Dozens of Muslim volunteers, charity personnel and community campaigns from across the UK have been honored with the 2019 Fusion Awards during a ceremony in Backburn on July 6, Asian Image reported.
“It’s a great honor to be here today. I’m absolutely delighted to win the award, and I dedicate this to all the women in Lancashire,” said Hasina Khan of Chorley, the first Asian female mayor of Lancashire, who received the Woman of the Year award.
Finalists in 2019 included, Planet Mercy, ‘Near Neighbors Lancashire’, Al-Imdaad Foundation and Hidden Gems. In sports, the Muslim Pakistani swimmer Afia Hamid Minhas won the SKT Welfare Achievement in Sport Award.
Moreover, Mumtaz Ellahi Community Sports Award was presented to Oldham’s Red Star Bengal. The club, which was established in 1986, has provided football as a tool to divert Muslim youngsters away from drugs, violence, and anti-social behavior, as well as playing a key role in breaking cultural barriers.
The Education Achievement Award was presented to teenager Sahil Usman who fell ill in 2018 and was diagnosed with leukemia. The student decided to raise funds himself through sponsorship and collections and bought all the presents assisted by his cousin Maleeha. He donated his own spending money to the final amount which helped him buy special gifts.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Sarwat Jaleel who launched Kushboo, a natural and hand-crafted soap brand.
“For every soap I sell I donate another to across three charities a women’s refuge, a food bank and Homeless charity here in Blackburn,” Jaleel said.
Among the rewarded Muslim groups was the Curry Club which won the Community Group of the Year. The small group of Muslim women aging between 45 and 70 work to raise money through cooking.
A special award honored the work of Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF). The two groups which included several Muslim members have organized a range of protests against racism across the UK.
The winners have also held an event where 80 people have rallied in support of Manchester’s Didsbury Mosque. They protected it against English far-right groups and radicals who have threatened of attacking the mosque.
The Community Cohesion Award winner was Andrew Graystone who decided to stand outside Medina Mosque in Britain following the Christchurch Massacre in New Zealand while holding up a cardboard sign saying: “You’re my friends. I’ll keep watch while you pray.” Within 24 hours, Graystone had received over 100,000 messages of support.
Graystone’s message of solidarity went viral and after the prayers had concluded, hundreds came out to thank him while he was unaware the imam had commended his actions.
On the same track of encouraging coexistence in the UK, the Lifetime Community Achievement award went to the Strategic Officer of Bolton Interfaith Council, Chandrakant Parmar.
According to Fusion Facebook page, “the awards are a celebration of the achievements of the community.”
“The awards are to reward people from different backgrounds and cultures who help make the United Kingdom a better place to live and work. And that is what makes puts the Fusion Awards in a class of their own.
“It is the first awards ceremony organized by an ethnic minority organization which aims to be inclusive of the wider community and their efforts to promote community cohesion.”