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December 11, 2002

Winners of The Muslim News Awards For Excellence

London, The Muslim News

The Muslim News hosted its third annual Awards for Excellence on 11th December 2002 in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales who, presenting a number of the Awards as Guest of Honour, stated:


“The Muslims of this country continue to be an extraordinary asset to this country. I am delighted that with these awards, now in their third year, the contribution of the community's many unsung heroes and heroines is being properly recognised and acknowledged."

The unparalleled success of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence, attended by 550 people, highlights the existence of vitality and profound accomplishment found within the Muslim Community throughout the United Kingdom. These awards acknowledge and celebrate positive Muslim role models, projecting a positive image of the Muslim community, in defiance of negative stereotyping. Ahmed Versi, Editor of The Muslim News considered in his address:

“The lead up to this year’s event has been a most trying time. We had the disturbances of the northern towns, followed by the September 11 atrocities, and we experienced the backlash against the Muslim community in the United States and Britain... Once more, The Muslim News Awards for Excellence has brought together people of all ages, backgrounds and disciplines, to demonstrate to all - and to young Muslims in particular - that vitality, dynamism, diligence, creativity, inspiration, progress and reward are here in abundance.”

The winners represented many sectors of society from The Arts, Business, Community Projects, Sport, Academia and Science and received the auspicious astrolabe, a centuries-old instrument developed by Muslim scientists to determine the altitude of stars, the sun, moon and other planets, to tell the time and to measure the height of mountains and the depth of wells. This outstanding symbol of Islamic art and science honoured the following exemplars of good practice:


Ibn Battuta award for excellence in media is awarded to two winners:

Navid Akhtar
Navid Akhtar is an independent television producer whose work projects a positive image of Islam. Currently presenting the popular Mirpuri radio show on the BBC Asian Network, his past accomplishments include the well-received documentary on Hajj for the BBC and the Ramadan series on Channel 4. Akhtar, from East London, is also involved in various education projects and is a media and arts consultant.

Reem Shafiq
Reem Shafiq spearheaded the continuing education aspect of the BBC Season on Islam last year. As project manager, she gained the support of Muslim representatives and organisations throughout the UK and helped them to organise follow-up events to the programmes – increasing public awareness of Islam, particularly after September 11th.


Fazlur Rahman Khan award for excellence in engineering/science/technology is awarded to:

Association of Muslim Social Scientists
Association of Muslim Social Scientists provides a unique platform for the development of Islamic thought through research, scholarship and publications. Since its inception in 1996, it has created an awareness of Islamic alternatives and opinions on topical and emerging academic issues relevant to Muslims. The association hosts successful conferences in the UK and Europe, drawing on the contribution of analysts and researchers throughout the Muslim community.


Al-Biruni award for excellence in community relations is awarded to:

Lal Hussain
Councillor Lal Hussain, Mayor of Sutton, has raised thousands of pounds for local charities. He helps in educational projects, was instrumental to the rise of Radio Ramadan, and renovated a local Muslim community centre. Councillor Hussain has also raised the profile of Sutton as a green borough through his recycling drive. Awarded an MBE in 1997 for his community work, he continues to fulfil 450 official engagements a year.


Ummul Mu'minin Khadija award for excellence in enterprise is awarded to:

Nasa Khan
Nasa Khan built up his business of mobile phone accessories from an initial investment of £2,000 to reach a turnover of £15 million in 1 year. He received the National Achievement Award for Young Entrepreneurs in 2001 and, at 29, featured in The Sunday Times Rich List as one of Britain’s top 100 young entrepreneurs with a turnover for year end 2002 of £300 million. He has reinvested his wealth in his local community in Kingston where he funds a charity helping the Asian elderly, and he also sponsored a facelift for Chessington North Railway Station.


Annemarie Schimmel award for championing a Muslim cause is awarded to:

Michael Napier/Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Michael Napier is a prominent member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in Edinburgh. Largely unnoticed by many in the UK, the PSC is resolute in its opposition to the atrocities and human rights abuses in Palestine. At meetings and rallies, PSC disseminates current and reliable information about the occupied territories.


Uthman Dan Fodio award for excellence in community development is awarded to:

ArRum
ArRum is a club encouraging a God-centred approach to living through the promotion of Islamic art, culture, business networking and career mentoring. Based in Clerkenwell, ArRum’s members are ethnically diverse and its doors are open to non-Muslims too. ArRum hosts lectures to discuss issues relevant to the experiences of British Muslims as well as children’s classes and social events celebrating highlights of the Islamic calendar.


Faezeh Hashemi award for excellence in sports is awarded to:

Prince Naseem Hamed
The Sheffield boxer known to millions as ‘Prince Naseem’ is the International Boxing Organisation World Featherweight champion. Unafraid of acknowledging the central importance of his faith, Hamed frequently accompanies his entrance to the ring by the call to prayer. He represents a powerful role model to young Muslims, advocating hard work and dedication while illustrating a successful way to constructively channel aggression and vigour through sport.


Alhambra award for excellence in arts is awarded to:

Peter Sanders
Peter Sanders is a renowned photographer living in Buckinghamshire. His work has a platform both in the UK and abroad, and is admired by the Muslim and the wider community. After the success of his first book earlier this year entitled 'In the Shade of the Tree', Peter is concentrating on other projects including a book on Muslims in China. He presents positive and original images of Islam often challenging media stereotypes.


Allama Iqbal award for creativity in Islamic thought is awarded to:

Rachid Ghanouchi
Rachid Ghanouchi is a leading Islamic thinker and philosopher. He was educated in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and France. A political refugee from Tunisia, he has turned his attention to the concerns of British Muslims as well as persevering with his life-long struggle to bring justice in his home country. The author of several books and contributor to many prominent journals, Ghanouchi is also a scholar on the European Council for Fatwa and Research, and takes a lead role in voluntary organisations.


Imams Hasan and Husayn children's award for excellence is awarded to:

Umaymah and Saadiyah Patel
Umaymah and Saadiyah Patel’s older sister Adilah suffers from cerebral palsy. The two girls look after their sister, help her in and out of her wheelchair, feed her, and spend quality time with her. Living in East London’s Waltham Forest, the sisters, aged eight and seven, take turns to push her wheelchair when the family goes shopping. They share the responsibility of care, giving their mother an opportunity to take much-needed rest.


Ibn Sina award for health is awarded to:

Sameel and Asma Meer
Sameel and Asma Meer’s son, Ibrahim, suffered from a rare blood disorder. The couple, who live in South East London, campaigned to raise awareness amongst Asian and Muslim communities about the need to consider donation of blood, organs and bone marrow. Working with the Anthony Nolan Trust, they launched a national campaign to find a bone marrow donor for their son. Ibrahim passed away on May 24th 2002 but his parents continue to highlight the need for donors from the Muslim community.


Alija Izetbegovic award for good citizenship is awarded to:

Bashir Maan
Bashir Maan has a long career as a community activist. He made history in Scotland by becoming the first Muslim JP as well as the first Muslim councillor. He has also published a research document on the history of migration from the Indian subcontinent to Scotland. As a founder member of many organisations, Maan played a role in developing the infrastructure of the Muslim community in Glasgow. He is a member of the Scottish Constitutional Convention and has been awarded honours from universities in Scotland.


Sankore University award for excellence in education is awarded to:

Muhammad Akram Khan-Cheema
Muhammad Akram Khan-Cheema has over thirty years of experience in the British education system and has been instrumental in pushing back the barriers facing Muslim teachers. Having taught at primary and secondary level, he rose to become chief inspector of schools in Bradford. As education consultant with the Association of Muslim Schools, Khan-Cheema has helped develop schemes to enable trainee teachers to bring Islam to the classroom.


Imam wa Amal special award is awarded to:

Madeleine Bunting
Madeleine Bunting, a columnist for The Guardian is among a handful of leading journalists covering Muslim issues with objectivity and balance. Based in London, she has written extensively on the war against terror and on Afghanistan, and draws clear distinctions between fact and popular fallacies regarding Muslims.


Well-qualified to assess the nominations, the Judging panel consists of Asma Jawaid Khawaja of Faith in the Future Ltd, Batool al-Toma, Editor in Chief of Meeting Point, the newsletter of the New Muslims Project, Ahmed Ali Muhammed Ahmed Rajab, Editor/Director of Africa Analysis and contributor to The Guardian, Dr Bobby Sayyid, Sociology Lecturer, writer and leading political thinker, Dame Rennie Fritchie, Commissioner, Public Appointments, Iman Achara, Director of Genuine Empowerment of Mothers in Society (GEMS) and Lord Bhatia OBE

This prestigious Gala Evening took place at The London Marriott Hotel on December 11th, when the winners received the coveted Awards for Excellence in the presence of over 550 of their peers and other renowned guests, half of whom are women, from all walks of life - academics, journalists, editors, sports personalities, business men and women, students, entertainers, representatives of all sections of the Muslim community, as well as Hindu, Christian and Jewish leaders. Politicians from all parties participated in this unique event, including Home Office Minister, Lord Filkin, Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin and Liberal Democrat Leader, Charles Kennedy.

For further information or for use of footage please contact Samia Rahman on 077 48 787 434 or The Muslim News Office on 020 8863 8586.
Kindly acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release.

Notes for Editors:
The first Muslim News Awards ceremony was held in March 2000 when the Guest of Honour was Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short.
Last year the Guest of Honour was Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2002 Brochure is available.
Entertainment on the evening was provided by Khayaal Theatre Company, an ‘imagineering’ British arts organisation dedicated to the dramatic adaptation and interpretation of wisdom literature through contemporary performing arts and winners of the Muslim News Alhambra Award for Excellence in the Arts 2000.

Ibn Battuta award sponsored by Ambala
Ummul Mu'minin award sponsored by London Development Agency
Uthman Dan Fodio award sponsored by Islamic Relief
Al-Biruni award sponsored by Home Office
Sankore University award sponsored by HSBC


Alhambra award presented by HRH The Prince of Wales
Hasan & Husayn award presented by HRH The Prince of Wales
Al Biruni award presented by HRH The Prince of Wales
Uthman Dan Fodio award presented by Lord Filkin
Alija Izetbegovic award presented by Mrs Elvira Begovic Ambassador to Bosnia and Hezegovina to London
Ummul Mu’minin award presented by Ms Luna Frank-Riley, Dir of Diversity, London Development Agency.
Ibn Sina award presented by Rt Hon Oliver Letwin, Shadow Home Secretary
Faezeh Hashemi Sports award presented by Faezeh Hashemi, President of the International Islamic Women’s Sports
Ibn Battuta award presented by Rt Hon Charles Kennedy, Leader Lib Dems – there will be two recipients of this award
Annemarie Schimmel award presented by Iqbal Sacranie, General Sec of the Muslim Council of Britain
Fazlur Rahman award presented by Ziauddin Sardar, Writer & Journalist
Sankore University award presented by Dr M Waliullah Khan, Chancellor, East West University, Chicago
Allama Iqbal award presented by Dr Azzam Tamimi, Director, Institute of Islamic Political Thought.
Imam wa Amal Special Award presented by Iman Achara, Member of the Muslim News Awards for Excellence panel of Judges, and Director of Genuine Employment of Mothers Society.


For further information contact us on 020 7608 2822 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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