Celebrating the achievements of British Muslims


In January, Al Rayan Bank was again proud to sponsor the British Muslim Awards  at a prestigious ceremony, attended by over 350 guests at The Chateau Impney Hotel in Worcestershire.

Nominations from all over the country were submitted and representatives from Al Rayan Bank personally awarded three winners with their accolades. These were for the following categories:

  • Samera Ashraf, winner of 'Best at Sport', presented by Keith Leach, Chief Commercial Officer

  • Farouq Sheikh, Founder and Executive Chairman, CareTech Holdings Plc, winner of 'Businessman of the Year' category, presented by Sultan Choudhury, Chief Executive Officer

  • Euro Quality Lambs, winner of 'Business of the Year' category, presented by Malcolm Brookes, Non-Executive Director

Commenting on the event, Sultan Choudhury said, "The British Muslim Awards provide a platform for Muslims throughout the United Kingdom to showcase their achievements; Al Rayan Bank is honoured to support the event once again this year. I congratulate the winners, and the nominees, for their impressive contribution to their sector."

Read Sultan Choudhury's full speech at the BMAs

Bismillahirrahmaniraheem: In the name of Allah, the most merciful and the most kind.

Dear Lord Mayor and Mayoress, Respected Guests

Asslamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu. Peace and Mercy and Blessings upon you.

We are here this evening to recognise and celebrate the success and achievements of some great British individuals and organisations, they happen to be Muslim too. I’m honoured to be speaking to you and would like to thank the organisers Oceanic Consulting for putting together what promises to be a splendid event.

Al Rayan Bank, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain, or IBB, is very proud to be the headline sponsor of the British Muslim Awards again. By recognising the champions of our community, the event plays an important role to counter the current negativity that exists about Muslims in the media.

A champion of the Islamic finance industry, Al Rayan Bank itself recently celebrated 10 years as the UK’s only wholly, Sharia compliant retail bank. Our tenth anniversary concluded with the unveiling of our new brand, bringing us in line with our parent company, Masraf Al Rayan, the second largest bank in Qatar by market value, who acquired us in February last year.

The rebrand marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Bank’s history. Since its inception in 2004 the Bank, as IBB, earned the reputation as a pioneer of British Islamic banking, delivering innovative, ethical, Sharia compliant retail financial products and services to its loyal customers.

The change now to Al Rayan Bank builds upon these achievements. Our strong values and commitment to great customer service are still at the core of what we do, and these are shared by Masraf Al Rayan, our parent company. We also remain true to our long-standing reputation of being a British bank based on Islamic values, with a ‘spirit’ to be different and good.

What is different, and better, is that we have the backing of Masraf Al Rayan, a successful, global banking group. As an industry leader, its strength, stability and depth of knowledge will help us, as Al Rayan Bank, to continue with the legacy of the last ten years, whilst offering more to our customers and the wider community.

This includes the UK’s first Sharia compliant Home Purchase Plan backed by the Government’s Help to Buy Guarantee Scheme. It also includes the widening of Al Rayan Bank’s Cash ISA product range, which offers market-leading rates and enables Muslims to enjoy tax-free savings of up to £15,000 a year. The Bank has also extended its offering to the business community by providing commercial property and development finance.
I can also tell you that when our 2014 financial results are published, they will reflect our most successful year ever. It is fitting therefore that we are here today recognising the success in their respective fields of the nominees. Whilst paying due homage to their achievements we should also highlight the contributions of British Muslims which happen every day.

It’s the day to day actions that ordinary British Muslims carry out that demonstrate our commitment to British society, and I firmly believe that these will eventually counter the negativity that abounds.

The heroes and heroines of our community are those Muslims who serve society in whatever capacity they can: whether they teach our children, run our small businesses, serve in local and national government or treat our sick loved ones. Each one of them is a success. They contribute to British society in a positive and constructive way and deserve recognition, just as much as those of us that are here tonight.

As we are talking about success – what is success?

Well frankly success for each and every one of us is what we define it to be. It may be caring for your elderly parents or bringing up children as decent people just as much as something that catches the headlines.

We are but travellers in this world and our existence is merely a fleeting moment in history. Success for me is when we leave what we touch in our lives better than it was before. That is our responsibility. Our environment, our community, our education, society, the houses we occupy and the work that we do – leave it better than you found it. That’s it. I have always felt this.

We had a sales conference at the Bank last week and we read this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 18th Century American philosopher, he said:

“What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life breathed easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.”

I’d like to close by congratulating all the nominees, finalists and winners on their efforts and successes. May Allah accept OUR efforts and guide us all towards the best of success (Ameen). Jazakamulla Khairan. Thank you very much

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