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March 30, 2009

Ninth Annual Ceremony recognises the very best of British Muslim Achievement

Over 800 people celebrated the ninth Annual The Muslim News Awards for Excellence - Britain's longest standing Muslim awards event - Monday at London’s Grosvenor House. The coveted award ceremony recognised the very best of Muslim contribution to British society.

The special Judges award went to Birmingham-based graffiti artist Mohammed Ali. The other 16 winners are listed below.

The Guest of Honour, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, said, “In a short space of time the Awards have established themselves as a significant event for the Muslim community.”

Special guests included Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve and Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg.

They were joined by civic and religious leaders, as well as representatives from the worlds of politics, business, sport and the arts, to honour unsung heroes and heroines of the community.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown described The Muslim News Awards for Excellence as “a well-established event in our national calendar”. Now in its ninth year, the ceremony has distinguished itself for pioneering an initiative that finds the very best in British Muslims.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, “The Muslim News Awards are an important opportunity for us all to recognize and show our appreciation for the valuable contribution that British Muslims make to our shared society.”

The editor of The Muslim News, and the main sponsor Ahmed J Versi said, “We began this event nine years ago because we believed that British Muslims have a lot to offer to British society. Nine years on, and the quality of nominations from our 150,000 readers show that British Muslims still have what it takes to be pioneering contributors to the common good.”

In a message, Opposition Leader, David Cameron said, “Over the years the Awards have firmly established themselves in the national calendar, and have helped us to celebrate the huge contribution which British Muslims make to each and every aspect of our society.”

Lib Dem Leader, Nick Clegg, who attended the event, said, “These prestigious awards not only provide an opportunity to acknowledge the excellence of the individual nominees in their respective fields, but they also encourage us to reflect upon the valuable social, cultural, and economic contribution made by the Muslim community in the UK.”


1. The Muslim News Awards for Excellence took place on Monday 30 March at the Grosvenor House.

List of the winners, presenters and sponsors are listed below – please note they are embargoed until 9 pm Monday 30 March.

2. There are fifteen categories of the awards, for a full shortlist, visit:

TV footage and still photographs are available from The Muslim News.

2. Judging Panel

· Dr Afia Ali, Lecturer at the School of Pharmacy, University of London

· Dr Maria Holt, Lecturer in Democracy and Islam at the University of Westminster’.

· Ismail Oyzoyn, Chairman of the UK Turkish Islamic Cultural Centre Trust.

· Ejaz Qureshi, Director of Business & Commercial Development at Kingston University.

· Dr Hassen Basil Al-Sader, St George’s Hospital in London.

· Sa’ada Saidu-Bala, Patient Advice and Liason Officer, NHS Hillingdon Primary Care Trust, London.

· Salma Yaqoob, Leader of the RESPECT Party and councillor, Sparkbrook ward, Birmingham

Winners with brief info about them and then pasted below that names of winners, presenters of the awards and sponsors.

The Muslim News Awards 2009 winners

Alhambra Award for Excellence in Arts

Ahmed Mukhtar. Born in Baghdad, Ahmed is a world acclaimed composer and master Oud player. He has been playing the Oud since 1979, which he studied under the masters Ganim Hadad and Jameel Jerjis. Since 1990 he has been performing, teaching and touring throughout the Middle East and Europe, and has written music for theatre, film and television. The United Nations chose Ahmed and sixteen other musicians from all over the world to release a CD for the benefit of victims of terrorism and wars.

Annemarie Schimmel Award for Championing a Muslim Cause

Reverend Gilleasbuig MacMillan. As the Minister of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Gilleasbuig MacMillan’s church is symbolically important because of the royal or official events and ceremonies held there. He is recognised for this award because of his determination to welcome Muslims to his Cathedral. In October 1991, St Giles held a Service of Repentance in memory of the victims of the first Gulf war, which was also attended by Muslims. Instead of simply allowing the Muslims to leave the service to carry out their prayers, Reverend MacMillan decided to stop the service twenty minutes after its start and let the Muslims perform their prayers in the Cathedral next to the altar. The Adhan, the Muslim call to the prayer, was made from the pulpit of the Cathedral and the prayers were performed in the midst of a Christian congregation of over 1,000.

Uthman Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development

Joint winners

Black and Asian Service in Alcohol and Narcotics (BASIAN). Noted for its faith-based approach to drug intervention, BASIAN has helped many families cope with drug addiction problems and has made an impact in reducing drug related crime. The project is run by Urfan Azad and Shahid Farid, former Class A drug users who assisted a Home Office research project identifying the lack of drugs services that meet the needs of Muslim and BME communities.

Shereen Williams. Having arrived in the UK only three years ago, Shereen quickly made her mark as Director of the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations, securing over £1.5 million in grant funding for Muslim and other community organisations. She has been at the forefront of opposing Islamophobia in Wales and has given presentations to the Welsh Assembly Government. In the field of inter-faith dialogue, Shereen founded the Swansea Faiths Forum in South Wales in the immediate aftermath of 7/7. She has recently been appointed to the All Wales Convention.

Imams Hasan and Husayn Children's Award For Excellence

Imran Sidat. The 15-year-old has excelled in freestyle karate and kickboxing. He has been a regular member of the England team for the last four years, competing worldwide and winning medals every year. This year he has already won the European title and many British and regional titles. Imran has been elected as the youngest sporting ambassador for the Special Olympics, which will be held in 2009 in his home town of Leicester. He is also a cadet coach and was recently voted Mercury Junior Sportsman of the year.

Allama Iqbal Award for Creativity in Islamic Thought

Muhammad A S Abdel Haleem. As a prolific writer and scholar, Professor Abdel-Haleem has dedicated a distinguished career to the study of Arabic culture and literature and to inter-faith understanding. The author of some ten books, his latest, The Qur’an: A New Translation, published by Penguin has become a bestseller and is the first Qur’an to be translated by an Arab Muslim to be published by a prestigious international academic publisher. As an academic at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Professor Haleem played a key role in establishing the School’s Centre of Islamic Studies. He has awarded an OBE in 2008 in recognition for his scholarship and work.

Alija Izetbegovic Award for Good Citizenship

Mohammed Amran . As the youngest member of the Cabinet Office Advisory Panel on Futurebuiders and the youngest Lay Advisor to the National Police Improvement Agency, Mohammed has proved to be an effective leader who initiates civic change. At the age of 22, Mohammed was appointed the youngest ever Commissioner in the Commission for Racial Equality. During the Bradford disturbances of 1995 and 2001 he was at the forefront of conflict resolution, after which he set up the Young People’s Forum. At the age of 26 he received an Honorary Doctorate for his work with disadvantaged young people in his hometown of Bradford, his community work and contributions in the field of race relations.

Al Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations

Ikram Malik. Being a founding member of Building Bridges Pendle and the Lancashire Forum of Faiths, Dr Malik has been a key leader in bringing faith communities into the public and political framework of community regeneration. He took a leading role to help Pendle in securing a range of Government funding, including Community Economic Development resources from the EU and, more recently, the Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Funds. He has actively led the numerous local community groups in utilising these resources for the benefit of local communities. This included the development of Brierfield People’s Centre with regeneration funding support of nearly £500,000. Dr Malik was recognised for his services to community relation by being awarded an MBE in 1999.

Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education

Zafar Iqbal. A pioneer well ahead of his time, Zafar Iqbal helped found the Southwark Muslim Women’s Association (SMWA). Before becoming the Association’s Director, Zafar worked tirelessly as a volunteer since the Association’s inception in 1979. The SMWA aims to counter disadvantages and discrimination faced by Muslim communities with special emphasis on meeting the social, educational and cultural needs of women, children and elders. Zafar is noted here for this award as he has focused on education as the means to empower Muslim women to lead a full and active life.

Fazlur Rahman Khan for Excellence in Engineering, Science or Technology

Mohamed El-Gomati. As an internationally renowned scientist and researcher based at York University, Professor Mohamed El-Gomati has written more than 180 articles, patents, and books. He has excelled in the field of novel instrumentation, developing and building several state-of-the-art instruments in surface analysis and microscopy. He has acted as a scientific referee to the British Government and UNESCO. Among his inventions are the world’s first multi-spectral analytical microscope and the world’s first parallel electron energy analyser for surface analysis.

Ummul Mu'minin Khadijah for Excellence in Enterprise

Muslim Enterprise Development Service (MEDS). Established in 2002, MEDS was formed to provide practical, professional, technical and financial advice in the development of new and existing Muslim businesses in Merseyside. MEDS develops and manages appropriate loan and grant making services as well as a Muslim business association, an enterprise club and credit union. It covers the demands placed by the Muslim community and funding agencies. Within its Enterprise and Economic Development work, MEDS assists its clients with the preparation of a business plan submittable to potential financial service providers and provides clients with links to professional bodies.

Ibn Sina Award for Health

Mohammed Mujahid Ali. Multi-disciplinary alternative therapist Mohammed Mujahid Ali has worked tirelessly to improve the wellbeing of BME and immigrant communities in Oldham. He is a qualified practitioner in Counselling, Neuro-Linguistic, Hypno-Psychotherapy, Acu-stimulation and Reiki. He offers his services free of charge to those in need, and has set up support networks for mental health carers and practitioners. Mohammed has also worked to promote mental health awareness within BME and immigrant communities, and has helped deliver projects to raise awareness of mental health and improve equality of access to mental health service provision.

Ibn Battuta Award for fair, accurate and balanced reporting on an issue involving Muslims

Joint Winners

Mehdi Hasan. Londoner Mehdi Hasan is a rising star in the British media and one of this country’s leading young television journalists in an industry once described as ‘hideously white’. He is currently an editor for the news and current affairs department at Channel 4. At 29, he is the youngest editor in commissioning at Channel 4 and has been nominated for the Royal TV Society Young Journalist of the Year Award. Since joining Channel 4 last year, Mehdi has commissioned five different ‘Dispatches’ documentaries, all of which have generated headlines in the press. Mehdi commissioned the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ film, ‘It Shouldn’t Happen to a Muslim’, which addressed the issue of rising Islamophobia since 7/7.

Yvonne Ridley. As a campaigning journalist, and a one-time ‘guest’ of the Taliban during assignment for the Sunday Express, Yvonne Ridley’s forthright and insightful articles have appeared in a range of publications including the Washington Post, the Dhaka Post to the Tehran Times. Last year Yvonne, who works for Press TV, went to Guantánamo Bay, and has highlighted and campaigned against the injustices committed as part of the ‘War on Terror’. She also went to Sudan with Lord Nazir Ahmed to work on a joint venture to develop a peace initiative in Darfur and in August 2008 joined international peace activists as part of the Free Gaza Movement.

Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport

Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation (MWSF). Having so far helped over 250 women in the UK get back into sport, the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation has provided a player pathway for higher levels of competition, including participation at the Women’s Islamic Games that are held every four years. The MWSF organises training sessions and tournaments catering for the religious sensitivities of participants through an all-female environment. MWSF supports individuals in attaining coaching and refereeing qualifications and getting placed with teams across the country to encourage an increased representation in the mainstream sporting community. It is recognised by and advises the FA, England Basketball and Kick It Out.

Malcolm X Young Person's Award for Excellence

Faizaan Ahmed. Moved by the murder of his 19-year-old sister in November 2007, Faizaan Ahmad from Derby founded The Halimah Trust (THT) while still an 18-year-old A’ level student. With Faizaan as the Chairman, THT is committed to raising £108, 000 by the end of the year to build The Halimah Girls’ School of Excellence, a secondary for orphan girls in Pakistan. A keen vocalist, Faizaan has just released his first single in memory of his sister, which he hopes will raise further funds for his charity work.

Iman wa Amal Judge’s Special Award

Mohammed Ali. Born and raised in Birmingham, Mohammed’s AerosolArabic is influenced by both classical Islamic calligraphy and urban street graffiti. He was once part of the underground graffiti scene in the UK and has since been painting on canvas and exhibiting his work throughout the UK and around the world. Mohammed runs workshops for children up and down the country and inspires his students to express positive virtues, as well as giving them an insight into Islam. He is keen to use the graffiti style for spiritual and selfless expression rather than its more egotistical uses.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2009

Award presenters 2009 – and Sponsors – and Winners

1. Presented by: Rt Hon Nick Clegg, Leader, Liberal Democrats

Award: Ibn Battuta - Media

Winner: Mehdi Hasan

Joint winner

Presented by: Josephine Mukanjira of Citizen Organising Foundation

Winner: Yvonne Ridley

Sponsored by Citizen Organising Foundation

2. Presented by: Hazel Blears, MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Award: Uthman Dan Fodio Award – Community Development

Winner: BASIAN

Joint Winner: Shereen Williams

Sponsored by Communities and Local Government

3. Presented by: Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster

Award: Alhambra - Arts

Winner: Ahmed Mukhtar

4. Presented by: S L Hassanain, Chair, Musilm Hands

Award: Sankore University - Education

Winner: Zafar Shah Iqbal

Sponsored by Muslim Hands

Presented by: Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary

Award: Al Biruni, Community Relations

Winner: Ikram Malik

Sponsored by Home Office

6. Presented by: Nicola Brewer, Chief Executive, Equalities and Human Rights Commission

Award: Imams Hasan & Husayn – children’s

Winner: Imran Sidat

Sponsored by Equalities and Human Rights Commission

7. Presented by: Dominic Grieve, Shadow Justice Secretary

Award: Khadijah award – entrepreneur

Winner: Muslim Enterprise Development Service

Sponsored by Melchem Pharmaceuticals

8. Presented by: Peter Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, Crown Prosecution Service

Award: Alija Izetbegovic – Good citizenship

Winner: Mohammed Amran

Sponsored by Crown Prosecution Service

9. Presented by: Shabbir Panju, Director/CEO Pharmaco

Award: Ibn Sina, Health

Winner: Mohammed Mujahid Ali (Maulana Mansur Ali will collect award on his behalf)

Sponsored by Pharmaco

10. Presented by: Sadiq Khan, MP, Communities Minister

Award: Allama Iqbal – Islamic Thought

Winner: Muhammad A S Abdel Haleem

Sponsored by Foreign & Commonwealth Office

11. Presenter: Sir Iqbal Sacranie

Award: Malcolm X – Youth

Winner: Faizaan Ahmed

Sponsored by Muslim Aid

12. Presented by: Mrs Faezeh Hashemi, President, Islamic Federation of Women Sport

Award: Faezeh Hashemi - sport

Winner: Muslim Women Sport Foundation

13. Presented by: Prof Mark Welland, Chief Scientific Advisor

Award: Fazlur Rahman Khan – Science & Technology

Winner: Mohamed EL-Gomati

Sponsored by Ministry of Defence

14. Presented by: Jahangir Malik, UK Director

Award: Annemarie Schimmell – championing a Muslim cause

Winner: Rev Gilleasbuig Macmillan

Sponsored by Islamic Relief

15. Presented by: Councillor Salma Yaqoob, Chair, Independent Panel of Judges

Award: Iman wa Amal Special Award

Winner: Muhammad Ali

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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