Our leading Muslims: Power list celebrates the top 100 players boosting the nation

The Muslim community contributes more than £31bn to the economy, and much else besides to our lives. Last night, the business leaders, writers, academics, doctors, campaigners and aid agency founders who do most for Britain were honoured at an awards evening with a difference. Jonathan Thompson reports
Click to follow
The Independent Online

They range from lords to lawyers, from authors to sporting icons, pre-eminent academics to giants of industry. And they all have two things in common: all are Muslim - and all have made an outstanding contribution to British society.

Last night, the inaugural Muslim Power 100 list was announced at a glittering ceremony in the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane in London. Established to recognise Muslims who have made "significant contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of Britain", the awards have been praised by commentators as a timely public reminder of the positive contribution the vast majority of Britain's 1.8 million-strong Muslim community.

On the listare cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, Labour peer Lord Patel of Blackburn, and actor Art Malik, along with boxer Amir Khan, singer Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, and Harrods boss Mohamed al Fayed.

The list, sponsored by the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), was compiled from some 6,000 nominations, and judged by a 16-strong panel including Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Lord Bhatia and Dr Ghayassuddin Siddiqui of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain.

A spokesman for the IBB, Sultan Choudhury, said yesterday's event was the culmination of nine months' preparation and voting. "We wanted to highlight the positive contributions made by British Muslims to society - contributions that are in complete contrast with media connotations that somehow Muslims are linked to terrorism, are not as educated, or are segregating themselves. The opposite is true - we are integrating and contributing across a wide range of fields."

Excellence awards were also given to nine guests, including Dr Hany El Banna, founder of Islamic Relief, and Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, chair of the Arab International Women's Forum.

There is a strong business presence in the Power 100; the Muslim community contributes over £31bn to the British economy each year. Some 22 names on the list are company chiefs, including Sir Gulam Noon, whose curry empire is worth around £55m.

For his part, Lord Patel - Britain's first Asian peer - said he was "absolutely delighted" to be included in the Power 100, which, he said, "can only help improve perceptions of Muslims in Britain".

Journalist Rageh Omaah, also on the list, said: "Anything that helps to remind people that there's a mainstream British Muslim community that has no problem being proud to be British and Muslim is a good thing."

Comments