoring Network for Stop and Search, the Mayor of London’s Child Obesity Task Force, and the London Muslim Community Forum. In 2018, Mahamed was elected as a local councillor for Stockwell in Lambeth, becoming the borough’s first Somali-born official. He was promoted to cabinet member for sustainable transportation, the environment, and clean air in 2021, and he is now a cabinet member for safer communities. He has been recognised through several awards, including the Back2Black Inspirational Award (2015) and Bloomberg’s Change Maker List (2018).


Ibn Sina Award for Excellence in Health

Collecting on behalf of the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA), Dr Salman Waqar (L), President, BIMA is presented with the award by Mukthar Amirali Karim, CEO, Lady Fatemah Trust. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) is an organisation of over five thousand Muslim healthcare professionals working together with the mission to “Unite, Inspire, Serve.” BIMA spearheads successful health initiatives for Muslim communities in the UK. Naturally, the last few years focus has been on COVID-19 and the response to the unique challenges and disproportionate impact faced by Muslim communities. Initiatives that BIMA has delivered include “Lifesavers,” where a day is spent in local communities teaching basic life support, as well as “Operation Vaccination,” which addresses the low uptake of the annual flu vaccination. BIMA also hosts an annual conference for members and volunteers to network and engage in professional development. These efforts have led to BIMA being invited to participate in events such as the G7 vaccine summit and the All-Parliamentary Health Group discussions.



Ibn Battuta Award for Excellence in the Media


Faima Bakar is presented with her award by The Earl Howe, Deputy Leader, House of Lords. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Faima Bakar is a lifestyle reporter for Inside Housing, the i and the Metro who has centred faith in her work. During her time at the Huffington Post, Faima ran a series about celebrating Muslim traditions, particularly during Ramadan and Eid, which offered a positive portrayal of Muslims and combated the misunderstandings around Islam that other sections of the media more often portray. Faima also authored in-depth articles on the discrimination that Muslim women suffer during labour and pregnancy. She has also looked more broadly at how racism appears in society. She found that areas, where minorities live in the US and UK, have fewer outdoor public spaces and higher levels of pollution. She has also highlighted facts following mistruths by the tabloid press, including writing about how grooming gangs are not a “Muslim problem.”


Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport

Collecting on behalf of Evolve Cycling Network (Evolve), Iffat Tejani, Lead Coach, Evolve is presented with the award by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Evolve: The Cycling Network for Muslim Women encourages Muslim women to embrace cycling as a sport by providing safe spaces for women. The network launched in 2020 in Greater London and Hertfordshire and has grown to include three hundred women. For women who choose to cover, Evolve designed their own breathable and modest jersey with cycling amenities. Evolve provides training led by British Cycling qualified coaches. Their partnership with Harrow Cycle Hub has enabled them to train over one hundred women. Their courses progress to encourage women into long-distance sportives. Since 2020, Evolve has organised many rides, including sportives from London to Windsor, and the first-ever Muslim women’s time trial. Evolve’s Go-Ride Club was established to teach core cycling skills to children. Evolve’s charity work is vast and includes a partnership with the Lady Fatemah Charitable Trust.


Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence

Collecting on behalf of Dr Mya-Rose Craig, Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza (L), Events Manager, Black2Nature is presented with the award by Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Secretary of State for Women & Equalities. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Dr Mya-Rose Craig is a 20-year-old British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, and human rights activist committed to stopping biodiversity loss and halting climate change. She works to support minority rights, ensuring the nature conservation and environmental sectors are ethnically diverse. Growing up facing racism and Islamophobia, she founded Black2Nature in 2016, a charity that organises nature camps and events for visible minority ethnic children. She works to increase minority access to nature and lobbies environmental organisations to become more diverse. Her 2021 book, ‘We Have a Dream,’ talks of the activism of thirty young global environmentalists. She shared a stage with Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg at COP 26 to lobby world leaders to cut emissions faster. She has appeared on many programmes, including Blue Peter and Newsround. In 2020, Mya-Rose became the youngest Brit to receive an honorary doctorate after receiving a doctor of science degree from the University of Bristol aged just seventeen.


Iman wa Amal Special Award

Nisar Bawany (L) is presented with his award by Abdul-Karim Abdullah, Chair of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence Independent Panel of Judges. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

Nisar Bawany is a serial volunteer in Wandsworth, described by colleagues as the local community’s engine, aiding those in need while simultaneously fostering community cohesion. Nisar has been on the management committee of the Balham Mosque and Tooting Islamic Centre for more than 25 years. He has been a school governor at the Al Rissalah Trust for a similar length of time. He is also active within the Balham & Tooting Community Association, which promotes collaborations between different faith groups and institutions such as the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade. He also helped establish the Community Policing Contact Centre, which saw a police officer stationed at the Balham Mosque. The group has been recognised by the Home Office and many other police forces.



The Editor’s Life Time Achievement Award

Collecting on behalf of their late father, Hamed Chapman Leila Gardiner and Masouma Chapman are presented with the award by Ahmed J. Versi, Editor, The Muslim News. (Credit: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)


Hamed Chapman, born John Edgar 76 years ago, began writing for The Muslim News seven years into its inception, making him one of the paper’s longest-running contributors.

He first wrote ad hoc, then regularly, and eventually became a lead writer, doing so all pro bono, a true testament to his generous dedication to delivering news to the underrepresented. Hamed had a profound understanding of politics, psephology, and evolving political events, which he applied unwaveringly in pursuit of justice and equity, particularly for the marginalised.  These principles meant he was not afraid to criticise governments where need be, yet he remained unflinchingly objective, as evidenced by his balanced reporting and analysis laced with a thorough grasp of domestic and geopolitical issues.

Ever humble, his softly spoken, gentle disposition belied a witty and forthright northern mind that made him an invaluable source of guidance and joy. Hamed was born in 1946 in County Durham to Mary and Henry, an RAF crewman, whose life was cut short during an air display for the Battle for Britain in 1949.

Hamed attended St. Leonard’s Primary School, where he thrived. Aged 11, his headmaster recommended Hamed be sent to St. Francis RC Grammar School in Hartlepool, which granted him a full scholarship.  He studied there until 1963, when it was discovered he had a mind for numbers, English, and art. At 17, he moved to London, returning after a year of working for Olympia Business Machines. After a year, he went back to London to stay and met his wife, Heshmat, when he embraced Islam and chose the name Hamed.

He obtained a degree in education, specialising in history and sociology, at Hertfordshire University and went on to pursue journalism, and his interest in politics intensified.His decades-long journalism career began at the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in London. He eventually relocated to Iran, where he spent two years working for the Tehran Times. He returned to London and resumed working for IRNA.  Hamed’s tenure with The Muslim News began in 1996 and sadly ended on March 24, 2023, when he passed away. He lives on through his words and those whose lives he touched through his words.


For more information about the independent panel of judges click here


The full short- list seen here

Click here for 2024 nomination form

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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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