Top (L-R) Wasim Gulzar Khan, Bushra Altaf Sheikh, Ayub Kha, Maire Ahamed Tejani, bottom: Dr Kaneez Shaid, Nasreen Akhter Mohammed, Saleh Saeed
By Ali Manji
This year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours rewarded the work of almost 1200 people around the world, and only sixteen of those accolades were received by members of the Muslim community: 9 men, and 7 women. 19 members of the Hindu and Sikh communities (1 CBE, 3 OBE, 13 MBE, 2 BEM) and 23 from the Jewish community (4 Knighthood, 1 KBE, 1 Companion of the Order, 6 CBE, 5 OBE, 4 MBE, 2 BEM) were also recognised.
These awards (3 OBE, 11 MBE, 2 BEM) represent achievement in many fields: business, humanitarian work, healthcare and literature to name a few.
Among those who is to be made an OBE is Saleh Saeed, CEO of Disasters Emergency Committee, for services to humanitarian work.
Saleh also led Islamic Relief as CEO for four years through a major period of growth and organisational change. During this time he was ultimately responsible for 1,500 staff based in 24 countries and oversaw an increase in income of 45 percent from £48m to £70m.
On receiving the honour Saeed said, “I’m truly and deeply honoured to receive this honour. It makes me feel very humble too, because I think of all the people who make a huge contribution in humanitarian work in this country and abroad. ”
Wasim Khan was given an MBE, for services to cricket and the community.
In 1990, Wasim became the first British born Pakistani to play professional cricket in England, playing for 11 years for three counties: Warwickshire, Sussex and Derbyshire.
He was a double winner in the ground breaking Warwickshire team in 1995. His autobiography, Brim Full of Passion, was voted Wisden Book of the Year in 2006.
In 2005 he was recruited as Operations Director by Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England to set up the £50 million cricket charitable campaign called Chance to Shine.
Speaking to The Muslim News, Wasim said he felt “very honoured” at being recognised in the Honours List. He added that it was great that the work that British Muslims are doing “can be recognised and hopefully serves as an example of what can be achieved.”
Also among those being made an MBE is Warwickshire Head of Libraries Ayub Khan (for services to libraries in Warwickshire), whose library career began almost 20 years ago. Since then, he has been awarded the Centenary Medal from the Library Association for services to librarianship (1998) and was highly commended in the personal achievement category of the CILIP Diversity Awards (2003
Khan, in a statement to The Muslim News, said he was “thrilled, honoured, humbled – and taken aback.”
He added that “it has taken the hard work and dedication of many people – not just me.”
Dr Kaneez Shaid is to be made an MBE as well, for services to young people and the community in east London. As the Director of Marketing and External Relations at Sir George Monoux College, she has dedicated over 14 years of service to transforming the lives of 14 to 19 year olds living in east London’s most socially-deprived areas.
As a trustee and community leader of Citizens UK she shared an international televised stage debate with the Prime Minister at a London public assembly. She also helped develop Citizens UK’s Living Wage Campaign, resulting in over £70m in living wages for lowest paid workers.
She told The Muslim News that she is “deeply touched by this recognition; it took me by surprise. I still have not recovered from the shock of it! ”
She added that “Changing people’s lives is what I do, it’s what our College does and it is what Citizens UK is all about,” before dedicating her MBE to “all those who I have worked with.”
Bushra Sheikh, a West Yorkshire Probation Officer, is also to be made an MBE, for services to probation work including ethnic minority communities and for charitable services. She joined the West Yorkshire Probation Trust in 1988 and was appointed the first Asian Probation Officer in 1991 and as a Senior Probation Officer in 2001. Following the Bradford riots, she worked to rehabilitate offenders, to protect the public, improve community cohesion and to prevent any future disturbances.
She told The Muslim News that she hoped “this award will inspire others”, and quoted the Qur’an, saying that “saving one life is like saving the whole of humanity.”
Diversity advisor for the Tayside Police Nasreen Mohammed has received the newly reintroduced BEM, for services to the advancement of diversity and equality in the Scottish police force. Nasreen has been working to advance equality and community cohesion for Tayside and the wider Scottish society for almost 30 years in a variety of contexts within the voluntary, charity and statutory sectors.
She also instigated the establishment of the Non-Emergency SMS Text Messaging Service, which helped to improve accessibility for people with hearing and speech impairments.
Talking to The Muslim News, she said, “I would consider it an honour to be seen as a positive Muslim role model”, and that being a British Muslim has “never been a barrier to achieving any goals.”
Full List of Muslims Honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honoured:
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE):
Kamal Basran, Founder, the Authentic Food Company, for services to Business and Charity, Wilmslow, Cheshire.
Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive Officer, Disasters Emergency Committee, for services to Humanitarian Work, West Bromwich, West Midlands.
Shahid Sheikh, Formerly Chairman, Institute of Directors, Leicestershire, for services to Business in the East Midlands, Leicester, Leicestershire.
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE):
Dr Mohammad Farqad Alamgir, Clinical director for Cardiac and Neurosciences, Castle Hill Hospital, East Yorkshire, for services to Cardiology, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire.
Abubakar Chunara, Founder, Trafford Muslim Society, for services to the Muslim community in Trafford, Manchester.
Jameel Hadi, Manager, Participation Through Sport, for services to Young People in the North West of England, Withington, Greater Manchester.
Basir Sultan Kazmi, Poet, for services to Literature, Sale, Cheshire.
Ayub Khan, Head of Library and Information Services, Warwickshire County Council, for services to Libraries in Warwickshire, Solihull, West Midlands.
Wasim Gulzar Khan, Director of Operations, the Cricket Foundation and Leader, Chance To Shine, for services to Cricket and the community, London.
Zahur Ahmed Parkar, Founder, Network Staff Support Group, Home Office, London, for public service to Equality and Diversity, Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
Zaheeda Sakhawat, Higher Executive Officer, Operations, Department for Work and Pensions, for services to the DWP and for voluntary service to the community in Coventry, West Midlands.
Dr Kaneez Shaid, for services to Young People and the community in East London.
Bushra Altaf Sheikh, Senior Probation Officer, West Yorkshire Probation Trust, for services to Probation Work including Ethnic Minority communities and for charitable service, Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Maire Ahamed Tejani, Executive Officer, Department for Education, for services to Education and for charitable services through Yaarah Schools Charity in Ghana, London.
British Empire Medal (BEM):
Anisa Haghdadi, Social Entrepreneur, for services to Education and Young People, Birmingham, West Midlands.
Nasreen Akhter Mohammed, Diversity Adviser, Tayside Police, for services to the advancement of Diversity and Equality in the Scottish Police Force, Dundee.