Power And Compromise

Groucho Marx once said he would never join a club that would accept him as a member, and I am afraid I feel pretty much the same way about being on the Muslim 100 power list.

You see I’ve never been one for lists, and ever since I hit bottom in a maths test, I’ve found lists to be devisive, troublesome things.

Thirty years on, I now find myself on two lists … neither has credibility, prestige or privilege in my humble opinion.

Although I have to admit that being on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Watch List means I do get to be ‘randomly selected’ for special treatment and an interview every time I fly in to America.

Quite what I am going to gain by being on the Muslim 100 list is beyond me, although I notice the Islamic Bank of Britain are the main sponosrs … perhaps as one of their customers they will give me a wedge of greenbacks … no questions asked. Now that would make me view the list in a different light.

Cash for listings … hmm, doesn’t really have the same ring as Cash for Peerages, does it?

For those of you who don’t know, the Power 100 is a list of Muslims who are judged to have contributed positively to the UK. Singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was included alongside Irene Khan, of Amnesty and some Jack Tar called Rear Admiral Amjad Hussain.

Entrepreneurs, arms dealers, actors, academics, journalists, cops and Establishment butt kissers also made it to the top 100.

Yes, I said arms dealers. At least one person in that room has sold arms to the Israelis … and should someone who has helped tool up the fourth largest army in the world – an army which uses its weapons on Palestinian women and children – be given such recognition?

But what intrigued me more than anything else was just who wasn’t on the list. Aki Nawaz, who has almost iconic status in Eastern Europe, and is much-loved by Britain’s Muslim youth failed to make the list which shows just how out of touch were the organisers and judges.

Aki, is well recognised by mainstream media and is a regular guest and public commentator on the BBCs various political and discussion shows both radio and TV, much loved and loathed for his satire as well as his music.

Ahmed Versi, editor of Britain’s oldest Muslim newspaper was also missing although there were a number of media luvvies on the list who have the cheek to describe themselves as journalists. Could it be that Ahmed was ignored for having the most established Muslim Awards event in the UK … where all the nominees listed are picked by ordinary members of the public? Surely not? I thought sour grapes was haram!

Then there is Mohamed Zubagne, a genuine pillar of society who uses his wealth to good purpose and is the developer behind the magnificent East London Mosque. I mean how could anyone overlook a man of such stature?

His contribution to charities is, I believe, hard to rival and I personally know that he does a huge amount of work in the Muslim communities both home and abroad for which he seeks neither credit, reward or applause.

Moazzam Begg, ex-Guantanamo detainee, is a regular commentator on mainstream media, a best-selling author and he made it on to the male magazine GQ’s top 100 men list 2006 – not bad going. He is now a senior figure in Cage Prisoners, which is fast becoming one of the most influential human rights organisations which has produced reports on rendition flights, ghost detainees and prisoners of conscience used by the likes of Amnesty International and the United Nations.

Lawyers Natalia Garcia and Muddassar Arani are both influential as role models to young Muslimahs who aspire to become legal eagles. Last year Arani was credited by The Times for a High Court challenge by her which achieved a landmark ruling against the Government over its use and abuse of Control Orders.

Chosen as the Times’ Lawyer of the Week last spring, she said she entered the profession “to fight for the most disadvantaged in society. Since then I have unintentionally become a combatant (not unlawful) in the fight against Islamophobia and the erosion of our civil liberties.”

She has won several other awards but failed to make the Power 100.

Other entries included non-British citizens including the Swiss-born Tariq Ramadan and Pakistan politician/cricket legend Imran Khan. If they are being rewarded by the Islamic Bank of Britain, in association with Carter Andersen – to recognise Muslims who have made significant contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of Britain – then it could be argued what about Californian Hamza Yusuf and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf?

American boxing legend Mohamed Ali, a real heavyweight, should also have been included on the grounds that he has inspired and influenced millions in Britain alone.

So why on earth was I put on the list? I hear you ask. And it is a valid question. Perhaps you can give an answer because I really don’t know.

Last year I received an award at the British Muslim Honours in the House of Lords, and my favourite peer Lord Nazir Ahmed came bounding over to me and said: “Why should you be honoured? All you’ve ever done is call for zero tolerance towards the police.”

Quite what Lord Naz would make of my inclusion in the Power 100 is anyone’s guess. But at least he speaks his mind and, when push came to shove, he was prepared to join me in Afghanistan to ask the Taleban to hand over an Italian photographer being held hostage by the turbanned, beardy ones.

If you’re still in any doubt about the credibility of this list, just check out the names of the sponsors and the judges and then look over the names on the list again.

I’m sure if Helen Mirren was one of the judges at the recent British Academy of Film and Television Awards, the Bafta for her magnificent portrayal in the film Queen would not have had the same impact.

Here is the list and the judges et al … check it out for yourself.

 

The Muslim Power 100 List

Abdul Jaffer Chairman of Bournemouth Football Club

Abid Mufti CEO United Bank

Lord Adam Patel House of Lords

Dr Ahmed Moustafa Artist and scholar

Ahmad Salam Head of Islamic Finance, Credit Suisse

Ahsan Ellahi Managing Director Real Estate Europe HSBC

Aamer Anwar Aamer Anwar and Co Solicitors

Amin Mawji Partner, Ernst and Young

Amin Tejani Executive Chairman LPC

Lord Amir Bhatia OBE House of Lords

Amir Khan Boxer

Amjad Hussain Director General Logistics (Fleet)

Amjid Ali Head of HSBC Amanah UK, HSBC

Anila Baig Journalist, The Sun

Sir Anwar Pervez Chairman, Bestway

Aaqil Ahmed Commissioning Editor Religion Channel Four

Art Malik Actor

Arif Patel Managing Director, Falsaltex

Arif Mushtaq Director, LTSB

Ashraf Piranie Finance Director, Islamic Bank of Britain

Emma Clark Author and Garden Designer

Dr Farhan Nizami Nizami, Founder Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies

Firoz Kassam Chairman, Firoka Group

Fuad Nahdi Editor, Q News

Gai Eaton Author

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui Leader, Muslim Parliament of Great Britain

Sir Gulam Noon Chairman, Noon Products

Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani Founder, Arab Women’s Forum

Habib Motani Partner Head of Derivatives, Clifford Chance

Hanif Lalani Finance Director, BT

Dr Hany El Banna President, Islamic Relief

Haroon Khan CEO, Prime TV

Farouq & Haroon Sheikh CareTech Holdings Plc

Dr Haseena Lockhat Author

Dr Humayon Dar CEO, Dar AL Isithmar

Imran Khan Partner, Imran Khan Solicitors

Imran Khan Cricketer and Politician

Iqbal Ahmed CEO, Seamark

Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE Ex Secretary General, MCB

Irene Khan Secretary General, Amnesty International

Irfan Qadir Director, Bank of Ireland

James Caan CEO, Hamilton Bradshaw

Javed Khan Finance Director, Premier League

Javed Khan Chief Education Officer, Harrow Council

Khalid Mahmood MP, House of Commons

Khurshid Drabu Judge

Dr Manazir Ahsan Director General, Islamic Foundation, Leicester

Massoud Shadjareh Founder, Islamic Human Rights Commission

Mirza Ahmed Chief Legal Officer, Birmingham City Council

Mohamad Al Fayed Chairman, Harrods

Mohamed Ali CEO, Islam Channel

Lord Mohamed Sheikh House of Lords

Mohammad Qayyum Director, Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance

Mohammad Sarwar MP House of Commons

Mohammed Amin Partner PWC

Moazzam Malik Deputy Director DFID

Muhammad Abdul Bari Secretary General MCB

Museji Ahmed Takolia Chairman, Metropolitan Housing

Naaz Coker Chairman, St Georges NHS Trust

Nadir Lilani Founder 99p Stores

Naguib Kheraj Finance Director, Barclays Bank

Nazir Afzal Senior Director, Crown Prosecution Service

Lord Nazir Ahmed House of Lords

Noorzaman Rashid Harvey Nash Plc LONDON

Perween Warsi Director S&A Foods

Peter Sanders Photographer, Peter Sanders Photography

Pinky Lilani OBE Culinary Writer

Baroness Pola Uddin House of Lords

Rafique Patel Partner, Harvey Ingram

Rageh Omaar Journalist, Al Jazeera

Ruhi Hamid Documentary Film Maker

Sadiq Khan MP, House of Commons

Sajjad Karim MEP, European Parliament

Salma Yaqoob Politician, Respect Party

Salman Iqbal CEO, ARY Digital

Salman Amin President, Pepsi Co UK and Ireland

Sarah Joseph Editor, Emel Magazine

Sayeeda Warsi Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

Shahid Malik MP, House of Commons

Shahid Azeem Entrepreneur, Arkensis

Shami Ahmed Founder Joe Bloggs

Shamshad CEO, Stem Cells

Syed Jaffery CEO, Casualty Plus

Syed Kamall MEP, European Parliament

Sahibzada Syed Lakhte Hassanain Founder, Muslim Hands

Dr Tahir Abbas Director of Birmingham University’s Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Culture

Tariq Gaffur Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police

Tariq Ramadan Theologist

Tariq Modood MBE Professor, Bristol University

Dr Wali Tasar Uddin MBE Chairman, Bangladeshi Association

Waqar Azmi Head of Diversity, Cabinet Office

Waqar Ahmad Assistant Vice Chancellor, Middlesex University

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Journalist, Independent

Yasmin Hussain Equality Director, National Assembly for Wales

Yasmin Qureshi Human Rights Advisor to Ken Livingstone GLC

Yusaf Islam Singer

Yvonne Ridley Journalist, Islam Channel

Zahida Manzoor CBE Legal Services Ombudsman

Zareen Roohi Ahmed Head of British Muslim Forum

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