Issue 285, Friday 25 January 2013 - 13 Rabi' al-Awwal 1434
Thirteen Muslims recognised in the New Years Honours
By Elham Asaad Buaras
(Top) Mo Farah-CBE, Dr Hossein Yassaie-KBE and Shahnaz Ali-OBE (bottom) Shabir Randeree-CBE, Jabeer Karim Butt-OBE and Ahmed Choonara-OBE
Elham Asaad Buaras
Thirteen members of the Muslim community were recognised in the Queen’s New Years Honours, five fewer than last year. One Knighthood, 2 CBEs, 3 OBEs, 4 MBEs and 3 BEMs will be handed to British Muslims for their varying contributions to society.
Twenty nine members of the Hindu and Sikh community were also awarded (1 Knighthood, 4 OBEs, 16 MBEs, 5 BEMs, 1 Queens Police and 2 Royal Victoria Orders), more than doubling last year’s tally of thirteen.
Twenty three members of the Jewish community were also awarded; they included 2 Knighthoods, 4 CBEs, 9 OBEs, 5 MBEs and 3 BEMs.
This year’s honours were slightly marred when Olympic hero Mohammed ‘Mo’ Farah was snubbed of a knighthood while an official linked to the banking crisis was given the honour.
Farah, who became the first Brit in history to do the Olympic distance double, was made a CBE while Hector Sants accused of being “asleep at the wheel” before Northern Rock bank collapsed got a knighthood.
Heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis also controversially got only a CBE while cyclist Bradley Wiggins and sailor Ben Ainslie both got the higher honour of a knighthood.
Farah’s PE teacher Alan Watkinson said, “It discredits the system - although it’s still a fantastic achievement for Mo and well-deserved. Politicians need to be very careful who they honour and giving greater gongs to Tory donors than Farah does not send out the right message.”
CEO of Imagination Technologies, Dr Hossein Yassaie, is the highest decorated member of the Muslim community this year; he is to be knighted in recognition of his services to technology and innovation.
It may not be a household name but some of the products that use its PowerVR GPU (graphics processing unit) designs are Apple’s iPhones and iPads; various Samsung Galaxy handsets and tablets; and a range of devices from Sony and LG.
Chair of investment company DCD Group, Shabir Randeree, is to be made a CBE for his services to Business and Education.
Randeree is Deputy Chair of Al Baraka Bank South Africa and a founding Director of BankIslami, Pakistan. He served as a Chair and founding Director at the European Islamic Investment Bank plc and a founding Director at the Islamic Bank of Britain plc.
Randeree sits as an advisor to the Government on its Asia Task Force and also served with the Labour Government on its Ethnic Minorities Business Task Force.
Speaking to The Muslim News Randeree said he is “grateful to Almighty, blessing me with great role models, family support and like-minded business partners. I am also indebted to my colleagues who support so many worthy projects and most importantly, my wife and children, parents and family.”
Deputy Chief Executive of the Race Equality Foundation Jabeer Butt has been awarded an OBE for his work in promoting equality.
At the Foundation Butt leads the work on health which has seen the development of the critically acclaimed Better Health briefing papers and website as well as a range of activities to strengthen the black and minority ethnic-led voluntary sector working on health related equality.
Butt told The Muslim News, “I am grateful for this recognition and wish to thank my family. Also, what I have achieved would not have been possible without the intellectual rigour and dedication of my colleagues at the Foundation. This has inevitably benefited from the many voluntary organisations and others who have worked with us to make equality a reality for all.”
Board member of Network for Black Professionals, Ahmed Choonara, is to be made an OBE for his services to further education.
One of the UK’s first Muslim Asian principals, Choonara says he traces the roots of his involvement with education, equality and diversity issues to his upbringing in apartheid South Africa, where White South Africans had limitless opportunities whilst Black and Asian South Africans had restricted access to education, despite the fact that we all contributed to taxes, rates, etc.
In 1996 Choonara was appointed Principal of South Nottingham College, under his helm it achieved the second highest teaching and learning grades awarded by OFSTED for a further education college.
Speaking to The Muslim News Choonara says he been “extremely fortunate” to work with inspirational colleagues at South Nottingham College and the Network for Black Professionals.
NHS North West’s Director for Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights, Shahnaz, Ali has been made OBE for her services to Equality and Diversity.
Responding to the announcement of her award, she said: “I am genuinely delighted to receive such a prestigious award. It underlines how important this work is.”
In 2009 she pioneered a process to accurately measure the performance of NHS organisations across a range of key areas essential to equal outcomes for all. This innovation was subsequently developed into the national Equality Delivery System.
Anis Faruki has been awarded an MBE for services to charity and to the community in Preston.
Faruki has helped numerous community groups over 12 years, including the Preston Muslim Forum, Canaries Community Association and Sharoe Green and Sherwood Community Association.
He currently assists community groups and projects apply for funding. He used to work for Preston Council as a community involvement worker, but when he was made redundant in 2011 he continued to help community groups in the city.
Faruki of Manor House Lane, Preston told The Muslim News: “It is brilliant. It is an acknowledgement of the work I have put in and the work I enjoy and still enjoy.”
Faruki said that he gets the most satisfaction from is seeing the results his work helps achieve.
Riaz Ravat from the St Philips Centre has been awarded a BEM for services to interfaith understanding in the city. The 35-year-old from Leicester, is Deputy Director of faith-based charity, the St Philip’s Centre.
In the past 10 years, he has helped 10,000 people become involved with the Evington-based centre, which works to improve faith relations.
In 2012, Ravat was nominated by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens to serve on Leicester Cathedral’s Council. He was also appointed Governor at Leicester College. Ravat holds several other volunteer roles including Special Advisor to Faith based Regeneration Network UK, a national ‘think tank’ on faith issues, Advisor to MBCOL – a Muslim-led death and bereavement service and he is a member of OFQUAL’s Equality Advisory Group.
“I was pleasantly shocked but deeply humbled by the honour of the BEM. Although I pick up the honour, I am blessed by my loving family and my wider family of very committed faith communities and public agencies I have worked with. This is a tribute as much to them as to me,” he told The Muslim News.
Other Muslims Honoured:
Member of the British Empire (MBE): Dr Mahdi Mabruk Jibani, Consultant Physician, Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital, for services to Medicine. Emdadur Rahman, journalist and community volunteer, for services to the community in Tower Hamlets and to the Bangladeshi Media. Professor Dawood Parker, Managing Director, Melys Diagnostics, for services to science and international development.
British Empire Medal (BEM): Asim Iftikhar, for services to the community in Poplar, London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Muhammed Khan, Trailblazer Volunteer, for services to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games..