LONDON – Eighteen British Muslim dignitaries have been awarded in the Queens New Year Honors for their valuable contributions in British society in health, science and community services.
“I am deeply indebted to my colleagues, family and friends all of whom have played an important part in my professional life,” Professor Mohamed El-Gomati, who was awarded the Queen honor ‘Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)’, told The Muslim News on Friday, January 27.
“I sincerely hope this award serves as an inspiration for the future generation of young scientists and stimulate the youth to seek excellence in their chosen fields of work,” he added.
El-Gomati, a Professor of Electronics at the University of York since 1997, is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Microscopial Society.
In 2009, he received award for Excellence in Engineering, Science and Technology. He is also a past winner of the Cosslett Award for his work which led to a new theory in secondary electron emission.
The electronics professor added he felt honored to be recognized for “service to science – a subject which has been very close to my heart for nearly 40 years.”
The Queen Honors were awarded to El-Gomati along with other 17 Muslims for their contributions in the British community.
The honored Muslims received one ‘Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)’ award, five ‘OBEs’ and 12 honors for ‘Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)’.
Gynecologist Dr Tahir Ahmed Mahmood is the highest decorated member of the Muslim community this year; he is to be made a CBE for his service women’s health.
Mahmood has been practicing medicine for over 30 years and serves in Spire Murrayfield Hospital Edinburgh specializing in reproductive medicine, laparoscopic and hysteroscopic surgery.
Mohammad Habeebullah, who worked for Rochdale council for 29 years, has also been awarded an OBE for his services to the community in Greater Manchester.
Habeebullah, 60, was involved in setting up the Bangladesh Community Project, the first funded project for the Bangladeshi community of Rochdale, and the Kashmir Youth Project, one of the largest youth training projects in the UK.
Leading Bangladeshi restaurateur Bajloor Rashid has also been named in the New Year Honors list for services to the industry.
British Muslim women have also been awarded for their work for British society.
“It’s not something that you receive everyday,” Staffordshire University’s Equality and Diversity officer Hifsa Haroon Iqbal, who has been has been awarded an MBE, told Muslim News.
“It’s quite humbling as well because I’m just not convinced that it’s totally deserved.”
The honor was awarded in recognition for services to community cohesion in Staffordshire.
Another Muslim woman, Durdana Ansari of Queens Walk, South Ruislip, said she was “shocked” and “overwhelmed” to learn of her inclusion in the in the honors, for her services to Muslim women in the UK.
The Pakistan born journalist, who came to Britain at the age of 16 to lead a successful Muslim women’s charity project, is to be made an OBE.
The 51-year-old mother of four is a pioneer of the Ethnic Minority Foundations Muslim Women’s Project.
“Initially the one year pilot project idea was meant to teach Basic English and IT to 100 Muslim women living in Britain with the help of 3 coordinators and 12 volunteers,” she said.
But, “The project showed results in just 8 month when we had about 900 students across the country and at the end of two years 20% of women went in to either employment or acquired higher studies.
Saki Chowdhury, an outreach worker at Surestart Longsight Children’s Centre, run by The Big Life (TBL) group, has been appointed MBE.
Chowdhury, who has volunteered in her local community for the past 30 years, said she was “delighted and overwhelmed” to be named in the Honors List.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out, helping people is in my blood but this award is for the all the staff that work at the Surestart Centre, not just for me,” the mother of three added.
Queen Honors are awarded twice a year, in June and at the New Year.
They are awarded to people for all types of service, including teachers, nurses, actors, scientists, diplomats and broadcasters.
The largest number of awards goes to those providing services to their local communities - mainly volunteers.
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