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March 23, 2005

Muslims make enormous contribution to UK economy, says Brown

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, Wednesday praised the “huge contribution” the Muslims community make to British society, culture and prosperity. This was the first time that the Chancellor has attended a national Muslim gathering.

Speaking at the fifth annual The Muslim News Awards for Excellence in London, he said he was delighted to “celebrate the invaluable contribution of members of the Muslim community to Britain.”

"Muslims are involved in every walk of British life - from politics, academia, law, the arts and social services to humanitarian aid work, business and finance.

"As chancellor, I want in particular to acknowledge the enormous contribution the Muslim community makes to our economy. And with business creation higher in the Muslim community than in many other sections of our society, British Muslims are playing a vital role in the next stage of Britain's economic development," he said.

The awards are designed to celebrate the achievements of both Muslims and non-Muslims in the British society.

Opening the awards ceremony, Ahmed J Versi, Editor of The Muslim News said: “We are proud to be able to celebrate the achievements of the Muslim
community; acknowledge excellence and highlight future role models.”

The ceremony is seen as an important highlight in the British-Muslim calendar. Members of all the different political groups have shown their support for the ceremony, while representatives for all sides will attend.

“The Muslim News Awards, are but a small contribution to giving
a marginalized community a window to a different world. There are people in our midst tonight who have overcome hardship to excel in their chosen fields. You are a beacon to us all,” Versi said.

Nominations for the Awards have hit an all time record this year, with readers of the newspaper sending in the names of the people they feel most deserve the awards in question, this is despite continuing challenges facing Britain’s Muslim community.

The ceremony will bring together politicians, religious leaders, journalists, community activists along with representatives from the world of sport, culture, academia, amongst others.

Amongst the nominees are: Kasim Abid, an Iraqi born film director whose work explores the theme of exile; Sami Yusuf, a nasheed singer whose songs have captured and inspired people of all cultures; John Pilger, a distinguished journalist and documentary film-maker; Vanessa Redgrave, an Oscar-winning actress and advocator of human rights causes, We Can Kick It, a campaign to steer young Muslims away from drugs; and Amir Khan, Silver Medallist at the Olympics Boxing Championship.

The monthly newspaper launched its first awards ceremony in 2000, to mark the 10th anniversary of publication as Britain’s leading Muslim newspaper, when the guest of honour was International Development Secretary Clare Short.

The following year’s Awards for Excellence was attended by the Prime Minister Tony Blair. In Dec 2002 His Royal Highness Prince Charles graced the ceremony.

The awards fall into 15 categories of Muslim achievements, ranging from science and engineering to community development and the arts.

Nominations from Britain's 1.8 million Muslim community are made by members of the public and the shortlist and winners are decided by an independent panel of seven distinguished judges.

The judging panel are:

DR HUSNA AHMAD, Director of Operations of Faith Regen UK; DR AMINA (ANN) COXON, Consultant Physician, in Harley Street; ABDULKARIM MOHAMMED AHMAD KHALIL, Trustee, Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre; Ms CAROLINE DIEHL, Chief Executive of the Media Trust; AYUBU MBEGU RASHID, lecturer of Arabic and Islamic studies at ICAS (Islamic Colleges for Advanced Studies); Dr SAEED SHEHABI, journalist; REZIA WAHID, Textile Artist and Textiles Technology/Art and Design Teacher at Warwick School for boys.

The finalists will be announced on Wednesday March 23.


For the editors:

1. Full list of winners is available on request.

2. Those media wanting to attend the event, MUST register before the event by contacting Shatha Khalil 0778 616 3342. ONLY REGISTERED MEDIA WILL BE ALLOWED AT THE EVENT.

3. TV footage and still photographs will be provided by The Muslim News. No TV or still cameras will be allowed.

4. In a message to the Awards event, Rt Hon Tony Blair, Prime Minister says:

“The wide range of awards underlines the positive impact that the Muslims community has on life in Britain. British Muslims contribute hugely to this country’s success, prosperity and culture and it is only right that this is recognised. The awards also highlight the strong partnerships that British Muslims are forging with other parts of our community. I am delighted to be associated with this event.”

6. Tory Leader, Michael Howard’s message:

“It is fitting that some of the achievements of British Muslims can be recognised in this way. In doing so, new generations will be inspired to achieve the same success.”

Liberal Democrats Leader, Charles Kennedy’s message:

”These awards recognise both the achievements of individuals as well as the influence and importance of the community, as a whole, and I would like to pas on my congratulations to all those who have been nominated for an award.”

7. Awards & Sponsors

IBN KHALDUN AWARD
For excellence in promoting understanding between global cultures and faiths.
Sponsored by the Foreign Office

ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC GOOD CITIZENSHIP AWARD
For showing courage and determination in securing rights for British Muslims
Sponsored by Metropolitan Home Ownership

UTHMAN DAN FODIO AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
For a person, project, or initiative aimed at raising the quality of life of Muslims locally or nationally.
Sponsored by the Home Office

ALHAMBRA AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ARTS
For achievement to fine art, the performing art or architecture
Sponsored by Islamic Bank of Britain

SANKORE UNIVERSITY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION
Sponsored by Kingsland Pharmacy

IBN SINA AWARD FOR HEALTH
For promoting health awareness in the Muslim community
Sponsored by Pharmaco 2000 Limited

IBN BATTUTA AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MEDIA
For fair, accurate and balanced reporting on an issue involving Muslims nationally or internationally.

AL BIRUNI AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY RELATIONS
For promoting understanding and respect between Muslim and non-Muslim communities at the national or local level
Sponsored by the Commission for Racial Equality

UMMUL MU'MININ KHADIJAH AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ENTERPRISE
For achievement in business and commerce
Sponsored by Melchem Pharmaceuticals

FAEZEH HASHEMI AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN SPORTS
For outstanding sporting achievement or the initiation of a sports project for the benefit of the Muslim community at national or local level

Fazlur Rahman Khan award for excellence in engineering/ science/ technology
Sponsored by Ministry of Defence

ANNEMARIE SCHIMMEL AWARD FOR CHAMPIONING A MUSLIM CAUSE
For a non-Muslim individual, initiative or organisation which /who has supported a Muslim cause.

IMAM HASAN & IMAM HUSAYN CHILDREN'S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE
For a child (aged 5 to 15 years) who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in sporting prowess, academic and/or religious knowledge, courage in over-coming illness or hardship, or for showing exemplary care and consideration to others.
Sponsored by Islamic Relief

ALLAMA IQBAL AWARD FOR CREATIVITY IN ISLAMIC THOUGHT
For the development of a new, innovative and challenging approach to the understanding and application of Islam

IMAN WA AMAL SPECIAL AWARD
For outstanding contribution, a special award at the discretion of the judges

8. Awards Presenters:

Rt. Hon Gordon Brown, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer,

Museji Takolia, Chairman, Metropolitan Housing Trust

Rt. Hon Fiona Mactaggart, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Home Office, for Race Equality, Community Policy, and Civil Renewal

Michael Hanlon, Managing Director, Islamic Bank of Britain

Rt. Hon Caroline Spelman, MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Local & Devolved Government Affairs

Murtaza Gulamhusein, Director of Pharmaco 2000

Rt. Hon Charles Kennedy, MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats,

Trevor Phillips, Chairman, Commission for Racial Equality

Rt. Hon Mike O’Brien, MP, Energy and E-Commerce Minister,

Iqbal Sacranie, General Secretary, The Muslim Council of Britain

Caroline Diehl, Chief Executive, Media Trust,

Haroun Atallah, Islamic Relief Worldwide General Manager

Dr Zaki Badawi, Principal, Muslim College

Anne Coxon, Consultant Physician, & member of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence independent Panel of Judges

Judges speech by

Dr Saeed Shehabi, Journalist Chair, independent Panel of Judges


For further information contact us on 020 8863 8586 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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