Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford on Saturday 27th December 2014
MEET & GREET: £80
For tickets and group enquiries call: 07800 77 80 89
Hailed as one of Pakistan's most-loved pop, bhangra and folk singers, Abrar-ul-Haq says that through his music helping those who don't have access to medical facilities is a top priority to him.
The 48-year-old philanthropist, speaking exclusively to the Asian Express Newspaper is currently putting 200 students through medical college in Pakistan.
Born in Faisalabad and after completing his Masters in Social Sciences, he became a teacher in Lahore. Abrar-ul-Haq shot to stardom in 1995 with his debut single 'Billo De Ghar', which became an overnight success.
Though the song erupted great controversy due to the chants young men were making in the streets using the first line of the song, 'Billo De Ghar', his debut album sold over 16 million copies worldwide.
Over the last two decades Abrar-ul-Haq, the youngest of eight siblings, has become one of Pakistan's top celebrities that is using his hard-earned fame for charitable causes.
"Following the success of my musical career, I earned a lot of money," says Abrar-ul-Haq.
"I'm a fan of fast things and shortly after I was catapulted to fame, I set my heart on buying a private jet."
"At a time when I was in the middle of negotiating the right price for the plane, my mother passed away. That changed everything for me.
"My outlook on life was significantly adjusted.
"It was this period in time that I decided to put my money to better use – to assist those who so desperately need help. I decided instead of buying a jet, I should put this money into a hospital in an area that didn't have one."
With an aggressive patriotic passion to make a positive change to his native country, Abrar-ul-Haq founded the Sahara for Life Trust, a charitable organisation promoting health and education in remote areas.
Sahara for Life Trust, for which Abrar-ul-Haq is Chairman, started its work in Narowal in Pakistan, where it established the first large-scale hospital in 2003.
"At the time Narowal didn't have a hospital, and I requested the government of Punjab to assist me in building the hospital but they refused.
"So, I decided to buy a piece of land myself and transferred the asset to the Trust.
"Following this, I asked people from different walks of life to join the board of governors to give creditability to the institution and proportionate governance to it.
"It took two years to get the hospital built and running. Initially I only used my own funds for this project.
"Then, I realised that people genuinely want to help and that I couldn't do this alone. So, my first fundraiser was in London which raised £100,00 in one night.
"This gave the Trust the boost it needed to make our work sustainable."
The hospital, whose services are free and funded through Zakat (Islamic taxes), has treated some 2.7 million people to date. It provides much-needed medical services for the people of Narowal, also assisting in transporting critical patients to bigger city hospitals for treatment.
In 2016, Sahara for Life Trust opened their medical college in Narowal, which finances students through Medicine.
"When you want to do something extraordinary you need to have a good team with you," says Abrar.
"The Trust and my tireless team is dedicated to empowering young people and bring a change in Pakistan. I enjoy being in a position to influence young people.
"I can't possibly complete building all the hospitals needed in Pakistan on my own in my lifetime. I hope and pray that the younger generation is inspired to carry on humanitarian work."
Abrar-ul-Haq has also created a Youth Parliament – an organisation with a vision to empower young people and ability to understand their importance of their role society. It has over 200,00 people registered to it.
Pakistan now has over 50 Non Government Organisations (NGOs), which have all spiralled on the back of Abrar-ul-Haq 's humanitarian work over the last two decades. Prior to this NGOs were practically non-existent in Pakistan.
By: Andleeb Hanif
The horrors of Aleppo
There’s no shortage of widespread media coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis with haunting tales of despair, desperation and destruction.
We’ve heard stories of people grappling for food and water in makeshift camps, we’ve seen footage of thousands desperately waiting at the borders in the hope of a better life. We’ve seen the harrowing images of unsteady dinghies crammed with people trying to make treacherous journeys across the Mediterranean.
To witness a death of a loved one or have your family torn apart and dispersed over continents, to have your children in danger simply for going to school only to have your freedom and liberty taken away is something we can’t even comprehend.
All too frequently the stories of unrelenting courage, determination and resilience in the face of adversity, the true day-to-day accounts of so many fleeing their homeland, are lost.
A number of refugees are now settled in West Yorskoire, trying to adjust to a life in a new land, after witnessing horrors we couldn’t even imagine.
Asian Express spoke with Nabila Sari-Kouze and Mohammed Dib, both refugees who have been resettled in Leeds and have found support through the Hamara Healthy Living programme.
Nabila Sari-Kouze, a British-born woman moved to Syria at a young age later marrying, having children and building a life in Aleppo. Nabila worked as a teacher in Aleppo University where her husband also worked as a Professor of Electrical Engineering. “It was a happy life” Nabila says. “Until the disruption started.”
Beginning gradually, schools were closed, there was no electricity or water, and everyday life was becoming a great struggle. It was impossible to get food or any of the everyday necessities we take so frequently for granted, including medical essentials.
Yet, even with these challenges, Nabila and her husband were reluctant to leave their homeland, as anyone would be. Then, when their house was bombed and their neighbours badly wounded, Nablia knew it was time to leave.
“My husband went to try and find some suitcases, which were very hard to come across in those circumstances,” tells Nabila.
“As he left, a bomb went off in front of him, injuring my neighbours seriously and I feared for my children.”
Because Nabila was born in the UK, her children also have British citizenship, however sadly, her husband didn’t. When she returned to the UK her husband remained in Aleppo, trying to continue his life as a Professor whilst Nabila tried to gain him entry to the EU.
“You cannot imagine what they did in the universities.
“Many times, my husband tried to hide himself and his students, the classrooms were bombed." As many of the students travelled great distances to attend classes, most of them died as they travelled through the city.”
Experiences of people being murdered for trying to live normal lives are all too common when speaking to victims of this war.
Nabila goes on to tell us: “My neighbour’s son, a lovely young man, a student of Medicine at the university was visiting his family, he took some photos on his phone one day and the security forces seized it.
“They told him they needed to speak with him. The next day, his body was returned to his family, his death came just for taking a photo.”
What becomes clear when speaking to the refugees is that when someone offends the security forces, it’s not just them, but their entire families that pay for it, whether they were an innocent like Nabila’s neighbour, or not.
A gentleman who experienced this corruption first hand is Mohammed Dib, who witnessed his six-year-old daughter brutally injured by shrapnel when bombs dropped onto his home.
Mohammed had arose suspicion with Syrian security forces as he came to England for a ten-day trip. Upon returning to Syria he had his passport seized and was interrogated, they were convinced he had been in England to speak with opposition supporters.
An investigation was logged and Mohammed was taken to prison.
After his release, his daughter, wife and mother were taken to prison, as his son was caught taking a photo on his mobile phone, raising further suspicion.
With his home invaded in the middle of the night Mohammed decided he needed to save his family, and fled to Egypt where many refugees make their first stop.
“When we get to Egypt, we are not treated like citizens. There are many places we cannot go, the women cannot open doors or speak to others. Everything is taken away from you and if you object, the Egyptian authorities don’t like, you are taken to prison immediately.”
Eventually, Mohammed made it to the UK after travelling through a number of countries and, with the assistance of Hamara, managed to secure a spouse visa for his wife and daughter, but not after his family spent two years in Egypt without him. Communication during this time was difficult and Mohammed often was unsure of the position his family were in.
The Hamara Healthy Living project has been committed to helping refugees adjust to an entirely new land, often without basic language skills or with their families around them.
“We don’t just help people fill in forms and apply for jobs or schools, although that is a big part of what we do,” says Nabilah Karim from Hamara, a community support worker for refugees and asylum seekers.
“We help people find their local mosque or a halal butchers; we bring people who are without their families together to share stories and remind them they aren’t alone. We provide translators for those new to the area and help the children integrate in our schools.
“No two days are ever the same but seeing someone like Mohammed reunited without his family after two years apart in different continents is what makes it all worth it.”
To enter the competition to win a pair of tickets to see #AdnanSami Live in concert at #LeedsFirstDirectArena this Saturday 18th March, you need to go to Asian Express Facebook page:
1. Like the competition post
2. Leave a comment " I want to win Adnan Sami tickets"
Once you have done this you will automatically be entered into the competition.
Competition closes at 11.30 PM tonight and the winner's name will be chosen randomly and posted on our Facebook page on Friday 17th March at 11am.
January – February: 2016 didn’t start the way many Yorkshire residents would have hoped for as the Boxing Day floods continued to take their toll on communities throughout the county.
Thankfully, we also saw the amazing efforts of ordinary people who went the extra mile to help others in their time of need. Kirkstall Road was one of the hardest hit areas, costing businesses millions of pounds worth of damage, with many still struggling to recover today.
Later in January, then Prime Minister David Cameron visited Leeds and paid a visit to the Makkah Masjid where he announced an extra £22million funding for Muslim women in the UK to learn English.
The month closed with the tragic Drummond Mill fire, causing one of Bradford’s landmark building to perish in an inferno.
Some of the Asian Express highlights throughout January and February included a teenager honoured for saving friends from a hoverboard house fire, Bradford’s own Faheem wowing Will.i.am on The Voice, and boxer Tasif Khan securing what-would-be his first world title of the year.
March - April: Controversial government plans saw 27,000 items depart Bradford’s iconic National Media Museum at the start of March despite objection from MPs across the city.
International headlines provoked reaction from all communities as Brussels was attacked by terrorists, causing the death of 31 and injuring 260 others. It would be the first of many high profile incidents throughout the year.
On a positive note, West Yorkshire welcomed in its youngest Chief Superintendent as Mabs Hussain took up his position with the police force.
Vaisakhi arrived at the start of April, whilst smiles were stretched from cheek-to-cheek as Nadiya baked the Queen’s birthday cake and residents in North Leeds celebrated the saving of a community green belt in Gledhow Valley Woods.
May - June: Harpinder Rai became the new Miss Leeds as she took the city’s crown in what was her inaugural beauty competition, whilst Bradford’s Adeeba Malik secured a new title of her own as she was bestowed with a CBE at Buckingham Palace.
More good news followed for the region in early June, with a local hairdresser landing a place on a prestigious course in Italy and more royal honours for community stalwarts.
Sadly, June was also the month which the nation lost one of its most loved MPs as Jo Cox was tragically killed in her constituency of Batley and Spen. Her killer, Thomas Mair, was jailed for life later in the year.
June also brought more shocks to the world as Britain voted to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum.
July - August: Hate incidents increased throughout the country following the Brexit vote, with one Wakefield MP telling the Asian Express ‘I voted Leave, not Racism’ after being targeted in a verbal assault.
On a more positive note, Hanif Malik became the first Asian director to be appointed to the board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and record A Level results were seen for some of the region’s schools.
Police admitted that they had to ‘learn lessons’ following a hate incident at the local Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara in Bradford, which saw the Guru Granth Sahib Ji thrown over the temple’s gates. Thankfully, an apology was eventually accepted with the guilty party admitting a lack of knowledge about Sikh customs.
A super slimmer who shed half his body weight through will power, communities raising thousands of pounds for charities through the sale of chocolate cakes and LGI’s ear pioneer, Dr Sanjay Verma, also made the headlines.
September - October:
A local hero battled through flames in September to rescue a man from a burning building. Arshad Khan, who runs a shop in Bradford, risked his own life to rescue a neighbour from his smoking flat and was praised by firefighters.
It seems that Autumn was a month for superheroes of all kinds, with even a schoolgirl returning a wallet containing wads of cash to its rightful owner (cue Wallet Wondergirl Ammara Khan).
Bradford University appointed a fantastic new dean in Professor Zahir Irani and top businessman Jas Maharaja enjoyed a huge £500,000 expansion at the brilliant Bradford Bazaar.
October was a month which will be remembered for its sadder moments. 11-year old Asad Khan committed suicide after he was bullied repeatedly at school.
To touch upon a brighter story, a little boy with a ‘big heart’ gave all his birthday presents away to refugee children in Syria. Six-year-old Joseph Al-Fadhili even asked his dad if he could visit the Jungle to see how people were living out there.
To round off a jam-packed month, Asian Express said goodbye to wonderful Karam Chand, who sadly passed away at the incredible age of 110, after an amazing 91 years of marriage.
November - December: The wintery months were all about power women and girl power! Fozia Shaheen was named Young Councillor of the Year and Saima Hussain received an honorary fellowship from Bradford College for her groundbreaking work in raising the profile for women in rugby league.
A standout story this year would have to be Matt and Naz’s heartbreaking story of suicide related to religious homophobia, and spreading the message to our readers that they are ‘not alone’ if they are starting to question their own sexuality.
In December, Muzdalfa Ahmed made her speech in the House of Commons and received a standing ovation. At 17, the Member of Youth Parliament will certainly be a name to look out for in the world of politics. Other memorable stories included Mumtaz hosting their festive Christmas dinner for the homeless and an award-winning doctor – Safia Jabeen - taking the shame out of STD’s.
Most memorable quote: Jo Cox: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”
Funniest headline: “Examadan” for exam stress during Ramadan
Favourite photograph: Dr Verma with his ginormous plastic ear
As a newly published report this month suggests that almost 50 per cent of children in youth offender institutions are from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds , one former young lawbreaker has told the Asian Express that ‘children must know the true cost of crime’.
‘Bounty’, as he is known to friends and family, is no stranger to prison.
Despite only being 21-years-old, the Bradford man has been in and out of youth offender institutions and prisons since his early teens, accumulating over 18 months behind bars.
Arrested ‘almost a hundred times’ and appearing in court on several occasions, his young days were notorious to say the least, convicted for robbery, fighting and possession of offensive weapons.
Today he is able to look back on his younger days and see the error of his ways.
Now working in security, Bounty has turned his life around, and has even spoken to ‘at risk’ children about the dangers of a criminal lifestyle.
Explaining more about his own experiences, he said: “It all started in school for me.
“I was a problem child at school, always getting into fights and trouble. I was eventually thrown out and it was then that I began hanging round with bad crowds.
“I was sent to jail for the first time when I was only 13 or 14 for robbery.
“For a year or two after my release I went clean but I couldn’t keep away from these bad people. I ended up going in and out of jail a number of times between 2013 and 2014. In 2015 I was put in jail after six months.
“I look back now and see what a waste of time it all was. You waste your life behind bars and kids today need to understand this.”
In a message to young people today, Bounty says there are no rewards in a life of crime.
“I would just tell people to keep away from the streets, keep away from drugs and get an education,” he said.
“These ‘gang leaders’ are only ever watching their own backs. They might be driving flashy cars or appear to be living a high life but they are not.
“They are only a minute away from their doors being kicked in by police. When that happens, you will not be looked after.”
He added: “Jail’s not a nice place. I wouldn’t let my family come see me when I was in because it would have hurt them more than it hurt me. Children today must understand that it affects more than just them.”
In that latest HM Inspectorate of Prisons report, statistics show that 47 per cent of boys held in youth offender institutions are from a BME background.
This is the highest rate recorded since 2001.
From a Punjabi background and recently married, 34-year-old Jag is a real ‘family man’. With a liberal, left-wing attitude, he is open-minded and extremely affable.
Growing up in Dewsbury, his early life has helped him understand how many different races, religions and backgrounds gel together into one brilliant, dynamic and cohesive community across the north of England.
He said: “I believe Asian Express represents the world we live in, today.
“We don’t live in a society which is segregated, as the mainstream media wants us to believe.
“I’m proud to work for a company which is religiously and politically unbiased and the paper is a great vehicle for any business - that’s any shape or size - to shout and scream about what they stand for.”
Jag’s parents used to own a small shop that closed down due to bigger corporations coming into the town and ‘stealing’ their business.
“I’m here to support independent business owners because I understand what it’s like. I have a vast knowledge of different businesses, from e-commerce to hospitality. I believe people buy from people and I strive to build friendships first and foremost with my clients.”
So how did Jag come to join the Asian Express team?
“I met Nadim, our Managing Director, in June 2015 whilst working at Mumtaz Leeds as an Operations Manager.
“He was impressed with the Graphic Design work that I did for the company and when he found out about my sales background, he took me on board. I started working here in February 2016 and haven’t looked back.”
Jag describes his work ethic as methodical, fair and understanding; whilst his co-workers would say he’s ‘a real good guy’. They even went along to his wedding this year, where they were treated to Langar and a lot of laughs.
“I’ve always been an Asian Express reader, along with my family. My favourite section of the paper would be the local news and motors.”
Watch out for Jag... who’ll be looking for business in your area very soon!
Telephone: 08703 608 606 / 07542 780369
As US voters head to the polls, the choice has never been more difficult for the American public.
Donald Trump has promised to ‘drain the swamp’ which translates to a 100-day plan to clean up corruption.
He said: “We must fix a rigged system in which political insiders can break the law without consequence and where government officials put special interests above the national interest. If we want to make America great again, we must clean up this corruption.”
He has also offered a historic pro-growth plan to create 25 million good paying jobs, adding: “We will cut taxes on middle-class Americans by 35 per cent. We will eliminate every needless job-killing regulations. We will end the off-shoring of American jobs.”
Hillary Clinton has promised to introduce‘comprehensive immigration reform legislation’. She said: “I'm confident that we can work across the aisle to pass comprehensive reform that keeps families together and creates a path to citizenship, secures our border, and focuses our enforcement resources on violent criminals.”
She has also vowed to put forward the biggest investment in new jobs since World War II if she wins the vote. “We’ll produce enough renewable energy to power every home in America within a decade,” she added. “We’ll cut red tape for small businesses and make it easier for entrepreneurs to get the credit they need to grow and hire.”
Throughout the two candidates’ campaigns, people have been critical of the ‘child-like’ back-and-forth insults which seem to appear on a daily basis.
With that in mind, the Asian Express have asked one of its younger readers how she feels about the debate.
Grammar School at Leeds student, Ammara Khan, 12, from Leeds, has made up her mind and says she would vote for Hillary if she lived in America..
She said: “I think Donald trump is a racist person and I know this because he hates Mexicans and Muslims.
“One thing he needs to realise is that one person does not represent the rest of their back ground and there are actually some good Muslims and Mexicans in America.
“If he does win the election, I don't think he will be able to keep his promise of taking Muslims and Mexicans out of America.
“Overall I think that he will be a bad role model for America and he will give them a bad name.
“Most people are only supporting him because they want to get rid of Muslims and Mexicans and they don't think of the rest of the reasons why he should be their president.
“Recently, he had an accusation of sexually harassing young women and he did not get any punishment and this shows that if you have money you can just buy your way around life and you do you want that type of person running your country who does not respect other people, just because of their gender or nationality.
“Stand up for your beliefs, as we are all one nation. If you feel something is wrong make sure you get heard and make a difference.
“Donald Trump is all about having power. He does not know to help people. When have we seen him helping poor people out? Or, in fact, anyone.
“If Donald Trump gets in, it will be a huge mistake for the United States of America.”
From budding beginnings at a small desk in a market town in Lancashire, to blossoming into a multi-award winning designer, Burnley-born Saira Hussain is now - undoubtedly - an unstoppable force in the world of architecture.
A natural creative from a family who didn’t push her onto a particular career path, Hussain was encouraged from a young age to nurture her imaginative spirit.
Speaking exclusively to the Asian Express, Hussain said: “My dad is an engineer so he taught me maths and science from a young age.
“However, we were always encouraged to read and draw. I was never pushed towards the ‘typical Asian’ medical subjects.
“I've always been interested in art but also technology and science. I believe architecture without science is sculpture and architecture without art is building.”
At the age of just 23, Hussain started up her own business.
Hussain Architectural Design (HAD) was founded in 2011 in the midst of the recession, where construction had been hit the hardest.
“I had worked several years in practice after completing my studies at the University of Huddersfield. I worked on small residential extensions for family and friends for the first six to 12 months.
“It was through recommendations that my business started growing. I then rented a small office not far from home. Five years on, we've had over 20 award nominations and a number of wins. I have five practices and a very strong design team working alongside me.”
Hussain’s buildings have even managed to make it onto the nation’s television screens.
“Some of the highlights of my career have been things such as interviews for BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ along with being invited to take part in a property developing program on ITV. One of our houses just recently featured on BBC’s ‘House that 100k built’,” Hussain added.
However, architecture is known to be a notoriously male dominated industry.
A survey by the Architectural Review magazine found 61 per cent of women architects claim to have been the victim of gender discrimination and four out of 10 said their bosses were responsible.
“You're working on building sites where 100 per cent of the construction workers are male. The building officers and the majority of clients are male. I can see why women drop out or never go on to professional practice,” Hussain explained.
“I was always told that the Construction Industry was ‘no place for a woman’ and I understand that women make up only 11 per cent of the industry, facing massive barriers on a daily basis,” Hussain said.
“That said, I feel both the image and culture of construction is slowly changing and, as women, we should work towards fighting for better conditions and more flexible working policies that allow both men and women with other responsibilities to work within the industry.”
Anti-social hours, a ‘macho work culture’ and juggling work and family life haven’t stopped Hussain from trailblazing the way in Blackburn, Manchester and London.
Her work has been nominated for various accolades such as The Duke of Gloucester Awards; Red Rose Awards, English Asian Business Awards and HAD has also recently won two awards in the Architecture and Engineering categories for Build Magazine.
Looking to expand further into London after studying for a PHD, it is clear that Hussain is cut from the same cloth - or should that be built from the same bricks - as her idol, the late Dame Zaha Hadid.
After winning ‘Best Sustainable Design Practice’ by Build Magazine, Hussain is a strong believer in sustainable design.
She said: “I want to contribute to an improved future through the use of clean technology. Suitability applied in all aspects of life is critical to our future.
“We only have one earth. We must find ways to reduce our harmful impact on the environment. Upon winning this award, I was given the reassurance that my practice was heading in the right direction in terms of green design.”
Noting the SDA Church Bolton as her ‘favourite building to design’ to date, her reasons for the choice are humble, especially since it is certainly not one of her most glamorous projects.
“The client at the church was extremely passionate about the design. We were working on a community-led project with a very tight budget.
“They wanted to steer away from the traditional church design and we looked in to a self-sufficient building. It was very challenging and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Other projects Hussain has worked on include a collaboration with uber trendy clients ‘The Colour Works’, in Hackney Wick, where a warehouse was transformed into a dynamic space that is used for late night raves, TV adverts music and dance studios and - recently - Aroma Shisha Lounge, the biggest of its kind in the capital.
For those hoping to following in Hussain’s footsteps, experience in practice is crucial to a successful career in Architecture.
“You will learn the link between theory and practice,” Hussain said. “You also need to possess design talent, engineering ability, social awareness, business aptitude and legal knowledge.”
For now, Hussain is content with expanding her business further into London.
But her jokey goal of ‘taking over the world’ is perhaps not meant to be taken with the sarcasm it was intended.
Possessing a striking portfolio like hers could mean she may literally be able to build that very vision all by herself.
High court adjourned as Gaza freedom flotilla fight continues
Families and friends of those killed six years ago in an armed naval attack - led by Israeli Commanders on a ship delivering aid to Gaza – will have to wait at least two more months for answers after the latest court hearing was adjourned.
The 7th Criminal Court of Istanbul held its thirteenth hearing of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla case on 19th October for the fatal raid, of the Mavi Marmara, that took place on 31st May 2010.
However, despite the longevity of the case, a further postponement was deemed necessary by authorities after the last judge was not considered to be impartial.
Paveen Yaqub, who was part of the aid flotilla and saw a fellow passenger – Ugur Suleyman - on board the ship die from a bullet wound to the head, said she is ‘disappointed but not deterred’.
On the latest adjournment, she said: “I felt mistrustful and wondered if it was a tactical move because we had many people represented from different countries, who were flotilla victims.”
She continued: “Perhaps the court and the government think that if they delay, fewer of us will come back in December, and it would be easier for the court to carry through the sentiments of the Turkish and Israeli governments, who have reached their own political agreement that should have no bearing on our legal process.”
During the 2010 attack, nine humanitarian activists were killed and another was left in a coma after he was shot in the head. He later passed away.
Other passengers suffered bullet wounds, dozens were left injured, and hundreds were ‘traumatised’ after being subjected to a bloody and brutal attack at sea.
Surviving victims were subsequently taken from international waters to Israel and detained, until international outrage and intervention ensured their freedom and safe return to home countries, including passengers from the UK.
The flotilla consisted of a fleet of humanitarian ships carrying vital aid and hundreds of charity workers bound for the besieged Gaza strip.
Asian Express talked exclusively to Paveen Yaqub about her experiences:
Do the horrors of the Mavi Marmara still feel like yesterday?
Being in Istanbul for the purpose of the court hearing always brings me closer to the memories of the horror that unfolded six years ago when Israeli naval forces opened fire on a on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian ship. Tonight, in Istanbul, victims who have travelled from various countries will gather for a pre-court briefing.
Tomorrow will be worse because the families of those killed will be in court - as they always are.
Seeing them always makes me deeply sad because, not only are they still grieving the loss of their loved ones, but they again will hear the details of the brutality that ended the lives of their husbands, fathers and sons. Yet still justice has not been delivered to them, or any of us who survived the terror that Israel brought to bear on innocent civilians.
What are you hoping to come out of this court case? Do you think you will ever get justice for Ugur Suleyman?
I hope that this court case marks history in shaping a trajectory that holds Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity, for its flagrant disregard for international and humanitarian law, for its illegal military occupation; its criminal blockade of Gaza, and its privileged position of impunity granted by the USA, the UK and the UN.
This isn't simply seeking justice for Ugur Suleyman, Furkan Dogan, or the eight other humanitarians whose lives were worthless in the eyes of Israel commandos - neither is this a justice that I seek for me.
This is a stance against Israeli state terrorism and a service to humanity, a symbolic effort for Palestinians and any other oppressed people that the international community has abandoned because it does not serve their own political and diplomatic interests to care.
Whether we achieve justice or not, it doesn't change the truth nor does it deter me from knowing 'human rights from human wrongs', even if our politicians struggle with this simple concept.
Do you believe news in today’s climate is easily forgotten/ disposable/ and that atrocities get brushed over all too easily?
News always moves at a fast pace and with so many atrocities in the world, it’s difficult for people to respond meaningfully as it can become too overwhelming.
Death and violent conflict is so prevalent that people can also fall into an apathetic state or simply don't want to hear about it anymore, so they disconnect.
However, what is very clear to me is that for mainstream media there is a distinction between those whom deserve our attention and those who do not: the lives which matter and those which are dispensable.
It's a desperately sad situation to consider that, by denying truth and a fair representation of conflict, the mainstream media industry is shaping views about who the victims and perpetrators are, even if these representations are false, biased and misleading.
This dismissive approach to reporting the truth is what is helping to stoke the fires of conflict, unrest and division in our communities.
I have first-hand experience of the BBC for example, reporting the flotilla raid in such a distorted and unfair way. I was there. I know what leading media anchors did to the truth, leaving me questioning so much of what our media and our governments tell us.
How are you rebuilding your life? Do you feel strong?
I am doing better these days and focusing on rebuilding not just my life but my sense of who I am again.
Israel stole something from me that I doubt will ever return but fortunately they didn't take the most important thing I own, my faith. I realise that it's not what is taken from you in this life that matters but what you give, and what you find as you walk the road ahead with belief, hope and humanity. I have something the Israeli commandos were devoid of: I have value for the life of others and I have no place in my heart for hate, not even for them.
I would hope that others who feel they want to serve humanity do so with constructive action and use the processes available to them.
People touched or angered by injustice should hold on to how they feel and channel that into practical actions like lobbying politicians or campaigning peacefully but robustly.
Whether we like it or not, politics is where the power is held and that's where we have to take our grievances over and over again until our governments heed our concerns.
Cairo Zaks doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s been serving top notch kebabs for over 38 years to happy customers on White Abbey Road in Bradford.
Inside, the takeaway and diner has a modest yet comfortable decor which plays on the Egyptian theme.
Paintings of camels hang on the sandy coloured walls and Moroccan style lamps provide an ambient glow.
Like many restaurants with a loyal fanbase, there’s no need for menus on the wall. The staff will, of course, hand you one should you want to eat something other than the banging kebabs.
Zak, the owner, says: “My brother and I have been here since 1978. Everyone knows us.
“There’s loads of other restaurants in Bradford but we manage to get our hardcore fans coming back time and time again for the donner kebabs. They’re legendary.”
Asian Express tucks into a fluffy pitta that’s filled to the brim with fresh salad, zingy yogurt dressing and a generous portion of lipsmacking kebab meat.
Topping it off to perfection is the homemade chilli sauce which adds a kick of heat and a flash of zing.
It’s a condiment that’s tempting enough to make even Tutankhamen himself spring back to life from his sarcophagus.
“Some people now even want to buy it by the bottle,” Zak adds.
Cairo Zak’s is right in the heart of the Asian community and was the first in the area to do halal pizzas and burgers.
“I came back again last year after leasing the place out, and I’m getting it built back up again,” Zak smiles.
But where did the legendary name derive from? Zak says: “My brother went to Egypt on holiday and was inspired by the mesmerising landscapes out there. He decided to bring the charm of those Arabian nights over to Bradford.”
We’re very glad he did.
87 White Abbey Road
Open 7 days: 11.30am – 11pm
Telephone: 01274 30 75 03
As a big thanks to our readers and to take some of the stress out of keeping kids happy during the long Summer holidays, Asian Express are giving away three family passes, valid for four people to Diggerland in Yorkshire.
Many kids get excited at just the thought of passing a building site and seeing all the JCB diggers, which to them, are larger than life toys!
Fascinated by all of the machinery, little boys and girls dream of sitting inside the cabs of diggers and hope their playrooms will one day come to life. Well, the dream can come true at... Diggerland!
Diggerland is The Ultimate Adventure Theme Park Experience where children and adults alike can ride, drive and operate REAL diggers, dumpers and other full- size construction machinery.
Located in Castleford, Yorkshire, Diggerland is the perfect destination for action, fun and thrill packed family days out.
Fun for all ages from four years old (subject to height restrictions) to 40-plus, Diggerland with its 18 different rides and drives and an array of additional activities is the ideal theme park for small to large groups looking for something exciting and truly unique.
Get to grips with real JCBs and 180/360 excavators, take a head-reeling turn or two on the Spindizzy, rise to lofty heights and enjoy the views on the Skyshuttle, enjoy a bone-rattling off-road ride on the Groundshuttle, or have a go on the Dodgems and Go-Karts!
There are indoor and outdoor play areas, sandpits, coin operated rides and much more where younger visitors can let off steam while their parents can just sit back, relax and watch the fun… or join in!
All parks boast a Diggerland Goodie Store where visitors can mark their day with a memorable souvenir as well as buy gifts, toys and other merchandise, and there are cafeterias that offer a wide selection of hot and cold snacks, meals and beverages. Picnic tables are located in the grounds for those who prefer to bring their own packed lunches.
Diggerland Rides & Drives
To be in with a chance of winning, please send your answer to the following question to firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s the name of the famous builder voiced by Neil Morrissey who has construction vehicles called Muck, Scoop, Lofty and Dizzy?
A) DIY Dave B) Bob the Builder C) Terry the Tarmacer
Terms & Conditions
It’s that time of year once again where Muslims around the world come together to celebrate Eid al-Fitr as the month of Ramadan comes to an end.
Fasting is finished and families come together to celebrate the joyous occasion with food shared and presents often handed over to the younger generations.
Muslims have been digging deep in their pockets this year in aid of charity, with followers of the Islamic faith in the UK raising millions of pounds once again in just four weeks for causes all around the world.
Across West Yorkshire, we have seen Muslims go beyond the call of duty to perform selfless acts and charity initiatives with many stories reported right here in the Asian Express.
In Leeds, the annual ‘Ramadan with the Homeless’ project has seen volunteers take to the streets once again this year to feed those less fortunate.
Food is provided by the army of volunteers and distributed out after public prayer, bringing communities together and highlighting a cohesive society.
A number of charity groups have continued to sell chocolate cakes, too, raising money for a plethora of causes.
Meanwhile, multifaith Iftars have again returned to the scene this past month, held in mosques and public spaces for members of all communities to attend.
The time when Muslims break their fast at night is one of the most sacred moments and scenes of interfaith iftars and chand raats are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society.
Imam Qari Asim, of the Leeds’ Makkah Masjid, explained more about the holiday.
He said: “While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each one of us – a reason to celebrate and be determined to carry through the spiritual experience, the will power, the discipline, the relationship that we have developed with the Allah, His Messenger and the Qur'an during Ramadan.
“Eid is a day of celebration and to offer thanks to Allah Almighty for having given the strength and the will to observe fast, increase acts of worship, and to give charity during the holy month of Ramadan.
“Eid is a time to come together as a community and to renew friendship and family ties, to join in festive gatherings and exchange gifts with each other.
“Whilst we celebrate Eid in Britain, we also remember millions of Muslims that have been displaced, or are without food, drink and shelter around the world due to conflict, violence or natural disasters.”
From everyone at the Asian Express newspaper, we wish you Eid Mubarak!
We've teamed up with O2 for you to win £2000 flights package.
HOW ENTER THE COMPETITION
BAG £2000 WORTH OF AIR TICKETS!!!
The Asian Express Newspaper in association with O2 World Chat is offering its readers a ‘once in a lifetime’ prize of £2,000 free airfare
Hurry for your chance of winning. Simply follow the instructions below and let the world become your oyster. Competition closes 30th April 2016.
1) Text the short code ‘World A’ to 60102
2) You'll receive an SMS message from O2 with the link to download O2 World Chat
3) There are two links - tap the first one to download the app and complete the registration process by inputting your phone number into the app
That's it! You're entered in the competition - good luck!
(Terms and Condition apply - see bottom of page. Standard mobile network cost of text.)
About O2 World Chat
Whether you have family abroad or want to keep up to date with a travelling friend, the O2 World Chat app is all that you need to have access to some of the cheapest rates around.
From just 1p per minute, residents here in the UK can make calls across the world through the free app, available on any UK mobile network.
No longer do you have to rely on typing out long PIN numbers or swapping SIMs when calling abroad, just simply open the app and get connected.
Download the app today and not only will you instantly be able to take advantage of some of the most competitive international rates, but users will also receive first five minutes worth of calls absolutely free to call anywhere in the world. Once this offer expires, simply top up your balance to continue to make calls with those around the world.
More information is available via www.o2.co.uk/worldchat
Yorkshire’s unsung heroes were propelled into the spotlight last week as the Hamara Awards returned for a sixth year to commend the county’s community stalwarts.
Hamara Community Awards branded this year's event as – ‘Celebrating Success’, and once again aimed to recognise the contribution of individuals or groups who continue to have a positive influence on the region.
Joined by representatives of high profile sports teams, such as Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rhinos, individuals received their accolades in front of a packed audience at Aagrah Midpoint.
Habib Khan, speaking on behalf of the event organisers, said he wanted to make the night the ‘biggest yet’.
“When we were organising this year’s awards, we knew we had to make it bigger than any of its predecessors,” he said.
“With so much happening in Yorkshire right now, from the sport teams’ successes in cricket and rugby, to the opening of The Broadway Shopping Centre, the opening of the New John Lewis Centre in Leeds, White Rose Shopping Centre opening a new Cinema Complex in 2016 and the Capital of Culture Bid for Leeds, we decided to theme the event as the ‘Celebrating Success’.
“Every winner thoroughly deserved their award on the night.”
Amongst the entertainment on show were Bollywood dancers, previous Hamara Award winner Bethany Hare, and a young 10-year-old performer.
Guests also witnessed a specially organised boxing match between guests, Ikram Butt and Starr Zaman, who were themselves surprised on the night with the activity.
“The awards were our most successful yet and guests certainly enjoyed themselves as well as the award winners,” Habib added.
“A big thank you must go out to all those who helped make the night possible this year.”
Six main awards were handed out including the: Women’s Achievement Award (Halima Khan), Community Organisation of the Year (LASSN), Young Person (Maryam Ali), Service to the Community (Caroline Whitehead), Lifetime Achievement (Gurdev Dahele) MBE, and Special Initiative (Haroon Jehan Foundation).
Sponsors of this year’s event included: Asian Express newspaper, ITC, White Rose Shopping Centre, South Leeds Academy, Yorkshire CCC and Islamic Relief. We Look forward to Hamara Community Awards 2016.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club captain, Andrew Gale, was joined by businessmen from across Bradford for a special networking event earlier this week, looking to raise awareness for the local Marie Curie Hospice.
Organised by Blacks Solicitors, the event brought cricket enthusiasts together to discuss all things Yorkshire and pick the mind of one of the county’s most consistent performers.
Luke Patel, Solicitors Partner at Black Solicitor, said the event was a great opportunity to learn more about the hospice and enjoy listening to their ‘fantastic’ sports ambassador.
“This is a local hospice for the needs of local people and we must raise awareness and provide support in whatever way we can,” he said.
“Our event achieved that and we hope the business owners round the table will give consideration to choosing this charity as their nominated charity in their Corporate Social Responsibility policies.”
Gale spoke with delegates about his experience as captain of Yorkshire, seeing the county promoted from Division Two and retaining the Division One title, and told stories from Sir Geoffrey Boycott to Jason Gillespie’s unbeaten 201.
The county skipper also shed light on his optimism for the future of Yorkshire CCC, adding that younger players could break into the team in coming seasons, with a host of exciting British Asians in the academy.
Following a question and answer session, Elaine Hill, Hospice Manager at the Bradford site, spoke with those in attendance.
She added: “People think of a hospice as a sad place but we are not. We are a place which may handle sad times in peoples’ lives but we give patients and their families the best standard of life possible before and after a family member’s death.
“It costs £3million a year to maintain the hospice and we need to raise more than half of that through donations every year.
“Whether it is from a sponsored event or a business pledging to pay for a nurse for the day, it all helps and is massively appreciated.”
Nadiya talks highlights and struggles in the UK’s most famous kitchen
From prestigious ‘Hollywood handshakes’ to the odd ‘wobbly bottom’, this year’s Great British Bake Off once again proved to be the UK’s favourite show, drawing in figures of over 14 million for the grand final.
After five delicious weeks, and the elimination of nine contestants, it was Leeds’ own Nadiya Hussain who eventually clinched the renowned Bake Off title from hosts Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
Now, as she ponders what to cook up next in her life, the nation’s favourite baker has taken time out of her busy schedule to catch up with the Asian Express newspaper.
Q. Firstly congratulations on your success, when you first entered did you think you would make it all the way?
A. Thank you so much. When I first entered I never imagined I would do so well. Every week I was in the tent, I felt like I was leaving that week. I never imagined making it past week one so getting to the final was the unlikeliest event in my life.
Q. What has been the highlight of the series for you?
A. The whole experience was a massive highlight for me but I have to say the Hollywood handshake was a moment that I will not forget in a hurry. Paul seems to be very selective when handing these out. So getting one felt like being initiated into an exclusive Hollywood handshake club.
Q. What was the hardest moment for you?
A. The hardest moments for me were the weeks when I got lowest in the technical. The technical felt like my Achilles heel, so every time I did badly I believed I would be out.
Q. How did you feel going into the final episode?
A. The final episode felt like a bit of a blur. There was an eerie, calm concentration in the air, which was unsettling and relaxing in equal measures. But it was all too real, that these were to be our final bakes and I know, at least for me, it felt like I had won just being in the final.
Q. How have you changed since the first episode? Are you more confident in your abilities in the kitchen?
A. I have always been confident in the kitchen with my cooking and baking. I am confident in my abilities within the confines and comfort of my family’s bosom. So bringing all these skills domain made me really rather nervous. Having baked and cooked now on the show, I feel more confident as a baker and as a person.
Q. People have loved seeing your personality blossom on television, with some memorable faces, how have you enjoyed this reception?
A. I have been overwhelmed by the reception of the kind people in the UK and all across the globe. I never imagined my facial expressions or personality would capture anyone, but it’s safe to say it has been one of the most enjoyable receptions I have ever received.
Q. Who is your inspiration in the kitchen?
A. My family are my inspiration in the kitchen. They are the reason I take joy in everything I produce because everything I do make is always so well received (apart from a bake that had lavender in it!). It is the sheer joy on their faces that inspires me to bake every single day.
Q. You have been praised as a Muslim role model, how does that feel?
A. I have been praised as a Muslim role model and that is such a wonderful thing. What I do hope I can inspire people to do, is to believe in their own abilities and believe that dreams can become reality, through hard work, determination and simply believing that they can.
Q. What would you say to anyone thinking about applying for next year’s bake off?
A. Take lots of pictures of all your bakes, practice profusely and get that application in. As my wise husband said to me last year, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’.
Q Finally, what does the future hold for Nadia?
A. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, what I am sure about is that I want to continue to do what I love most, cooking and baking. I will continue to work hard and go through every door that is opened for me. I may even unlock a few doors myself.
As Leeds continues to build on its ever-growing reputation as the ‘capital of the north’, exciting investment opportunities continue to arise with a helping hand from Parklane Properties.
Established for over 25 years, the Parklane group are the number one estate agents in Leeds city centre with an ever growing award-winning portfolio of properties for tenants and investors.
Amongst them is the new off-plan development, Victoria House, located in the northern quarter of the city centre.
With a guaranteed net yield of eight per cent for three years, properties like this do not come on the market very often, especially with a reservation fee of just £5,000.
Within walking distance of the city centre, and in close proximity of the new Victoria Gate Shopping Centre and local universities, these are apartments ideal of investors and owner occupiers alike.
Hi-tech one and two-bedroom apartments are still available alongside contemporary studios, with communal gardens, a concierge service and en-suite bathrooms all included in your investment.
With fantastic returns on your investment, and available at 20 per cent less than market comparables, Victoria House could be the perfect opportunity you have been searching for.
Perhaps you are on the lookout for a different type of investment? Well with Parklane Properties, there are always more options available.
The X1 Aire apartments, on East Street, have received much interest from investors across the country and beyond, looking to capitalise on the vastly undersupplied rental market in the city centre.
A stunning range of apartments are available for every budget, from bespoke one-bed apartments to luxury penthouses, and again offer up an amazing net yield of six per cent in year one.
Taking boutique living to the next level in Leeds, X1 Aire apartments are guaranteed to impress, with onsite amenities including a private gym and management office to compliment your stunning accommodation.
Find out more information about these two properties and many more investment opportunities across the city centre by visiting www.parklane properties.com now.
City Centre Office
Tel: 0113 237 0000
Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat 9.30am-4pm
There are some things in life that are quintessentially British – the Royal Family, a cup of tea and of course Fish and Chips.
In Bradford, one restaurant has proudly served up the latter two for almost half a century and with every meal fit for royalty, they certainly tick all the boxes.
Fish Dish is Bradford’s favourite chippie, and has been since it first opened its doors in 1968 on St James Street.
Providing 100 per cent haddock, sourced from the clear waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, their famous fish and chips have drawn in crowds from across the city and beyond.
Served in a crispy batter, alongside homemade thick-cut chips, there really is nothing like a Fish Dish Fish and Chips.
Owner, Ziahad Amin explained more about how the restaurant and takeaway was able to keep their fish tasting the freshest around.
“By freezing the fish as soon as it is caught, the freshness and tastes are locked in,” he said. “This means that every haddock served up here tastes like it has just been caught.
“We have worked on this method of preparation for almost 50 years and have been able to master the classic fish and chips dish our customers have come to love.
“Starting from just £2.50, we will not be beaten on price or quality.”
Recently Fish Dish was named as a member of the Bradford Council Good Food Guide for promoting healthy options through their menu.
As well as only using vegetable oil for their fish and chips, every meal is served up with a free side-salad whilst grilled fish options provide a healthy alternative for diners.
When opting for a grilled dish, your choice of tuna, salmon or haddock is marinated in secret spices and sauces, developed over the past 15 years, and served up with your favourite side.
With a recently refurbished interior, providing seating for up to 100 people, there has never been a better time to visit Fish Dish and experience Bradford’s premium fish and chips for yourself.
30 James Street,
City Centre Bradford,
Mon – Sat 9am-7pm
Tel: 01274 224 551
Bradford’s city centre has undergone some major changes in recent history, with redevelopments and renovation work occurring across the region.
One building however has remained at the heart of all of this for over a century as the Great Victoria Hotel celebrates 150 years of dedicated service.
Built in 1867, the iconic venue is so much more than a place to rest your head, with dozens of couples tying the knot at the city’s grandest hotel every year.
From the classic Victorian high ceilings, to grand staircases and glittering chandeliers, the Great Victoria has an aura of prestige and history in every room.
Today more than ever, it is the perfect setting for the most important and memorable of occasions, combining urban chic with traditional splendour.
Husbands and wives-to-be continue to choose the venue for their big day with specially tailored Asian Wedding Packages providing everything you need to make your day as perfect as it should be.
Everything from the delectable menu to the table linen can be organised for your convenience, with three-course menus developed by chefs from Pakistan, and approved by couples right here in Bradford.
Every bespoke package is uniquely developed around your needs, with experienced wedding co-ordinator, Rachel Pollard, on hand to inspire, guide and arrange any necessity you have.
“We have always received amazing feedback from Asian weddings hosted here, from the bride and groom themselves to guests from across the country,” she said.
“Last month we launched our new Asian Wedding Package service, ensuring no detail is overlooked for a couple’s big day and allowing us to help create special moments that will last a lifetime.
“We offer a personal touch to every wedding organised and take great pride in delivering exactly what the bride and groom want and deserve.”
As well as boasting an unparalleled history, the Great Victoria Hotel can cater for all the guests on your wedding day through their Corniche and Velasco Suites.
With original Victorian features, including high ceilings, draped elegant curtains and natural light bursting through grand windows, the Corniche Room is packed with delightful surprises.
Likewise, the Velasco Suite offers a visually-stunning concept for guests, as the classic elegance of the Victoria Hotel meets a contemporary twist, setting the scene for a perfect wedding.
For the more intimate occasions, the Camargue room, with original fireplaces and natural light, is the perfect venue for vows to be exchanged, whilst the Dragon Fly Suite can accommodate any smaller gathering.
After the biggest day of your lives, unwind in the luxurious Bridal Suite, with a stunning king-sized bed and couple’s baths helping you relax in style.
Guests can also retire to their spacious rooms and suites with accommodation to suit every budget.
The Great Victoria Hotel has a history like no other venue in Bradford. Why not add the next chapter yourself and make your big day the perfect day in the city’s grandest setting.
The Great Victoria hotel,
Tel: 01274 728706
Whether you are looking for a unique gift for a special friend or a piece of art to act as a focal point in your home or office, Artz-I has the perfect contemporary or classic Islamic design for you.
With an expansive showroom exhibiting over 100 pieces of intricate art, the Bradford-based business has quickly established itself as a reputable supplier of must-see, must-have designs.
From winding calligraphy imported from Istanbul, to oil paintings from Pakistan and in-house creations, there is a painting, carving or design waiting for you.
Mohammed Rasul established Artz-i with business partners, Tehreem Rasul and Fuad Khan, and explained more about the exciting exhibition gallery on the third floor.
“When we opened Artz-I, we wanted to combine our sales floors of furniture and handicrafts from around the world, with something completely unique, not only in Bradford but probably in the whole of the UK – a dedicated Islamic art Gallery,” he said.
“In the coming months, we hope to exhibit even more locally-produced Islamic art because there are a lot of talented artists in this area yet no platform to show their work.
“Even though there are websites out there, we have found that art lovers much prefer to see art work in the flesh, rather than online.
“We do not expect our customers to have to pay above their means to purchase a piece of art, and that is why we give all artists a chance – ensuring you are not simply paying more for a ‘name’.”
As well as traditional canvas paintings, calligraphy designs are also available on framed travertine stone, giving an aged and authentic look, and proving extremely popular with customers.
All sizes are available, with an in-house framing service helping to make any modifications you need to create the framed work you desire.
Meanwhile, customers can find unique embossed gold and silver-foiled wall art, designed and completed by Artz-I’s own team of artists for the more individual creations.
“We try to showcase the widest variety of Islamic art we can in our showroom,” Mohammed added. “Everybody has different tastes and that is reflected in our range.”
Keep an eye out for upcoming exhibitions at Artz-I with a collection of local artists having a chance to shine in November.
Working in collaboration with Bradford council, the expansive showroom will showcase all types of art and give the public a chance to pick up a unique piece, perfect for their living room wall or in their office, setting them apart from the rest.
In Early 2016, an international exhibition will also be held, with the focus once again on unique Islamic creations.
“This is a big aim of ours, to bring together local and international talent, to form a unique showroom,” Mohammed said.
“Since opening our doors, we have had orders from all around the world, from London to New York, and we look forward to seeing even more new faces walk through our doors in coming weeks.”
54-60 Sunbridge Road,
Bradford, BD1 2AB
Tel: 01274 392192
Vinayak Chaturthi, the Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the elephant-headed god Ganesha, has been celebrated with its affiliated vibrancy all across the world.
The modern-day version of public celebrations in India involves installing clay murtis (idols) of Ganesha in public pandals (temporary shrines) and worshipped together for ten days. It’s not uncommon for some murtis to scale to 70 feet in height.
But in Mumbai, there is a special spirit of oneness when you see Bollywood stars join the excitement, visiting the famous Siddhivinayak Temple to take part in the ‘aarti’, like any commoner. Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities.
The 10-day festival kick-started on 17th September whilst the grand immersion took place on 27th, after which the idol is immersed into water.
It was adorable to see their little ones joining them, showing great composure while partaking in the prayer ceremonies.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was spotted with her daughter Aaradhya at the GSB Ganpati pandal. The three-year-old looked the absolute spitting image of her mom.
Vivek Oberoi as well was seen celebrating the occasion with his adorable children – two-year-old Vivaan Veer Oberoi and five-month old daughter Ameyaa Nirvana Oberoi at his residence.
Sanjay Dutt and Manyata Dutt’s four-year-old twins – Shahraan and Iqra offered pooja to Lord Ganesh in the presence of their parents before the immersion of the idol in a tank at their residence. The twins will turn five this October, and Shahraan already has grown taller than his sister Iqra.
Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra took their little boy Viaan for the immersion. Raj carried his son on his shoulders while Shilpa danced along with the crowd.
Meanwhile Rishi Kapoor and Neethu Singh were joined by their daughter Riddhima and granddaughter Samara while offering prayers at a temple.
Akshay Kumar son Aarav, who turned 13 recently, joined his mum Twinkle and grandmother Dimple for a procession before offering the prayers and immersing the idol in the sea.
Commending the region’s top Asian businesses
The Yorkshire Asian Business Association’s (YABA) Annual Awards and Gala Dinner comes to Bradford for the first time later this month with a host of the region’s leading business brains coming together for a night of celebration.
On Thursday 24th September, 500-plus leaders from across the county will attend the black-tie event as awards are handed out in six categories to businesses nominated from across the public and private sector.
Judges will be looking for the impact on customers, suppliers, partners and the region, innovation and leadership, as well as reasons the nominee stands out against their peers.
Finalists have already been named for each category ahead of the prestigious awards evening (see right) and YABA Chairman, Amarjit Singh, says he is excited to see who clinches the highly-decorated awards this year.
“Since the Yorkshire Asian Business Association’s formation, we have continued to go from strength-to-strength,” he said.
“Our board consists of experts from across the government, education, business and voluntary sectors and across almost every discipline.
“What unites us is our passion for business and delivering value to our members and the region.
“This year our theme is ‘Celebrating Success’ in line with the huge amount of achievement and progress we have made together with our members and business partners.
“I’m excited to, for the first time, recognise our YABA award winners on stage in Bradford as we recognise some of the region’s best organisations and individuals.”
Having received a high number of entries from businesses all over the region, from start up’s to large corporations, the shortlist was finally confirmed last week.
Providing a platform and voice for its members on a regional, national and international level, YABA’s business awards showcase the best of the region’s talent, presenting an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come together and celebrate success.
Amongst the hundreds in attendance, special guests confirmed on the night include members of the Indian High Commission, Sri Lankan High Commission, Bangladeshi High Commission, National Asian Business Association, UK Indian Business Council and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Mr Singh added: “On behalf of the YABA board and executive team we would like to thank all who submitted entries and for our shortlisted finalists we wish you the best of luck.”
The 2015 YABA Finalists:
Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year
Sukhvinder Javeed - MilkysnugzTM
Naeem Sheikh – Pegasus Motor Insurance
Sayam Majid – FX Introducer
Food & Drink Business of the Year
Shakoor Ahmed – MyLahore
Bobby Patel – Prashad
Professional of the Year
Surender Munjal – Leeds University
Qari Asim – DLA Piper
Arnab Basu – Kromek Group
Arif Ahmad – PwC
International Business of the Year
Sharon Kaur – Really Indian Ltd
Sukhvinder Javeed – MilkysnugzTM
Arnab Basu – Kromek Group
Retail Business of the Year
Ahmed Mulla – Mullaco Dewsbury Ltd
Thakorlal Bhagubhai Patel – TB Cash & Carry
Zak Patel – Talk Direct
SME Business of the Year
Thakorlal Bhagubhai Patel – TB Cash & Carry
Zak Patel – Talk Direct
The Street Lane Bakery
Parvinder Bhabra – Northern Cam Co Ltd
Ricci Dean – Pearl Noir
Parklane Group sets new standards as IconInc arrives in the city
Time spent at university is some of the most enjoyable in a person’s life, gaining a new found independence whilst learning and enjoying the freedom that comes with living away from home.
For academics opting to study in Leeds, there are now even more reasons to enrol on a higher education course as IconInc brings the highest quality accommodation to the highest quality of education.
IconInc is the nation’s first student accommodation which tells students to ‘expect and demand more’ from their landlords, from their city centre location on Westfield Road.
Whether working or relaxing in your luxury private apartment or meeting new people and enjoying the buzz of the modern shared social spaces, including private cinema, lounge, games zone, gym and pantry, IconInc has raised the bar in hospitality.
Offering much more than just a great place to live and study, every high-spec studio and one bedroom apartment is fitted with all the luxury and added extras of a boutique hotel, from the flat screen TV and contemporary en-suite to the plush double bed and designer fitted kitchen.
Complimentary continental breakfast make waking up on a morning that little bit easier whilst an in-house cleaning service allows you to spend more time enjoying student life.
Naveen Ahmed, Managing Director at the Parklane Group, says the vision for IconInc has been a long process and was delighted to see it receive such a ‘phenomenal’ reception from new occupants.
“This is not an idea that was simply thought up overnight,” he said. “It has taken 30 years of working in the industry, working with students and diversifying into different areas of hospitality, with our Roomzzz apartment hotels, that has helped us arrive at this destination.
“IconInc is the UK’s first seven star student accommodation as far as I am concerned.
“There are leisure facilities unparalleled in quality and every room is equipped with the essential designed and developed with students in mind.
He added: “The response so far has been phenomenal. Almost every room has already been accounted for and students have begun moving in this week.”
As well as the endless list of onsite facilities, a 24-hour concierge service is also available for all students to help organise everything from restaurant bookings to theatre tickets.
Rooms come in three sizes, from Smart Studios, to Elegance Studios and Grande Apartments, with all providing ample storage space, free Wi-Fi, en-suite facilities and of course unlimited access to all the incredible amenities inside IconInc.
If you would like to learn more about the apartments, or would like to book your room today, please visit www.iconinc.co.uk and experience student living the IconInc way.
After months of construction, refurbishment and renovations, the ‘weight’ is finally over for the launch of Bradford’s newest ladies only gym with the official opening of Listers Health.
Located at the iconic Lister Mills, the modern gym and wellbeing centre boasts all the latest Life Fitness equipment required to help you reach your personal goals, whatever they may be.
From running a marathon to shredding a few inches off the waistline, the spacious workout area provides cardio and resistance equipment of the highest quality with personal trainers onsite to offer advice and support at all times.
Be sure to visit the newly launched website, www.listershealth.co.uk, to check out packed class timetables and see how you can begin your journey to a ‘better you’.
Project manager, Shazia Sarwar, has overseen the development of the gym from day one and says she is delighted to now be able to welcome ladies into the exciting environment.
“When this project first started, we had a huge amount of work to carry out so now it is a fantastic feeling to just walk through this amazing setting,” she said.
“Today the gym is a place to be proud of, with hundreds of ladies already signing up to take advantage of the latest facilities right here in the city centre.
“As well as our workout areas and studios, the relaxing steam room, infrared sauna and beauty salon located on site are just more reasons why Listers Health is raising the bar for ladies only gyms.”
What better way to relax after an exhausting workout than a pampering session in the salon or to take the weight off your shoulders with a peaceful steam.
Listers Health is much more than just a gym, it is a setting designed with members in mind, from the comfort of their lounge area to the studios and workout space.
Maureen Coverdale is the Gym Manager and Personal Trainer, running free classes daily for members to take part in.
“I have worked in many gyms previously yet the standard we have now achieved here at Listers Health surpasses all of them,” she said.
“Members are amazed by the transformation of this place as soon as they walk through the door, and we have had so many positive comments on the way the place is run.
“Classes are always busy, from the popular Spin to Pilates and Boxercise, we have so much to offer here. I would urge any lady, thinking about joining a gym, to come down and take a tour of the facilities and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”
Sign up for a Listers Health membership today and receive your discounted membership for just £19.99 a month – usually £29.99, but hurry as this offer will not last forever.
Lister Mills, Heaton Road, Bradford BD9 4SH
Tel: 01274 270 607
Opening times: Mon-Fri: 7am-9.30pm
Sat: 9am-4pm Sun: 10am-4pm
Whether you want to experience a range of authentic Turkish dishes or have a passion for fine dining, Istanbul Meze is the only restaurant you have to visit.
Opened in March this year, the restaurant has quickly established itself as a firm favourite with residents across Leeds, earning a reputation as a ‘hidden gem’ for its combination of mouth-watering meals and friendly service.
Specialising in a range of halal grilled kebabs, every dish is prepared over a charcoal oven, cooked to perfection with tastes and juices locked in for diners to enjoy.
Other authentic favourites, such as Pides – Turkish pizzas, an irresistible mixed grill and sumptuous tapas dishes are all freshly prepared and cooked up every day, using only halal and locally sourced produce.
Diners can even take advantage of Istanbul Meze’s special offer and experience two delicious courses for just £13.50.
Owner Ercan Ozmen says it was always his dream to own his own dining establishment and has been delighted with the reception of Istanbul Meze in Leeds.
“I came to the UK around 12 years ago and have worked in restaurants all my life, in Turkey and here in Leeds,” he said.
“It has always been an ambition of mine to bring my country’s most loved dishes to new audiences and by opening Istanbul Meze here in my new home city, I hope to do just that.
“Everything on our menu is homemade and locally sourced to give a truly authentic taste of Turkey in an environment where diners can relax and enjoy themselves.”
It isn’t only the food which has been drawing in diners from across the city in recent months, with entertainment provided by traditional Turkish belly dancers every fortnight.
Visually spectacular, dancers showcase their performance for all diners to enjoy and can be arranged for group bookings and parties.
So why wait, call Istanbul Meze today and experience a taste of Turkey in the heart of Leeds.
41 Street Lane, Leeds, LS8 1AP
Tel: 0113 266 2682
Opening Times: Mon-Sun 11am-11pm
As Bradford once again bids to retain its Curry Capital crown for a record-breaking fourth consecutive year, one award-winning restaurant in the city is leading the way in serving up authentic Indian cuisine.
After six weeks of refurbishment work earlier this year, Cafe Zoya reopened their doors to the public just after Ramadan, bringing new looks and new tastes to diners across the city.
Replacing their whole interior dining space with a fresh, vintage design, the new environment provides the perfect space to dine in style, with natural light complimenting the new vintage lighting.
From the restaurant to the onsite sweet and dessert centre, Cafe Zoya is as visually captive as the food is delicious as sumptuous menus offer up the finest dishes to all visitors.
Director, Mr Lukman, known to all as ‘Lucky’ explained why the restaurant decided it was time to ‘make a change’ and remain at the forefront of Bradford’s ever-blossoming curry industry.
“It had been three years since our last refurbishment and with the ever changing desires of our customers, we decided it was time once again to give back to the diners,” he said.
“Leeds Road has become famous as the new Bradford Curry Mile and we are very proud to take our place on this historic road and act as a stalwart for the whole community.
“Ever since Uncle Akbar Mughal founded this restaurant, we have prided ourselves on serving only the finest foods and desserts and thanks to our amazing team of chefs and waiting staff, we continue to live by these principles today.”
Cafe Zoya’s expansive sweet centre boasts dozens of traditional Asian sweets as well as desserts from around the world.
Still freshly prepared by hand every day, in the same way Mr Mughal did 50 years ago, the sweets have earned a reputation of their own throughout the years and are now presented in their new look surroundings.
“We have all types of people come down to Cafe Zoya, from politicians to sports people and our loyal customer base,” Mr Lukman added. “The one thing everybody has in common is their love of our desserts.
“No matter who walks through our doors, we treat everybody with the utmost care and it is our staff at the end of the day who have earned us our success.”
In recent months, Cafe Zoya has expanded into new territories with the opening of their onsite banqueting suite.
With the ability to cater for up to 200 guests at a time, the spacious area has all the facilities, from AV systems to projection screens, ablution facilities and prayer rooms, making it the ideal location for your special event.
With plans to expand into new cities across the country in the near future, it seems the words, and tastes, of Cafe Zoya will be on every person’s lips for a long time to come.
383 Leeds Rd,
Tel: 01274 305333
Prime Minister’s message to the Asian Express
Following a successful visit from Britain’s Prime Minister earlier this month, the Asian Express Newspaper has been told to ‘keep up the great work’, by David Cameron himself.
In a letter received at the offices last week, Mr Cameron wrote of his gratitude to all those involved in organising his ‘most enjoyable visit’ during his time in Leeds.
Mr Cameron arrived at the Armley-based offices of the publishing group on Thursday 5th February to meet with the team behind the news, as well as taking part in a conference held by the Asian Business Development Network (ABDN).
The ABDN is a premier business network which delivers activities and events that promote ‘outside-the-box’ thinking. It is run by a board of Directors who give their time voluntarily to make a difference to the community they live in.
After greeting those in attendance, Mr Cameron spoke passionately with the Asian business leaders during the pre-arranged meeting about his belief that Yorkshire is still a hub for industry.
He then held a one-to-one interview with Asian Express editor-in-chief, Andleeb Hanif, where the topic of Islamophobia was discussed, centred on the Eric Pickles letter to Mosques across the country.
Concluding the visit with more meet-and-greets, plus photo opportunities, his visit was hailed a success by all those in attendance, with the verdict further reinforced with the arrival of Mr Cameron’s personal letter.
The message commended the work of the Asian Express Newspaper and the ABDN and passed on his ‘very best wishes’ for the future.
Prime Minister David Cameron traded 10 Downing Street for 4 Armley Court earlier this week as he paid a visit to the UK’s largest free pick-up Asian publication.
The Prime Minister graced the offices of Asian Express Newspaper on Thursday 5th February, as part of his visit to Yorkshire where he further pledged his commitment to end the ‘decades old divide between the North and South’.
Mr Cameron seemed very relaxed as he met with the dedicated team of Asian Express, who welcomed his arrival at the Leeds-based offices.
A few jokes were cracked about how tall the PM actually was, where Mr Cameron laughingly stated that TV cameras make everyone seem short and stout
Being led on a tour of the Asian Express Newspaper office’s by co-founders, Managing Director Nadim Hanif, and Editor-in-Chief, Andleeb Hanif, Mr Cameron viewed some of the recent front page headlines and commended the newspaper for its work on not just a local but national level.
The Prime Minister had also facilitated a conference with the Asian Business Development Network (ABDN) in Leeds, which has recently been acquired by Nadim Hanif. A number of Yorkshire’s most influential Asian business leaders attended the meeting, chaired by Mr Gurdev Dahele.
Mr Cameron spoke to them about the launch of the Yorkshire phase of the government’s economic ‘Northern Powerhouse’ scheme, and reiterated the importance of Asian businesses and the role they play in Britain’s recovering economy.
Matters of concern to small and medium sized ethnic businesses were discussed, as well as the absence, or very little representation, of Asians in LEPs, and subsequent opportunities for professionals to hold higher executive roles on a local government level.
He recognised the entrepreneurial nature of the Asian community and said that he was keen to work with organisations such as ABDN, who would play a key role in building a Northern Powerhouse with a world-class infrastructure, backing businesses and supporting industries of the future.
The Prime Minister highlighted his commitment of a long-term economic plan for Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, which would create more jobs and financial security for hardworking people across the region.
Click HERE to see more videos of the event.
Asian Express hosts event-packed night to mark the end of 2014
The glitterati of Yorkshire and beyond were out in full force as guests came together to mark the end of 2014 with a big bang.
The star-studded 3rd annual ‘Asian Express Year End Party’, which has been dubbed as ‘the must-go-to party of the year’, witnessed sensational live performances from Kanika Kapoor, Hunterz, Navin Kundra, Jay Status and others as Ameet Chana (former Eastenders star) played host to the 400 guests.
Held at the Cedar Court hotel in Bradford on 27th December, the year-end-bash set social media networks ablaze with guests sharing their experiences on the night.
Along with fine-dining from Aagrah restaurants, the party also broke a Yorkshire record: the largest photocake ever baked in the region, was presented to Nadim Hanif, Managing Director of Asian Express courtesy of Regal Bakery.
Mr Hanif commented: “The Asian has been delivering events for the last three years and we are committed to continue bringing high-quality entertainment to Yorkshire. We are committed to putting this region on the map for top-end events.
“The feedback we have had from people of all faiths and backgrounds on this party in particular has been phenomenal and highly encouraging. Look out for more events coming this year. “I’d personally like to thank our sponsors iBoardTouch, Bradford College, Sonic, SSC, EastzEast, Zurich Safe, Smart Vehicle Options, Regal Foods, Bradford Plaza, Aagrah and Cedar Court for their loyal support.”
Yorkshire’s biggest photocake served up by Asian Express
The Asian Express New Year’s Bash drew in some of the biggest talents from around the world last month yet the ‘sweetest’ surprise of all perhaps came in an even tastier form altogether.
A mammoth cream cake, measuring 54inch by 30inch (or 1,620 square inch), was unveiled on the night with the bespoke creation baked-up by Regal food group’s ‘Cake Emporium by Faz’.
Taking a day to create, the final production is the biggest photocake the bakers have ever produced and believed to be the largest in Yorkshire.
Almost 200 eggs, 11kg of Sugar and 11kg of flour were cooked up with around 5kg of butter – plus some secret ingredients – before the final decorations were put in place.
Faz Ali, speaking on behalf of Regal, said it was certainly a cake which wouldn’t be forgotten.
“We don’t get these types of orders very often but we knew we had the skills and expertise here to make something really special,” he said.
“We were told that the party needed a cake to stand out and this one certainly did that.”
He added: “I have never seen a photocake that big before and it took a whole day to make from planning it all out to the final product.”
Officially cut by headlining act, Kanika Kapoor, guests on the night were able to sample the cake during the night, a fitting dessert for the memorable occasion.
Kanika Kapoor, Abbas Hasan, Jay Status, Hunterz and Navin Kundra to perform live at Asian Express Year End Party
With a sensational line-up, as always, this year’s Asian Express Year End Bash is headlined by Kanika Kapoor, along with others, who will give a mind-blowing live performance to guests on 27th December.
Kanika, the biggest female newcomer with millions of hits on YouTube for her debut song ‘Jugni Ji’, has gone onto shaking Bollywood’s booty with ‘Baby Doll’ and the latest hit ‘Lovley’ (also has a ‘Kamlee’ version), from the recently released Shah Rukh Khan film ‘Happy New Year’.
Now working with some of the biggest names in the music industry in India, Kanika has some six new films in her kitty, and is one of the hottest female artists in demand across the globe.
Joining Kanika will be French heart-throb Abbas Hasan, who’s pretty much been adopted by us British Asians. From his debut single with Rishi Rich named ‘Sona’ to touring with Shreya Ghosal, the singer has burst onto the pop-scene receiving thousands of adoring fans.The much-respected and long-time artist Hunterz, will be joining the stage as will the lively and multi-talented Navin Kundra. Shaking the floorboards will be Jay Status, who in particular got a rave following after his ‘Katal Kare’ track.
Hosted by British actor Ameet Chana, the evening is packed tight with five-star entertainment and a four-course meal at the Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford.
Last year’s Asian Express Year End Bash sold out, with guests from across Yorkshire, Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester giving brilliant feedback on such an exceptional and unique dinner-dance even,t out where couples as well as families felt at ease to enjoy the show.Asian Express in previous years, has brought in Taz from Stereo Nation, bhangra king Shin of DCS, the legendary Channi Singh, Maz and Ziggy of Bonafide, Nafees, Usman Rehman and Avina Shah, just to name a few, for end-of-year celebration events.
Don’t miss out and book your seats for this year’s dinner dance event now!
Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford on Saturday 27th December 2014
MEET & GREET: £80
For tickets and group enquiries call: 07800 77 80 89
Journalists-of-tomorrow learn all about news
A group of enthusiastic children from a Leeds primary school turned into junior reporters last week as they learned all about the newspaper industry, with a little help from the Asian Express.
As part of the national Children Takeover Day, Managing Editor of the Asian Express, Andleeb Hanif, met with pupils from Iveson Primary School where some serious brainstorming took place on how to write a good news story.
During the session, the children identified the differences between ‘gossip’ and ‘news’ and were keen to eagerly share their ideas on proposed headlines and how to approach an article for a newspaper.
Throughout the class, children had enjoyed talking about different types of news and were eager to talk about sports and celebrities, as well investigative journalism.
Mrs Hanif said she thoroughly enjoyed the day and working with the children.
“I was really impressed with this group of youngsters, who were so switched on about the importance of information being informative and accurate,” she said.
“They also knew the distinct differences between ‘gossip’ and ‘news’ stories, and were keen to give examples.
“We need to remember that they are only 10-years-old, so for them to be so engaged in newspaper articles was highly admirable. Well done to all of them for being so switched on.”
She added: “The Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day is a fabulous initiative where young people can have an insight into the adult world of work and be encouraged to interact with adults in decision-making workshops.
“Engaging with young people for encouragement is my personal passion and it’s my mission to inspire them, even if it’s just a little bit.”
Takeover Day has been developed by the Children’s Commissioner for England and gives children and young people the chance to work with adults for the day whilst being involved in decision-making.
Over the past decade, Tesla Motors have been at the forefront of electric vehicles, developing incredible cars which are helping to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation.
The latest motor to arrive from the Tesla production line is a car so advanced; it sets the new standard for premium performance.
The Tesla Model S has been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, taking performance to the next level and beyond.
Equipped with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery and high performance drive inverter, Model S accelerates to 60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds, guaranteed to deliver both unprecedented range and a thrilling driving experience.
With a rigid body structure, nearly 50/50 weight distribution, and a remarkably low centre of gravity, Model S offers the responsiveness and agility expected from the world’s best sports cars whilst still providing the ride quality of a saloon.
Every millimetre of Model S is designed to reduce drag. The door handles are no exception. When not in use, the handles retract into the body, streamlining airflow. When a driver approaches the vehicle with the key, the handles slide out and unlatch with a simple touch.
Model S is not simply a car designed with the environment in mind, it is also a driver’s car. Behind the wheel, the combination of meticulous noise engineering, alongside Tesla’s uniquely quiet powertrain, creates the sound dynamics of a recording studio.
The touchscreen, digital instrument cluster, and steering wheel controls seamlessly integrate media, navigation, communications, cabin controls and vehicle data. From the moment the door opens, the high-resolution Model S 17” touchscreen powers on and returns to its last function.
Model S drivers can listen to any song they want with a choice of HD radio, online radio, on-demand internet radio and Bluetooth or USB audio devices. Planning ahead is made easy with Google Maps which offers live traffic information and allows you to visualise the cars energy consumption instantaneously. When reversing, drivers can see behind the car with the industry’s first full HD backup camera which is optimised for ultimate visibility and safety.
The Model S has an unbeaten EV range of up to 312 miles, meaning long distances in an electric vehicles are no longer out of the question. Most customers will charge mainly at home, waking up to a completely recharged battery, giving owners the option to travel for free between cities along well-traveled routes in Europe.
Superchargers provide half a charge in as little as 20 minutes and are strategically placed to allow owners to drive from station to station with minimal stops.
Travelling with the family or plenty of luggage is no problem in the Model S. The car comfortably seats five adults and the rear facing seat option provides additional seating for two children.
The unique architecture of Model S even creates unprecedented storage space with up to 63 cubic feet of possible storage to be utilized. Whether you are a mountain-biker a surfer or just a big shopper, all your items and more can be safely stored in the vehicle.
With sustainable transportation at the heart of everything Tesla produces, the Model S looks set to become the benchmark for other car manufacturers to follow when producing exciting electric motors.
Asian Express Managing Director, Nadim Hanif, got his hands on one of the world’s first Tesla Model S motors last week and gave his review on an ‘incredible vehicle’.
To have now had this first-hand experience of the Tesla S, and as a self-confessed car enthusiast myself, I can honestly say that this is possibly the best car I have ever driven.
This particular model is the top of the range, and is priced at £100,000, which may sound expensive, but you basically start saving money from day one.
Why do I rate it so highly? It’s quiet, smooth and absolutely seamless, with no gear changing needed. Simply get in and go – it’s like switching your TV on and off.
The car drives like no other I have ever been in before, going from 0 - 60mph in just four seconds.
Yes, it’s smooth, and its handling is like that of a thorough-bred supercar - the cornering is like a four-wheel-drive whilst the grip is absolutely amazing.
I must also confess that the 50/50 weight distribution is almost identical to that of my own personal 2013 BMW M5 and that, for me, is about the best car in the world.
I got used to the fact that there was no sound of the engine yet I’m sure the Speedo was telling fibs at times, as all too often 40mph felt like 20mph.
As for the looks, they were very much deceiving with some people comparing it to a Maserati and others being left dumbfounded by this incredible car in front of them.
The car rode OS Michelin 255 x R21 tyres and the 21-inch turbine wheels were really eye-catching.
Either way it looked slick and stood out from the crowd. It looks better than the majority of four-door cars that you see on the road, and it could even pass as a coupe model - that's how nice it is.
Look inside the Tesla and a massive interactive console is on hand with easy access, leaving all passengers, and admittedly myself, to just sit back and say ‘wow’.
It’s basically an iPad fitted in to the cockpit, in fact it’s bigger than an iPad and it’s faster too. The screen had Google maps, full internet access and can be used as a big screen reversing camera.
Everything was controlled via this touch screen whether you needed to lock or unlock the doors, or even lower the suspension; you had all the controls right in front of you.
The car is also very spacious, similar to the feel of a Big Range Rover Vogue, with plenty of head room and even more leg room which even the back seat passengers can take advantage of.
Over all this 100K motor would save money every day:
1. Free Road Tax.
2. Free Congestion charges
3. £8 or fill up on an overnight charge at home giving you 250 miles
4. Services cost next to nothing
The only downside is that you would have to work out the mileage of your trip in advance to see if would get to your destination and back. If not, I suppose you could always call at any service station and charge up whilst having a cup of coffee.
Basically, the Tesla S is an incredible motor.
Asian Express Motors
Solicitor helps innocent husband win appeal after being labelled ‘rapist’ by wife
A Muslim from Bradford says he was determined to look past racism after he helped a homeless man, who shouted racial slurs at him, find a home and employment.
30-year-old Aminur Chowdhury, from Manningham, did what very few others would do when confronted by a racist term, he engaged in active conversation with the culprit and befriended him.
Not only that, but the following day, Aminur phoned up his new acquaintance, who was unemployed at the time, and helped him get a job at one of his friend’s businesses.
The guilty party on this occasion was 27-year-old Ben Gallon, from Frizinghall, Bradford, who had been drinking through the day.
Both men now acknowledge this action was ‘completely out of character’ and Aminur says he knew from the very start that Ben was a ‘smart man’ and just wanted to help someone who he could tell ‘didn’t have a vicious bone in his body’.
“Ben’s been a pleasure to know really,” he said. “From the first time I met him at The Delius I could tell that I was speaking to someone who is very passionate.
“I was scared for him at first because there were two police officers there and I felt that they could have taken him away because of the racist language, but I certainly didn’t want to see that happen.
“He has a very good grasp of ideologies and I was very impressed so I thought I’m going to engage with this person because he’s like a counter-copy of myself.”
After speaking at the venue, both men handed over contact details and Ben says he didn’t even know whether they would ever meet again.
“When I met Aminur in The Delius, I was in a bit of a predicament; I was technically homeless, without a job and had just moved back down from Edinburgh,” he said.
“We spoke at the pub and he mentioned about a job but I thought he might have just been being polite.
“But true to his word, the next day he gave me a call, said ‘can I come pick you up Ben, I’ve got an interview for you’. That same day, he came round to get me, drove me down to the place on Canal Road and then within ten minutes I had been offered the job.”
Ben had been working as a cleaner in Scotland before moving back to Bradford to be closer to his family after his contract expired.
Having no permanent residence, Aminur has now also helped arrange for the Bradford-born resident to move into an apartment in Frizinghall, whilst their friendship continues to strengthen.
“He really is a diamond, I don’t have a single bad word to say about him,” Ben added.
“He is a fantastic bloke and we may have only known each other for a week but we are already very close. I can’t really thank him enough for the help he has given me over the past week.”
Both men now agree that they want to see their circumstance replicated in the city, and help improve relations between different cultures and religions in Bradford.
“Ben and I together now can hopefully help challenge issues, like racism in society, in a positive way,” Aminur added. “The way I've done it for Ben, I now know he would do the same for me, and that way of thinking is all we need to achieve great things here in Bradford.”
Ben added: “We really are singing from the same hymn sheet. Being from Bradford we know racism is the key issue and we’ve both seen it from different angles. Now we just want to tackle that subject and help make Bradford the great place we know it can be.”
Bradford sweetheart Zayn Malik along with bandmate Louis Tomlinson are in a smoke of trouble, quite literally!
As the footage of Zayn and Louis happily puffing away on what looks like a marijuana cigarette has gone viral, One Direction’s spokesperson Mike Navarra, of Columbia Records has refused to answer any questions stating: “Our only comment at the moment is the whole situation is in the hands of our lawyers.”
The pair were en route to their ‘Where We Are Tour’ concert at Estadio Nacional in Lima, just outside Peru on April 27th along with three other people. They are seen talking about ‘something’ and when apparently Louis catches on to what they’re going on about, he says: “It’s about the joint. What a great thing to capture in a different language. They were just asking if it’s OK,” he says.
One of the other men asks: “Are we allowed to talk contraband in this?” a voice believed to be Louis replies: “Yes, that's what it is about.”
Louis is then heard saying he wants to “light up” as the car drives out of a parking lot, with a rolled cigarette appearing to be lit on camera.
“So here we are, leaving Peru. Joint lit. Happy days!” he can be heard saying.
At times members of the band’s team can be heard talking about ‘chicken.’ It isn’t clear what is meant by ‘chicken’ as the guys joke and laugh in increasingly high spirits.
To make matters worse, the five-minute film seems to be shot by Louis himself, how it’s been leaked still remains a mystery.
The teenage heartthrobs are thought to be in serious trouble with their record label and who knows what Simon Cowell’s reaction will be.
Fans have been split on how they feel about this leaked clip. Many have ripped up pre paid tickets to ‘One Direction’s’ concerts. Some have taken to social media stating that Zayn and Louis have been hugely irresponsible to their young fanbase where others have said that people should leave them alone.
Possession of a small amount of cannabis is not illegal in Peru.
Two men from Leeds have been charged over terrorism hoax calls which occurred last year resulting in a North Yorkshire town being locked down by armed police.
The centre of Knaresborough was cordoned off on the 16th October after they received a number of phone calls reporting an ‘immediate threat to members of the public’ at the Paragon Pizza takeaway in High Street.
Dozens of officers, armed with submachine guns and baton round launchers arrived at the scene to detain two staff members outside the establishment, whilst a third was arrested moments later.
After a search of the premises and the individuals, the report was labelled as a ‘cruel prank’ which had been targeted at the completely innocent owner and his staff.
A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said a 23-year-old man from the
Chapeltown area of Leeds was charged earlier this week with three offences of communicating a bomb hoax, whilst a 22-year-old man, also from Chapeltown, was charged with perverting the course of justice and making a false statement to obtain insurance.
Speaking about the way the North Yorkshire Police addressed the situation, astatement on the authority’s behalf, released soon after the incident, read: “…Our prime concern during the incident was to ensure the safety of members of the public.
“As a result, we ensured a rapid police response to the town centre.”
Both men, being charged with the case, are due to appear at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court in June.
A family from Bradford were speechless after they received news that their child had been offered a life-changing organ donation by a ‘complete stranger’ after an appeal in the Asian Express newspaper.
Eight-year-old, Zayna Fatima Iqbal, suffers from a condition called Global Developmental Delay, and was first featured in the paper during a visit to Martin House Children’s Hospice.
Little Zayna and her family were receiving help and care from the hospice at the time, with the youngster waiting for a kidney transplant following renal failure.
Thankfully, after waiting six months on the transplant list, a match was found and Zayna received her new kidney at Leeds General Infirmary from a recently deceased organ donor.
Yet now, with Zayna recovering so well at home that she is beginning school this week, her mother, Najmah, explained how she was brought to tears once more, after the generosity of a ‘total stranger’.
“Recently we got a phone call from Martin House and a gentleman, who read the article in the Asian Express, about Zayna’s pre-transplant situation, had been so touched by it that he had actually offered Zayna one of his kidneys,” Najmah said.
“I was completely shocked, I didn’t think anybody could be that compassionate or kind and I just started crying.
“Of course he mustn’t have seen the latest article, saying Zayna’s had her transplant, but for someone who doesn’t even know Zayna to have such a big heart to pick up the phone and make that call, it really is touching.”
Najmah and her family have now written a thank you card to the anonymous donor and attached a picture of Zayna as she continues to recover on a daily basis.
The family are all living at their Bradford home again and Najmah urged other parents, whose children are in similar circumstances, to come forward and use the media as a way of appealing for help.
“When I hadn’t met you, I had read stories in the paper but something stopped me from getting in touch,” she added.
“I remem-ber the paper coming to Martin House to just feature the charity but thankfully I did actually build up the courage to say, ‘what can we lose to put this appeal out there?’.
“I urge others to try and not get down by their situation, be proactive and get in touch. What’s the worst that could happen?”
Not only has Zayna now begun growing again, but she has also got her energy levels back, which Najmah says have kept her up until the early hours of the morning. To have her ‘home and safe’ is the most important thing though, the mother-of-three stated, and thanked everybody for their support.
“Fortunately Bradford Continuing Care team have stepped in and have given me support over past months, by providing care one night a week and in the afternoons too,” she explained. “Their team is amazing and their support has been greatly appreciated.
“I would also like to thank family and friends for their prayers and support during these years.
“For those who were there for my family when I was in hospital for a month, I don’t know how we would have managed without you all.”
Just over one year ago, up and coming teenage calligraphist, Ismail Hussayn, spoke to the Asian Express newspaper about his chosen career and over the past 12 months his reputation has gone from strength-to-strength.
The 19-year-old is a master of Arabic calligraphy, and is reinventing the art form, removing the image of a middle-age stereotypical artist, to a young, energetic one.
Originally born in Birmingham, Ismail grew up in London and took the courageous step to move up north whilst still in his teens as he attempted to make it as an artist.
“Never did I really think I would be doing this as a full time career but thankfully, after meeting the right people and working extremely hard, that is what this passion of mine is turning into,” he said.
Ismail has produced work for the likes of boxer, Amir Khan; Arabic singer, Maher Zain; comedian Omar Regan and Halifax’s own, Jack Carol, from Britain’s Got Talent.
As his work continues to spread across the country, the young artist’s profile has improved significantly from having just over 3,000 social media followers a year ago, to more than 10,000 now.
Ismail is currently touring the UK with the Road to Inspire show, whereby he performs calligraphy live, alongside fellow entertainers.
He explained how he got involved with the project and how the two dates already passed have been huge successes.
He said: “The whole idea behind the tour came from when I began working with the charity Human Appeal and it was them who actually suggested it.
“The tour is not just your usual exhibition event where you eat, watch a show and then go home. We give people the chance to eat, and then let them meet with the performers, take pictures, have entertainment, and then finally go home, so it is more of a full package.
“I hope by doing the tour that I am able to reach out to the youth who have the ability but perhaps not the confidence to express their talents.
“I’ve had to work so hard to get where I am and hopefully it will show others that they can achieve what they want if they work at it.”
Ismail is the main performer on the tour and is supported by Nabila Bee, a fashion blogger; Sohail Rehman, a wheelchair bound football coach; Amerah Saleh, a spoken word artist and poet; and Ashley Chin aka Muslim Belal, an actor and spoken word poet.
“We have so far done shows in Glasgow and London and the response to them was crazy and the feedback has been amazing,” he added.
“We all try really hard to inspire, not just entertain the audience. I’ve had people come up to me during shows and ask for life advice. Even though it isn’t necessarily what I do, I am here for everyone and have to try and be an inspirational figure because I’m in the public eye.”
The Road to Inspire Tour 2014 has five dates remaining in Leicester, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Blackburn. For more information about Ismail visit his Facebook page, House of Calligraphy, or Twitter, @IsmailHussayn.
A dazzling venue, a sensational line-up of performers and over four hundred guests made the Asian Express 2013 Year-End Party a rocking one, and one that has been talked about avidly across social media platforms.
The annual Asian Express ‘Year End Bash’ witnessed the ‘glitterati’ of it’s loyal supporters on Friday 27th December at the Cedar Court Hotel, in the presence of some of the biggest business names in the region and Guest of Honour - Lord Mayor of Bradford Mr Khadim Hussain.
With spectacular dancers opening the show, Ameet Chana (former Eastenders star) hosted the sensational evening, packed with entertainment from Bonafide, DCS, Taz of Stereo Nation, Avina Shah and N S Chauhan. Twitter and Facebook were set alight with endless positive comments.
Asian Express would like to thank its sponsors for the night: East z East Restaurants, Al Qaza Shisha, Janan, Sonic Electric Superstores, Emirates, East End Foods Plc, Supercar Club, Cedar Court Hotel and Soul Asia.
Nadim Hanif, MD of Asian Express says: “The Asian Express has been doing events since last year and all of the positive feedback has been so encouraging.
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“We are committed to giving our guests events which are unique, of a high-standard and a bar above all others. Most of all we are passionate about putting Yorkshire on the map for entertainment.
“Up until now high quality Asian events were are thing of London and Birmingham. I’m proud to say that the Asian Express has more events lined up this year, events which will appeal to all sorts of audiences. Watch this space…”
Earlier this year, the Asian Express broke the news about how Bradford’s diverse religious community had come together to save a historic place of worship and now, almost 12 months on, the story has gone viral.
The Bradford Reform Synagogue had looked like closing its doors for good after damage to the roof required more than £100,000 to repair, a sum which the Jewish worshippers could not raise single-handedly.
Step in the Islamic community, which outnumbers their Jewish counterparts by more than 400 to one in Bradford, to help with the fundraising efforts.
Now, the Synagogue has a prosperous future ahead of it, with £103,000 recently secured in grant money for restoration costs.
It is a story which has seen religions unite and share in some of the most significant traditions in each other’s faiths. Jewish, Christian and Islamic leaders, as well as politicians and civic leaders have all united for a Jewish Oneg, the breaking of fast during Ramadan, and a harvest supper over the past six months as interfaith dialogue takes centre stage in the city.
It is a story which represents the real Bradford, one which has gone on to make headlines all around the world, and one which has helped build a community to be proud of.
The King of Fusion
He’s charming, he’s captivating and he’s certainly entertaining…
British singer, Taz of Stereo Nation needs little introduction. Formerly known as Johnny Zee, he is credited and described as the ‘Pioneer of Pop Fusion’ and ‘King of Fusion’. As a lyricist, composer and producer, Taz quickly became the embodiment of cross-cultural music in the 90s, having won numerous international accolades over the years.
His music is best described as a hybrid of traditional Asian fused with Western pop sensibility, infectious melodies and dynamic dance grooves. Some of Taz’s influences are George Michael, Prince, Jam & Lewis, Babyface, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, R D Burman, Gurdas Maan, Kuldip Manak and Zapp, just to name a few.
Having made his break into Bollywood well over a decade ago, Taz is very much the global phenomenon, having performed to diverse audiences all over the world.
He first hit the charts in 1989 with the album "Hit the Deck" which spent over 36 weeks on the UK Asian pop charts at number one. He went on to produce many albums in the 1990s and early 2000s, which were hugely successful and to date, all but two of his albums have received gold platinum and multi-platinum discs.
His most successful album to date is ‘Slave II Fusion’, released in 2000, which includes many of his most well-known hit songs including ‘Pyar Ho Gaya’, ‘Nachange Saari Raat’, and ‘Gallan Goriyan’.
a force to be reckoned with…
DCS has been shaking the Bhangra industry and the world's Asian population ever since they formed in 1983. For many years DCS have scooped the award for "Best Live Band" at all the major award presentations, and Shin has been recognised numerous times for his vocal ability and prowess as the most versatile Punjabi singer.
They have a remarkable, innovative ability to adapt to changing trends. They also play a major part in creating trends and being a role model for up and coming bands.
They were the first band to utilise the modern creative sounds of the synthesizers in the production of the late 80's Bhangra. This influenced all the Bhangra bands in the competitive market to change their style of music.
The entrepreneurial strategies of DCS have become the main trend to follow, and hence why they have earned an extensive list of awards.
In the 80's, DCS followed the demands of public research and began adding the traditional Bhangra patterns, those commonly found in the music of renowned artists such as Kuldip Manak, Gurdas Mann, K. Deep and Jagmohan Kaur.
In this age of copy, mix and match, DCS has managed to endeavour originality. Because of this, DCS have earned their respect in the Bhangra industry and have attracted a global following that has been reflected in the outcome of tours worldwide.
DCS is certainly a powerhouse of production, creativity, innovation and talent.
Shin will be performing live at the Year End Bash – don’t miss it!
Bouncing to the tunes of Bonafide
The pair who sing, compose and produce their own tracks have had smash hits over the last few years, hence creating a bit of a frenzy across the UK, but particularly up here in the North.
The Lancashire-based duo shared the same passion for music when they lived on the same street whilst growing up and before you knew it, the two friends were ‘chilling’ on the streets singing accapella to the latest RnB tracks or beatboxing and rapping to the freshest hip hop tunes they could find.
As their skills increased so did their enjoyment of this noble art. They loved writing lyrics and putting songs together.
Bonafide have been performing at highly publicised gigs and concerts up and down the country and have shared stages with the likes of Raghav, Steve Sutherland, Stereo Nation, Juggy D, Veronica, Zeus and many more.
Not only are Maz and Ziggy vocalists and songwriters, they also showcase their fluency in Hindi and Punjabi in their music. Maz raps fluently in Punjabi as well as English whilst Ziggy has the ability to sing in Hindi and Punjabi as well as English.
They’ve just released their latest track ‘Mahi Ve’ which has had over 90,000 hits on YouTube in two weeks.
As time moves ahead, new tastes develop – the artist meets another opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and to cater for a new generation, entering a fresh playing ground that evolves them to the next stage of their delivery.
‘Sunn Dilruba’ recently released by Nabz, captures the journey of his career from being an aspiring artist, to a thriving band member, to a solo artist ready to launch.
Smooth yet edgy, gentle yet urban, romantic yet hard-hitting – all of these elements effortlessly blend together to encapsulate the essence of Nabz.
Nabz is warming up well as a solo artist, after formerly being a member of British Asian pop band NRG produced by their long-standing collaborator Kami K.
He said: “After being part of a successful band for over a decade, going solo is a big shift, both in terms of mindset and responsibility.
“I have learnt a lot from the transition and I’m looking forward to this next stage of my career. I am working harder than ever because I have a lot more to prove – let’s just hope the audiences stay with me on this one!”
For an unprecedented third year in a row, the West Yorkshire city clinched the
top accolade ahead of places such as Manchester, London and Glasgow, to continue their dominance in the awards.
Bradford's unique bid included the creation of a limited edition curry flavoured crisp, developed by local company Seabrook and Bradford restaurant Akbar's, as well as a Poppadomathon.
The team in charge of this year’s bid included other restaurants such as Aagrah,
Kiplings, Omar's, Shimla Spice and Zouk's. Faisal Hussain, manager of Shimla Spice,
Shipley, explained how Bradford’s love for curry has helped the city become a leader
in the field.
“Bradford is the Premier League for curries,” he said. “There are so many fantastic restaurants in the city that we certainly deserved to be recognised as
Britain’s ‘Curry Capital’.
“For this year’s bid, we put together an expert team and have worked extremely
hard to retain the title by doing things such as the curry flavoured crisps.
“To win the title just once is a real honour, but to now be named champions a
record three times in a row, it is unbelievable and fantastic for Bradford.”
Bradford already hosts the annual World Curry Festival and this latest accolade
reaffirms the cities position at the top of the curry industry.
Bradford Council's Executive Member for Employment, Skills and Culture
Councillor, Susan Hinchcliffe, said she was delighted to see the title return ‘home’.
“It just shows we're unbeatable as a city,” she said, “I want to thank our superb
restaurants, the Bradford tourism team and of course Seabrooks crisps for making
the bid that extra bit special this year. They have all contributed to this wonderful
The eatery at Crystal Peaks is the latest addition to the Aagrah Group portfolio and makes its entry as the 16th restaurant in the most famous Kashmiri restaurant chain across the UK and Europe.
With over fifty industry accolades, Aagrah are renowned for their high quality restaurants and great Kashmiri dining and Aagrah Crystal Peaks delivers the conept of a world-buffet restaurant. Sixty international dishes are served up daily, prepared by the famously-skilled and much accomplished chefs affiliated with the Aagrah brand.
The new restaurant, which has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to conceptualise and develop, stands as a breathtaking building that oozes with grandeur in equally impressive grounds, with very generous car parking facilities.
An impressive bar has been positioned to greet diners into the restaurant, while the purpose-built world buffet section is entertained by an open plan theatre kitchen. Cameras provide a live feed to the plasma screens in the restaurant allowing customers to see their food being cooked in a high standard and hygienic environment.
The company’s Managing Director Mr. Mohammed Aslam MBE said: “We are extremely proud to announce that we have launched this rather significant concept at Aagrah Crystal Peaks.
“Our objective is to offer something exclusive and indeed a memorable experience.
“What sets us apart is simply our proposition, an exclusive World Buffet only restaurant in this region. Our cuisine is very distinctive and our locations - glamorous, we believe this to be a perfect combination for an international dining experience.”
A family owned business, set up 36 years ago by the founder and group chairman, Dr. Mohammed Sabir MBE, Aagrah represents one of the biggest eatery brands throughout Yorkshire and employs over 400 staff. The latest restaurant has helped to create thirty new jobs in Sheffield.
The Prime Minister praised Britain’s Muslim communities and announced new measures to help Muslim students and entrepreneurs at his annual Eid al-Adha reception.
Speaking at Downing Street on Monday October 21st, the Prime Minister announced new proposals on extending availability of Start Up and student loans to make them consistent with Islamic financial principles.
The Prime Minister made the announcement to members of the Muslim community as they celebrated the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha at Downing Street. They were joined by senior Government ministers, including Baroness Warsi, Imams, community and business leaders, charities and public servants from across the diverse range of Muslim communities in the UK.
The proposals will benefit aspiring Muslim entrepreneurs and students who may be deterred from starting their own business or entering higher education due to their religious financial beliefs.
“I want Britain to be one of the world's centres of Islamic finance - from the highest and mightiest financial institutions all the way to start ups.
“We’ve got tens of thousands of young people starting their own businesses and tonight I can announce that we will make sure that there is a type of start up loan that is totally consistent with all the principles of Islamic finance.
“We must do that for start up loans, we must do that for students loans and we must do it for the enterprise allowance. That's what a welcoming, tolerant, multi-racial country does."
Praising the Muslim community for their contribution to Britain, the Prime Minister said:
“Tonight is about celebrating the contribution that British Muslims make to our country. It is a huge contribution. But tonight is also an opportunity to talk about the issues of integration, of how we help Muslims around the world and the importance of faith in our country and in our communities and the Muslim faith is so strong in that.”
Talking about the UK’s role in supporting Muslims and other people in need around the world, the Prime Minister added that he was proud of the that fact that even in difficult economic times has kept its promise on aid and development – meeting that 0.7% target of our gross national income.
“A lot of that money goes to some of the most challenged Islamic countries in the world. It is something that we can all be proud that every two seconds a child is vaccinated somewhere in the world because of aid that British tax payers have provided.”