Tag Archive: blackburn

Women’s conference in Bradford focuses on “Resilience, Faith and Unity”

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Over 250 women from across the UK including Glasgow, Wales, Leicester, Doncaster, Halifax, Rotherham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Blackburn, Manchester and London attended the conference alongside a delegation from Germany.

The conference, held at Mercure Hotel over three days, annually provides an opportunity for women of all faiths to come together from across the UK and beyond, in order to debate and discuss contemporary issues of importance to women.

Additionally this year, the first day of the conference was opened up to men in order to get the full spectrum of views on an important range of topics.

These included sessions with subject experts covering themes from Muslim responses to extremism, the legitimisation of Islamophobia in the mainstream and the role of faith communities in building resilience.

The conference provided an opportunity for women to come together from across the country in order to take ownership of the discourse surrounding Muslim women alongside challenging the widely held stereotypes of Muslim women being submissive.

Speakers included: Professor Salman Sayyid, Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, Lily Piachaud at the Jo Cox Foundation, Professor Paul Rogers - Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, Rt Revd Bishop Toby Howarth - Bishop of Bradford, Dr Riffat Hassan - Professor Emerita at the University of Louisville (USA), Dr Shuruq Naguib - Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Lancaster and Revd Jenny Ramsden - Priest and interfaith worker amongst others.

The Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford commented: “I am impressed and encouraged by the level of scholarship and insight that the Daughters of Conference brings together, and also offers to Bradford and beyond.”

Blackburn petrol station owner jailed for selling illegal fuel

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The petrol station owner benefited by £247,590.57 from the fraud and ordered the confiscation of his current assets

A Blackburn petrol station owner, who was jailed for selling hundreds of thousands of litres of illegal diesel to unsuspecting motorists, has been ordered to repay £133,660 in stolen taxes.

Nawaz Jan Virmani, 54, was caught by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers with 2,843 litres of illegal laundered diesel stored at his Shadsworth Road Service Station in June 2013.

He has been ordered to pay back the money within three months, or face a further 15 months in jail.

Debbie Porter, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Virmani was jailed for a serious tax fraud and now he has been stripped of everything he has. He is paying the price for trading illegally. We are committed to creating a level playing field for all businesses and stop criminals from undermining the UK economy.

“HMRC is determined to recover money stolen from UK taxpayers. Public funds are crucially important so if you suspect someone of tax fraud report it on 0800 788 887 and help us.”

The court ruled Virmani benefited by £247,590.57 from the fraud and ordered the confiscation of his current assets worth £133,660.41. These include property he part owns, the petrol station, a stake in another business and shares in Rolls Royce.

A HMRC investigation into his business records revealed fake invoices for 212,450 litres of fuel and no legitimate paperwork for a further 126,791 litres. In February 2016, Virmani was jailed for 16 months for the fuel fraud.

Thousands turn out for funeral of mum and three children

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Distraught father with bandages on both hands led coffins of his little 5-year-old daughter, sons aged 10 and 12 and wife


Around four thousand mourners turned out to say goodbye to three children and their mother who tragically died in a house fire.

Children, Hamaad, Yusuf and Khadijah Umerji, aged 12, ten and five, were buried along with their mother Aneesa, 40, at Overdale Cemetery on Tuesday 11th July.

Their father, Zubair Umerji had bandages on both of his hands and led the coffins from vehicles to the burial site at the cemetery.

People from all over the country travelled to Bolton to pay their respects at funeral prayers held at the Zakariyya Jaame Masjid mosque, before the burial.

Mrs Umerji, who grew up in Blackburn, and whose family still lives in the Preston New Road area, and her three children died in a house fire in Rosamond Street, Daubhill, on Saturday morning.

The three children and their mother became trapped inside their Bolton home shortly after 9am on 8th July.

The youngsters’ dad, Zubair, 41, had desperately tried to save his family after the blaze ripped through the terraced house.

The father, who is in a “distraught condition” had tried to smash through glass on the ground floor window to reach his family. He was screaming, banging and shouting. 'Save my kids, save my wife. Help. Help.'

Neighbours had tried to assist breaking the door and the windows but the flames were out of control.
At the funerals, mourners stood in the rain as they gathered to pay their respects and a number of prayers were read out at the service in both English and Arabic.

The service at the cemetery was led by Imam Maulana Rashid, who spoke of the community coming together to co-operate to support each other at the time of mourning.

Among those who spoke at the cemetery was Simon Greenwood, Hamaad's learning support mentor at Birtenshaw School, who had written an emotional poem to the 12-year-old and read it out loud.

Mr Greenwood broke down in tears as he read the poem, which paid tribute to the youngster's independence and determination.

Imteyaz Ali, secretary at the Bolton Council of Mosques, said: "Thousands have turned up, from Preston and Blackburn, I have seen people from all over the place.

"People have come to show their grief. I have seen crowds at services before but never to this extent. This just goes to show how it has touched a lot of people's hearts."

The family had close friendships with much of the neighbourhood, many of whom have spoken of the deaths as a loss to the whole community.

Following a joint investigation, officers from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) believe the fire was caused accidentally by a halogen heater in the living room at the front of the house.

Blackburn stabbing

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A 20-year-old man has appeared before Blackburn magistrates charged in connection with an alleged stabbing on Whalley New Road, Blackburn.

Hamza Ishtiaq, of Whalley New Road, was sent in custody to Preston Crown Court charged with wounding Shamaz Khan with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm and possessing an offensive weapon, a knife, in a public place.

He will appear before the crown court on 24th July.

The court heard the victim suffered a stab wound to the torso during the incident which involved a large number of people and was part of an ongoing feud between two families.

Pipe dreams came true! Blackburn plumber scoops the top prize at glittery awards ceremony

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PERFECT PLUMBER: Muzamal Ishfaq thanked  his tutor Neil Hodgson for helping him bag the top prize

PERFECT PLUMBER: Muzamal Ishfaq thanked his tutor Neil Hodgson for helping him bag the top prize

An exceptional plumber from Blackburn College has been awarded the top prize at the first ever Asian Apprentice Awards.

As he nears the end of his Apprenticeship with Ash’s Plumbing and Heating Services, 18-year-old Muzamal Ishfaq, 18, of St James’ Road, Blackburn has managed to scoop the prestigious award.

His professional approach and attitude to his Apprenticeship saw him collect his award at a glittering national ceremony held at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham on Thursday 10th November.

The former Witton Park High School student was selected out of a large number of entries for the commitment he has shown to his employer and his Apprenticeship in the Construction category.

Muzamal said:  “I felt very surprised when I heard I had won. When I entered the competition and saw how many people I was up against, I didn’t think I stood a chance.

“Much to my surprise, I came out on top and would like to thank my Dad, as well as my tutors at Blackburn College for putting a lot of effort and time into tutoring me. Without them, I would never have won this.”

Muzamal in particular thanked Blackburn College and his tutor Neil Hodgson for his support.

The Asian Apprenticeship Awards are intended to encourage more young people of Asian heritage to consider an Apprenticeship.

450 business people attended the event to celebrate the talent and diversity in apprentices and recognising the employers and learning providers who support and teach them.

The night included entertainment from Bhangra group Eternal Taal who have performed on some of the world’s largest stages including Glastonbury Festival, Bollywood and The Graham Norton Show - as well as comedian Patrick Monahan.

Apprenticeships are a route into training and work in which the Asian community is underrepresented.

The Government is aiming for another three million Apprenticeship starts by 2020, including increasing the proportion of apprenticeships taken up by young people from BME backgrounds by 20 per cent and increasing BME employment by 20 per cent.

Tauheedul Islam Girls school receives third ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted inspection

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A high school has received its third Outstanding Ofsted inspection in a row.

Tauheedul Islam Girls School, in Blackburn, received a glowing report from Ofsted inspectors who said the school was in the country’s top one per cent for improving students’ outcomes.

Inspectors said the school was led by a ‘strong sense of moral purpose’ and praised its focus on helping the less fortunate.

tauheedul girls school ofstead
Lead inspector Joan McKenna said the academic achievement in school was also of an incredibly high standard.

She said: “Students achieve exceptionally well in this school. The rates of progress made by all groups of students are truly impressive across all subjects.

“Because of the outstanding progress, students reach high standards. GCSE results are consistently significantly above the national average in all subjects.”

The school has been in the top one per cent of schools in the country for the extent to which it improved students’ outcomes for the last three years. Ms McKenna added: “Students are highly motivated and enthusiastic about their learning.”

She said the school’s spiritual focus was a successful element.

She said: “Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is of an exceedingly high order because it is regarded as extremely important by leaders and its promotion is integral to the life of the school.

“It is the framework within which all else takes place and there are very many examples of students’ outstanding outcomes in these areas. They act to help those less fortunate than they are and have well-developed views on a wide range of ethical and moral issues.”

Principal Hamid Patel welcomed the report. He said: “Having an Ofsted inspection is a stressful experience but it was most positive. The inspectors were very impressed and we are proud of our school and what we have achieved.”