Saturday, 27 May 2017

Ramadan Mubarak 1438AH and Ramadan Greetings 2017

Ramadan Mubarak 1438AH and
Ramadan Greetings 2017

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Greetings to all of you, especially to all the readers of this website: May this holy month bring barakah, and Allah's boundless mercy upon the believers and harmony and tolerance for the world.

Muslims almost everywhere welcome the coming of the month of Ramadan on the same day, on Saturday, the 27th of May, 2017 this year. Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Islam, the country of the Two Holy Mosques, the birthplace of Prophet Peace be upon him, is performing Ramadan on Saturday. The Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Royal court that “27th of May Saturday will be the first of Ramadan for the year 1438H. The Supreme Court confirmed the start of the month of Ramadan following the sighting of the Ramadan crescent, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday evening.

The statement further said the Supreme Court held a session to receive testimonies of those who sighted the Ramadan crescent this evening. After looking into the testimonies it received, the Supreme Court confirmed that the moon was sighted in several governorates and rural centres of the Kingdom. As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that we should start and complete our fasting on sighting the moon, the Supreme Court decided that Saturday is the 1st of Ramadan 1438H corresponding to May 27, 2017.

British Muslims welcome Ramadan: the month of discipline, compassion and solidarity on Saturday, 27th of May 2017. British Muslims join over a billion Muslims all over the world in a month of fasting, charity and solidarity.

The governments of many countries issued Ramadan Message to Muslims in their countries and around the world (see below).

Ramadan Mubarak to you All
I welcome Ramadan, the month of Mercy and Repentance, the month of the Qur’an, of Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) and of repentance and forgiveness. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Pillars of the Islamic faith. It was declared an obligatory duty (Fard) in the second year of the Hijrah upon each and every mukallaf (one capable of carrying out religious duties, i.e. a sane adult).

Allah the Almighty made Ramadan fasting compulsory for Muslims. Allah said, “O those who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as were enjoined upon those before so that you be God-fearing.’ [Surah Baqarah, 183]. Literally, Sawm means ‘to abstain’. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means ‘to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse: with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset, and that there is an intention to fast.’ Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too.

Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an “…And eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread…” (Al-Qur’an, 2:187) Literally defined, fasting means to abstain “completely” from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year.

Fasting in Islam is based on the lunar calendar and is tied to the sightings of hilal, the crescent, or new moon. Allah the Almighty stated: “They ask you concerning the new moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time… (Al-Qur’an, 2:189). And the Traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Eat until you see the crescent and break not until you see the crescent. If it is cloudy calculate the period of the month.” (Muslim and others).

Fasting in Ramadan is compulsory upon every Muslim, male or female, who has these qualifications, e.g. mentally and physically fit, adult full of age which is normally fourteen and fairly certain that fasting is unlikely to cause any harm, physical or mental, other than the normal reactions to hunger, thirst etc.

The said qualifications exclude the following categories: children under the age of puberty and discretion; men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fast and bear its hardships; sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast; travellers may break the fast temporarily during their travel;  pregnant women and women breast-feeding their children may also break their fast and women in the period of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days or of confinement (of a maximum of forty days. They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it.

The holy month of Ramadan is the month of mercy, forgiveness, and seeking release from the Hell-fire. It is the month of repentance and acceptance of prayers. It is the month when the devils are chained, the gates of Hell are looked and the gates of Paradise are opened.  That’s why; Muslims welcome Ramadan each year with energy and happiness, and are saddened only when the month departs. Fasting is for the living, not for mourning.

Ramadan is a month of worship. Muslims should welcome the month with repentance and seeking Allah’s pardon. We should keep away from committing sins; worship Allah sincerely and spending the night and day in prayer, supplication and recitation of the Holy Qur’an.

Fasting is a shield which helps prevent many sins and with which Muslim protects himself from Hell-fire. Fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. It also means to abstain from any falsehood in speech and action, from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and quarrelling. Therefore, fasting helps to develop good behaviour.

Fasting inculcates a sense of brotherhood and solidarity, as a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers feel. This gives Muslim a new sense of togetherness and association.

Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (between right and wrong). (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 185) As Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, every Muslim should prepare himself to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan by strengthening his relationship with the Qur’an. A Muslim is encouraged to complete one recitation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan.

We should engage more and more in the recitation of the Qur’an, in dhikr (remembrance of Allah), perform extra Salah (ritual prayers) at night and renew identity with one another in our obedience to Allah.

Thus Ramadan becomes a blessed month of physical, moral and spiritual renewal through fasting, charity and worship. This is the moral and spiritual gifts of Ramadan. “We can say that Ramadan gives us the great gift of Taqwa (Piety). Taqwa is the sum total of Islamic life. It is the highest of all virtues in the Islamic scheme of things. It means God-consciousness, piety, fear and awe of Allah and it signifies submission to Allah and total commitment to all that is good and rejection of all that is evil and bad,” said Dr. Muzzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

Islam is a universal global religion. There is 1.6 billion Muslims the world over. Leaders of the Asian, African, European and American continents welcome the advent of the month of Ramadan and sent messages to the Muslims. The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the beginning of Ramadan. On this auspicious occasion, the Secretary General of the OIC issued a welcoming message.

OIC Secretary General’s Message
The OIC Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has congratulated on Saturday the Islamic Nation on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan. In a press statement, the OIC Secretary General wished Muslims worldwide happiness, prosperity, well-being and peace. He expressed greetings to the Islamic Ummah, or global community of Muslims, on the occasion of the advent of Ramadan.

The OIC Secretary-General also prayed to Allah to shower His blessings and guidance on the leaders of OIC member states and the people of the Muslim world.

Al-Othaimeen drew the Muslim world’s attention to the moral imperative of standing side by side with fellow Muslims in the grip of humanitarian crises. Al-Othaimeen also expressed the hope that the leaders of the Islamic world will succeed during the holy month of Ramadan in boosting Islamic solidarity and establishing peace and anchoring security.

The OIC Secretary-General said that the month of Ramadan is an occasion to better demonstrate the noble Islamic values that include altruism, generosity, moderation, tolerance, mutual co-existence among all humans, rejecting violence and extremism and combating terrorism.

From Asian Continent
King Salman’s Ramadan Message
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Saudi Arabia King Salman thanked on Saturday, 27th of May, 2017 in Jeddah Almighty Allah for blessing Muslims with such an august month for worship and contemplation while addressing the people of the Kingdom and Muslims all over the world on the advent of Ramadan 1438H, a month-long compulsory fasting season for all adult Muslims.

At the outset of the speech, which was delivered on King Salman’s behalf by Dr. Awwad Saleh Al-Awwad, minister of culture and information, the King cited a number of Qur’anic verses explaining Almighty Allah’s wisdom behind ordering Muslims to fast during the month-long period.

He also cited a verse of the Qur’an saying that the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) during the month of Ramadan as guidance to people. The verse also mentions that we should start fasting on sighting the moon. The Prophet said whoever fasts the month of Ramadan seeking recompense (reward) from Allah his sins will be forgiven.

The King prayed that Allah grant us success in fasting during the holy month and performing our prayers. He thanked Allah for honouring this country, as it is the cradle of revelation, the land of the two holy mosques and the Qiblah of Muslims worldwide (that is, Muslims all over the world pray facing the Holy Kaaba in Makkah).

The King prayed to Allah Almighty to grant the Kingdom success to continue serving the two holy mosques as well as pilgrims, performers of Umrah and visitors. The King added that it is an honour “we are proud of”.

King Salman, also, reminded Muslims of the ordainment by our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that Muslims are like one human entity, whenever one part feels pain, all the other parts suffer and share the burden due to the fever, insomnia and fatigue, recalling the role played by the Kingdom since the time of the founder King Abdulaziz to best serve Muslims and to close and unify their ranks, adding that a noble goal will persist, forever.

The King said that Allah Almighty was generous to us and He specified certain times as being of more importance than others, as His mercy descends. Allah Almighty honoured Ramadan, the month of fasting, as His mercy, bounties and blessings descend and sins are forgiven. Those who are blessed with Allah’s mercy are saved from the Hellfire.

In conclusion, the King recalled the recently held Arab-Islamic-American summit as a testimonial of the Kingdom’s resolve to synergize efforts, in order to eradicate extremism and terrorism, in all forms and manifestations, henceforth, saving humanity of their mischief and evils. He added that the inception of a world centre to combat extremist thought is in line with that goal and to prove that Islam is a religion of mercy, moderation and co-existence. – reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA)

From European Continent
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s
Message for Ramadan
British Prime Minister Theresa May, MP, sent her “best wishes to everyone in Britain and around the world celebrating Ramadan.” She said, “Ramadan is a unique and special time for Muslims in Britain and around the world.”

“It is a time for them to renew their faith in God and increase their devotion and spirituality. A time when, despite the long summer days, Muslims across Britain will find strength through devotion to fulfil one of the five pillars of their religion,” said British Prime Minister May.

Prime Minister Theresa May also said, “Ramadan fosters a strong sense of community spirit, reflected in the way mosques open their doors and welcome people of all faiths and none to share in the Iftar meal – something I have experienced in my own constituency of Maidenhead. It is an important chance for people from all walks of life to meet together, discuss and share experiences with their neighbours, and to increase familiarity and foster friendships.”

British Prime Minister May concluded by saying, “This Ramadan, let us celebrate the way in which this festival of peace, reflection and religious devotion brings people closer together. And let us say to Muslims here in Britain and across the world, Ramadan Kareem.”

From American Continent
U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s Ramadan
Message to Muslims
U.S. President Donald J. Trump has issued a statement on Ramadan on behalf of the American people, “I would like to wish all Muslims a joyful Ramadan.”

“During this month of fasting from dawn to dusk, many Muslims in America and around the world will find meaning and inspiration in acts of charity and meditation that strengthen our communities. At its core, the spirit of Ramadan strengthens awareness of our shared obligation to reject violence, to pursue peace, and to give to those in need who are suffering from poverty or conflict,” Trump said in a statement.

“This year, the holiday begins as the world mourns the innocent victims of barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology,” he added.

In his Ramadan message, President Trump mentioned, “On my recent visit to Saudi Arabia, I had the honor of meeting with the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations. There, in the land of the two holiest sites in the Muslim world, we gathered to deliver together an emphatic message of partnership for the sake of peace, security, and prosperity for our countries and for the world.”

He also said, “I reiterate my message delivered in Riyadh: America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it. During this month of Ramadan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure that future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and commune in peace.”

President Trump concluded by saying, “I extend my best wishes to Muslims everywhere for a blessed month as you observe the Ramadan traditions of charity, fasting, and prayer. May God bless you and your families.”

Statement by the Prime Minister of
Canada on Ramadan
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issued on 26 May, 2017 from Ottawa, Ontario, the following statement on Ramadan: “Tonight at sunset, Muslims in Canada and around the world will mark the start of Ramadan.”

“Ramadan is a sacred time of the year for the Muslim community, and commemorates the revealing of the Qur'an to Prophet Muhammad. The month-long journey of fasting and prayer encourages spiritual growth, reflection, and compassion for those who are less fortunate,” he said.

The Prime Minister of Canada Trudeau said, “Ramadan is also a time of community, when Muslims gather with family and friends to pray and share iftar, the evening meal. For all of us, Ramadan is a reminder to appreciate the many gifts we are given, and to give generously to others, in our communities and around the world.”

In his Ramadan message, Prime Minister Trudeau mentioned, “This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us take the opportunity to honour the many cultures, traditions, and beliefs that make Canada such a wonderful place to live. Muslim Canadians help make Canada the strong, diverse, and inclusive country it is today.”

The Prime Minister of Canada Trudeau concluded by saying, “On behalf of our family, Sophie and I extend our best wishes to Muslim communities here in Canada and around the world. “Ramadan Mubarak!””

Elaborate preparations are in place to
Provide best services to Pilgrims during Ramadan
The chairman of the Central Hajj Committee, Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, has vowed to provide best services to pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque in Makkah al-Mukarramah. In the meeting, also attended by Makkah’s Vice Governor, Prince Bandar bin Abdullah, the government’s preparations for the holy month of Ramadan were discussed, it is reported in Arab News.

The Hajj Ministry presented its operational plan for Ramadan, including the development of the automated system at the King Abdulaziz International Airport and the Jeddah Islamic Port to register shortcomings in onsite performance and report them to Umrah companies. The project will also establish an online monitoring room linked to a control network in Makkah and Madinah.

Ramadan preparations by the General Presidency of the Holy Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque include supervising imams, organizing and recording speeches, coordinating with security authorities, facilitating the entry and exit of pilgrims, opening corridors inside the Grand Mosque, arranging scientific courses in Shariah, language and history, and ensuring that copies and translations of the Holy Qur’an are available. The presidency supervises mosques’ cleanliness, maintenance and facilities, provides Zamzam water, carries out surveillance, guards the mosques’ doors and secures multipurpose vehicles for people with special needs for free, reported in the paper.

It is also reported that The Makkah municipality’s plan includes waste management, insect control, monitoring shops and food for sale. The municipality will also supervise operating and maintaining infrastructure such as roads, tunnels, lighting networks, parking lots, public toilets, public parks and green spaces. The plan also includes increasing the number of cleaning and hygiene workers, extending their work hours and providing additional support teams for labour and equipment to meet any emergencies.

It is also mentioned that the Makkah Health Affairs Directorate will increase staff in medical centres at the King Abdulaziz International Airport by 20 percent, and implement inoculation campaigns against infectious diseases. The Saudi Red Crescent Society (SRCS) aims to provide medical emergency services quickly and effectively, minimize the complications and effects of accidents and emergency medical cases, activate volunteer systems and support relevant authorities in multiple emergencies.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Reception of MWL Secretary General at the House of Lords

Reception of MWL’s Secretary General
At the House of Lords

Dr. Mozammel Haque

The Secretary General of the Muslim World League (Rabita al-Alam al-Islami) H.E. Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Bin Abdul Karim Al-Isa attended a reception at the House of Lords on Thursday, 11th of May, 2017 hosted by Baroness Uddin.

H. E. Sheikh Dr. Mohammed came to the United Kingdom on Saturday, the 6th of May 2017 and left on Thursday, the 18th of May 2017. During this period, he has a very tight schedule and busy programme of meeting ambassadors, representatives of different embassies in London, religious leaders, parliamentarians, academics and senior members of the Muslim communities and attending Mosques, Islamic Centres and meeting members of the wider society at large.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammad al-Isa in Scotland
Sheikh Dr. Mohammad al-Isa went to Edinburgh Islamic Centre and King Fahd Mosque for two days and attended the Board of Trustees meeting on 7-8th of May, 2017. H.E. Sheikh Dr. Mohammed al-Isa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League was hosted by the Edinburg Central Mosque for a good will tour and to conduct the AGM (Annual General Meeting of the Board of Trustees). The Secretary General held an interactive forum with Trustees and the Director of the Mosque, Dr. Naji Al-Arfaj where he addressed an august gathering of the Muslim community in Scotland.

Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan, Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre, London & Trustee of the Edinburgh Central Mosque accompanied His Excellency the Secretary General and his delegation during his visit.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammad al-Isa’s Programme in London
On 9th of May, 2017 The Secretary General of Rabita attended the Board of Trustees AGM meeting of the Muslim World League London Office and met MWL London Office staff, Imams and religious leaders. He attended a reception at the House of Lords hosted by Baroness Uddin on Thursday, 11th of May, 2017 where he gave a lecture on integration.

On 12th of May, the Saudi Embassy London arranged a reception for His Excellency at the Saudi Embassy in London. On 13th of May, 2017 His Excellency was supposed to visit the King Fahd Academy, London.

Then, on Sunday, the 14th of May; the Islamic Cultural Centre, London invited him to a reception at the Conference Hall of the Centre where he met and addressed an audience of ambassadors, representatives of different Embassies in London, religious leaders, imams, leaders of the Islamic centres and senior members of the Muslim communities and spoke on integration. Then the Muslim World League organised a day-long Conference on Tolerance in Islam at the Brunei gallery, SOAS, University of London on Monday, the 15th of May, 2017.

On 16th of May, HE The Secretary General of the Makkah-based Muslim World League went to Oxford to inaugurate the new office of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford in the morning and attended the meeting of the UK Board of Shari’ah Council in the afternoon. And on 17th of May, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammad went to Birmingham to visit different Mosques there. He left for Germany on Thursday, 18th of May, 2017.

Here I am writing a report on the MWL’s (Muslim World League) Secretary General Reception at the House of Lords, British Parliament.

Rabita’s Secretary General’s Reception
at the House of Lords
Baroness Manzila Uddin organised a Reception in honour of the Secretary General of the Muslim World League at the Peers’ Dining Room of the House of Lords, British Parliament on Thursday, the 11th of May, 2017.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Abdul
Karim Al-Isa Addressed the Gathering
H.E. Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Bin Abdul Karim al-Isa, the Secretary General of the Muslim World League started by saying, “We meet today with you to renew our resolve and our pledge to work together to achieve the values of tolerance, love and peace in our world. Let us stand against the forces of evil that lead to extremist ideas and material gains, which come at a price and at the expense of human values and rights. Among the ideas that we must strongly confront are the sentiments of hatred that constitute the most important bet of terrorist extremism in its quest to win the moderate region to its ranks through firing up its religious passion and zeal.”

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed mentioned Islamophobia is the terrorists’ lifeline. He said, “The terrorists belonging to Da’esh and al-Qaeeda pin their hopes on Islamophobia which is considered to be their most important and dangerous lifeline. We can but imagine how much the Islamic world with more than 1.6 billion Muslims, has suffered from this hatred, while the carriers of terrorists thoughts rejoice for the misery of others. With this hatred, we are providing free services to terrorism that perhaps surpass any other strategies he wished for.”

MWL Secretary General also said Islam is blameless of this criminal extremism. He said, “After every operation perpetrated by al-Qaeeda and for which they accept responsibility, we must declare our increased conviction that Islam is blameless of this criminal extremism, and that we, along with our Muslim citizens and friends will defeat extremism.”

“Moreover, we firmly believe that once faced with such a conscious, wise and sincere reaction, terrorist extremism will feel deeply disappointed and deprived of the opportunity to perpetuate its wicked activities,” he added.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed also mentioned that terrorism is the product of a radical thought and it can only be defeated through the eradication of its ideology. He said, “Terrorism has not been established through military power or a political entity, Nay! It is the product of a radical thought; thus, it can only be defeated through the eradication of its ideology.”

Saudi Establishment of a Global Centre
To Fight terrorism intellectually
MWL Secretary General mentioned about the establishment by Saudi Arabia of a global centre to fight terrorism intellectually. He said, “Saudi Arabia has established a global centre to fight terrorism intellectually. It’s the centre for Intellectual Warfare under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense. The abovementioned Centre has provided a number of intellectual initiatives to a number of bodies, including the Saudi-led Islamic Military Coalition to combat Terrorism. It will also provide intellectual initiatives to the countries of the International Coalition against the US-led actions against Da’esh.”

“The ideology of terrorist extremism is based on extremely flimsy and weak ideas; however, it has expanded in the free space it has found during its confrontation. This ideology focuses on stirring religious emotions and carrying out terrorist acts with hardly any financial costs,” said Sheikh Dr. Mohammed al-Isa.

He said “We need to raise added awareness of Muslim communities against the dangers of extremist terrorist messages, in the countries where they live.”

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed also mentioned that the instigators exploit the suffering. He said, “The instigators exploit the suffering of some community that find themselves in difficult social or psychological conditions. Hence, they attempt to link any of the communities’ final decision to religion. And Da’esh is readily available to find excuses for their actions, and provoke their emotional state of minds towards the hateful and provocative media discourse.”

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed al-Isa also mentioned, “Some of the bombings that were carried out by some criminals who, one night before these terrible acts, were clubbing in night clubs - A matter which is completely contradictory to the teachings of Islam.”

“If we are able to control the funding of terrorism financially, we cannot control its intellectual supply source as easily. It will continue to lure the target audience through its expansion into the virtual world,” he said.

“What makes the things more complicated,” said Sheikh Dr. Mohammed, “is that Da’esh and Al-Qaeeda’s terrorism doesn’t adhere to a particular religious school. Its elements come from 101 countries around the world with different ideas brought together by hijacked emotion to serve a single objective. As a matter of facts, 1,500 fighters have joined Da’esh from Belgium alone.”

Muslim World League, a global
Organisation of Islamic peoples
The MWL Chief then mentioned about the Muslim World League, its vision and activities. He said, “The Muslim World League, founded on 18th of May, 1962 is a global organisation of Islamic peoples based in Makkah. It’s a respected and appreciated by the peoples of the Muslim world. In its new vision, the MWL recognised these dangers and developed programs to raise the consciousness of Muslim communities, and show them the true image of the conciliatory, tolerant, accommodating Islam; carrier of the message of love and mercy. These traits and attributes are explicitly stated in the religious texts and the biography of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.”

“The Rabita has also developed programs to intercept extremist messages launched by Da’esh through websites, and social networking sites in particular,” he said.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed also mentioned that extremism is not limited by a particular geographical area. He said, “The bitter truth is that extremism is not limited by a particular geographical area, but rather by a virtual world. This blight will never die even if it is militarily defeated at Da’esh’s different locations in Iraq and Syria. The same thing applies to al-Qaeeda; it has not been defeated, it has become more widespread after the fall of its former protector Taliban. The survival of terrorism is closely linked to the survival of its ideas which serve as its nourishing lines.”

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed emphasized “the more we raise our fears about Islam without revealing the moderation ratio which represents 200,000 people compared to one person of terrorist extremism; and the more moderate Muslim communities are provoked against the backdrop of those desperate terrorist attempts that take place every now and then among all daily crimes everywhere in the world; when this happens, we give terrorism great support and a big boost.”

“The more we move towards defeating terrorism,” said Sheikh Dr. Mohammed, “the lesser followers will it have, and eventually will fade into isolation. Then history’s lesson would have been served on its account, the same way it has been served with its predecessors in all religions.”

MWL Chief concluded by reiterating his thanks and appreciation to the host for her hospitality and thank the gathering for their attention.

Baroness Uddin Welcomed
The MWL Secretary General
Baroness Manzila Uddin, Peer of the House of Lords, while welcoming the distinguished guest Sheikh Dr. Mohammed al-Isa, other distinguished and honoured guests, mentioned about the middle of the month of Shaban. She said, “Today is a special day in the Islamic calendar. It is the middle of the month of Shaban popularly referred to as Shab-e-Barat or the Night of Forgiveness. Traditionally it is a day that marks self-reflection and a period of forgiveness that precedes the Holy Month of Ramadan.”

Baroness Uddin also referred to the forthcoming month of Ramadan and what the British Muslims do during this month. She said, “Ramadan is a special time – a Divine gift from God. It is a period of introspection, contemplation, restraint, generosity and sharing; all the things that epitomize the basic teachings of Islam.”

“It is a month where British Muslim joins their brothers and sisters in Islam across the world, not only in intensifying their acts of worship but acts compassion. During this month British Muslims, despite the socio-economic challenges they face, collect millions of pounds in charity to share with those less fortunate around the world. It is an acknowledged fact that we are by far the most generous of communities in giving,” she mentioned.

Talking about the system of alms distribution, Baroness Uddin said, “In Britain our system of distribution of alms is still developing and we need to focus and invest more in basic institutions that are essential for nurturing, creating and sustaining healthy and viable communities across the country.”

Muslim World League and its efforts
Appreciating the global efforts of the Muslim World League and looking forward for fruitful cooperation with it, Baroness Uddin said, “Your Excellency we welcome you and your organisation wholeheartedly and look forward to years of fruitful co-operation. The global efforts of the Muslim World League on the work it does serving Muslim communities as they face the challenges of modernity, relevancy and for supporting infrastructure building is much appreciated. Besides charitable giving the MWL does invaluable work in the field of education and inter and intra faith dialogue. We hope and pray that the MWL under your leadership can further increase its role as peacemakers in a world caught in chaos, turmoil and change.”

Baroness Uddin emphasized “the most outstanding task of our times is to bring people together in an atmosphere of peace and justice.”

Baroness Uddin emphasized the Role of Women
While emphasizing the role of women in this critical endeavour, Baroness Uddin mentioned, “Like most of our sisters across the world, British Muslim women are dynamic, eager for change and in the frontline in the struggle for social engagement and social justice. I daresay that no meaningful change can take place without their partnership, insight and commitment. Thanks be to God we in Britain have no legal issue in the wearing of hijab in public in both private and public places. Our struggle is much more fundamental than dress code; it is about our society lifting the glass ceiling or ‘veil’ that makes it difficult for our contribution in society to be taken seriously and valued.”

“We are weary of excuses and shibboleths that actively deny us the role of being agents of change – in our masjids, our madrassas and even our homes,” she mentioned.

Baroness Uddin also said to the MWL’s Secretary General to fully integrate women in all its work. She said, “Your Excellency, we pray that an organisation like MWL, which has pioneered the art of soft diplomacy, will embrace this challenge of fully integrating women in all spheres of your work which you lead. Muslim women need to be facilitated and empowered to take the destiny of their children, their families and their communities in their nurturing hands, defined by compassion, accountability and ethical behavior.”

“Humanity is caught up in tsunami of conflict, war and suffering and plight, there is much need for peacemakers,” she said and added, “One of the critical component of a peaceful society is the empowered role of women in playing their full part in rebuilding communities, joining hands to build peace with their fellow brothers and sisters and respond collectively to the many challenges of our time.”

Talking about her activities, Baroness Uddin mentioned she first began working in her community thirty five years ago; there were not enough encouragement for Muslim women in the public arena. She mentioned, “Over the past 19 years as parliamentarian I am glad to say we have witnessed some progress.  Your Excellency, you will appreciate it is not enough. I hope you will employ your good office to improve this situation - for there has never been greater impetus for unity for promoting peace and security.”

Baroness Uddin also mentioned about her programmes and projects. She said, “In my small way I continue to work on various programmes to ensure women who wish to work across all the communities, engage on a national platform have access to this House.  Indeed, we can take pride in the immense contribution we and our families have made to making of this nation.  I am currently undertaking one such project which celebrate our heritage and history which I know will provide a powerful message for our young people. I hope you will join hands with us in this endeavour and personally support this programme.”

Dr. Ahmed Al-Dubayan
Dr. Ahmed al-Dubayan, Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre, London said, “First of all, it is a great privilege for me and honour to stand here to talk to you. I would like to express my deep thanks to the right honourable Baroness Uddin inviting me today actually to speak. As she just said it’s a really remarkable day that we have this biggest figure for us in London and we are so happy and pleased to come together.”

Muslim World League and
Its Secretary General
Dr. al-Dubayan then introduced the Secretary General of the Muslim World League by saying, “The Secretary General of the Muslim world League is a very very important figure in the Islamic world for many reasons. For those who do not know about the Muslim World League allow me a few more minutes, or a few minutes to summarize the facts about this great international organisation. Muslim World League was established in 1962 and since that time this leading organisation working in all continents of the world providing a lot of services, establishing many institutions, schools, centres, mosques etc.”

“The role that they have played are very major and important; serving different fields - relief, education, dialogue, developing Islamic institutions and centres, women care, supporting peace among the communities etc,” Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned.

Dr. al-Dubayan also mentioned about the new dimension which Secretary General of the Muslim World League was talking about. He said, “You have just mentioned I listened to you yesterday the new dimension that you have. The new dimension is the most important thing coming to now; after the stage of establishment. It is time now to start really as you just said yesterday and I hear from you to support really the communities to be connected, to be integrated and to be involved in civil societies in which they live here in the U.K. and in other countries around the world.”

Dr. al-Dubayan also mentioned about our mission to fight radicalisation, fight Islamophobia. He said, “It is really our mission, all of us, is to fight radicalisation, is to fight Islamophobia, Islamophobic feeling.”

Mentioning those many leaders from the Muslim communities along with many friends of Muslim communities in the gathering, Dr. Al-Dubayan said, “We have many VIPs and distinguished guests. I think this is a good chance to open this and put our hands together to have really better future and to have a better chance.”

Speaking about the need of the Muslim communities in the United Kingdom, Dr. al-Dubayan said, “Muslim communities in the UK need lot of things; we have lot of things and we have lot of unaccomplished projects that we have started. We really need support our hands together for better future, for safety and well-being of the society.”

Speaking about the forthcoming month of Ramadan, Dr. Al-Dubayan said, “We have mainly 15 days before Ramadan. I would like to express my congratulations to all of you actually for the coming of the month of Ramadan, the month of peace and the month of worship. It is really the time when all Muslims during fasting go through spiritual experience. For this experience also brings to let them feel they have families of other people; have feeling about the poor, the needy have those who don’t have really find food, all only one month in a year.”

Friday, 12 May 2017

Majority of Winners at Muslim News Awards 2017 were Women

Majority of winners at the Fifteenth Muslim
News Awards for Excellence event were women

Dr. Mozammel Haque

The majority of the winners at the Fifteenth Muslim News Awards for Excellence event were women. Congratulating all the winners and those who were shortlisted for the awards, the Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi, said that this was the first time that women won more than half the awards presented at the ceremony. “This shows that, unlike what the politicians and the media report, Muslim women are high achievers and hugely contribute to the country,” Versi said.

60% of the winners were women and 53% were from outside London. Chair of the Independent Panel of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence Judges, Rabbi Janet Darley, commented on a large number of women winning the awards, saying: “This shows how active and involved in society Muslim women are contrary to some misperceived perceptions.”

The Fifteenth Muslim News Award for Excellence 2017
Over 570 people from all sections of society, from the worlds of politics, business, sports, the arts, as well as civic and religious leaders celebrated the achievements of the unsung heroes of British Muslim and non-Muslim communities at the 15th of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event – Britain’s longest standing Muslim awards event – on Monday, 27th of March 2017 at Marriot Hotel London. The coveted award ceremony recognised the very best of Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to British society.

Guest of Honour
Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, MP
Guest of Honour at the event, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid, MP, said: “Look around this room tonight. Educators, scientists, entrepreneurs; leading figures in sport, media and the arts; Muslims saving lives as doctors and changing lives through politics. I’m talking about incredible people who show to the non-Muslim world what Muslims are capable of. The good that our community can do – and does – day in, day out.”

In his keynote speech, Javid said many of the guests at the event are the children or grandchildren of immigrants who “work hard, build something positive and give their children and grandchildren a better life.”

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities 
and Local Government (Photo: James Gifford-Mead/Muslim News)
However, he added, they didn’t give up their identities. “They were proud of their heritage, proud to be Muslims. And they recognised that the values they held dear – hard work, honesty, integrity, and a determination to do good. They recognised that those weren’t just Muslim values, they were British values too.”

The Guest of Honour said that the first generation Muslims were the “pioneers of our community, and we owe them all a debt of gratitude. Not just for what they have done for us in the past, but for the way in which their lessons will endure for many years to come.”

“Because tonight, when the night seems darkest, the beliefs, ideals and values that we learned from our faith and from previous generations can serve as our astrolabe. They can guide us. They can show us the way. If we abide by them, they will help lead our community through stormy seas, just as they did for our parents and our grandparents. The people in this room exemplify those values.”

He thanked all the winners and nominees “for all the good that you do.” He said he was “proud to be British and proud to be Muslim”

Special guest included Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Chairman, Intelligence and Security Committee, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP, SNP Westminster Spokesperson, International Trade, Rt Hon Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs & Chief Whip

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.

Messages of support to the event
from all party leaders
Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, who has attended the event in the past, sent a video message: “The Muslim News Awards are a wonderful contributions Muslims make in every sphere of life, from business leaders creating jobs in the country to sports stars winning for Britain and our whole country proud…with Muslims and non-Muslims coming together in solidarity.

“Tonight we celebrate not just the best of Muslim community but the very best of Britain. So as Prime Minister, on behalf of the whole country, I want to thank everyone of you for all that you do and all that you give to our country and I wish you all a great evening.”

Prime Minister Theresa May also said, “Having attended the awards in the past, I know what a fantastic and enjoyable occasion the Muslim News Awards is. I hope everyone – whether you’re a nominee, a guest or a supporter – has a fantastic evening. And let me send special congratulations to the lucky winners.”

Opposition Leader, Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, said the Muslim News Awards for Excellence “are a fantastic opportunity to recognise the huge contribution that is made to many aspects of our society by the Muslim community in the United Kingdom.”

“The Muslim Awards for Excellence are a fantastic showcase of the benefits of multiculturalism and a truly diverse society, flying in the face of rising racism, prejudice, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism across Europe and America. We must be forever vigilant in protecting hard won freedoms and rights for all in the face of those who want to curtail them,” said Corbyn.
 “This awards ceremony is an important opportunity to recognise the huge contribution that Muslims across Britain make to our country every day, showcasing the talent and excellence of individuals in their fields of expertise.

Corbyn congratulated “all of the nominees and winners at tonight’s awards. I wish you all the very best as you continue to go from success to success.”

SNP Westminster Leader, Rt Hon Angus Robertson MP, said: “These are the shining lights of the UK’s Muslim communities; role models to inspire younger generations. This event allows a fantastic opportunity to showcase these talents and it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at The Muslim News that the event continues to go from strength to strength.”

“Muslim communities in Scotland and across the UK play an integral role our national life and it is important to have the opportunity to commend examples of this positive impact and valuable contribution.”

Robertson congratulated “all the nominees and winners this evening.”

Ahmed J Versi, Editor of The Muslim News said in his welcoming speech: “I would like to thank all our readers who took the time to nominate men, women and children whose endeavours and activities mark them out for recognition of excellence.

Mr. Versi mentioned, “As in previous years, we have been humbled by the quality and quantity of entries for each award category.”

“At these awards too we identify not only those British Muslims who have excelled in their fields and contributed to the society, but also those who are not Muslims who have stood up to defend Muslims,” Mr. Versi said.

Welcome speech by Ahmed J Versi,
Ahmed Versi, the Editor and Publisher of The Muslim News welcomed all those who have been nominated for the awards this evening. He also expressed thank to all the readers who took the time to nominate men, women and children whose endeavours and activities mark them out for recognition of excellence.

In his welcome speech, Versi said, “Tonight we mark a special milestone as we celebrate the fifteenth ‘The Muslim News Awards for Excellence’, a major feature in the British Muslim calendar. When we established The Muslim News Awards in 2000, we did so to honour another milestone: the tenth anniversary of our newspaper. The paper was established with the aim of reporting the diverse Muslim community’s highs and lows, charting how it has grown, in spite of the brickbats thrown at it. A diverse community bound by common ties of faith, we believed and continue to believe that Muslims have much to offer society because of our great faith. We also set ourselves the aim to be an entity that affected positive change.”

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence gala dinner 
March 27 (Photo: Abdul Datoo/Muslim News)

Giving the background of the Muslim News Award for Excellence, Versi mentioned, “While we made special effort to celebrate our community, we felt that such a celebration needed to move beyond our pages, and so, The Muslim News Awards were established. Today, as you peruse through the awards brochure and read the stories of the nominees, you will realise how far our community has come. You will find out about Muslims who are raising standards in education, making the latest breakthrough in science and spearheading creativity in the arts and design.”

The Editor said the awards ceremony showcases “the brilliance of the British Muslim community - huge contributions made by diverse men, women and young people from around the country. You will also find Muslim activists who have done much to improve the lives of others, and of non-Muslims who have worked hard to improve the lives of Muslims.”

Since the year 2000, almost 700 individuals and organisations have had the honour of being shortlisted and 232 awarded a Muslim News Award.  To date 94 independent judges from a cross-section of civil society, have sifted through large numbers of submissions to seek out excellence within the community.

Versi said, “After more than 15 years, these awards have succeeded in their aim of highlighting positive stories to produce a counter-narrative to the plethora of negativity about Muslims and Islam.”

Referring to the present global scenario, Versi said that we now live “at the cusp of a potentially dangerous new era which is seeing populist leaders rally supporters by scapegoating anyone who is different.  It is at a time like this that I hope we can rally around the spirit generated by these awards: a spirit that celebrates achievements and what unites us and brings communities together to pave the way for a shared future.”

Versi concluded his welcoming speech by saying, “Tonight we are celebrating talents in our community, not only excelling in their respective professions but also contributing to the country. I feel so honoured and proud to be in the company of our role models.”

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, MP
SNP Westminster Spokesperson on International Trade, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, praising the awards which demonstrate the contribution Muslims make to the society, said, “We should all be very proud of ourselves in these difficult times.”

The award she presented was for Enterprise and is named after the Prophet’s wife, Khadijah, whose life and achievements were published in the awards brochure. “If there was any question please read what it says in the brochure, of women’s place in Islam. We are equal of every man. Khadijah was an entrepreneur and indeed, was the one who proposed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in marriage. So don’t allow anyone question the status of women in Islam. We are indeed equal,” the MP said.

Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Dominic Grieve MP, reflected on how much the event has grown over the years. “Look how the people who have been coming along have been widened, the group of people taking an interest has grown – all that process when we bring human communities together to work for the common good.”

Winners and Presenters of Award for Excellence
This Awards ceremony is about recognising those individuals who aspire to attain their very best as members of the British Muslim society. It is those British Muslims and non-Muslims that have proven themselves worthy of recognition for their contribution to Britain that we are here to honour this evening.

Alhambra Award for Excellence in Arts was awarded to Shahida Ahmed, ceramic Artist and Painter, who was awarded a licentiateship in 1996 from the Society of Designer Craftsmen in London. She has showcased her work internationally, most recently at the Mayor of London’s Eid in the Square event at Trafalgar Square. This Award was presented to her by Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Annemarie Schimmel Award for Championing a Muslim Cause was given to David Gould and Liz Gould, the dedicated community workers, who, despite losing their daughter Helen to the horrific terrorist bombings in London on 7 July 2005, have vigorously supported the most vulnerable refugees, particularly Muslims. Inspired by their Christian faith, the couple set up Sanctus St Marks, an organisation that aims to welcome, support and walk alongside people who are isolated, due to leaving behind the country of their birth to seek sanctuary in the UK. They also established Interfaith Council in Carlisle. Through this initiative, in 2010 they organised the first ever Indonesian Evening at the Carlisle Cathedral which was the first time that seven different scriptures were read in that building in 900 years. This Award was presented by Mohamed Amersi, Founder of Inclusive Ventures Group.

Ahmed J Versi, Editor, The Muslim News and Rt Hon 
Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities 
and Local Government (Photo: James Gifford-Mead/Muslim News)

Malcolm X Young Person’s Award for Excellence was given to Shaheen Mohammed Al Mamun, young lawyer who was conferred with the University of Westminster Student Achievement Award and was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Junior Lawyer of the Year by the Law Society Excellence Award 2016. Outside his profession, Shaheen was elected the BME Officer for the London Green Party and he serves his local community at the Holborn Muslim Community Association. This Award was presented by Othman Moqbel, CEO, Human Appeal.

Alija Izetbegovic Award for Good Citizenship was given to Malia Bouattia, first Muslim woman to be elected the President of the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2016. She previously held the role of NUS Black Students’ officer. As a student leader, Malia has campaigned tirelessly for equal rights and for the underprivileged. Malia has addressed the UN in Geneva about the harmful effects of Prevent, Britain’s anti-extremism scheme in schools; she has worked on the Why Is My Curriculum White campaign, and she has a strong network of student supporters on social media. Malia lives in Birmingham with her family and is a student at the University of Birmingham. This Award was presented by Assed Baig Messenger and Sponsored by Armed Forces Muslim Association.

Uthman Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development was awarded to Shazuli Iqbal, Chair and Co-founder of the Wiltshire Islamic Cultural Centre (WICC), which was formed to serve the educational, social and moral needs of the growing Muslim Community in Wiltshire and to reach out to the wider community. Under his leadership a soup kitchen has been set up for the local homeless people. Under his guidance WICC has also managed to secure a grant from Wiltshire Council for youth activities. Shahzuli is also a trustee of the Wiltshire Racial Equality and a former trustee of Stepping Stones, an organisation for children with special needs. The Award was presented by Sayed Lakhte Hassanain, Chairman of Muslim Hands; sponsored by Muslim Hands.

Al Biruni Award for Excellence in Community Relations was awarded to Emdad Rahman, a dedicated community activist, involved in raising money for many charities, most notably the Whitechapel Missions. He has acted as a mentor and worked with young people at schools in his local area of Tower Hamlets. As a result of his work, he has been a recipient of numerous civic awards, from the Mayor of the City of London as well as being named ‘Londoner of the Day’ by Mayor Boris Johnson. He was a Queen’s Baton Bearer at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2015. He was named an MBE in the Queen’s 2014 Honours List. This Award was presented by Abdirashid Duale, CEO, Dahabshiil, sponsored by Dahabshiil.

Sankore University Award for Excellence in Education was given to Rukhsana Yaqoob, who has taught for 30 years in a range of secondary schools, credited for being an outstanding teacher and school leader. As a member of the inclusion team in the National Strategies, Rukhsana worked to raise the attainment of Muslim pupils from underachieving schools in English, Mathematics and Science nationally. As President of the Muslim Teachers’ Association, Rukhsana has supported many teachers in various ways by providing training, advice, mentoring and networking opportunities. This Award was presented by Fadi Itani, Deputy Director General, Qatar Charity UK, sponsored by Qatar Charity UK.  

Fazlur Rahman Khan for Excellence in Engineering, Science and Technology was awarded to Dr Mohamed Bashir Gadi, an Associate Professor at Nottingham University and Director and Admissions Tutor for the MSc course Renewable Energy and Architecture. Dr Gadi was awarded the Gold Medal for best research work on energy modelling presented at the international Energex’98 conference. He also developed, modelled and tested a Novel Energy Conscious Building-integrated System for low cost housing, for which he was awarded the Gold Medal. He has presented at several academic conferences around the world, including at UNESCO, and the United Nations. This Award was presented by Imam Qasim Rashid Ahmed, Chair, Al-Khair Educational and Cultural Centre, sponsored by Al-Khair Foundation.

Ummul Mu'minin Khadijah Award for Excellence in Enterprise was awarded to Zohra Khaku, founder of Halal Gems, a website dedicated to showcasing the very best halal restaurants. Zohra’s mission is to change the way people eat. She produced and presented the first halal food restaurant TV show, The Curious Foodie, on Sky’s British Muslim TV. Zohra has showcased her work most recently at the renowned Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) and in 2016; The Sunday Times featured Zohra as an example of a successful young entrepreneur. This Award was presented by Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP, SNP Westminster Spokesperson on International Trade.

Ibn Sina Award for Health was awarded to Dr Mehrunisha Suleman, a bioethicist at Balliol College, Oxford, where she is researching Islamic perspectives on the ethics of Global Health Research in Developing Countries. She holds a BA in Biomedical Sciences Tripos from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Global Health Sciences from Oxford University. As a UNESCO trainer for ethics teachers, Mehrunisha has facilitated and delivered ethics teaching for researchers and practitioners through courses held in Kenya and Bangladesh. This Award was presented by Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General

Ibn Battuta Award for Excellence in Media was awarded to Nabila Ramdani, an award-winning French-Algerian journalist, columnist, and broadcaster who specialises in French politics, Islamic affairs, and the Arab World. She has established a long-standing reputation for producing fearless, balanced and honest reporting across a wide variety of media outlets. Nabila’s bylines have appeared in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian and Evening Standard. While she has produced exclusives and interviews from the Muslim world and Arab Spring, Nabila has also covered issues that are applicable to all Muslims living in western societies such as Britain, writing with acute sensitivity to the lives of Muslims living in the UK and in France. Nabila, who lives in London, was also the first journalist in the UK to expose poorly sourced stories linking refugees to attacks against women. This Award was presented by Imran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief; sponsored by Islamic Relief.

Faezeh Hashemi Award for Excellence in Sport was given to The Muslimah Sports Association, a volunteer-led organisation based in Ilford, East London, committed to providing opportunities and empowerment through sports to Muslim and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women. They offer a diverse range of sports, from basketball to karate, to squash and football, benefitting over 400 women from Muslim and BAME backgrounds. This Award was presented by Dr Nizar Merali, Trustee, The Salaam Centre, sponsored by The Salaam Centre.

Imams Hasan and Husayn Children's Award for Excellence was awarded to Shanzay Butt and Shezil Butt, who are twins and have been nominated for doing well at school in London despite suffering from a health condition that severely restricts their attendance in school. Despite prolonged absences, they return to school, catch up with the class and are always within the top 10% of academic performance in all their subjects. Not only do these girls excel academically, the twins take part in varied extracurricular activities. Both girls have volunteered with St John’s Ambulance, and are currently training to become St John’s Ambulance cadets and have also learnt sign language to enable them to help the deaf. This Award was presented by Rt Hon Tom Brake MP, Whip, Liberal Democrat

Imam wa Amal Special Award was given to Mohammed Zafran. This Award was presented by Rabbi Janet Darley, Chair of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence Independent Panel of Judges.

The Editor’s Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Unaiza Malik, Director, African Muslim Welfare Trust. This award was presented to her by Ahmed J Versi, Editor, The Muslim News & Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP Chairman, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

All winners received a beautifully and intricately designed brass astrolabe, the iconic image of the fourteenth-year-old awards ceremony. The astrolabe was a highly developed tool used throughout the Muslim world to measure the altitude of stars and planets. By the eighth century, they were used to aid navigation, locate the Qiblah (the direction towards the Ka’bah in Makkah Muslims face when praying), calculate the lunar calendar and to assess meteorological conditions.

The Muslim News continues to be the largest circulating, not only Muslim newspaper but ethnic paper too, reaching over 150,000 people in the UK and the website receives up to 1.5 million hits a month.