The Queen’s Birthday Honours list has been released, recognising more than 1,000 people for commitment to public service.
The list has been described by the honours committee as the most diverse yet, with half of this year’s honourees being women, while 10 per cent are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
There is a total of 1,109 people on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, of whom 438 are awarded an MBE, 221 an OBE and 303 a BEM. Some might argue 10 per cent is still some way to go before we get a true representative of all our diverse communities, nevertheless, it’s good to see an increase, however small.
The honourees this year include Police Constable Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death by attacker Khalid Masood in March on the forecourt of the Palace of Westminster. He has been awarded the George Medal for confronting an armed terrorist to protect others and Parliament. Also receiving the George medal is the heroic passer-by, Bernard Kenny, who was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to stop neo-Nazi Thomas Mair attacking MP Jo Cox outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire.
Among the British Asians receiving a Knighthood are Professor Mir Saeed ZAHEDI, Technical Director at Blatchford & Sons for services to Engineering and Innovation. Joining him is Professor Alimuddin Zumla, Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health at the University College London for services to Public Health and Protection from Infectious Disease.
Responding to the news of the Knighthood, Professor Alimuddin said: “I am absolutely delighted to be accorded this wonderful honour. It’s awe inspiring and a great privilege to be together with exceptional people who have distinguished themselves, serving humanity in different ways with great commitment and impact.
“I would like to share this honour with the numerous selfless and committed people across the world, who I work with effectively on a range of academic capacity development, advocacy and charity activities on poverty-related diseases. I am blessed with a very supportive family excellent research teams and awesome talented friends who have shown ‘unity of purpose’ for improving the lives and health of disadvantaged populations worldwide.”
Britain’s Asian Women were also represented well, with nineteen of them on the honours list this year, which included Parveen June Kumar who has been conferred the prestigious Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to medicine and medical education.
The 74-year-old Professor of Medicine and Education at Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, is also the co-editor and author of a revolutionary 1989 textbook, ‘Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine’, which is credited with improvements in the education of medical students, doctors and nurses in training both at home and abroad.
Another notable recipient is diversity champion, Dr Kamel Hothi, who received an OBE for her services in the banking sector.
Dr Hothi is Head of Responsible Business Special Projects at the Lloyds Banking Group. She migrated to Slough at the age of six from India with her family. Upon leaving school she found a job as a cashier at TSB (prior to the merger with Lloyds Bank) in Slough High St. She progressed up the career ladder becoming an assistant manager at Maidenhead and then went on to be their first Asian Bank Manager at Walton on Thames.
After managing several other branches, she became the Area Manager for Thames Valley covering 160 branches until the merger of TSB and Lloyds Bank when she was asked to support the merger and transferred to their head office in London. It was following the lack of diversity she witnessed in the City that influenced Kamel to speak up and take action. She was soon challenging views resulting in being invited to chair several committees and mentor individuals.
Kamel continued to work hard and break glass ceilings and now with 38 years’ banking experience she is recognised for being the architect behind the Asian Strategy across Lloyds Banking Group. Her remits have included product development, cultural training, strategy and marketing, resulting in some very high-profile sponsorships of over 30 national Asian events including sponsoring The Asian Jewel Awards and The Asian Women of Achievement Awards for seven years. It is through the sponsorship of such events that Kamel helped improve access to finance for Ethnic communities and creating platforms to acknowledge their invaluable contribution to UK society and the economy.
In speaking about the recognition, Kamel Hothi says, “I am truly humbled to be honoured in such a profound way but feel this recognition is for my parents who survived the partition of India and Pakistan – the biggest migration of refugees and brought us here to the UK to build a better life. My father was a civil engineer in India but unfortunately in the 60’s his skills were not acknowledged. He did struggle with this biasness and refused for me to go onto further education believing there was no point and arranged my marriage at 19. It was these experiences that have driven me to improve and create a level playing field for all concerned. I just wished my parents were alive today to witness me receiving my OBE from the Queen so to prove that hard work is recognised regardless of your background.”
For a full list click hereRead more
BY Natalie Cooper
In the busy modern world, good home-cooked meals are often viewed as something of a luxury, which not everyone has time to enjoy.
Almost gone are the days in which families spent hours or even days slaving over complex meals for everyday enjoyment – a study in 2014 found that the average UK household now spends just 34 minutes cooking per day, a figure which has more than halved since the 1980s. With more and more families having both parents out at work and the range and availability of ready meals and takeaways ever increasing, cooking for long periods seems to have fallen out of favour in Britain.
Convenience can only go so far against cravings for home-made goodness, however, a sentiment which creator of new Yaadgaar curry sauces Zahid, can sympathise with greatly.
Zahid came up with the idea for a healthy and simple jarred alternative to traditional home-cooked curry when he realised just how many takeaway meals he and his work colleagues had been eating in lieu of having time to cook properly. After employing a chef to cook for their offices in an effort to improve on this, Zahid realised that the time taken to prepare a good curry – not to mention the cost of all the ingredients – made eating good food rather expensive, and unsustainable in the long run, meaning a return to junk food. Armed with this desire to eat more natural and healthier foods, he retreated to his home kitchen and began experimenting with the perfect blends of spices and tastes to create convenience without compromise.
Zahid commented, “Whatever I create, I create with my kids in mind, as I won’t feed them any rubbish. We use freshly ground spices that are not brought in from India or Pakistan, but are crushed and ground in house, so it’s fresh and I know exactly what’s going into it. It’s also healthy, and there’s been no tummy upsets! Even a young child can make a good curry with these sauces – it’s just that simple!”
Yaadgaar’s new range of sauces is unlike any other on the market today, designed to make the preparation of tasty and complex curries a quick and simple process. All the convenience loving home chef needs to do is add chicken, meat or vegetables – and that’s it! No chopping, spice adding, marinating – cooks can now enjoy the full-bodied taste of a proper home cooked meal from a real Punjabi kitchen with none of the fuss usually involved.
The sauces, which come in a range of mild and hot variations, contain no preservatives, no artificial colours, and no flavour enhancement except the range of traditional spices used within each one. The ingredients list is refreshingly short, with nothing included that would be out of place in a typical kitchen cupboard – and some which might be welcomed, but not necessarily present, in a student cupboard, to reassure some worried parents!
Yaadgaar also offers amazing value for money, with one jar of sauce providing up to eight servings – perfect for feeding a busy family on a budget. After all, time is money!
Yaadgaar themselves have been around since 1983, providing a wide range of savoury and sweet products across the UK, as well as exporting products to wholesale and retail markets in ROI, Belgium and France. Noted for their high standards of food hygiene, relish and customer satisfaction, Zahid and the rest of the team are excited to be launching into this new area of simple, home-cooked specialties.
So for all of the culinary challenged and time poor home chefs out there, rest easy in the knowledge that you are not alone. The world of cooking is adapting swiftly to meet the needs of the modern world, and Yaadgaar’s sauces are no exception to that.
I tried out some of Yaadgaar’s revolutionary sauces to see if they lived up to the hype. As somebody who loves to cook but generally doesn’t have the patience for long-winded recipes with a lot of ingredients (or to be honest, much room in my small kitchen for a very extensive spice cupboard!), I’m very interested in the idea of speeding up the process without compromising on taste or quality.
I tested the Vegetable Mild Curry Sauce at home, figuring that I could probably trick my dining companions into consuming a few more of their five a day if they were paired with some tasty sauces. The instructions on the side of the jar are almost unnecessary, consisting of essentially: simmer the sauce, add your vegetables/meat/chicken, add a bit of water, and leave alone to finish cooking, stirring every so often. In the spirit of saving time and effort, I got my vegetables pre-prepared so I didn’t even have to chop those. Cooking a meat based option would be even easier – just chuck it in and you’re ready to go.
I have to admit, this was probably the simplest curry I’ve ever cooked – almost suspiciously so, leaving me wondering if it could really taste any good after such a short time. I was pleased to discover therefore, that it really did taste fantastic. Mildly spicy and slightly sweet and amazingly moreish, it’s easy to tell in the natural taste of it that there aren’t any artificial ingredients. The quality was fantastic and definitely more than comparable to a dish with a lot more time spent on it. I’ll definitely reach for this next time I crave a simple and tasty curry dish at home, and don’t fancy spending hours and hours on preparation and cooking!
With eight weeks to go until Ramadan, Muslim mums have already started preparing for the holy month. Along with the 30 days of fasting comes the responsibility of planning out meals, budgeting, shopping for essentials and making sure your family gets something special and wholesome every Sehri and Iftari. Mirroring the community's mind set, Asda have come up with the Ramadan Essentials Checklist to help families budget and stock up this Ramadan.
During the holy month of fasting, sacrifice and worship, Iftari is the time the entire family comes together to break their fast, and it can be a bit tricky balancing the kitchen, taking care of the children, preparing Iftars for the family and keeping the worship on track.
We spoke to some mums to find out what their Ramadan essentials are; and Manchester based Nabeela Irshad shared some interesting tips with us: "I need to ensure certain items like dates are stocked up in advance because the first thing you break your fast with is dates and we need to have them in the house."
"Also items like rice, oil, chapatti flour and gram flour have a longer shelf life and can be bought in advance. I usually pick them up on a deal and store them for Ramadan. This way I don't need to hop between shops every few days."
A mother-of-two from Oldham Bushra Javed will start stocking up for her essentials in the beginning of May. "For me spices are the most important thing. I tend to pick up spices and get my marinades ready before hand. Because when I am fasting I cannot taste the salt and flavours so it is always good to have them ready. Also, the last thing you want during Ramadan is to realise the spices are over and have to go running for them."
Mahwesh Husain from Birmingham said: "During Ramadan people visit us a lot for Iftari during the weekends and with my kitchen well stocked up I feel confident. My list of essentials includes Rubicon juices, canned tomatoes, chickpeas and the staples. I keep a healthy stock of these in my kitchen cabinet to last me the entire period of Ramadan. This way I have one less thing to worry about and it helps me budget better. "
BY Alison Bellamy
As a teenager Adam Patel would drive his family mad practising magic moves and card tricks while he was still at school.
Of course he worked hard and got his qualifications, but now the hobby which started when he was around 14, has become the very thing which has driven this half-Indian Muslim boy from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, to quit his 'perfectly respectable' job as a pharmacist to become a full-time illusionist.
Adam, 30, who says he is ‘not married yet' is now busy filming for a television series, with a documentary crew following him around for six weeks. The four-part series will be a follow-up to last year’s one-off special, Urban Illusionist, and has begun filming.
The series is titled ‘Adam Patel: Real Magic’ and will follow him as he tours the country blowing the minds of celebrities and the unsuspecting public using his magic skills of sleight-of-hand, perceptual manipulation and mind hacking. Fans can expect to see the show later in the year.
Adam, who spends his time between London and Yorkshire, and has an Indian father and a white British mum, is to dedicate the first episode of his new television series to his hero and inspiration, magician Paul Daniels, who sadly passed away on Thursday (March 17) from a brain tumour.
"Like many, Paul Daniels was the first magician I ever saw when I was a kid," says Adam, "And I was immediately intrigued by magic after seeing him. I immediately asked my parents how to become a magician."
He met Daniels last November when, Patel says in a blog post, Daniels was kind enough to give him some advice.
"I feel very privileged to have met Paul and to have seen him perform his classic routines live. I also feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to talk to Paul and to benefit from the advice that only a seasoned master could give."
Daniels gave Adam advice about performing magic on television and about doing magic as a career.
"What struck me most about Paul was his approach to professionalism. Paul was, in his own words, a 'silly conjuror' but beneath that exterior, he took magic very, very seriously. And while most magicians would hold back when giving advice, Paul didn't. He spoke completely openly."
"I was deeply when I read of his death. Dedicating the show to him now seems like the right thing to do in light of the recent sad news. I wouldn't be where I am and the show wouldn't be what it is without Paul's advice. I just wish he could have seen it."
'Magic has been my life for the last 18 years and doing it full time was a big decision, but one I’m really pleased I did.
“As an Asian man, my family found it really difficult to support me at first because performing arts just isn’t the done thing, but they’re fine with it now and are fully behind me. They were surprised at first that I was actually leaving my job as a pharmacist is an aspiring role,” he said.
He studied at Bradford University and worked as a pharmacist for six years, until recently. He spent last summer touring the country performing street magic in 11 different cities around England; and has also performed for a number of private clients including University College London, and performed at the British Independent Film Awards after-party.
Although Adam says he is sometimes known for his own brand of street magic, where he stops strangers on the street and performs card tricks or mind stunts, he stresses that he is keen to keep his options open.
“At this stage in my career I am performing all kinds of magic and illusion and not just sticking to one kind,” he added.
Watch this space. More details at www.adampatel.com
Describing politically motivated murders as ‘terror’ attacks if perpetrated by Muslim extremists but ‘racially motivated’ if carried out by so-called ‘white supremacists’ is contributing towards rising moral panic against Muslim communities, criminologists at Birmingham City University are claiming.
A new study published this week in ‘The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs’ by researchers from Birmingham City University, points to the cases of murdered British solider Lee Rigby and Muslim pensioner Mohammed Saleem to highlight the stark contrast between the characterisation of each brutal death.
Rigby’s murder in May 2013, at the hands of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, was repeatedly described by both police and media as an act of terrorism, while the killing of Saleem was most commonly labelled ‘racially motivated’ despite his Ukrainian assailant Pavlo Lapshyn being found guilty under the Terrorism Act.
Sentencing Lapshyn to a minimum term of 40 years, Mr Justice Sweeney told him: "You clearly hold extremist right wing, white supremacist views and you were motivated to commit the offences by religious and racial hatred in the hope that you would ignite racial conflict and cause Muslims to leave the area where you were living.”
Associate Professor Imran Awan and Mohammed Rahman from the University’s Centre for Applied Criminology examined how UK newspapers depicted the murders in both cases, reviewing over 1,022 articles from UK newspapers in the three weeks following Lee Rigby’s murder. They also studied references to Saleem’s murder in Birmingham one month earlier and later once his killer, Lapshyn, was convicted.
Awan said: “We found that almost all articles we reviewed about the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby used the term ‘terrorism’ to describe the attack. Yet the attack on Mohammed Saleem was immediately labelled as ‘racially motivated’ by the police, and despite Ukrainian Pavlo Lapshyn being found guilty under the Terrorism Act, many newspapers continued to label him as a ‘white supremacist’ rather than a ‘terrorist’. A stark difference in comparison to the case of Lee Rigby.
“It is crucial that a more balanced viewpoint of reporting terrorism is adopted otherwise we risk creating further anti-Muslim prejudice and exacerbate the potential for unfair treatment of Muslim communities”, added Awan.
“In the aftermath of the Woolwich murder, evidence showed that Muslims had become targets for a rise in anti-Muslim hate crime. In such times, the role of the media is crucial in projecting a balanced approach and avoid creating a ‘moral panic’.
“A YouGov survey of over 1,839 adults following the Woolwich attack showed that there was clear evidence people felt Muslims were a threat to democracy, and two-thirds of those people believed that Britain was facing a clash of civilisation between British Muslims and white Britons.”Read more