An awards gala, The Muslim News Awards For Excellence, was held on April 20 to honor the heroes of the British Muslim and non–Muslim communities. More than 500 people from all walks of life within the British society were there to celebrate with them.
The Guest of Honor, Communities and Local Government Secretary of State, Greg Clark, was there to address those present at the gala. Clark emphasized that the nominees "typify not only the Muslim community at its best but Britain at its best too," and that the gala was held in recognition of the outstanding contributions made to society by British Muslims in recent and past years. He also mentioned the significance of "ordinary heroes" who go about their regular lives in an honorable manner forming an integral part of the community. The generosity and charity of the Muslim community extended not only to their local community but those who lived in further off areas and were in need of assistance.
Nominees were congratulated by Ahmed J Versi, Editor of The Muslim News, who was quite taken aback by the entries received this year. He mentioned two important points which had affected the Muslim community. One of them being "new counter-terrorism measures" and the other being the "huge increase in Islamophobia and Islamophobic attacks." However, Versi, made it evident that Muslims have continued to contribute positively to society even though they have been faced with such challenges.
Kate Green, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, was also present to congratulate the nominees on their contributions to Britain. Her words addressed the harsh reality of the mistreatment towards Muslims because of their beliefs and the effects thereof. She paid particular attention to the many young, talented Muslims in Britain and how important it is for them to be inspired in order to successfully reach their goals.
Labor Mayoral Candidate, Sadiq Khan added a few words, stating that one of the benefits of living in London was "not that we just tolerate each another, but we respect and celebrate each another". Khan indicated that there will be more campaigning against him, as a Muslim, but this should not deter anyone who hopes to pursue a career in politics and live a public lifestyle.
Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn gave his opinion on the gala and its recognition of the efforts made by Muslims throughout Britain on a daily basis, each in their own field. He mentioned how great it was to be able to celebrate what Muslims from different societies have worked towards.
Also present at the gala was SNP Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson, who was clearly impressed by the nominees at the gala each year, setting a good example for others.
Each of the winners was handed a brass astrolabe. An astrolabe was at one stage a tool used by Muslims to determine the altitude of the stars and the planets and today it is the symbol of the annual gala awards.