The Muslim Council of Britain yesterday held their second Young Muslim Beacon Awards in a ceremony in Westminster. The Awards recognise those grassroots community organisations who inspire excellence in their work with young people.
The 2009 winners were the Leicestershire based-BUILD Development Project; the national student body the Federation of Students Islamic Societies (FOSIS), and the disability charity the RADAR Leadership Project.
In his commendation of the winners, the Awards' external judge Neil Jameson, Executive Director of London Citizens, said, `it is inspirational to see all the outstanding work that is happening. The winners have all carried out exceptional work. Their work is to be highly commended and will hopefully serve as examples to the rest of the country'.
The Awards were presented at Westminster House by MCB Secretary General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Lord Sheikh of Cornhill, Alistair Burt MP, Opposition Assistant Chief Whip and the Chair of the Department for Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Dr Phyllis Starkey MP. The ceremony was attended by over 100 of MCB's Affiliates, youth groups and civic society representative bodies from across the UK, which saw people from all backgrounds converge to celebrate the work of the three organisations receiving the awards.
Presenting the Awards Alistair Burt MP, Opposition Assistant Chief Whip said, `The Muslim Council of Britain wants to emphasise what their young people are doing and the contribution they are making to the nation arrives at the most important time in the development of our society. It's very, very important that everybody sees this and welcomes it, and I think this is the best counter to those who seek to separate and divide and you'll find us all standing shoulder to shoulder to defend our unity. I'm delighted to see this. It's a very important work that's being done. I'm very pleased to be here and I look forward to supporting this for many years to come'.
The Chair of the Department for Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Dr Phyllis Starkey MP said, `I think what the MCB's Youth Committee is doing in encouraging young people within the community is to reach out to the communities in Britain to play your full part as active citizens of this country. It is incredibly important as you are examples for your community and for the country as a whole'.
Speaking of the Awards, Youth Committee Vice-Chair Kawsar Zaman who coordinated the event said, `the awards are about bringing some positive light to the excellent work some organisations across the country are already doing to address some of the most important issues concerning young Muslims, and it's superb to recognise and celebrate that work". Kawsar Zaman also also thanked Helping Hands for their support in sponsoring the event.
Representatives of the three award winning organisations spoke of their delight and asked for support from all in their voluntary work for the good of the nation.
In his keynote address to the reception, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari emphasised the need to promote good work: `All too often the good work in our community is overshadowed by a tiny minority who do otherwise, and the negative portrayal from sections of the media and political class. I hope these awards serve as a reminder in highlighting the great work already taking place in our country. The winners have all made unique contributions to their localities and wider society at large'.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's largest Muslim umbrella body with around 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
2. Young Muslim Beacon Awards 2009 is a project of the MCB's Youth Committee. There are only three winners each year and they are awarded solely on the basis of the application form they submitted.
3. The RADAR Leadership Project is part of a disability charity who ensure the training and development of young disabled Muslims to take part in civic and community activities. Leicestershire based BUILD Development Project work in madrassas (community schools) and community centres tackling issues such as crime and substance misuse with boys and girls; and the national student body the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) won for their sustained work and services over the decades to help Muslim students in the universities.
4. 2008 Young Muslim Beacon Award winners: Association of Muslim Researchers (AMR), Federation of Muslim Youth Organisations (Leicester), and PEACE in Youth Project.
5. The event was kindly sponsored by Helping Hands and by Lord Sheikh of Cornhill and Alistair Burt MP. The MCB Youth Committee is grateful to 'Invite Media' and 'Raylight Studios' for their media services.
For further information please contact the MCB:
The Muslim Council of Britain,
PO Box 57330,
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079