THE BROMSGROVE Muslim Community Trust held a glittering evening of cultural integration to celebrate Eid Milad and recognise positive contributions made by members of the Bromsgrove Community.
The event, at the Council House on Saturday (February 13), was presented by BMCT chairman, Waqar Azmi OBE and vice chairman, Naeem Arif.
From councillors and industry professionals to NGOs and members of the press – more than 100 people from different cultural backgrounds converged to celebrate unity through diversity.
Special guest speaker, Salma Yaqoob – former leader and vice chairman of the Respect Party and head of the Birmingham branch of Stop the War Coalition – delivered a captivating speech about the similarities which exist among different faiths from Buddhism and Islam to Judaism and Christianity.
Candles of hope were lit to celebrate the birth of the Holy prophet Muhammad by Danyal Azmi, age seven, Zaahira Ali, age 13, Ilyaas Ali, age 13 and Rayhaan Arif age 11.
There was an animated short about the technological achievements of Muslim scholars and scientists through the ages and entertainment from folk singer, Dr Abid Baig.
Awards for contributions to community service were jointly presented by Bromsgrove District Council chairman, Coun Caroline Spencer.
BMCT secretary, Aksa Khan presented an award to Coun Helen Jones and Dr Bilkis Islam recognised the achievements of Rev Ray Khan, the vicar at Bromsgrove’s St John’s Church.
Dr Sabiha Azmi presented an award to Standard editor Tristan Harris.
Tristan, who started as a trainee reporter on the Bromsgrove Standard in 2001 before progressing to editor in 2005, via the roles of reporter, chief reporter and deputy editor, said: “It’s fantastic that we have been recognised in this way by the Bromsgrove Muslim Community Trust, which we have a great working relationship with.
“As well as bringing residents the latest news, we take a lot of pride from the fact The Standard is at the centre of the community, highlighting issues which need to be addressed and backing or launching campaigns to improve things for the better in Bromsgrove.
“We also like to ensure we promote events which bring people and communities together and give good causes as many column inches as possible so they can fulfil their potential – whether it be through raising awareness or funds.”
Awards were also presented by Kathleen Roche-Nagi to Rev Christine Holzapfel, Nina Ali for Yvonne Rendell from the Bromsgrove Welcomes Refugees Community, and by 15-year old Inaam Arif to Captain Muhammad Naveed MBE.
Thirteen year old Karla Hunt from South Bromsgrove School who was there said: “I’m really honoured to be here – it has been really inspiring.
“It wasn’t what I expected and it’s made me want to learn more about everything.
“It has also given me a different perspective to what we often hear in the news, which is usually really negative – but then you come to an event like this and realise there’s more good than bad.”