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Issue 284, Friday 28 December 2012 - 14 Safar 1434
Journalist and councillor win first Quilliam award
By Aishah Ali
Journalist Victoria Brittain (inset) and Liverpool Cllr Alan Dean (ctr) presented with their Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam Awards by Chair of Abdullah Quilliam Society Galib Khan (right) and Lord Ahmed, Manchester Nov. 25.
Journalist and writer Victoria Brittain and Liverpool Councillor Alan Dean were awarded the first Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam Awards at a ceremony in Manchester on November 25.
Named after the founder of the first Muslim community in Britain in 1887, the Abdullah Quilliam Awards were given in his memory for Communication and Engagement. A native Englishman who converted to Islam aged 31, and changed his name from William Henry Quilliam, was an active citizen who was a writer, public speaker, Imam, and founded charitable institutions, schools, and established what has become known as the first mosque in England. The awards were launched in honour of his work to encourage communication and engagement between Muslims and non-Muslims
Brittain received the Award for Communication. Galib Khan from the Abdullah Quilliam Society said that she was “an outstanding candidate” and a “person who in her work and her commitment tackles injustice against Muslims and has tackled issues that few dared to touch.” She is a journalist and writer who has worked with The Guardian, various French magazines, and the co-author of Mozzam Begg’s book Enemy Combatant and authored many others, particularly on the topic of human rights and the war on terror. She is also a patron of human rights group Cage Prisoners and the Palestine Solidarity organisation, and is on the Council of the Institute of Race Relations.
The Award for Engagement, specifically for an individual that has made a unique contribution to promote dialogue and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, went to Labour Councillor Alan Dean. He has supported the Liverpool Muslim community in many ways including donating to the Quillian and Ar Rahman mosque, and joined in fasting with them during Ramadan. Khan said: “Alan Dean has showed on numerous occasions that he has been prepared to support and engage with Muslims on difficult issues and put forward their case.” He added, “I know of no other non-Muslim councillor who fasts to understand the issues his Muslim residents face in Ramadan.”
Bishop James Jones of Liverpool said that the awards were important as they “reflect the spirit of Abdullah Quilliam who more than any nurtured the concept and experience of British Islam. It shows Islam integrating into the cultural life of Britain.”
Khan thanked everyone for supporting the awards and said, “This was our first awards event and first events are always difficult, but we had a fantastic response and a great shortlist.”
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