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Record 55 Muslims listed in New Year’s Honours

29th Jan 2021
Record 55 Muslims listed in New Year’s Honours

Elham Asaad Buaras

A record number of Muslims have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. A total of fifty-five (three CBEs, one CB, 11 OBEs, 22 MBE, 18 BEM) Muslims made the most ethnically diverse honours list, with 14 % of recipients coming from BAME background.

Covid-19 is referenced 228 times in the honours list, and many recipients are unsung heroes who have battled to save lives and keep the NHS afloat during the pandemic.

Among them is Associate Professor in Public Health at Southampton University, Dr Nisreen Alwan, who is awarded an MBE for her services to the health sector. The 46-year-old, listed on the BBC’s global Top 100 Women, initiated the call to count ‘Long Covid’, a term to describe the effects of the virus weeks or months beyond the initial illness.

Alwan worked with a large team of experts. Liaising with public health, social science, geospatial mapping, technological scientists in infectious disease and molecular biology and Southampton City Council to develop and deliver a weekly testing pilot with rapid scale-up to citywide testing once the testing strategy is proven.

“I am so honoured and grateful to be nominated and feel a huge responsibility to continue contributing to society in a meaningful way, a big thank you to all those who supported me during this difficult year. Through the work I did, I connected with so many kind, dedicated, and wise people. This gives me hope and energy to always seek positive change,” Alwan told The Muslim News.

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Medical Director, Dr Mohammad Tayyab Haider, 55, will be awarded an MBE for services to the NHS, particularly during the Covid-19 response to the community in Essex. Haider is recognised for his outstanding medical leadership during the pandemic crisis making himself always available, sorting rotas to ensure the hospital had enhanced and effective 24 hours medical cover in key specialities such as respiratory medicine and intensive care.

In the field of sport, Shahab Uddin, Legal Director of the British Olympic Association, is to be made an MBE for services to sport during the pandemic. Since the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, he has renegotiated over 100 detailed legal contracts, including contracts with key suppliers encompassing venues, pre-Games training camps, hotels, accommodations and travel as well as all the sponsor and licensee agreements.

The 43-year-old has overseen two Summer and three Winter Olympic Games, negotiating every contract for athletes, visitors, accommodation, sponsors, licensing and all other business. He leads the negotiations for all sponsorship agreements with the International Olympic Committee and has secured record sponsorship agreements. Uddin told The Muslim News, “I am incredibly fortunate to do a job I am passionate about and being recognised in this way, alongside so many incredible individuals, is a huge honour.”

Also recognised for contribution to sport is history-maker Salma Bi, 34, who is to be made a BEM for services to cricket and diversity. The off-spinner made history aged 22 when she became the first British Asian player to be selected for Worcestershire County. Bi, who taught the Under-15 Girls Team, was named ‘Coach of the Year’ at the club for her work on helping them get a promotion. She has coached over 1,000 girls throughout her career with nearly half of them continuing their sporting careers.

She also leads an Asian’s Women’s cricket team, and they played for the White Ribbon Trophy against Combined Services Women Team to ‘bowl out domestic violence’, a historic fixture aimed at raising awareness of domestic abuse and violence against children. Bi told The Muslim News she is “absolutely thrilled” with the recognition. “As a Muslim advocate, it gives me great pleasure to set the legacy of Muslim women achieving high levels in the sports field. As a multi-award winner, I want to remind all the girls and women out there from ethnic minority groups to never give up. Hold on tight to your faith and trust in the Almighty to achieve big.”

Another groundbreaker to be recognized is district judge Dr Fayyaz Afzal OBE, who is awarded a CBE for services to the judiciary and diversity and inclusion. Afzal, a 2018 winner of The Muslim News Iman Wa Amal Award, holds the mantle of the first and only Muslim district judge in the East Midlands as well as the first blind district Judge in the UK. Afzal, who grew up in Rochdale, was sworn in at Derby Combined Crown Court on February 17, 2017.

Afzal told The Muslim News he holds a strong belief “that the judiciary should reflect the society it serves which includes Muslims and those with a disability. I promote diversity/inclusion as a Diversity and Community Relations Judge and as President of the Midlands Asian Lawyers Association. I hope that the latest honour serves as confirmation to those in doubt about entering the legal profession are reassured that it can be done and that promoting diversity/inclusion is essential.”

Director of Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC), Norah Al-Ani, 50, is to be made an MBE for services to social justice and gender equality. Al-Ani is credited for rescuing CRCC from a funding crisis; she helped grow the centre’s annual budget from around £50k to a quarter of a million pounds in eight years. She also oversaw the organisation’s transformation, bringing in helpline volunteers, so it could remain open. The helpline has grown from opening once a week to three times a week, receiving over 6,000 calls so far.

Halima Cassell, 45, a Shropshire-based sculptor and 2015 winner of The Muslim News Alhambrā Award for Excellence in Arts is awarded an MBE. Cassell is recognised for her established style and outstanding contribution to the arts, fusing her Asian roots with a fascination for African pattern work. Cassell works primarily in bronze and clay to create a range of geometric sculptors seen at exhibitions, displays and galleries across the globe. With an ongoing project that moves to include clay and designs from all parts of the world, her work featured in a major exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery from 2019.

Her sculptures also feature at many public collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum and can be seen in Blackburn, the Forest of Bowland, the Ribble Valley, Nottingham, Hepworth Wakefield gallery, Birmingham and Liverpool. Cassell told The Muslim News she’s “overwhelmed to receive such an award and I hope that me receiving this MBE, will inspire others, such as women, children and people from different backgrounds and circumstances, to work hard and to believe in what they do.”

At just 20, Oldham’s Youth Mayor Samah Khalil is this year’s youngest honouree. Khalil, who is to be awarded a BEM, attended North Chadderton School and Sixth Form and is currently taking a year out from her degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Sheffield. She was elected to Oldham Youth Council in 2016 and has also represented Oldham as a Member of Youth Parliament. In November 2018, she delivered a speech in Parliament to celebrate 100 years since some women first achieved the right to vote.

Speaking to The Muslim News Khalil said, “Taking an active role in my community was something I did to be a better Muslim and to give back to the community and town that has given me so many incredible experiences. Never did I think that I would be honoured in this way, I’m so incredibly grateful. I will spend the rest of my life ensuring young people have access to opportunities and their chance to have their voice heard, especially those who need it most.”

Among the 1,239 people awarded in the New Year Honours are 20 members of the Jewish community (a knighthood, four CBEs, eight OBEs and seven MBEs) and 44 members of the Hindu and Sikh communities (One CB, three CBEs, nine OBEs, twenty-one MBEs and ten BEMs).



Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Fayyaz Afzal, OBE, Circuit Judge, England & Wales, for services to the judiciary & diversity & inclusion, Leicester

Raad Shakir, Professor of Neurology (Visiting), Imperial College London, for services to global neurology, Pyrford

Wasfi Kani, OBE, Founder & CEO, Grange Park Opera, for services to music, London

Companions of the Order of the Bath (CB)

Malini Nebhrajani, Legal Director, Dept for Health & Social Care Legal Advisers, Government Legal Dept, for public service, Greater London

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Adeela Warley, Chief Executive, CharityComms, for services to charity communications, London

Aman Ibrahimkhel, Cultural Advisor, for services to UK/Afghanistan relations (overseas list)

Anwar Ali, Founder & Director, Upturn Enterprise Ltd, for services to social enterprise, Ashton-under-Lyne

Asiyah Ravat, Executive Principal, Star Academies, for services to education in Birmingham

Azhar Ali, Councillor, Leader of Labour Group, Lancashire County Council, for services to the community in North West England, Brierfield

Dhiya Al-Jumeily, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Liverpool John Moores University, for services to scientific research

Farah Naz Kausar Bhatti, Professor, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, for services to Diversity in the NHS in Wales

Fozia Tanvir Irfan, CEO, Bedfordshire & Luton Community Foundation & Trustee, Association of Charitable Foundations, for services to the community in Bedfordshire, particularly during the Covid-19 response

Mrunel Sisodia, Co-chair, National Network of Parent Carer Forums, for services to children & young people with special educational needs & disabilities, particularly during the Covid-19 response, Bedford

Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, MBE Co-founder & Trustee, Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, for services to people with allergies, London

Sayed Nader Azam-Ali, Professor, CEO, Crops for the Future, for services to underutilised crops & improving food security (overseas list)

Members of the Order Of the British Empire (MBE)

Abdul Majid, for services to Integration in Glasgow & to Charity in Scotland & Abroad, Bothwell

Amir Simon Hannan, Dr, GP Haughton Thornley Medical Centre, for services to GP in Hyde & Haughton Green, Borough of Tameside,

Haleema Yousaf, Team Leader, Fair Access & School Exclusions, Sandwell Council, for services to children & young people with special educational needs & disabilities

Halima Jade Cassell, Sculptor, for services to Art, Aston-Upon-Clyne,

Hamid Motraghi, Lately Chair, Home Office Race Network & Chair, Civil Service Race Forum, for services to diversity & inclusion, Newcastle

Hobibul Hoque, Chief Inspector, Bedfordshire Police, for services to policing & community cohesion, Luton,

Hora Soltani-Karbaschi Professor of Maternal & Infant Health, Sheffield Hallam University, for services to higher education & to maternal & infant health, Sheffield

Humza Arshad, Comedian & Writer, for services to Education, London

Ismail Mohammed Gangat, Founder & Proprietor, Azhar Academy Girls’ School, Forest Gate, for services to education in East London

Khairun Nisa, Foster Carer, Leeds City Council, for services to fostering, Pudsey

Malique Jamal Al-Shabazz, Constable, Merseyside Police, for services to policing & ethnic minority communities in Merseyside

Mohamed Hazrath Haleem Ossman, for services to the Sri Lankan community in the UK, London

Mohammad Imran Hamid, for services to youth empowerment & social welfare projects, London

Mohammad Tayyab Haider. Dr, Medical Director, Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for services to the NHS, particularly during the Covid-19 response & to the community in Essex

Mohanned Saleem Udin Kauser Quazi, Team Leader, Office Of the Regional Schools Commissioner, West Midlands, for services to education, Epsom 

Moinul Islam, Founder & Project Manager, Outta Skool North West, for services to sport & education in the community, particularly during the Covid-19 response, Oldham

Mursal Hedayat, Founder, Chatterbox, for services to social enterprise, technology & the economy, London

Nisreen Ala-Din Sahib Alwan, Dr Associate Professor in Public Health, Southampton University, for services to medicine & public health during Covid-19

Norah Al-Ani, Director, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, for services to social justice & gender equality

Shahab Uddin, Director of Legal, British Olympic Association, for services to sport during the Covid-19 response, London

Syeda Islam, for services to the community in Battersea, particularly during the Covid-19 response

Sheikh Mansoor Ahmad, Senior Private Sector Development Adviser, Foreign Office. (Overseas List)

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

Aminur Khosru Rahman, Dr, Chair, Kent Area Committee, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, for services to education, Chatham

Ayesha Pakravan-Ovey, Founder, Plattery & Vital Meals, for services to charity & vulnerable people during the Covid-19 response, London

Azizur Rahman, Foods Section Manager, Marks & Spencer, for services to the community in London during the Covid-19 response

Ceyhun Uzun, Police Constable, St John’s Wood Safer Neighbourhood Team, Metropolitan Police Service, for services to policing & to charity, London

Golam Mahbab Alam Chowdhury, Refugee Support Staff & Emergency Responder, British Red Cross, for services to Healthcare during the Covid-19 response Portsmouth

Haroon Mahmood, Relief Manager, Wells Pharmacy, Darlaston, for services to the community in the West Midlands, particularly during Covid-19, Coventry

Imran Ahmed Chowdhury, for services to community cohesion in Northampton

Khakan Munir Qureshi, Senior Independent Living Officer, Midland Heart, for services to LGBT equality, Wednesbury

Mohammed Usman Rakq, Senior IT Assistant, Glasgow Caledonian University, for services to education & to students with hearing impairments, Bonnybridge

Nadeem Sadiq Khan, Charity Helpline Housing Advisor & Team Leader, Shelter, for services to the homeless during the Covid-19 response, Sheffield

Salma Bi, for services to Cricket & Diversity in Sport, Birmingham

Samah Khalil, Youth Mayor of Oldham, for services to young people, Oldham

Samira Ahmad, Assistant Scientific Officer, animal & plant health agency, for services to animal health during the Covid-19 response & to the community in Woking

Swaran Chowdhary, for services to Kidney Research UK, organ donation & south Asian communities in Scotland

Syedur Rahman, for services to charity in Leicester

Yasin Matthew Ross El Ashrafi, Founder, HQ Recording Studio, Leicester, for services to young people, to music & mentoring, Leicester

Ziaul Khan, for services to the community in Sheffield

Nargus Akhtar, lately Training & Exercise Officer, Crisis Management Dept, Consular Directorate, Foreign Office. (overseas list)

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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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