The readership of The Muslim News ( UK) selected and nominated them, and our distinguished panel of Judges reviewed, deliberated and mused over the list and here they are.
The illustrious men, women, children and projects deemed to be worthy of short-listing for a Muslim News Award for Excellence. These exemplars of good practice, excellence – our future role models – will be treated to a Gala Evening in the presence of their peers and other renowned guests in March, when the finalists are announced for the  coveted Awards for Excellence.
Al-Biruni award for excellence in Community Relations
Islam Awareness Week is a project of the Islamic Society of Britain and has been running for 12 years. It aims to improve relations between peoples and develop understanding of Islam through exhibitions, talks, art/culture and public events across the country. In 2005, Islam Awareness Week consisted of 100 events in 37 different locations.
Musharraf Hussain is an educationalist and Director of the Karimia Institute in Nottingham. He is also an advisor to the Muslim Council of Britain and the founder of a Muslim boarding school based in Nottingham. He is the author of thirteen books on traditional Islamic teachings and a frequent contributor to BBC Radio Nottingham. He was one of two Muslims from Britain who tried to secure the release of the murdered hostage Ken Bigley.
Sarah Joseph is a writer and founding editor of the London-based Muslim lifestyle magazine, Emel, which is now read in 30 countries. A frequent commentator for the international media, Sarah was awarded an OBE in 2004 for services to interfaith relations. She converted to Islam at the age of 16.
Alija Izetbegovic award for Good Citizenship
Emdad Rahman is involved in a vast number of diverse voluntary and community activities in Tower Hamlets. As a self-taught journalist, he contributes to a number of newspapers and is the Editor of Bangla Mirror, the first newspaper representing Bangladeshi Britons. He has raised hundreds of pounds for charity through his fundraising, including running in marathons. One of the most important aspects of his work is with the youth. As a mentor he teaches them voluntarily at weekends and helping them with job applications and interviews. He is also a school governor.
Khurshid Drabu, a Senior Immigration Judge, works in promoting equal rights for Muslims in the UK and advises on various panels and government bodies. He was instrumental in drafting the constitution of the Muslim Council of Britain and is a founder trustee of the Kashmiri Medical Relief Trust. He is also an advisor to the Ministry of Defence on Islamic Affairs.
Muddassar Arani is a human rights lawyer based in London who specialises in representing Muslims and other minorities in civil rights cases. She also regularly addresses conferences, rallies and civil rights gatherings as well as lecturing in mosques and universities. She has published and distributed over half a million leaflets entitled Know Your Rights.
Faezeh Hashemi award for excellence in Sports
Ranked in the world’s top 100 badminton players, English No. 1 Aamir Ghaffar has represented England in the under-19s Six Nations and European championships. His victories include the Wimbledon and Middlesex opens and he has played in international circuits. Originally from Afghanistan, Aamir lives in London.
Bilal Mustapha Shafayat made history in English cricket by making his debut for Nottinghamshire at the age of 16, as well as being the youngest player to hit a century. He added to this success by being the first England batsman to score a double century in an under-19 test cricket match against India.
Stanmore Football Club (SFC) provides a safe and sociable environment for young Muslims to participate in football. It is an opportunity for them to enjoy the sport and experience a team spirit, while enabling them to reach their full potential. SFC teams have won several tournaments and have had representatives at both national and international level. The Club also caters for youngsters with special needs.
Ibn Sina award for Health
Dr Fatima Husain is a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, Berkshire and Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot, with special interests in fertility. She is a former fellow in reproductive medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital, London. Her sensitivity and expertise benefits Muslim women and her voluntary work includes advising the Muslim Women’s Helpline and Maternity Alliance for Muslim Women.
Manchester-based charity Mediconcern aims to educate Muslims about good health through seminars, lectures, meetings and advocacy work. Its publication, Shifaa, promotes understanding of Islamic medical ethics, history and issues of relevance to Muslims.
Syed Nayyar Abidi is a writer and health promotion specialist based in Manchester. He is a member of several healthcare organisations and was founding Secretary General of the Association of Pakistani Graduates (UK), which has helped several medical professionals, refugees and asylum seekers. In 2002, he published his first bilingual book: Prevention is Always Better Than Cure.
Annemarie Schimmel award for excellence in Championing a Muslim Cause
Clive Stafford-Smith is a London-based human rights lawyer and civil rights advocate. His clients include detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He has some forty Muslim clients in both the UK and US courts. Before returning to London, he worked for many years in the US representing prisoners on Death Row in several US states.
For the last fifty years Cynthia Capey has promoted understanding between Muslims, Christians and Jews in Suffolk. She has been supportive of the local Muslim community, campaigning vigorously to advance a better understanding of Islam in schools, church circles, statutory and voluntary organisations. Through her work Muslims have been invited to give talks about Islam in school assemblies and police officers have visited the local mosque.
As Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone plays an important role in building bridges and developing good relations between the West and the Muslim world. He has been instrumental in raising awareness about issues affecting Muslims and generating dialogue between Muslim organisations and his local government.
Fazlur Rahman Khan award for excellence in Engineering, Science and Technology
Nadir Ahmad uses his scientific knowledge to help solve problems of Muslim communities, both here and abroad. Based in London, he is involved in the affairs of his fellow Iraqis and also gives interviews on Arab satellite TV. He writes on current affairs in various newspapers and magazines.
As one of the youngest Chief Technology Officers of a major UK corporation, Saeed Patel has been responsible for building complex and cutting edge trading technology solutions. Apart from his accomplishments at work, he spends time on community projects, such as ‘Off The Streets’ in his local area Redbridge, and relief and education work in India.
Professor Saghir Akhtar is an internationally renowned academic in drug delivery of genome-based therapeutics. He is currently Chair of Drug Delivery and Director of the Centre for Genome Based Therapeutics at Cardiff University. He has won many awards and prizes for his work and is a prolific writer in his field, having written over 100 scientific papers.
Allama Iqbal award for Creativity in Islamic Thought
Abdelwahab El-Affendi is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster. He is the author of numerous books, including Turabi’s Revolution: Islam and Power
in Sudan (1991), Who Needs an Islamic State? (1991), Rethinking Islam and Modernity (2001), and writes for a number of newspapers and magazines such as African Affairs, Muslim World, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, and Journal of Democracy. He has contributed to works such as The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1998), Islam and Justice (1997), and Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Century (2003). He is a member of the Consultative Council of the Arab Human Rights Organisation in the UK and a trustee of the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue.
Dawud Noibi’s academic career has spanned over five decades. His work and contribution to Muslims both in his home country Nigeria and here in the UK includes teaching, interfaith work, counselling, da‘wah, writing articles and presenting at conferences.
Roger Abdul Wahhab Boase has written several books, including Pashtun Tales (2003). His latest publication, Islam and Global Dialogue, examines contemporary challenges in today’s world, especially in relation to interfaith dialogue. He is currently Honorary Research Fellow at Queen Mary College, University of London.
Alhambra award for excellence in the Arts
A qualified university teacher, Dr Suhair Al-Khayat attained her PhD in Architecture in 2004. Dr Al-Khayat has successfully merged her passion for Fine Art, Interior Design and Architecture. A member of Qatar’s Fine Art Society, Dr Al-Khayat has been exhibiting her work in Doha, Qatar, since 1997. Her solo art was also displayed at the Kufa gallery in Westbourne Grove, London, in October 2004.
On the architectural front, Dr Al-Khayat has won many competitions, including designing the military office multiplex at Fariq Bin Orman in 1997, where she was selected to design the GIS Headquarter Building. She was responsible for the design of offices for Qatar’s Armed Forces and its Work Engineering Unit.
Jamil Ahmed is an artist who combines European painting techniques and Islamic calligraphic disciplines. He founded the website jamilarts.com which is used to promote his work and the concept of beauty in Islam. It has provided artworks to various charity events, including the Asian earthquake appeal and has helped raise over £6,000, as well as sponsoring two community events in London last year.
Maysaloun Faraj has created her online gallery and published her book, both entitled Strokes of Genius. She has promoted the art work of expatriate Iraqi artists in the UK and her artwork reflects the untold sophistication of Islamic art in today’s world. She recently launched the Aya Gallery in Fulham High Street.
Imams Hasan and Husayn Children’s award for excellence
The Crescent Summer School Project (CSSP) scheme was set up in the Dallow and Biscot wards of Luton to address poor infrastructure and recreational facilities. The scheme, which was developed by Sujel Miah in particular, attracted over 300 young people and involved them in diversionary activities. The CSSP enabled young people to discuss issues such as racism, Islamophobia, community cohesion, crime, bullying, identity, and career aspirations.
Since a very young age Kaniz Fatima Shaikh took care of the house and of family members, including her mother during her ill health. At the age of 16 she took on the responsibility of running the family estate agency. The local community in Leicester, made up of both Muslims and Hindus, young and old, appreciates the work she does in helping them with housing, employment and other such issues.
MuslimYouth.net supports and promotes the work of its associated organisation, Muslim Youth Helpline. It organises and recruits volunteers and raises funds for training these volunteers. They have played a huge role in highlighting homelessness via a campaign organised in conjunction with Shelter. Their messages of support and ‘Id gifts have been offered to hundreds of prisoners for the second year in a row, and they have organised a 10km fun-run.
Uthman Dan Fodio award for excellence in Community
Haroon Karim has been Chairman of the Balham Mosque for over ten years and is a trustee of the East London Mosque and the Committee of Al-Risalah School, which recently achieved voluntary aided status. In 2001, he was awarded a Civic Award by the Mayor of Wandsworth for services to communities and received a special award from HRH Prince of Wales for commitment and dedication to community work.
Mohammed Amran has contributed to his local Bradford community, especially its youth. He has been involved in various aspects of community development. At only 22, he was the youngest ever Commissioner for the Commission for Racial Equality and later the first Muslim Commissioner for the Home Office. He was awarded an honorary degree at the age of 26 for his work with disadvantaged youth in Bradford.
Established in Nottingham at the time of the Balkan crisis in 1993, Muslim Hands has grown from the local initiative of a few Muslims to an international charity that now operates in 40 countries. It spends in excess of £5m annually on projects ranging from disaster relief, medical aid, education, tree planting and long-term development initiatives. It has also established long term development projects which include blood banks, orphan sponsorship scheme, libraries, eye-care camps, and water and sanitation schemes.
Having self published her first novel, Rainbow Hands, Rabina Khan is now setting up her own publishing company specialising in promoting new Muslim and Asian writers. Rabina was awarded a place on the Royal Literary Fund Mentoring Scheme and was asked to participate in the Spitalfields Women’s Literary Festival in 2004 and 2005. She is working on her next novel entitled Nari: A Story of a Woman.
Sankore University award for excellence in Education
Having set the record for achieving the highest number of GCSEs in the UK – 20 – Amran Hussain is currently undertaking 4 A Levels and hopes to study medicine. Whilst he has been accepted by Oxford, he has been offered the ‘Morehead Scholarship’ at the University of North Carolina. During the summer he studied Islamic Shar‘iah and Arabic at the Um Qurra University in Makkah for six weeks.
Hikmatali Shariff’s exam results – 6 A grades at A Level – have earned him a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, to read Mathematics, after which he plans to do Actuarial Science. He also helps his siblings and classmates in their studies. He has won many prizes for swimming and athletics and is a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. He has taken part in voluntary work such as helping in hospitals, building a shed for the poor and an Iraq orphan appeal.
Sophie Gilliat-Ray has been instrumental in establishing the first ever academic centre promoting scholarly and public understanding of Islam and Muslim life in Britain. The Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK (CSI-UK) at Cardiff was opened in 2005 and runs a Masters and Diploma in ‘Islam in Contemporary Britain’. At present, she is working on her latest book, Muslims in Britain: An Introduction, which is designed specifically for undergraduates.
Ummul Mu’minin Khadijah award for excellence in Enterprise
Since 1974, Mazhar Butt has seen his family business grow from one shop in Nottingham, to a multimillion pound business which is recognised as one of the largest speciality naan bread manufacturers in Europe, employing over 100 people. As a successful businessman he has reinvested into his local community through various charitable and community activities, including contributing to local Islamic schools, radio stations and community centres. He was given Lord Mayor’s Award for Industry in 1994 and 1997.
Nizar Merali has d
eveloped innovative solutions for providing health care for the local community. In 2003, he set up GP Direct which serves 12,500 patients and allows them to see any number of GPs 24 hours a day, whilst enabling doctors to share work hours within a team. The model is the first of its kind and several local authorities have shown an interest in adopting it. His community work includes setting up a Muslim Sunday morning school and he is also a trustee of the Imam Sahe Bu Zamaan Trust and Battlers Wells Foundation.
When Zarina Shaikh first arrived in the UK at the age of 15, she had no formal qualifications or experience of employment. Yet she obtained a degree in Housing Studies and is now the manager of a successful estate agency in Leicester. She has previously been Resident Manager for four housing associations and has set up a newsagents shop before embarking on her current business.
Ibn Battuta award for excellence in Media
Burhan Wazir is a journalist on The Times. He wrote a series of four articles in 2004 for The Times about life in Britain for young Muslims. He travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles to meet Muslims from different walks of life in order to understand the daily realities they live with.
Jon Snow is the main anchor for Channel 4 News. In addition to his role as presenter, he has travelled extensively in the Muslim world taking an in-depth look at events and developments. He recently published his autobiography, Shooting History.
Mohamed Ali Harrath is CEO of Islam Channel TV. He joined the station at a crucial period in its development and helped it to expand. The Channel is a focal point for Muslims and informs as well as entertains. Ali’s next ambition is for the station to be launched in the USA.
Ibn Khaldun award for excellence in promoting understanding between global cultures and faiths
Imam Abduljalil Sajid began his community work over thirty years ago. He has served on numerous advisory boards, management committees, government bodies, and national and local organisations. He has made concerted efforts in interfaith dialogue, including work with the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia; European Council of Religious Leaders; World Council of Muslims Inter-Faith Relations; Muslim Council of Britain; Ethnic Minorities Representatives Council; Maimonides Foundation; Imam of Brighton Islamic Mission.
Daud Abdullah is Assistant Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and Chair of its European and International Affairs Committee. He is a lecturer and has for the past ten years been a senior researcher at the Palestinian Return Centre. Musharraf Hussain, Director of the Karimia Institute in Nottingham, undertakes various community and charity work activities. In September 2004, they led the humanitarian mission to Iraq to rescue British hostage Ken Bigley. This undertaking helped to reduce tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in the UK.
Under the leadership of Ahmad Al-Rawi, the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE), which is based in Leicestershire, has lobbied for Muslim rights across Europe. It has set up a number of institutions to serve the Muslim community and promotes understanding of global cultures and faiths. It has established the Institute for Humanities, with branches in the UK and France. Al-Rawi helped set up the European Council for Fatwa and Research.