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British Muslim achievements recognised at annual awards ceremony



25 March, 2008


Muslim achievements in Britain were extolled by ministers and political leaders at the annual ceremony for the latest The Muslim News Awards for Excellence in London Tuesday.


“These awards celebrate the achievements of British Muslims in all walks of life. They identify Muslim achievers and highlight the wonderful contribution that British Muslims make,” Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.


“Equally importantly, they challenge the stereotypes and negative portrayal of Muslims in many parts of the media. They provide us with role models we can all be proud of,” the Prime Minister said in a video message to the annual ceremony.


The awards, the eighth, organised by The Muslim News, bring together politicians, religious leaders, journalists, community activists along with representatives from the world of sport, culture, academia, amongst others, to celebrate the many talents and achievements of Muslim communities in such diverse areas as arts, sport, education, technology and business.


“Britain simply wouldn’t be the same without the achievements of Muslim entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers, writers, artists and sportsmen and women,” said Brown, who was guest of honour at the event in 2005. He also said he was impressed that the professionalism of the awards that were organised entirely by volunteers, most of the under 30 and 95 per cent of them women.


In a keynote speech at the ceremony, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the annual was a “showcase” of the key role that British Muslims play in UK life in a wide range of professions and fields. “By celebrating the many contributions of those that represent the best of Britain we can inspire others and also show that we are a nation in which British Muslims are an integral part of our society in politics, business and social life,” the Guest of Honour said.


Conservative Leader, David Cameron, sent his best wishes to everyone attending the annual The Muslim News Awards. “These Awards have gone from strength to strength over the last eight years. This is testament both to The Muslim News and the organisers of the awards, and to the huge contribution which Muslim people make to British society,” he said.


“These awards play a vital role in sending out the message that the Muslim community in Britain make a highly valuable contribution to public life in a range of areas,” the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said. The event “serves an excellent role in providing Muslims across Britain with role models that that can inspire them” and at the same time “demonstrates that in modern Britain Muslims can, and do, thrive in the widest possible spectrum of contemporary life,” he said in his message.


Previous annual cermonies have been attended by such high-profile figures as former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales since the awards were launched in 2000 to mark the 10th anniversary of publication as Britain’s leading Muslim newspaper,


The paper’s Editor, Ahmed J Versi, welcomed all the over 800 guests attending the event and especially all those who were nominated for tonight’s awards; to the 150,000 The Muslim News readers who took the time to nominate men, women and young people of excellence and the independent panel of judges in their painstaking task in short listing and selecting the winners


“Well before we were described as a, ‘problem community’, we at The Muslim News have always believed that this British Muslim community, diverse in its composition, with so much promise, has got what it takes to make a significant and dynamic contribution to the United Kingdom,”

Versi told the ceremony. He also spoke of his newspaper’s 19 years of efforts aimed at balancing the news agenda, but warned that the contribution amounts to “no more than a few drops of hope in an ocean of cynicism.” The past 12 months, the Editor said, was unfortunately “no different” to the disappointment he had expressed at the start of his previous speeches, when observing how the Muslim community has faced “yet another difficult year,” culminating in the “breathtaking

over- reaction of the media to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s thoughtful observations on the place of the Shari’ah in Britain today.”


Nominations for awards are classified in 15 different categories of Muslim achievements, ranging from science and engineering to community development, young person and the arts. This year’s shortlist of nominees ranged from the Leicester-based Muslim Youthwork Foundation (MYWF), which integrates Muslim and non-Muslim expertise in youth work, ArtIslam, a young London-based venture that welcomes artists with an interest in abstract Islamic art to Alan Johnston BBC journalist, who was kidnapped in Gaza and held prisoner for 114 days.


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 for this year were: LIS HOWELL is Director of Broadcasting at the Department of Journalism, City University, London; SABIRA KANJI is the Financial Controller of People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for the Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism industries and a non-executive Director of the Skills Council of Scotland.; MOHAMMED GHAZALI KHAN is a freelance journalist and public relations consultant working with ethnic and Asian media for the last twenty years; MARILYN MORNINGTON is a district judge, is Chair of the Lord Chancellor’s Department Domestic Violence Group, and is a member of Project Adhikar; AYFER ORHAN is a Councillor in the London Borough of Enfield and the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Candidate in Hemel Hempstead; MUHAMMAD UMAR is an author and a novelist whose book, Amina was applauded in the New Statesman for being ‘surprisingly fresh’ and for introducing ‘brilliant debuts’ to Nigeria’s recent history.


For the editors:


Full list of the shortlisted people is on our website:


For winners names on the day contact the office.


Those media wanting to attend the event, MUST register by Thursday 20 March.


Programme begins at 5.30 with Reception and the awards commences at 6.35pm.


TV footage and still photographs will be provided by The Muslim News.


For further press information please contact:


The Muslim News Office

(t) 020 8863 8586. – 07768 241325





(m) 07939 487 617


The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2008


Award presenters 2008 – and Sponsors


1. Presented by: David Miliband, Foreign Secretary

Award: Allama Iqbal Award


2. Presented by: S. L. Hassanain, Chairperson of Muslim Hands

Award: Sankore University Award – Education Sponsored by Muslim Hands


3. Presented by: Boris Johnson, MP, Mayoral Candidate and Former Shadow Minister for Higher Education

Award: Alhambra Award – Arts


4. Presented by: Trevor Phillips, Chairperson of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights

Award: Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s Award Sponsored by the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights


5. Presented by: Peter Lewis, Chief Executive for the Crown Prosecution Service

Award: Alija Izetbegovic Award – Good Citizenship Sponsored by the Crown Prosecution Service


6. Presented by: Mohamed Rafique Bhojani, Director/CEO Pharmaco

Award: Ibn Sina Award - Health

Sponsored by Pharmaco


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

Award: Uthman Dan Fodio Award – Community Development Sponsored by the Department of Communities and Local Government


8. . Presented by: Sister Helen Ryan, Trustee, Citizen Organising Foundation

Award: Al Biruni Award – Community Relations Sponsored by the Citizens Organising Foundation


9. Presented by: Jahangir Malik, UK Manager Islamic Relief

Award: Malcolm X Award – Youth

Sponsored by the Islamic Relief


10. No Presenter

Award: Faezeh Hashemi

Video message


11. Presented by: Rt Hon William Hague MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary

Award: Ummul Mu’min Khadijah Award

(There will be 2 winners)


12. Presented by: Dr Vincent Cable MP, Lib Dem Deputy Leader & Shadow Chancellor

Award: Ibn Battuta Award


13. Presenter: Ayfer Orhan, Chair of the panel of judges

Award: Ibn Khaldun Award

Sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office


14. Presented by: Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate and Former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

Award: Fazlur Rahman Khan Award - Science Sponsored by the Ministry of Defence


15. Presented by: Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Award: Annemarie Schimmel Award – Championing a Muslim Cause


16. Presented by: Sabira Kanji, Financial Director for SSAScot Ltd. And People 1st.

Award: Iman wa Amal Special Award

Panel of Judges Chairperson speech – Ayfer Orhan


Ahmed J Versi


The Muslim News

P O Box 380


Middlesex HA2 6LL


Tel: +44(0)20 8863 8586

Fax:+44(0)20 8863 9370

Mob: 07768241 325







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