Facing patients with problems such as as gambling addiction, chicken pox, sore feet and self harm, one of Bradford’s largest GP surgeries stars in a fascinating and observational 43-episode-long television documentary.
As Channel 5’s landmark TV series ‘GPs: Behind Closed Doors’, has moved to the North of England for the first time to The Ridge Medical Practice in Great Horton - right into the heart of the Asian community.
"Growing up in a working class family, Bradford has afforded me every opportunity to further my education and allow me to break through the barriers that can stop working class children progressing,” says Dr Khan speaking to the Asian Express.
This is the only show on British TV to be filmed inside a working General Practice, offering a disarmingly honest and often entertaining look at the stresses, strains and joys of working in, and using, the NHS in modern Britain.
The health care professionals and staff at The Ridge Medical Practice have a staggering 23,000 patients on their books and 14 GPs registered to work with the practice.
Bradford born and bred Dr Amir Khan has been with Ridge Medical for seven years and is a partner at the Practice. After studying Medicine at Liverpool Medical School, he retuned to his home city to work as a fully qualified GP.
"Growing up in a working class family, Bradford has afforded me every opportunity to further my education and allow me to break through the barriers that can stop working class children progressing,” says Dr Khan speaking to the Asian Express.
“I also had a very supportive family and mum who would stop at nothing to make sure I had everything I needed.”
For Dr Khan, working in Primary Care is both simultaneously challenging and rewarding.
“Working in inner city Bradford, there is a real mix of patients,” he says.
“We have our South Asian patients, our Caucasians and an increasing number of Eastern Europeans.
“Although there can be an issue with language barriers and cultural expectations, all our staff work at our Practice because they love this mix of patient, and it really is a case of no two days are ever the same!”
But, with GP surgeries facing unprecedented pressures and receiving less than 10% of the total NHS budget whilst handling 90% of its workload, worrying questions rise on how long this vital community service will survive.
“As a Practice we do not get any more money for being in a socially deprived area,” discloses Dr Khan.
“For assisting patients with language barriers or people from different cultures, where immunisations or cancer screening are not given the same importance - we are paid just the same as those who work in lovely middle class leafy suburban areas.
“It’s a challenge, but one our staff relish and rise to, and this is evident on the show.”
Being part of a TV series, the Practice feels it’s a unique opportunity to show the positive work that goes on in primary care in Bradford.
“Bradford doesn’t always get the best press and we are hoping this will go some way in changing that,” he adds.
“We are really pleased to be part of ‘GPs: Behind Closed Doors’, it will shine a light on Bradford and the positive way we come together as a people to help one another when we are at our most vulnerable.
“The production company have been so supportive and listened to our concerns and worked with us to make this the best, most honest and disarmingly open look at how a GP surgery works and how everyone has a role to play in keeping the NHS going.”
You can catch GPs: Behind Closed Doors On Channel 5 every Wednesdays at 8pm. The series began on Wednesday 29th August, visit www.my5.tv to watch previous episodes.
Suman Hanif explores the British Pakistani community and it’s complexities warts and all…
Suman Hanif: “In mainstream media, it’s rare to find a British Pakistani writer, director, producer, actor or a crew member attached to films that represents the British Pakistani community.”
A Bradford film graduate looks set for a big screen future having already had her debut documentary successfully screened at an international film festival.
Pakistan-born Suman Hanif, who came to Britain at ten-years-old, graduated with a First-class honours degree a couple of years ago. Her first documentary film titled 'Plates’, gathered acclaim after it was screened across Yorkshire as well as at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.
Now, the young woman with a passion for creative storytelling, aims to connect people through the medium of film with her next £200k project.
Spurned by the desire to dispel damning stigmas attached to the British Pakistani communities, Suman’s ‘Amara and Family’ is a film inspired by real-life incidents which she’s either been involved with or witnessed.
Disagreeing with current representations of the Pakistani community in mainstream media, Suman decided to that she had a responsibility to address misconceptions as well as expose out-dated ideologies from within.
Suman’s commitment to storytelling is clearly evident: “For a lot of working professionals, filmmaking is not a job it’s a passion.
“The film industry is extremely competitive, but for me my passion and will to succeed kept me going through challenging stages of my life.”
‘Amara and Family’ questions whether old Pakistani traditions and customs have become a burden on modern generations in Britain. The film will be made in Bradford with British Asian actors for an audience worldwide.
“I’m taking a step forward with my next film, which explores the lives of British Pakistanis - the second largest ethnic community in Britain, who migrated to England after 1950s, and their generations today.
“The screenplay is inspired by real-life incidents, and characters currently present in the British Pakistani community.
“I feel that there are many stories overlooked and undervalued about the Pakistani communities in the UK and around the world.
"In mainstream media, it’s rare to find a British Pakistani writer, director, producer, actor or a crew member attached to films that represents the British Pakistani community.”
Having been fascinated with the media industry and a fan of Alfred Hitchcock films from a very early age, Suman would often question and probe what went into making gripping visual content.
“I started making my own short films on the phone. I used to experiment with sound and effects to create a story, this became my favourite hobby,” admits the former Bradford College student.
“Now for me, filmmaking is about discovering human complexities in all forms and shapes.
“As a filmmaker, I want to discover stories that are not heard or found. My community is also my audience. In my films, I try to explore the growing concerns in the communities and try providing a solution in my films.
“I also believe I have a responsibility to culture. Culture, traditions and values make us who we are. Reflecting various cultures in films will help develop and connect communities.
The Broadway shopping centre in Bradford has been awarded a certification by the People’s Parking which verifies its capacity to cater for people of all needs and abilities thanks to the quality of the facilities in its multi-story car park.
The 1,323 space car park is the first in the UK to receive the People’s Parking award for its motorcycle parking facilities.
People’s Parking, a national accreditation scheme for car parks, has granted the centre an award in a number of other categories. The car park has been recognised as accessible for disabled people, as well as being family and shopper-friendly. The centre also has charging points for electric vehicles and is convenient for commuters travelling by train or bus.
The centre has 63 disabled bays and 54 extra wide parent and child bays to make loading and unloading pushchairs and prams easier.
Dave Downes, Deputy Centre Manager, at The Broadway, has said: “It’s fantastic for The Broadway to be recognised by People’s Parking. We have worked hard to ensure everyone who wishes to visit the shopping centre can do so easily and in a stress-free manner.
“We know how important it is for people to have a sense of independence and we want our visitors to be able to go about everyday activities, such as shopping trips, without having to worry whether they can use the car park safely.”
People’s Parking founder Helen Dolphin said: “Through my work as an independent mobility consultant and as a disabled person myself, I know first-hand the difficulties many of us face when coming in and out of car parks.
“A few small changes to payment methods or parking bays can make life far easier for disabled shoppers, as well as parents with small children, who might otherwise avoided visiting somewhere for fear of having to deal with poorly equipped parking facilities.”
People's Parking was founded in 2016 by disability campaigner Helen Dolphin MBE and is primarily aimed at improving car parks for customers, enabling them to find a car park which meets their needs.
Members of the Bradford bid team and players from Bradford Bulls and Keighley Cougars Women's Teams
In partnership with Bradford Bulls RLFC and Keighley Cougars RLFC, Bradford Council has submitted its bid to be part of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
To celebrate submission of the bid to host the women’s element of the tournament, the bidding team, members of Bradford Bulls Women’s Team and representatives of the Council got together to see the Rugby League World Cup trophy, when it was the centre piece to a special exhibition of current and retired Rugby League silverware, at Bradford City Hall on Saturday 11 August.
If the Bradford bid is selected venues throughout the district could be used to host matches, team base camps and training camps. Odsal Stadium, the home of the Bulls, would be used to host matches between women’s teams from across eight countries, with their state of the art training facility at Tong High School being used as a training camp.
Base camps for the international teams could include the Cedar Court Hotel on Rooley Lane, The Bradford Hotel and the Midland Hotel in the city centre and Hollins Hall Marriott Hotel in Baildon.
Bradford has a long history and heritage of Rugby League, from Odsal stadium hosting the match with the largest attendance on record, to the Keighley Cougars being the venue for the first televised international game.
The women’s game in Bradford is also strong with the Bulls Women’s team the current Super League and Challenge Cup winners, as well as 10 players from the team also selected for and played in the England side which made it to the semi-finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Bradford’s City Hall is also the prospective home of the new Rugby League Museum subject to Rugby League Cares and Bradford Council securing the necessary funding.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “Our district is no stranger to hosting major international sporting events, with Ilkley’s Cow and Calf Rocks a stage finish location for both the women’s and men’s Tour de Yorkshire this year.
"Having the women’s element of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 would be great for Bradford. This tournament really does bring people together from different cultures across the world and being a host would bring great benefits to the district as well as provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the district on the world stage.
“Working with our partners the Bradford Bulls and the Keighley Cougars who both have strong women’s teams the aim, as well as giving a warm welcome for these top class athletes and their fans, is to provide a sustainable legacy, especially for girls and women competing in the game across the district.”
Ken Jones, Strategic and Commercial Consultant at Bradford Bulls, said: “If our bid is successful our focus will be on engaging local schools and community groups to encourage both boys and girls to take part in rugby league events, and we also want to get into the South Asian community, where we feel that there is untapped talent.
" The tournament will be hosted between October and November 2021. It will feature 16 nations in the men’s format and eight in both the women’s and wheelchair formats. The bid team of Phil Barker and Andy Ross from Bradford Council, Jones and Russ McFarlane from Bradford Bulls and Neil Cullen from Keighley Cougars expect to hear within a month to six weeks if their World Cup bid has been successful.
A "dishonourable and wicked" pensioner who fathered three children with his own daughter has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Ashraf Khan, now 81, of Kirkburn Place, Bradford, West Yorkshire, admitted three charges of incest dating back to the 1980s.
Ashraf Khan’s twisted secret was only discovered after his victim confessed on her deathbed in the early 1990s. The daughter’s husband, who had DNA tests done to confirm the children’s parentage, finally reported the matter to police in 2012, but continued to care for the children.
Bradford Crown Court heard the defendant's daughter was aged about 20 when she gave birth to the first child.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC described the woman's husband as an honourable man because he had continued to care for the children even after a DNA test confirmed his wife's revelation.
The husband reported the offences to the police in 2012, but Khan was not questioned about the allegations until he returned to the UK from Pakistan in 2016.
He initially denied having any sexual relations with his daughter but in May this year he pleaded guilty to the three charges of incest.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC heard how the "incestuous parentage" had led to medical conditions affecting the children.
Prosecutor Abigail Langford said the victim impact statement provided by the children included a tribute to their late mother's husband for his fortitude and selflessness over the years.
"Your honour sees the psychological damage that they have outlined and how their physical health has been impacted by their paternity," she added.
Jailing Khan, Judge Durham Hall described him as a "very dishonourable" and "wicked" man.
The judge said the daughter's deathbed confession must have been dreadful as she unburdened the trauma she had carried about her father.
Judge Durham Hall said the harm caused was "off the scale" and he noted Khan was only described as a man of good character because he had got away with it for years.
Sister speaks out for the first time on Samia Shahid’s death
First Published Fri, 9th March 2018
"WE’VE BEEN DRAGGED THROUGH “HELL"
The unexpected death of a British national abroad almost always makes national headlines, but in the case of a Bradford woman Samia Shahid, the story attracted immense attention when a narrative suggested that it was an ‘honour killing’.
Now for the first time since the death of 28-year-old Samia Shahid in Pakistan, her sister has spoken publicly about the trauma and abuse they have gone through after Samia’s untimely and very tragic passing.
Speaking exclusively to the Asian Express, Madiha Shahid tells of the horror and grueling effect mainstream news headlines have had on the family since Samia’s death while losing the right to mourn the loss of not one, but two family members.
Madiha has not only lost her beautiful sister Samia in 2016, but also her ailing father Mohammed Shahid in January this year who was suffering from kidney failure. Her father Mohammed Shahid's recent death has been a catalyst for Madiha to step forward and speak out.
‘Confident and independent’
Madiha, describes Samia as a confident, independent, loving sister with a bubbly personality and the apple of her father’s eye.
“Samia was our late father’s favourite, and this was no secret. She was completely a ‘daddy’s girl’, he’d laugh at her cheekiness and silliness - he fully supported her in all her decisions,” says Madiha.
"All across the world's media, there have been so many mistakes and lies including the one about her being a beauty therapist - this is completely wrong, she never even did any beauty course. She never worked as a beautician, in fact she worked at a post office in Bradford, and in Dubai at a property company.
“Samia had a very determined personality. Our parents have always encouraged us to achieve our ambitions in life and as a result of this I myself am a graduate."
“My late father had never attempted to impose his views upon us and we have always had freedom to make our own decisions; in fact, this is the reason that I am one of the very few Asian females that is employed as an Operations Supervisor in a busy airport.
“My family have been made to look like they are a narrow-minded and backwards-thinking Asian family, when this is clearly not the case.
“How many Asian families can say that they allow their daughters the freedom to travel? As a girl, I've travelled most of Europe, the States and the far East without my parents – independently, freely and under no restrictions.”
Marriage to Shakeel
THE SHOT YOU'VE NOT SEEN: Missed out across all media are pictures of a smiling Samia on her and Shakeel's wedding day - the image that's been mass circulated shows a depressed bride.
Madiha says that contrary to mainstream media, Samia was never forced to marry their cousin Shakeel. With a choice of numerous marriage proposals Samia had decided that she had wanted to marry Shakeel.
Samia, unlike in many traditional Pakistani families was not pushed into an early marriage. She was 25-years-old when she married Shakeel.
“This was an arranged marriage but NEVER a forced marriage."
“Getting married is a big decision. Samia wasn't short of suitable prospects and had a number of proposals to chose from,” says Madiha.
“When Shakeel’s proposal came through, of course like anyone else - she thought about it to some length. She talked about making the decision and any reservations she might have had with me as well as her friends. That’s normal – isn’t it?"
“Yes, it was an 'arranged marriage' but never a 'forced marriage'. Even prior to accepting Shakeel’s proposal for marriage in February 2012, Samia in 2011 spent four weeks in Pakistan where they spent time together and both excitedly decided to tie the knot.
"When Samia returned back from Pakistan, wedding plans were in full swing with Samia taking charge of every fine detail about her jewellery, clothes, make-up and everything else for the big day. She was very happy at that time, everyone knows this.”
With the big day set to take place on 27th February 2012 in Jhelum, Pakistan, Samia used wedding planning services in the UK before flying out on 18th February 2012.
Samia did the bulk of her shopping at Pakistani Bazaar. Mr Mohammed Sajid, working as a senior sales assistant for 17-years at the popular fashion house on Killinghall Road in Bradford, in a witness statement talks in detail about Samia ordering her outfits for her wedding.
Samia was a regular customer at Pakistani Bazaar, often turning up with her mum, sisters and cousins to buy clothes, as well as on her own.
Witness statement: 'Loved-up and ‘mushy’
“She was always giggling and joking around,’ says Sajid.
“In preparation of her wedding in Pakistan, Samia was exceptionally particular with what she wanted and made modifications to the designer wedding dress and other outfits she had chosen.”
Samia told Sajid that she had asked her father for a big extravagant wedding at a venue, and almost 1000 people were to attend. “She would always talk about her wedding and husband to be,” he adds.
“She seemed to be very loved-up and ‘mushy’, it was because of this I started calling her ‘Laila’ (Juliette). She would just laugh, blush and jokingly threaten me that if her outfits weren’t right she wouldn’t be happy with me.”
After the wedding Samia stayed in Pakistan with her new husband Shakeel for some four months before returning to the UK in the summer of 2012. She resumed her job at a post office and openly discussed her happy marriage with other work colleagues.
When Samia next went to Pakistani Bazaar for a spot of shopping, she gleefully shared pictures of the wedding and her husband, and babbled on about him with Sajid.
Sajid says: “From what I have gathered about media coverage (on Samia’s marriage to Shakeel) is that she’s portrayed as a forced oppressed woman fighting the stereotypical norm of Asian women."
“I’m perplexed by the (news) coverage because she never indicated anything of the sort. Her bubbly, happy-go-lucky confident nature did not show that she was under any kind of pressure.”
Saddened by her death, Sajid adds: “I simply don’t know what happened to her, but I know she wasn’t forced into marriage.”
Madiha says: “Samia and Shakeel’s extravagant wedding celebrations lasted over four days and there are wedding videos and numerous independent statements from guests confirm Samia was very happy with this marriage and it was far from a ‘forced marriage’ unlike how the media has spat out.”
Pakistan - two long stays with Shakeel
Even when Samia returned to the UK, she would spend so much time on her phone speaking with Shakeel. She wasn’t shy about the fact that she missed him and talked about it a lot, often ‘puppy-eyed’ and ‘moping around’.
GIGGLES: Samia and Shahid messing around taking a selfie
Then in December 2012 Samia booked her own flight using a local Bradford travel agent and returned back to Pakistan to be with her husband Shakeel.
“It’s extremely surprising how a one-sided documentary has failed to mention a four-month stay with Shakeel after the wedding and then Samia’s second trip to Pakistan where she lived with her husband for a further six-months,” Madiha comments.
Samia travelled to Pakistan for her wedding on 18th February 2012 and stayed until 12th June 2012, only to return back to Shakeel same year on 20th December 2012, this time for a six-month period. She returned back to the UK on 28th June 2013.
Asian Express has obtained time stamps of Samia’s entry and exits into Pakistan. She stayed in Pakistan for four-months after the wedding, then went back and spent another another-six months with Shakeel the same year.
Madiha adds: “If someone has had a forced marriage and escaped from Pakistan, can someone please explain why they would book their own flight only to return to Pakistan within a six-month period?”
It is important to note that Samia and Shakeel's was a registered court marriage in Pakistan and therefore is legally recognised as a valid marriage in the UK. Letters from the Pakistani Union, in Pakistan confirms that to date they have never received any ‘petition for divorce from either party’ and their records show that Shakeel is still Samia’s lawful husband.
“Contrary to the claims that have been made against Shakeel that he only married Samia for her ‘passport’, surely, if this was the case a visa application would have been submitted to the UK embassy.
“The reality is that Shakeel never urged to come to the UK as he is comfortably self-sufficient in Pakistan, and never submitted a visa application to the UK, let alone have a visa refused.”
Up until her death on 20th July 2016, Samia was still legally Shakeel's wife
Courtship with Syed Mukhtar Kazam
At some point late in 2013, Samia on social media became acquainted with Syed Mukhtar Kazam, a Pakistani national working in Dubai. Having built up an online relationship for some weeks, the pair decided to meet up in London and spend some time together.
Friendship soon turned into courtship.
Syed Mukhtar Kazam AKA Ali
When Kazam returned to Dubai, the romantic relationship continued to develop, with Samia soon arranging a four-day holiday to Dubai on 6th March 2014 where she would meet up with Kazam.
“In the recent TV documentary, Samia’s friends have lied blatantly about her being on a 'lock-down' upon returning to the UK, when clearly this cannot be the case,” says Madiha.
“Samia was regularly attending the gym, restaurant with friends, not to mention the trips to London and a four-day break to Dubai. Does this sound like someone on a “lock-down?”
“Not to speak to them bitches”
It has recently transpired that Samia’s friends who stated that Samia was “not happy with her marriage to Shakeel”, had a fracas following accusations that Samia stole their mother’s gold.
“I do not understand why Nusba and Samaira (Sam) and Shahida have lied to the press so much about us as a family and unfolding Samia's story as if they knew her so well.
“Sam and Nusba had stole their own mother’s gold, sold it, and pinned the blame on Samia after she had visited their home."
“This was back in November 2015, when Samia returned home from Dubai following problems she was having with Kazam."
According to Madiha, they even lied on a TV documentary making it seem that Samia was singled out and attacked during a mugging. In fact both Samia and our cousin where hurt during this incident and were taken to hospital via ambulance. There is a record of this incident and the injuries they both sustained available to the press directly from the BRI.
"Nusba and Sam narrated the story to make it seem that that possibly someone Samia knew had attacked her to scare her for her Dubai decision.
“Samia specifically after a major fallout with these 'so-called' friends told me not to speak to ‘them bitches’. Samia despised them - see the text messages my sister sent me. How these girls claim to be in communication with my sister and express so much detail of her Dubai story is very, very questionable. They are liars.
“The press have blatantly lied about Samia leading an oppressed and submissive life at home with us and have scraped together a handful of half-truths to build a very negative and damning picture of our family."
The lure of Dubai high-life
Madiha believes that Kazam befriended her sister, luring her into a secret romantic relationship despite being aware she was a married woman. She says he being a Pakistani he'd found a 'golden egg' by wooing Samia, not only could she earn a lot more than he did in Dubai, but this was also his opportunity to eventually get into Britain.
“There was never a legal or proper Islamic divorce obtained from the UK, nor did Samia ever tell the family that she wanted a separation from Shakeel. We believe he reinforced the notion of keeping everything a secret from us.
“It’s common knowledge on the streets that foreign men lure British girls trapping them into a ‘relationship’ before taking them abroad as a workhorse. And a life in Dubai is a big attraction."
“As far as we were concerned up until the point she went to Dubai she was happy. Shakeel on a regular basis would send her money from Pakistan via money exchange, he even sent money up to the point she eloped with Kazam.”
The arrested Mullah
Interestingly, the applicant on the decree absolute is not Samia Shahid, but in fact her husband Mohammed Shakeel who has never even been in Britain.
The man who conducted Samia's divorce and then second nikkah is Maulana Syed Muhammad Sibtain Kazmi
A document issued by a Maulana Syed Muhammad Sibtain Kazmi, is presented as the formal ‘Divorce Decree Absolute’ for Samia and Shakeel’s nikkah certificate.Interestingly, the applicant on the decree absolute dated 1st May 2014 is not Samia Shahid, but in fact her husband Mohammed Shakeel who has never even been in Britain.
Though residing in Bradford, Maulana Syed Muhammad Sibtain Kazmi’s documents display an address in Luton.
STRANGE: Samia's apparent "divorce document" shows the applicant as Mohammed Shakeel (Samia's first husband) who's never been in Britain, issued by a mullah who is not recognised by the Islamic Sharia Council
The Maulana carried out a nikkah ceremony for Samia and Kazam on 7th September 2014, but in light of the Judgment obtained from the Sharia Council the divorce has not been properly conducted and therefore is not valid and any subsequent nikkah is not recognised under Islamic Laws. Another complication being that a Shiite Imam cannot nullify a Sunni marriage and vice versa.
Both the Islamic Shariah Council in Leyton and Bradford’s Jamiyat Tabligh-ul-Islam have confirmed that it does not recognise Maulana Syed Muhammad Sibtain Kazmi’s issued decree absolute nor does it recognise him as a minister of religion.
Maulana Syed Muhammad Sibtain Kazmi, a Shiite Imam, was arrested in 2017 on terrorism charges by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The FIA had wanted him for 14-years as he had been implicated of being involved in the killing of Maulana Azam Tariq in 2003 by gunmen in Islamabad during a spate of violence between Shiite and Sunni groups.
The Maulana was acquitted of charges and released on 5th March 2018.
Spousal visa to work in Dubai
The family believes Samia was pressurised by Kazam who insisted on a civil registry, which would make it possible for Samia obtain a spousal visa to live and work in Dubai alongside him.
The couple went through with a registry at Leeds City Hall on 24th September 2014. For this Samia declared herself as ‘single’ and not a ‘divorcee’, even though she was specifically asked by the registrar if she had been married in any country before.
“In the eyes of the law, the registry itself was an act of bigamy, which the family believe was aided and abetted by Kazmi,” says Madiha.
“It is my understanding that Kazam has his own agenda in befriending and courting Samia and insisting on registering the marriage. He wanted my sister to move to Dubai with him and work there as a ‘slave’ to support him and has family.
“Kazam (Ali) knew that as a Pakistani national in Dubai he can only ever earn a certain amount of wages whereas a British national can earn double or in Samia’s case – treble what he would.”
When Samia left for Dubai in 2015 without telling her family, at first they reported her missing, obviously worried for her wellbeing.
A few days later Samia contacted Madiha and informed her that she had gone to Dubai for work and that she had met someone else.
Shocked, Madiha began to question Samia’s decision: “I felt concerned with all of this and remember going to the police to report an incident of ‘grooming’.
“Police informed me that because Samia was over the age of 18, there was nothing they could do.”
Dubai life not so glamorous
Samia was often crying in Dubai and kept telling her sister she'd made a "horrible and unforgivable mistake" in choosing a life with Kazam - it was not what she was promised by him
“Whilst in Dubai, Samia really, really missed home. She started telling me about how sorry she was about everything and that she had made a mistake.
“Her life in Dubai wasn’t at all what she thought it would be. She was working really hard, and never had any money. She told me that Kazam would take it all from her. She was being subjected to emotional abuse.
Samia referred to Kazam as 'Ali'
Samia since going to Dubai had come back to the UK to see her family on two separate trips due to the problems she was facing in Dubai with Kazam.
Madiha says that from what Samia has told her and pictures she had sent showing her apartment view were very different from the glamorous ones portrayed in the TV documentary.
According to Gulf news, on the 17th August 2016, Samia was living on the 10th Floor apartment at a building in Ajman, Sharjah.
REALITY: These are the views from Samia's apartment - she was living in "the slums" and was definitely not the "luxury life" in Dubai she was promised by Kazam
“My sister was living in the workers colony – it’s considered ‘the slums’ compared to the lavish Dubai that Kazam had promised her, and he was taking all the money she was earning off her."
“The biggest problem my sister was having with Kazam in Dubai was that it was not at all the life she was promised by him and not like he says ‘she had the best of this world’. She came to England twice because of their issues and of course, she missed home and her liberated lifestyle.
“I was shocked to see how she’d be dressed – covered head-to-toe in black all the time! Our parents never made us do that – in fact we were always liberated – dressed how we wanted. When I asked Samia about the sudden change in her dress code, she replied that Kazam didn’t want her leaving the apartment without being fully covered.
“The pictures of Samia in Dubai as shown in the TV documentary with Kazam without having her head-scarf on are from her 2014 trip before she ‘married’ him.
He wouldn’t allow her out of the house without being dressed in a burkah.
“My sister never even celebrated her last birthday, and sent me pictures of herself crying. She was broken. She sent me a text saying that she didn’t even bother to look nice on the day because she felt there was no point in doing so."
Not accepted by 'new husband's family
Samia’s text conversations also reveal that Kazam’s family had not accepted Samia as his wife, and that his mother was ‘flippin’ over the relationship. They did not accepting Samia because she was Sunni Muslim and not Shiite, as well as the fact she was a 'divorcee'.
Voice recordings between Kazam and his family reveal him denying the very existence about the ‘girl from Jehlum’ (Samia) upon being questioned by them. In another, Kazam (also referred to as Ali) tells of his family’s fury of him being with a woman who is married to somebody else. He says to Samia: “They (his family) think you’re a f*****g whore now”.
Click below to hear the voice recordings of Kazam telling Samia his family think she's a 'f*****g whore'
“Has anybody even seen a single picture of Samia with Mukhtar’s mother and father? The answer is “No”. Where are they? Why didn’t they accept her? Was it because they all knew that she was still married to Shakeel?,” questions Madiha.
Samia had very little money despite working very hard in Dubai. Samia in a text message says to her sister says she only had a £100 to last her until the end of the month.
In another text she refer to Kazam as a ‘twat’ and she said she didn’t want to depend on ‘any one bastard in this world’.
Text messages from Samia to sister Madiha tell of a life of ‘misery’ for the past several months and that she was ‘living in a box’ doing nothing but a schedule of ‘work, home, cook, clean, sleep, repeat’.
Any days she had off she’d sleep because there wasn’t anything else for her to do or any place for her to go. In the messages to her sister Samia says, ‘how am I supposed to live his family will never accept me’.
“So far what has not been mentioned in the press is how Kazam made my sister leave home, go against her loved ones, break the law, make her work , take her wages and then couldn’t even obtain his own family’s approval of her.”
Final trip to Pakistan
It was when Shakeel’s mother passed away that Samia expressed to Shakeel that she’d like to go to Pakistan, and be with him during this difficult time.
Samia waited for her wages to come through and at the first opportunity bought her own flight ticket.
By Kazam’s own admission in the press he was very ‘surprised’ where the money for the ticket had come from because he knew he had control of her money. What he failed to mention is that Samia waited for her wage to come and bought her own ticket to fly to Pakistan straight away.
There is no evidence that Samia’s family deceived her by playing the ‘seriously poorly father in Pakistan’ game with her. There are no text messages from the family indicating this. There are no telephone recordings of any such conversation.
“I was in the UK when Samia arrived in Pakistan,” adds Madha.
“How could she be told that our father is on his deathbed when she knew that both her siblings were in the UK? Surely, she would want to know why we are not going to Pakistan.”
When Samia was collected by Shakeel and went home with him, she stayed in Shakeel’s home through the duration of her visit, opposite her father’s ancestral home.
Also omitted from any Pakistan police reports, are statements from a fertility clinic doctor with whom Samia and Shakeel met just a couple of days before her demise.
The examining doctors at the time showed the police CCTV footage showing Samia and Shakeel attending the fertility clinic together. It is claimed that Samia, in an interview with the lady doctor, refers to Shakeel as her husband and tells they're trying for a baby.
On the tragic day of Samia’s death, she had been out to lay flowers on her aunt’s grave. She then bought and distributed fruit for children in the poorer parts of the village and then went to her father’s home. Here she met some guests who were sitting with her father. Samia stayed for a short while and returned to her home, where she was later found dead.
“The news of Samia's death utterly destroyed us. Mum and I flew out the same day in utter shock to Pakistan.
"Mum had only just returned from there as she had a pre-paid return ticket to go when our aunt (phuppo) passed away.
"Emotionally torn we could not understand her sudden death. Did she have one of her severe asthma attacks due to the heat, did she have a heart attack and if so why or was it something else?
“We didn’t know. We didn’t understand. We didn’t know why she was taken from us. She was so young, so beautiful.”
It is maintained by Samia's immediate family that any police reports following further enquiries have been navigated to prove just one particular outcome - a crime of honour.
The family also claim that deceased pictures of Samia showing heavy marks on her neck are doctored images. They question the source of these images is still pending.
The Government Hospital in Jhelum has stated that no such photo was supplied in the form they have been presented.
The family would like to know who provided the doctored images and more so the motive behind the same. In addition, what checks were carried out by the Mainstream Media to confirm the validity of the images.
Over 50 witness statements confirming Samia's father and Shakeel's whereabouts (ie. not being present with her) on the day at that time of her death have been dismissed as have almost all the initial Pakistani police enquiry team.
Madiha claims that corruption in Pakistan’s policing system made this case vulnerable and open to be directed under duress due to political pressures from the UK.
Entire family tarnished
Almost all the entire immediate family has been implicated in Samia’s death.
Punjab Forensic Science Agency provided a report to the Pakistani police which states that four DVD’s worth of data was recovered from Samia’s mobile phone.
“So much data was recovered from Samia’s phone but the Pakistani Police have conveniently ignored all of it except two-pages-worth, which have been used out of context and where Samia is conversing with Munnaza. Why is this?
“Samia said to ‘Munazza’ that she’s going to Pakistan to meet her poorly father – perhaps Samia didn’t want to explain the real reason for her trip to Pakistan. Perhaps she lied to Kazam about Pakistan, because she knew otherwise he'd never let her know."
Samia’s father Mohammed Shahid, who passed away earlier this year due to kidney failure (not gastric band surgery as suggested by a major national newspaper), was cleared by Pakistan’s high court of having anything to do with Samia’s death. The Supreme Court in June 2017 also confirms that there is no evidence against the father.
Despite no hard evidence connecting mother Imtiaz and sister Madiha, the Pakistan Police have declared them proclaimed offenders in Pakistan.
“Our father died from a broken heart, and because of the terror he had to go through whilst being implicated in Samia’s death,” says Madiha.
“No one should be falsely accused of such a serious crime without any substantial evidence.
“We believe this is a case of pinning the crime onto someone just to get the relevant paperwork done,” says Madiha.
“Corruption, sifarish (bribery) and working under duress from higher commanding officers in Pakistan’s police is a commonplace practice there.
“We are fighting to clear our names and are taking this matter further. We are innocent, so why have we been tarnished so publicly? I have lost my sister and father and yet I cannot grieve, the world is not allowing me to.”
"Everyone's been Judge, Jury and Executioners"
“The facts that have been presented seem like the truth but so much is missing. There’s much more to the story that what’s been told,” insists Madiha.
“The world has behaved as judge, jury and executioners. Much of the news content generated by mainstream press was not only misleading, but implied we were part of a murder without evidence. How can this be acceptable?”
Madiha, further states: “I have lost my only sister, my eldest sister, who I loved dearly, she has left an empty space in so many lives.
“On the day of Samia's death my mother and I flew out to Pakistan, so confused and heartbroken - and it just got worse for us.
“We as a family have not even been afforded the opportunity to grieve properly.
“My father would telephone us every day from Pakistan and I would cry longing to meet him, my dad would reassure me and say ‘don’t cry Madiha, Allah will make us meet’, but I never got to meet him before he died.
“Due to all of these false allegations, my father died a broken man - is this fair?
“My father had been wrongfully tarnished of being involved with his favourite daughter’s death, even though the courts said he is innocent. Where’s the justice in that?”
“He was on his death bed and I was not even afforded the opportunity to visit my ill father and pay my final respects when he died due to the Pakistani Police having manipulated this entire case against us.
“I do not accept their investigations. It’s a total miscarriage of justice.
“I have lost a father who I had not seen for a year and a half. Our lives have been ruined beyond imagination, all this because of the a false narrative calling this an honour killing at the offset.”
The family request an investigation by British authorities to get involved to try and establish exactly what happened to Samia.
West Yorkshire Police Homicide investigations
Asian Express have obtained a document issued by the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team of West Yorkshire Police which states that Samia’s divorce to Shakeel does not stand in UK law and that the letter produced to authorities claiming Samia was 'forced into marriage' with Shakeel cannot be verified legitimately as Samia is now deceased.
Furthermore, this document also talks of complications with the cleric who carried out Samia’s nikkah to Kazam. Sibtain Kazmi is a Shiite Muslim, as is Mukhtar Kazam and since Samia and her family are Sunni Muslims so some clarification would be required for the divorce to be accepted in Pakistan.
ATRIST: Nabeelah Hafiz’s exhibition brings images together with poetry from both herself and her father in both English and Urdu
Nabeelah Hafeez brings her experience of growing up in the Pakistani community in Bradford to Kala Sangam, through images and words captured by Nabeelah and her late father the Poet Mohammed Hafeez Johar.
When the late Bradford based poet Mohammad Hafeez Johar passed away one of his prized possessions – a pentax camera – to his daughter Nabeelah Hafeez, a promising poet in her own right.
“Memories of my homeland. These are burnt into my heart. But now this city is also in my blood.” Extract from ‘Home’ by late Bradford poet Mohammad Hafeez Johar
ON DISPLAY: Pictures capturing Bradford from the 70s, 80s and 90s give an air of nostalgia
‘Through my Father’s Lens’ brings together poetry from both father and daughter in both English and Urdu. These words will be accompanied by photographs of Bradford from the 70s, 80s and 90s taken by Hafeez Johar, and images of Bradford captured by Nabeelah using that same treasured camera.
In words and images the exhibition aims to provide an insight into the lives of the Pakistani community in the city, showing migration as a journey of identity through the experience of second and third generation migrants.
The exhibition is free entry and runs until Thursday 12th April, drop in anytime between Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm. Please book your place in advance:
With his light saber buzzing, a 25-year-old special effects genius from Bradford walked the red carpet at the Royal Premiere of ‘Star Wars The Last Jedi’ at the Albert Hall.
25-year-old Umar Hussain from Calverley, former student of Bradford Grammar School, had a particular fascination of Disney animated movies, but he didn’t quite realise at that stage that he was hard-wired to pursue his VFX ambitions.
Now literally living his childhood dream, Umar has so far worked on blockbusters such as ‘Gravity’; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’; ‘Star Wars Episode 7 - The Force Awakens’, ‘Doctor Strange’ and now ‘Star Wars Episode 8 - The Last Jedi’.
Following his university days in Manchester, Umar landed a job as a Visual Effects Line Producer at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) - the visual effects branch of Lucasfilm now owned by Disney.
"I didn't dream or anticipate I'd get the chance to work on Star Wars as it seemed quite a far reaching goal! But I'm very happy to have the chance to work on Episode 8 after really enjoying working on Episode 7," he says.
Umar's galactic rise developed from his love of films – particularly the animated type. "I've always been a big watcher of film and television throughout my childhood and teens," says Umar.
Umar says that his favourite directors growing up were Ron Clements and John Musker (Aladdin, Hercules, Little Mermaid, Moana), while in the action world he admires Baz Luhrmann.
It goes without saying that Umar has rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Margot Robbie and Tom Hanks, but he keeps his head level and feet firmly rooted to the ground.
Despite all the glitz and glamour of meeting celebrities whilst working in London, Umar’s a true Yorkshireman. He ensures he returns back home to Leeds whenever he gets chance to visit parents Zulfi and Nahid.
Among the highlights of his career, he says, are attending dialogue recording sessions on Star Wars with Daisy Ridley and JJ Abrams along with the first screening of ‘Doctor Strange’.
The opportunity into his glittering career came after studying politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at the University of Manchester. Umar worked on a short film project with a friend before landing a Production Intern role on the television show 'Made in Chelsea'.
Having his foot in the door, Umar’s ambitions began to expand overnight. "I knew I wanted to try and work on a feature animated movie and I set my heart onto it,” he adds.
"I began connecting with everyone and anyone who was related to the Visual Effects and Feature Animation scene.”
"My curiosity saw me showing up at events, exhibitions, conferences and talking to people – lots of people including youngsters trying to break in.”
Umar’s dedication and resilience saw him travelling to America to meet people in the industry who could potentially help, advise and support him.
"To get to where I have in this industry, in such a short time, has certainly taken passion, determination, hard work and not taking ‘No’ for an answer."
Then the galaxy opened up to the young man when he eventually got a shot as a HR Intern at the Visual Effects company, Framestore. Since then, he worked his into marketing and then relatively quickly into production.
His daily tasks include planning and managing the artistic and production crew, as well as delivering projects. Working closely with the Creatives and Senior Management is key so that the team can bring the work in front of Directors and Producers for the final green flag.
The University of Bradford honoured six national and international figures with honorary degrees and honorary fellowships at its graduation ceremonies in its Great Hall.
One of those honoured was Nirmal Singh Sekhon MBE, a businessman who has set up numerous businesses over the years, including the Sekhon Group which owns over 800 properties.
Mr Singh is the epitome of a rags to riches success story. After arriving in England from India at age 15, Mr Singh with the assistance of his wife Harmesh Kaur, set up ‘Nirmal Razai Mart & Company Ltd’.
The bedding company, which soon employed over 100 machinists mainly women working from home, stocked its products in just under 700 outlets in the country. It was well-known for its floral patchworks quilts.
With the growth of his business, Mr Singh began to invest surplus funds into property, and by 1994 the property portfolio had overtaken his textile empire. Son Iqbal Singh Sekhon, a solicitor, joined his father at the helm of the business.
Now the group holds some 800 commercial and residential tenants and is the biggest single landowner of Little Germany in central Bradford.
In 1999 Mr Singh was awarded an MBE for services to community relations in Bradford. He also acts as a spokesperson between Bradford’s communities and public sector bodies such the Police, Fire Service, Bradford Council and the Department for Education.
Humble as always, Mr Singh commented to the Asian Express: “I came to England with just £3 in my pocket. No doubt, I have put in a lot of effort and hard work in, and I hope this can inspire young people to achieve their dreams.”
“I am committed to making Bradford more successful, and work with numerous groups to help deliver this objective.”
Using his expertise and resources, Mr Singh has supported other entrepreneurs by regenerating disused mills in Bradford to create jobs and spaces for start-ups to thrive. He works with a range of charitable organisations, including local housing and health charities.
Also receiving honorary degrees from the University of Bradford were Vicky Bowman, Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Naomi Climer and Professor The Lord Darzi of Denham OM KBE.
Victoria Jane Bowman: Doctor of the University
Victoria Jane Bowman has been the Director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, an initiative to encourage responsible business throughout Myanmar (Burma). Vicky has acted as Director of Global and Economic Issues and G8 sous-Sherpa for the United Kingdom, and as Head of the Southern Africa Department in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She served as the British Ambassador to Myanmar for four years, and is an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE: Doctor of Health
Professor Patel, Baron Patel of Bradford, has worked at the highest levels of government in a wide range of policy areas. He has been on a number of boards and committees, including the Healthcare Commission, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and the Care Quality Commission, and has been Chair of the Mental Health Act Commission, and Chair of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He has been a leading voice on health, social care and community cohesion, and has brought about developments between UK statutory, voluntary and business organisations and with other countries to realise real benefits for local communities.
Professor Dame Sally Davies: Doctor of Health
Dame Sally Davies became Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government in March 2011, and is also Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health. Sally has represented the UK internationally at World Health Organization summits. In March 2013, Dame Sally published a report on infectious diseases which brought to light the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance, calling for national and international action. Since then, Sally has advocated globally on this topic, speaking at the G8 Science Ministers’ meeting and the Global Health Security Initiative in Rome.
Naomi Climer: Doctor of Engineering
Naomi is an engineer who has spent her career working in the broadcast and communications technology industry. She has held numerous high-profile roles such as past President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Governor of the National Film and Television School (NFTS), Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Chair of the Council of the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), and a consultant with the Board of Sony’s UK Technology Centre. Naomi also sits on the UK Government’s Science and Technology Awards Committee.
Professor The Lord Darzi of Denham OM KBE: Doctor of Health
Professor Ara Darzi holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London, the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research. He is Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. His contribution has been outstanding, publishing over 800 peer-reviewed research papers to date. He was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and in 2013 was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was knighted for his services to medicine and surgery in 2002.
In a parents’ evening with a difference at Bradford College, loved ones left with manicured nails and blow dried hair as well as glowing reports of how students are flourishing in their first term.
The hair and beauty department at the college held a Time to Shine evening at which the first-year students gave treatments to family and friends to showcase the technical skills they had developed since starting their hair and beauty courses in September.
Among the students showcasing their skills was Viktoria Galamb, 18, a Level 1 Hair and Beauty student who was thrilled to style her mum Valeria’s hair.
“I am very happy to show my mum the salons where I have my lessons and to show her what I am learning,” said Viktoria.
“My mum is very proud of me because I came here from Hungary three years ago knowing no English. She is pleased that I have made friends and am learning and getting skills for a career.”
Level 1 student Salma Shahid invited her twin sister Sonia into the salon for a hair treatment.
Sonia, who is studying business at the college, was impressed by her sister’s skill.
Sonia said: “I think we might end up opening a business together. She can do the beauty side and I can do the business side.”
Beauty therapy student Melanie Yeadon treated her mother-in-law Donna Fleming to a manicure.
Melanie said: “I think it is a great idea to have your friends and family come in and see the great facilities we have in college and benefit from what we have learned so far.”
Tutors handed out a number of special awards during the event including the most improved award, the happy award, the most helpful award and the 100 per cent attendance award.
Bradford College offers a range of courses in hair and beauty.
The college’s £50m David Hockney Building on Great Horton Road includes a nail bar, hair salon, beauty therapy rooms and a spa that are open to the public offering a range of services in health, wellbeing and beauty at affordable prices.
Zahid Hussain has had a memorable year in the ring after an unbeaten year sees his stock rise rapidly
Zahid ‘Magic man’ Hussain, is the first to admit that he has surprised all with his achievements in the ring in 2017, ended the year with another convincing victory to leave him unbeaten and turning heads in the boxing world.
He ends 2017 as the undefeated British, International Masters and Challenge Belt featherweight champion and the Asian Sensation will look to continue his meteoric rise in 2018 as his performances have really improved at an impressive rate.
Ending 2017 undefeated, he remains undefeated in his professional boxing career having won 13 out of 13.
His most recent fight saw him take on London based boxer Ricky Leach in what was tipped to be a battling encounter and the toughest test of the boxing protégés fledgling career to date.
However, the boxer who trains at Rick Manners boxing school in Leeds, was simply too much for his opponent who had no answer to the ‘magic man’s’, blistering pace and speed around the ring combined with his boxing intelligence.
His intelligence in the ring was displayed as he used his strengths to out manoeuvre his southern counterpart, who had no answer and eventually let frustration get the better of him as he just looked to lay lusty blows on the ghost like Hussain.
This never materialised as Zahid was simply too nimble and clever as he outfoxed and out boxed leach who found him too slippery on this occasion.
‘Zee’ then darted in with forceful jabs of his own and his electric pace and quick-fire combos continued to frustrate his opponent who was tiring out trying to keep up with him. The Londoner simply couldn’t lay a glove on the imperious Hussain who displayed his huge potential in an impressive display.
He left his opponent in a trance and bamboozled and proceeded to pick him off with punches directed from all angles, with Hussain’s fleet footed nature proving too much for Leach as Hussain completed a comfortable points victory.
This victory was evidence of Hussain’s progression in 2017 as he steps up to the next level in his career, Hussain spoke of his doubters after the fight explaining: “Everyone thinks I’m weak because I haven’t got many Knockouts to my name but trust me, my coach Keith Walton has a plan in the pipeline to change that next year.
“I’m so much fitter and stronger and healthier now and I’ve almost finished my apprenticeship in professional boxing, so they all want to watch out as I’m on the move.”
Hussain spoke to Asian Express about what many see as his breakthrough year and how big things are come in 2018 for the ‘Magic man’ he explained: “I’ve had a really good year at the start I thought I was only going to get two fights, but I have had four, I did have a small injury, so I had to take a bit of time off, but I was always in training.
“I have been impressed with my year, previously I would look back at my fights and I’ve not been that impressed but this year that has changed, there has been significant development from my first fight to my last one, I have been happy with how I’ve boxed, I do feel like I’m improving.”
Looking ahead to 2018 Zahid told Asian Express: “I would eventually like to get to the top, but you have got to take it step by step with the area titles and then the English title and British title, then from there you go up to the worlds.
“I want to be a legend.” He joked.
Having already detailed how he has improved this year Hussain went on to discuss what he believes he has improved which has made a significant impact on his performance he explained: “I used to have a lot of nervous energy in the ring and I never showed it in the changing rooms, it would always be when I stepped into the ring, I have learnt how to control this which has made a big difference.
“Learning how to control my breathing and feeling more comfortable and enjoying it a lot more when I’m in the ring has made a massive difference and impact on my performance.”
Zahid who trains at the Rick Manners school of boxing spoke of the importance of the teamwork amongst the group of boxers which includes IBF Youth World Middleweight Champion Reece Cartwright he spoke of the camaraderie in the gym he said: “The team ethos and relationships we have at the gym is really important, we are like a family here, we see each other go through pain, we all feel it, we all thrive off each other, we challenge and motivate each other.
“If one is doing better than the other it pushes us on to get better and we push each other to the limits and beyond.
“We’ve also got undefeated lightweight Justin Newell who has been away but he’s back and training, he’s more my weight and him being back gives me constant sparring which is good. Not forgetting the latest super prospect from the Rick Manners and Keith Walton assembly line super-welterweight Ismael Davis who will be unleashed to the professional boxing world early 2018.”
Zahid would like to thank his fans and sponsors who have been there for him in 2017 and looks to push on to a stronger 2018 he would like to personally thank; North Leeds tree services, Charco’s Piri Piri, Abu Bakr, Flames and Charcoal Chicken.
This festive season, humanitarian charity Penny Appeal is presenting a world first – a pantomime by Muslims, for Muslims. The Great Muslim Panto launches with its premiere show 'If the Shoe Fits...' and is coming to six UK cities from 12th December.
The pantomime is created and performed by 'Once Upon a Family', a Muslim family cast of seven, with even the baby taking part. They are also joined by Michael Truong and Mistah Islah, whose original YouTube series 'The Corner Shop Show' has generated over 3 million views, and actor and comedian Abdullah Afzal, as seen on the BBC's 'Citizen Khan.'
Essentially a panto within a panto, the story revolves around an orphan's journey and a family's attempt to create their own 'halal' pantomime. The show is a fun reinvention of the classic panto, while keeping the much-loved elements of slapstick comedy, crazy costumes and silly songs.
From the 12th to the 21st of December, 'If the Shoe Fits...' is being performed in aid of Penny Appeal's OrphanKind programme, which supports orphans across the world by providing them with a loving home, food, education and a brighter start in life.
The family panto team, 'Once Upon a Family', spent time travelling across Africa and visited some of Penny Appeal's orphan homes, even running drama workshops with some of the children. Listening to the stories of real orphan children inspired the story for the panto, and prompted them to raise funds to provide care for more children like them.
Mother of the family Anisa commented, "Performing arts is so under-used in both the Muslim and non-Muslim world. We want to be the ones to change that. Creativity should transgress race, religion and class."
The family began acting together nine years ago, performing for charity in front of 250 people. Since then their theatre company has gone from strength to strength, writing scripts and performing for a number of other charities.
Tour dates and venues
12th December 2017 – Bradford – Kala Sangam Arts Centre BD1 4TY
16th December – East London – School 21 Theatre E15 3PA
18th December – Birmingham Library Theatre (Broad Street) B1 2ND
19th December – Manchester – Z Arts Theatre (Hulme) M15 5ZA
20th December – Glasgow – Mitchell Library G37 DN
21st December – Peterborough - John Clare Theatre PE1 1SQ
Work is progressing at a pace on the restoration of Bradford's Grade II* listed St George's Hall, which is part funded by a £1.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the final part of the roof being completely removed by contractors Henry Boot Construction Ltd last week, two weeks ahead of schedule.
The work to remove the roof of this Bradford Council building has taken just four weeks rather than the expected six; this is despite complications with the discovery of problems with work undertaken when large parts of the roof were replaced in 1983 after it was destroyed by fire.
In removing the roof it became evident that the majority of the rafters needed to be removed and replaced or reinstalled.
All the works, materials and methods of installation will be checked by the Council's conservation officer to ensure it complies with the expectations associated with listed building status.
In order to meet current building regulations there also will need to be additional work to the roof including new lightning protection as well as a new access hatch and the installation of a new harness safety system to make it safe for workers to maintain the roof in future.
Work to restore the roof is expected to take around six months.
The refurbishment of St George's Hall, one of the oldest remaining concert halls in the UK, will ensure that this heritage building is maintained and brought up to standard as a top class venue adding to the fantastic cultural offer in Bradford.
Christophe Hamard, Senior Project Manager, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: "We are on schedule and budget so we are pleased with the progress so far. As with all heritage buildings, there is always an element of the unknown. This is why when planning projects such as this we always make sure we build-in allowances. People may not be able to see the work we are doing to restore this beautiful building but this behind the scenes work is important and will help to secure the building for future generations."
A young man who grew up in a refugee camp in Burma has set his sights on a career in the modelling industry and aims to use his physical assets to give hope back to people in his home country that anything is possible.
Yeasin Mohammed, 21, now a British citizen living in Bradford, is looking to embark on a career as an international model as he wants to give himself and his family the best possible chance.
The ambitious model who dons a hard earned physique has already got quite an impressive back-catalogue of awards and achievements to his name.
He has already won; International face of the world runner up, Best Runway 2017, Dashing Debonair 2017 runner up, Mr Best Personality Model Search UK 2017, while he also achieved 4th place in the Mr British Empire competition. He has also achieved a few competition wins on a local scale in Bradford and fitness competitions, which is another area he prides himself on.
Prior to this the determined starlet competed in the Miami Pro 2016, UKUP 2016, while finishing in the top five of the NABBA Bodybuilding as well as competing in the Mr British Isles 2016/2017 modelling competition.
The tireless 21-year-old is now looking ahead as he has a busy calendar coming up in 2018 where he is competing in Top Model UK 2018, Model Search UK 2018, Mr British Isles 2018 and Miami Pro 2018.
Yeasin’s selfless nature also sees him want to help the natives back home in Burma and the Rohingya Muslims who are being forced to flee Myanmar across to Bangladesh, as he has experienced the atrocities and knows of their plight he wants to make a difference to them he explained: “I know their struggles myself, I know their problems with money and food, I have experienced it myself - I know what they are going through.
“I have been over here about ten years now and I hate seeing homeless people on the streets. It reminds me of the situation back home.
“Modelling is my dream. I hope that I can be a role model and help people back home.
“I want to go back to Burma soon and help the Rohingyan Mulsims, but not until I know I can financially support them - I will feel ashamed until I can.”
Yeasin Mohammed explained his passion for modelling and what it means to him he said:
“I was struggling, but modelling gave me focus and something to work towards and it is an opportunity to give my family a good life.
“At the minute it is a struggle for me, but this will change if I am given a chance, I really enjoy modelling it is my passion, it gives me purpose and direction in life it has given me something to work towards for both myself and my family.”
Yeasin then went on to detail his recent success and how he wants this to continue on and where he wants to end up he explained:
“I’ve been doing this for a year and I have come so far and I want to carry on and become a professional and work on television, I am doing a bit of background at the minute but I want to be at the front.
“In one year I have already won so many different competitions and appeared in many others which is a surprise to me and I just want to keep on surprising people.
“I have a dream to have a better life and my family and friends motivate me to achieve this.
“I’m from Burma and have never had a chance to see the world or a chance of a dream as I grew up in a refugee camp. I want to be a figure who others can look up to and aspire to and give people back home hope.
“I believe in myself, I just need someone to believe in me and give me that chance, I want to help other people to be as lucky as me and show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Away from modelling Yeasin enjoys spending time in the gym and maintaining his well-kept physique, while the popular 21 year old also enjoys socialising with his friends, playing football and social activities.
He also enjoys travelling having visited many different parts of the UK he wants to spread his wings further and travel the world and see what there is to experience.
Yeasin is very active on social media and you can keep up to date with his modelling exploits on Facebook – yeasin or yeasin_official or you can follow his Instagram which is Yeasinofficial.
Bradford-based Barnardo's ETS Yorkshire has won the Charity, Voluntary and Public Sector Employer of Year, and Barnardo's apprentice Janade Iftikhar from was shortlisted for Asian Apprentice of the Year at the Asian Apprenticeship Awards 2017.
The awards were held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on 2nd November 2017.
Barnardo's ETS Yorkshire manager, James Robinson, says: "I am delighted we've won this award. It sends out a strong and clear message that not only do we support children and young people as an organisation, but we invest in them from within the communities we work with here in Bradford. For us, this is just the start as we focus to provide more opportunities and better outcomes for young people as Barnardo's employees in the future"
ETS Yorkshire offers young people the chance to equip themselves with the necessary skills, confidence and ambition to find work and pursue a career. Working in partnership with local employers, schools, colleges and other charities, it trains and supports some of the most vulnerable children and their families, with specialist knowledge and expertise available to help young people on their journey into adult life.
The service supports learners in the classroom as well as the workplace, building confidence and resilience to complete varied programmes. Students gain work experience to maximise employability and apprentices are succeeding across all programmes. Despite candidates often beginning studies with multiple barriers to learning, a recent Ofsted inspection awarded Barnardo's ETS services a rating of 'good'.
First Odeon Luxe Cinema in England will open on Thursday 9th November offering a unique big screen experience
Odeon Leeds Bradford will be officially launching as Odeon Luxe cinema on Thursday 9th November, the first of its kind in England in what is set to be the biggest in the UK with 1,117 luxury reclining seats across 13 screens.
Film fans will also be able to experience a new state of the art iSense screen with 4K projection and Dolby ATMOS sound, as well as a range of food and drink options to see the latest entertainment in style.
Following the launch of Europe’s first Odeon Luxe cinema in East Kilbride, Scotland in October, Yorkshire film fans will soon be able to enjoy the ultimate luxury experience when the new ODEON Luxe Leeds Bradford launches on 9th November.
The 1,117 fully reclining, luxurious handmade seats across the 13 screens, will allow increased leg room and personal space for guests, as well as retractable tray tables and a large array of new food and drink options to ensure the ultimate comfort experience.
The new cinema will also give the audience a chance to experience a complete overhaul of technology in the cinema to deliver an outstanding viewing experience. The cinema will now boast a state of the art, 147 seat iSense screen with 4K projection and cutting-edge Dolby ATMOS sound, providing a truly immersive, ultra-high definition cinema experience.
Film fans can enjoy breath-taking sound delivered by 234 new speakers across all auditoriums, with all standard screens upgraded with Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound and improved picture quality throughout.
A new in-screen lighting system will also help minimise distractions between guests, and any guests who are hard of hearing can also take advantage of a new Dolby Fidelio Audio Description system and Hearing-Impaired loops across all screens.
The improvements to the cinema come ahead of an exciting release schedule of new films, including, family favourite Paddington 2 (November 10th), superhero epic Justice League (November 17th) and the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 14th).
Guests of the cinema can now choose from a range of food including freshly-popped popcorn, nachos, fries and hot dogs, as well as drink options including a Coca Cola Freestyle machine with over 100 different flavours to enjoy. ODEON Luxe Leeds Bradford will also feature an all-new Oscar’s Bar, which offers guests freshly-cooked pizza and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
In addition to the range of retail options, guests can also enjoy a range of promotions and discounted screenings including ODEON Kids, ODEON Newbies, ODEON Silver Cinema & ODEON Screen Unseen – as well as being able to take advantage of ODEON’s Limitless cards and ODEON Première Club loyalty scheme.
“We’re extremely proud that the Leeds Bradford area will be home to the first ODEON Luxe cinema in England,” said Stephen Hagon, General Manager at ODEON Luxe Leeds Bradford. “We’re looking forward to revealing the final product of all the hard work that has been put into redeveloping the cinema over the past few months. With over 1,000 fully reclining seats across thirteen upgraded screens – and a jam-packed release schedule of the biggest and best films in the coming months – we can’t wait to welcome Yorkshire film fans through the doors to experience the ultimate in luxury and comfort.”
Key features of the new ODEON Luxe refurbishments at Leeds Bradford will include:
13 fully-refurbished screens with upgraded Dolby ATMOS sound systems
1,117 fully-reclining seats across all auditoriums, with increased leg-room, improved comfort and individual retractable tray tables
Cutting-edge 147-seat iSense screen, delivering a truly immersive, ultra-high-definition cinema experience, with 4K projection and Dolby ATMOS sound
234 new speakers across all screens, with all standard screens also upgrading to Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound
Upgraded screens across all auditoriums – with new in-screen lighting systems to minimise distractions
New Dolby Fidelio Audio Description system and Hearing-Impaired loops across all screens for guests who are hard of hearing
A new Yorkshire centre which will improve the health and wellbeing of children, the elderly – and the safety of patients in hospitals and clinics, has taken another step forward with the submission of building plans for approval.
The Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research, to be established at Bradford Royal Infirmary, brings together researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford with clinicians from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It has been made possible thanks to a £1m award from national charity the Wolfson Foundation.
The Wolfson Foundation is a charity awarding grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, medicine, the Arts and humanities, education and health and disability.
Now plans for the centre have been submitted to Bradford Council's area planning panel, seeking formal approval to turn the ground-breaking research centre idea into a reality.
By combining the expertise of health researchers with clinicians who have daily contact with patients, the centre will ensure that its findings are put rapidly into practice – resulting in better health and social care for those who need it most, right here in Yorkshire.
Professor John Wright, Director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research at the Foundation Trust, said: "Our planning application is an important next step in this ground-breaking partnership between the Universities of Leeds and Bradford and the NHS in Bradford.
"We are looking forward to working with our partners to develop the new national Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research. This project is so exciting because it will improve the health and wellbeing of people in our communities by speeding up the translation of research into real benefits for patients."
Professor Paul Stewart, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds added: "The award for funds to develop this centre is pivotal for the University of Leeds as we seek to extend our outreach and partnership with colleagues in Bradford. Our research will focus on at risk populations, extremes of age, and delivery of high quality and safe care will be fundamental steps in improving health outcomes for both patients in Bradford and the West Yorkshire region."
Professor Gail Mountain, Professor of Applied Dementia Research and Head of Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford, said: "The Centre for Applied Dementia studies is passionate about improving the improving the lives of older people including those with dementia. The Wolfson centre is a great opportunity for us to engage in a forward thinking research agenda with clinical and research colleagues It will provide exciting new pathways for our early career researchers and facilitate new partnerships, locally, nationally and internationally. We are really pleased to be part of this joint initiative."
A decision on the final planning approach is expected to be made by the council within the next few weeks, with work on the centre due to start in March 2018.
Three key health priorities for the county
Healthy Childhood: a child's health is the foundation for their lifelong mental and physical well-being, yet a recent UNICEF report showed the UK is lagging behind our European neighbours on this important measure. The centre will examine how to reduce inequalities in the health and development of young people, and seek out the early-years interventions which are most effective.
·Healthy Ageing: as our life expectancy has increased, so has the number of elderly people living with long-term medical conditions, limiting their quality of life and placing a growing burden on health and care services. The Wolfson Centre will develop new models of care for frail elderly patients, those with dementia and those facing debilitating musculoskeletal conditions. It will also work to improve systems of care for the terminally ill.
·High Quality and Safe Care: health data shows huge variations in the standard of care received by patients in hospitals and clinics; a recent survey showed there are almost 12,000 preventable adult deaths a year in England alone. Research in the centre will develop new methods of care that are safe, patient-centred and harness the potential of new technologies.
Bradford Council has launched a major new initiative which supports children and young people in care or on the edge of care.
Launching the initiative on Thursday 2nd November at a special event involving young people, social care professionals, was opened by Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State for Children and Families.
The initiative, called B Positive Pathways, will work to help children, young people and families to stay together. It will aim to help children in care to help reunite them with their families.
The initiative will run for four years and has received funding of £1.6m for two years (£3.2m in total) from the £72m pot from the Department for Education’s Innovation Fund.
It will involve a ‘hub’ children’s home which incorporates a specialist outreach team who are skilled in providing support at the time of crisis to prevent a family breakdown.
The hub outreach team will then work with the family in the longer term to support them and stabilise their crisis.
The team will also work with families and young people who are on the edge of care and edging towards care to prevent their problems growing.
The team uses a Signs of Safety approach which works with the family to look at solutions to problems and how to minimise risk to the child. They also work with children to develop their resilience and help them to cope with the challenges they face.
The outreach team can also call on the support of a police officer, life coach, and speech and language therapist.
Where admission to residential care is the only option, the team will work to limit this to the shortest period possible.
Minister for Children and Families Robert Goodwill said: “This government is working hard to make sure that all children, regardless of their background or the challenges they face in life, get the best start.
“I’m delighted to be launching this programme in Bradford, which will put these children at the heart of its work and help families to resolve difficulties and stay together. It’s an excellent example of the many projects being funded by our Innovation Programme.
“As one of our 12 Opportunity Areas, Bradford is getting a share of our £72 million funding, and is playing a vital part in our work to tackle low social mobility and raise the horizons of young people.”
Coun Val Slater, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “B Positive Pathways is about taking a whole family approach to resolving problems. Placing a child in care is a last resort, and this programme will help us keep families together by providing them with support to help them through the difficulties they may have.”
Michael Jameson, Bradford Council’s strategic director of children’s services, said: “B Positive Pathways initiative is a great example of how we can help support families at an early stage to prevent problems growing to a point where a child requires care.
“It is about providing care which is tailored to the needs of children and young people and creating a stable and secure base where children and young people have a sense of belonging. Taking this approach means we can provide the right support, in the right place at the right time so both the child and family have the best long-term outcome.”
Kala Sangam is delighted to welcome the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company back to Bradford, with another opportunity to see superb international artists from Kerala in India to perform this legendary art form.
With a story similar to Snow White, this performance is perfect for families. Featuring live music, Kathakali uses drama, dance, costumes and make-up to create one of the most visually exciting and powerful forms of theatre in the world.
For audiences unfamiliar with Kathakali, there is a rare opportunity to see a free live make-up demonstration 4-5pm as the performers bring their colourful characters to life, followed by a free fun dance and music workshop where families of all ages can learn the moves of Kathakali!
Demonstration and workshop tickets can be booked for free when purchasing tickets, visit www.kalasangam.org/box-office/kathakali/
Kala Sangam is an intercultural arts hub based in the heart of Bradford city centre which reflects the diversity of contemporary Britain through the work it presents, the artists it supports and the communities it engages.
In addition to the company’s two performance programmes a year, Kala Sangam delivers outreach activity in schools and communities across Bradford and throughout the country, as well as delivering classes and workshops in a number of artforms.
A man who says his mission is to unite people of all ethnic backgrounds amid rising tensions, segregation and fragmentation was honoured at the Yorkshire Awards last week.
Former West Yorkshire Police officer Kash Singh, of East Morton, near Bradford, was presented with the Richard Whiteley Award at a glittering ceremony at the Hilton Leeds City Hotel on Friday 13th October.
The award is not made every year but is given as a special accolade when organisers come across someone who, they believe, captures the spirit of Yorkshire like the late TV presenter Mr Whiteley.
Mr Singh set up his charity One Britain One Nation in 2012 after a distinguished career in the police force. The charity promotes patriotic events which have so far attracted about 50,000 people.
He said: “I am humbled and honoured that my work has been recognised at such a distinguished level and I feel privileged to be associated with the name of Richard Whiteley, such a great Yorkshireman.
“My life has been in Yorkshire – it is a fantastic place to live and work. The people are friendly and the scenery is beautiful.
“I have created a template for my work in Bradford and my goal is now to take it to every corner of the nation.”
Mr Singh, who moved to Bradford from the Punjab with his parents at the age of six and joined West Yorkshire Police when he was 20.
He rose to the rank of Inspector and in 2006 was tasked with restoring order to the Manningham area of Bradford, which had been hit in 2001 by what were described as the worst riots in mainland Britain.
Within 18-months he was presiding over one of the lowest crime rate areas in the district – an achievement that won him the West Yorkshire Police Oscar, the Criminal Justice Award, third position at a national competition for outstanding police work as well as the nickname “The Famous Bollywood Inspector” among his colleagues.
Yorkshire Awards committee member Canon Keith Madeley said: “Kash is an outstanding individual who is making a huge contribution to the social fabric of Yorkshire and beyond. He is a lovely man who is passionate about the UK and he has been a force for good during his police service and now with his One Britain One Nation charity.”
Mr Singh, who is chair and founder of the British Indian Association, said: “From an early age it was my desire to help people and make a difference, and I was always so proud to wear the Queen’s uniform.
“I want to encourage all our communities to love our nation and pull together as one people.
“When I was policing in Manningham I succeeded in getting 13,500 people on board. I think being local helped and with my Sikh background I had an understanding of the community and that made a huge difference.”
Mr Singh said he and his team of helpers at OBON now wanted to get people united under the national flag – not just during Jubilee celebrations or at the Olympics.
“People are shy about bringing out the flag and some people from white communities don’t do it because of how it might be perceived.
“Hate crime has increased by more than 50 per cent, tensions are rising, but I am trying to bring out the best in all communities, to bring people together to work in the interests of our country and instil an element of hope and inspiration in future generations,” he said.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
Yorkshire Man of the Year: Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council chief executive
Yorkshire Woman of the Year: Ann Hough, Operations Director, Huddersfield Town
Yorkshire Business Enterprise Award: Willerby Ltd, Hull
Yorkshire Sporting Achievement Award: Ryan Sidebottom
The Richard Whiteley Award: Kash Singh
Arts and Entertainment Award: Huddersfield Choral Society
Yorkshire Community Hero: Colin Findley of Dice Enterprise, Doncaster
Contractors have started to undertake major roof repairs at the Grade II listed St George's Hall in Bradford as the next step in its £8.5m refurbishment.
The entire roof will be removed and individual tiles will be checked to see if they need replacing. Only those tiles that are damaged will be replaced.
Christophe Hamard, Bradford Council's Senior Project Manager for the refurbishment of St George’s Hall, said that they had to comply with Historic England and the Conservation Team’s requirements as well as the listed status of the building and therefore they had to reuse as much of the original materials as possible.
The removal of the roof will also enable the contractors to further assess areas that otherwise would not be accessible and identify other works that may need to be carried out.
Christophe said: "We expect the removal of the roof to take approximately six weeks and everything seems to be on track so far."
Henry Boot Construction Ltd, the main contractor, have appointed Stone Edge Ltd, a specialist stonemasons who previously worked on the recently revamped Piece Hall in Halifax, to complete all works to the external envelope of the building including the stone walls and roof.
Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “I’m pleased that the refurbishment work on St George’s Hall is currently on track. I can’t wait to see this wonderful heritage building restored to its former glory.”
A group of social work students at Bradford College, and their lecturer, are set to spend the night outside to raise money for the homeless.
The brave group will forsake their warm beds and sleep instead on the concrete floor of the Shay Stadium in Halifax as part of a charity fundraising event.
Calling themselves Collective Minds, the college’s group of 15 will sleep under the stars on Friday 10th November as part of SleepOut2017 which is organised by SmartMove, a charity that assists homeless and vulnerably housed people to find accommodation in Calderdale.
Bernadette O’Horo from Keighley, who is studying for a social work degree at the college’s University Centre, said: “I am doing this for all those people who don’t have a voice, who are exploited and at risk on the streets and who society often ignores. I am doing this to raise awareness and to stand with people who are homeless.”
Fellow student Jake Pollard, from Bingley, said: “You can’t empathise until you know what people experience. It is easy to walk past people on the street and give them some spare change but spending the night outside goes some way to understanding what they endure every night.”
Amy Cartlidge from Halifax added: “I did it two years ago. It was fun and we raised lots of money for a great charity so I was keen to sign up again.”
Social work lecturer Waheeda Azam said: “From my perspective it is to support the students to engage in social work experiences that will enhance their learning and drive their empathy with people.”
Mohammed Rafiq of Kiplings smiles following being awarded Best Indian Establishment in the North and Nationally
Kiplings in Halifax have been awarded for their culinary Indian delights which have satisfied the taste buds of locals and those from further afield, staving off relentless competition particularly from rivals in curry capital of the UK Bradford.
Halifax wouldn’t be the first name on the lips of Indian food experts when it comes to where to go in Yorkshire for quality Indian cuisine, with Bradford and Leeds usually the choice; but Kiplings of Halifax has come through to be awarded the Best Indian Establishment in the North.
With the magnitude of competition in the North, particularly in Yorkshire this is a coup for the restaurant who were recognized as the best for their Indian meals at ‘The food Awards England 2017’.
Not only were they awarded ‘best in the north’, they also went up against the winners of the three other regional heats, and in fact came out on top in this competition as well, to walk away with ‘The Best Indian Establishment Overall’, being recognised as the best Indian restaurant in the UK.
Mohammed Rafiq of Kiplings reflected on their incredible success he said: “This has really put Halifax on the map for Indian cuisine, it is usually the big boys in Bradford and Leeds that get the recognition, so this is really huge for us.”
Kiplings pride themselves on their satisfaction to customers, comfort and affordability. Catering for couples, families and friends it’s the perfect place for business, socialising or just general meet ups. Their restaurant is the ideal spot to relax and take in the exquisite award-winning food and drink on offer.
Left to right Rahim Manir, Max Rehman, Mohammed Rafiq, Fiza Ullah and Haider Ali from The Grand.
The event itself was the fourth annual Food Awards England event which welcomed 300 guests at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel on Monday, October 2nd in celebration of the English food industry.
The Food Awards England rewards the success of local professionals and establishments, with the winners being a true reflection of the highest standards and customer service and voted by the public.
The awards themselves were split into local regions to ensure a diverse range of business from across England were recognised for their hard work, with each category having a national overall winner too.
The awards were supported by the Make-A-Wish-Foundation and the charity raised money for a worthwhile cause.
Kiplings are located at 28 Town Hall Street, Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, HX6 2EA. They are open Monday-Thursday 5PM – 11PM, Friday-Saturday 4.30PM–12PM and Sundays 4.30PM- 10:30PM. You can contact them for bookings on their number which is 01422 316895. Or online on their website which is www.kiplingsrestaurant.co.uk.
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.”
WINNER: Zahir Akram who was successful in his first boxing bout in Bradford, pictured her with his uncle Amjad Akram
14-year-old’s debut boxing fight gives him a punching start in the ring
A 14-year-old local schoolboy realised his dream as he entered the ring to participate in his first amateur boxing match, emerging victorious in a spirited display.
Bradford boy wonder Zahir Akram has been fighting for two-and-a-half years. He trained extremely hard to get into shape for the fight on Friday 6th October with the help of his personal trainer Asad Shah.
The student of Bradford Academy committed to putting in the hard yards in preparation for this fight. After school he’ d be seen jamming in double gym sessions including boxing sessions and then extra cardio and fitness exercises to top it all off.
Zahir says he was extremely focused going into the fight and believed his pre-fight prep would have him ready.
“I admit I was slightly nervous before the fight, but believed in my own ability to come away with the win,” says Akram.
“I enjoyed the challenge of my first fight and didn’t let nerves get the better of me despite my opponent’s height advantage. I stayed focused and committed to the advice my coach has been giving me.”
The up and coming fighter who trains at Laisterdyke Boxing Club was overwhelmed by the tremendous support he received, on the night itself there were 400 supporters across the fights, with 250 of these in support of Zahir.
The Bradford bruiser isn’t stopping their though, he has already started training for his next fight which is scheduled for December and will either take place in Bradford or Sheffield. His next opponent is still in talks.
The prodigy can’t wait for his next fight and will continue his hard training methods which were a success this time as they worked well and suited him in his pursuit for victory.
Zahir was backed by many Yorkshire businesses who he says he’d would like to thank for their continued support including; Letz Talk, Marlborough Auto Centre, Letz Move and Kamran’s Solicitors.
Dr Mohammed Ali OBE wants to see the audit findings translated into positive action to make sure that no one is held back because of his or her race
“We have been campaigning to raise awareness of the barriers that prevent people from BAME backgrounds from fulfilling their potential since 1990”
A national charity reacted to today's publication of Theresa May's Race Disparity Audit by calling for immediate measures to end the social injustices suffered by minority communities.
The Bradford-based organisation QED Foundation helped to organise a consultation event for the Cabinet Office in the city and its deputy chief executive Adeeba Malik CBE was on the report's steering group.
Now the charity wants to see the audit findings translated into positive action to make sure that no one is held back because of his or her race.
“The statistics on the new Ethnicity Facts and Figures website show just how difficult it is for people from less privileged backgrounds to improve their circumstances in Britain today,” says chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE.
“But they don't tell us anything new.
“We have been campaigning to raise awareness of the barriers that prevent people from BAME backgrounds from fulfilling their potential since 1990.
“Every day we work with men and women who face a daily struggle to earn enough money to provide for their families or even find a job, despite often being highly qualified.
“This is only the latest in a long series of reports highlighting just how stratified British society remains - yet until now there has been little sign that policy makers are prepared to do anything about it.
“We welcome the prime minister's promise to launch a programme of work to tackle some of the disparities in the audit. However, we cannot create a truly fair and cohesive society unless the private, public and third sectors work alongside the government to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy the same opportunities.”
QED Foundation has helped more than 30,000 people from ethnic minority backgrounds to progress through its education and training initiatives. It has invested more than £15m in disadvantaged communities and has particular expertise in supporting new arrivals to settle in to British life and become economically active. It also campaigns and influences politicians, senior decision makers and businesses to create a level playing field for people of all ethnicities.
A peaceful march was observed by hundreds of people on Sunday 1st October at the Hussainia Islamic Mission, All Saints Road in Bradford to mark the 10th day of Muharram.
Security was in place and the march was well observed and maintained by all involved to ensure that everything ran smoothly.
The walk was in remembrance of the tragic killing of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) grandson.
Old and young people participated and not only Muslims, it was to bring communities together as well conveying the message of what the tragedies of Karbala has taught.
The first march took place in Bradford over 40 years ago and is currently taken out every year in Muharram, the processions are now nationwide and take place across the UK in Glasgow, Cardiff, Luton, London (Marble Arch), Manchester, Blackburn and Birmingham amongst others.
SUPPORT: A happy Care Unique service user with two of their care workers who are supplying smiles to the people of Bradford and beyond
Care Unique, an independent care agency based in Bradford, have been supplying the people of Bradford, Leeds and Halifax for over a decade with care and support for the adult Asian community while also catering for the wider community also.
Set up in 2006 by Nina Kaur, a passionate care worker from Bradford, Nina brought the experience of being a home care manager in social services as a proved provider on the Bradford framework list.
She came up with the idea for Care Unique while working for Bradford City Council as she felt more support was needed for the Asian community particularly for the elderly people.
Now Nina is expanding the service so that she along with her team can care for children and young people who are in need of support whether it be with physical or mental support.
Specialising in the care and looking after of young children with physical or mental problems, they will supply day trips and fun days out. They aim is to relieve the stress and strain from the family for a few hours while giving the child fun and enjoyable experiences, making the whole family happy and smiley.
It is Nina’s passion and determination to support the community and those in need in a personal loving manner which rubs off onto her esteemed workers.
Nina spoke of the service they provide and the vision which they have for the years to come she said: “Our service outline is changing as we are dealing a lot more with children and disabled people and those with mental health issues.
“Initially when we started we looked to help the elderly who struggled with English and basic meal preps.
“But now the focus is on young disabled people, we do a lot of work with children who suffer with autism.
“We have lots of good honest fun like taking the children out for the day and look such activities as going to the park or cinema, or even where they might suggest they want to go. It is about giving the family respite.
“We still deal with the Asian elderly, but we also work with white English and Afro Caribbean. Our staff are all trained and speak English as well as South Asian languages, so communication is not an issue.”
Nina spoke of the company’s new expansion of services.
“We’ve seen a shift in the services needs within the care industry,” explains Nina.
“There’s a real, urgent need for personalised care and help for younger people.
“We care for a wide range of people, we could go in and help a young baby because their mum is poorly, we have done that in the past we have looked after them for a number of months to help give mum time to recover from the birth.
“We help a lot of dementia sufferers, particularly in the young it is not just the elderly, mental health is a big one.”
She briefly explained how the process works.
“There is a big demand out there,” says Nina.
“Social services go through us as an approved care provider.
“We cover Bradford, Halifax and Leeds currently, although we are looking to expand towards Huddersfield and Wakefield.
“However, at the minute we have a lot of work within Bradford, we could be greedy and take it all on but it’s about using the resources properly. It’s imperative that we take on jobs that we are sure will not compromise the quality of the services we provide.
Nina spoke of her care team and the service they provide which has made them such a success:
“We have 65 – 70 staff on the books. Most of our carers are here full-time working between 30-40 hours a day. A night shift can be 8-10 hours long. Then we are supported by our part time staff who are flexible with how they work.
“The key to our success is that those who we do care for currently, appreciate knowing that we know their culture and background and that makes such a difference, that is half the battle really if you can get over that I think you’ve cracked it really.”
Ms. Begum who is one of Care Unique’s service uses praised the treatment of the staff and service provided and gave an insight into the service provided she explained:
“They come four times a day and visit me, they take me out of bed, wash me and dress me, and make sure that I am washed and clean and settled in my chair.
“They then stay and keep me company. I am very happy with the service which they provide.
“I have been with Care Unique for about two years and would recommend it to anyone. The biggest help to me is that the girls from Care Unique understand me and I understand them.”
Zahir Akram (Pic left) who is set for his first amateur boxing bout in Bradford
Local Bradford school boy set to follow his dream and take part in first fight
14-year-old local schoolboy Zahir Akram is set to follow his dream and take part in his first amateur boxing fight in Bradford on Friday.
The Bradford boy wonder has been fighting for two and a half years, and has been training very hard to get in shape for his first fight and lose weight.
The student of Bradford Academy has been putting in the hard yards to be ready for the bout in Bradford on Friday 6th at the Bradford hotel which is to start at 7pm.
He has been doing double sessions after school which has included boxing sessions and then he has even gone to the gym to do additional extra training.
The up and coming fighter who trains at Laisterdyke Boxing Club is set to take on a fighter from Dewsbury, he is said to be ‘looking forward’ to his first amateur fight, but he is a little bit nervous and overwhelmed with all the attention he has received but is confident still.
The young talent has received lots of backing from local businesses who have sponsored his first fight including; Letz talk, Mumtaz Leeds, Kamrans Solicitors, Letz Move and Marlborough car garage.
Zahir has even received good luck messages and support from his boxing idol Usman ‘Uzzy’ Ahmed who was known for his infamous walk on dance. He has been giving the Bradford born boxer words of advice and encouragement.
Police are appealing for the public's help to find a missing teenager from Bolton.
Before going missing, Sadia Ahmed, 15, was last seen in the Great Lever area at around 7pm on Tuesday 12 September 2017.
It is believed she then travelled to Leeds City Centre where she was seen at around 12:30pm on Saturday 16 September 2017.
She was seen on Monday 25 September at 4.30pm in Batley in West Yorkshire.
She is described as Asian, approximately 5ft 3in tall and of average build with long dark brown hair, which may possibly be tied up.
It is believed that Sadia is still wearing a khaki green thigh-length quilted coat with fur lined along the hood and a grey hooded top underneath. She also had dark bottoms and black wedge heeled boots on and was carrying a black handbag with shoulder strap.
She is believed to have links to Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Dewsbury.
Anybody with information about her whereabouts should contact police on 0161 856 5571 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
ENTREPRENEUR: One of Bradford’s greatest exports Afzal Kahn
A Bradford man who’s global car-styling company customises vehicles for car enthusiasts, including celebrities, has now contracted an overseas trade specialist to help it create new sales partnerships in China.
Kahn Design, a group of four companies founded by designer and businessman Afzal Kahn, works with some of the world’s best-known car marques. His team specifies, manufacturers and supplies a wide range of styling accessories, from exhausts and wheels to sports seats, interior design and bespoke livery.
Customers can either bring their vehicle – from a range which includes Range Rover, Audi and marques such as Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Rolls-Royce – to receive personalised styling, or buy a brand new vehicle tailor-made to their specification.
Overseas partner businesses can either buy the vehicles locally and source the required upgrade package through Kahn Design or buy the vehicle ready-styled to the customer’s requirements from Kahn Group which will then export the vehicle.
Now Kahn wants to build a network of partner businesses in China after the success of an initial foothold in the country and he’s taken on Chamber International to do the job for him.
Kahn Design business development executive Alexander Feather said the business has prospered throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America, Africa and the US.
He said: “We are expanding through people's desire to express themselves through adding personalised style to their vehicle. This is particularly true in nations with a strong emphasis on a uniform traditional dress as, through us, drivers apply their individuality through their vehicle rather than their clothing.
“We already have a presence in China but it is a huge country and we wish to develop a network of Kahn Design partners to serve a wealthy elite who love British goods and design. We also want help with marketing and promoting our company there to attract business.
“Accessing the Chinese market could have a major impact on our global sales during the next five years and this is why we have sought help from specialists at Chamber International.”
Kahn Design, has a £20m turnover and 60 staff, many of who speak different languages for dealing with overseas partners, currently achieves about 60 per cent of sales through exporting.
Bradford-based Chamber International’s China affairs specialist Matthew Grandage said: “China's car market is now the most valuable in the world.
“More new cars were bought there than in any other country in 2016 – more than 20 million – and Chinese consumers are also willing to pay much more for their cars than drivers in the UK, especially to own something unique, that reflects the owner's personal style.
“As a result, sales of accessories and auto-styling are booming, and, with China also being Jaguar Land Rover's largest market, it's clearly a very attractive target for Kahn Designs.
"Having already built strong customer bases around the world, their decision to target China through local partnerships is a bold, astute and timely move. Chamber International is proud to be part of this next step in Kahn Design's export adventure.”
Chamber International helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost-effective.
It is the UK’s sole supplier of hand-held, cloud-based business management tool, ‘edge’, which enables companies to access client records, control stock, issue quotations, create trade documents and raise invoices to fulfill export orders from anywhere worldwide by using a smart phone or any web-linked device.
“We are all one global family and it is our duty to help and look after each ”
The Sant Nirankari Mission in Bradford certainly don’t shy from encouraging voluntary work and have been involved with planting tens of thousands of trees in the district.
Now members of the congregation donated generously to purchase much-needed food items for the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank. Youngsters digged deep by putting their pocket money towards the collection to buy food for the needy.
Bradford Metropolitan Foodbank Coordinator Ken Leach was overwhelmed by the generosity of the mission's members and said he couldn't thank them enough for their help.
Volunteer in charge, Mohinder Ram said: “The mission’s belief is we are all one global family and it is our duty to help and look after each other as brothers and sisters and children of one supreme father - God Almighty.
“We hope this little collection will help to put food on the table for those who need it and we look forward to helping again very soon."
SAD: The 11-year old’s father calls for adults to be a ‘supporting hand’ to children in need of help
Father of Asad Khan speaks at Bradford event marking anniversary of death of son
An anti-bullying event held in Bradford marked a year since the unfortunate death of 11-year-old Bradford school boy Asad Khan.
The youngster had been found hanged in his bedroom in Tile Street, Whetley Hill on Wednesday 28th September last year.
The spectators at the gathering in City Park on Wednesday 27th September, included local school children from six separate schools across the area.
Children were given an array of uplifting and spirited speeches with distinctly poignant messages.
Asad’s father, Mahmood Asif spoke at the special event, which included speeches against bullying and mental health issues particularly in children.
Mr Asif delivered a stirring speech in Urdu, which saw the audience in silence as he spoke.
He delivered a chillingly poignant message encouraging children to be there for each other, to be good friends and to seek help if they are a victim of bullying or see someone being bullied, reinforcing that they are not alone.
Mr Asif went on to urge teachers and adults to be there for the children and to be a ‘supporting hand’ to any youngsters who need help.
Pupils also took part in a martial arts demonstration, aiming to show the children self-defense techniques and taught them how martial arts helps to build strength and courage. The mission was to emphasise the positive nature of channeling negative thoughts in a positive manner.
Local Bradford rapper Rebel also delivered an upbeat performance to excite the audience.
There was also a world record martial arts attempt which wasn’t successful, however all the children and people involved enjoyed the day.
The inquest into Asad Khan’s death begins on 16th October and is expected to last four to five days.
Asad had only been attending Beckfoot Upper Heaton School, formerly Belle Vue Boys School, for three weeks, and had raised concerns with friends and family about being picked on.
He was discovered in an unresponsive state by his mother Farheen Khan, following which paramedics announced him dead.
Bilal Hussain (left) and Abdul Iftikhar (right) celebrate reaching the highest peak in Britain
Ifty and Bilal climb Ben Nevis and raise over £4000 for Bradford homeless kitchen
A group of enthusiastic fundraisers decided that it'd be really great fun to do a challenging cardio putting their legs into overtime by climbing Ben Nevis in Scotland.
Abdul Iftikhar, fondly called Ifty and Bilal Hussain decided to get some much-needed funds in for the homeless in Yorkshire.
ADVENTUROUS: Ifty and Bilal along with the team camped at the base of the mountain
Ifty, of Kamrans Solicitors, who has previously sat in the top one per cent of fundraisers recognised by JustGiving. He was moved by the dedication of the volunteers at Bradford Community Kitchen, a local community organisation which feeds and offers emotional and practical support to homeless and vulnerable people.
Bradford Community Kitchen headed by Abdul Satar, Leslie Semmens, Anne Marie Higgins and Sabrina Mustafa, do a big feed every Sunday 3pm-5pm at the Millside Centre based on Grattan Road. They currently provide food and hot drinks to one hundred people a week.
CHEQUE PLEASE: Abdul Iftikhar and Bilal Hussain with the rest of the team presented the charity funds raised to a very grateful Leslie Semmens and Abdul Satar
"We have seen the invaluable work that the volunteers at the community kitchen undertake week in and week out," says Ifty.
"It is a real shame that in this day and age people are reliant upon such services. This demonstrates that the Government's socioeconomic policies are failing the inner cities, particularly in the North of the country.
"The Bradford Community Kitchen has volunteers from different backgrounds, who are doing a splendid job and the organisation has a 100% donation policy."
With Bilal responsible for all the logistics for the Ben Nevis climb, the fundraisers set themselves a target of raising £3,000 in just two weeks.
Of course, with the likes of Ifty in the team, who in December last year climbed Mount Snowden in Wales raising £7,585 for a Leeds children's cancer support charity, they managed to smash the £3000 goal raising a final total of £4,128.29.
Ifty had high praise for Gotyasize Boxercise Fighting Fit Club, at the Girlington Community Centre in Bradford, as an organisation that keeps people of all ages off the streets and occupied in fitness.
"Bilal Hussain has been running this community gym for over ten years with no financial support from local authorities.
"It is supported by sponsors including Kamrans Solicitors, Rajas, Pakistan Catering, Move Up properties and Quote Us Financial Services."
Kamrans Solicitors in Leeds sponsors the Bradford Community Kitchen on a monthly basis along with a number of other local organisations including the Millside Centre, Rajas of Great Horton Road, Pakistan Catering of Beckside Road, Regal Food Products Plc, Icestone Gelatos, Shalimar Catering, Sweet Centre on Lumb Lane, Sunrise Catering, Good and Co Solicitors amongst others.
Gripping first-hand story of survivor of Peshawar school terrorist attack brings audience to tears at International Peace Day event
A living survivor of the horrific Peshawar School attack in 2014 which killed 141 schoolboys, marked International Day of Peace in Bradford.
Walid Khan who endured eight bullets and a five-week coma spoke at the event organsied by George Majid at the Mercure Hotel on 21st September.
Majid, with his team at Ironline Productions UK, produced a powerful video produced and directed by Samar Raza Razvi titled 'Global Journey of Peace', which was screened on the night. It aims to assist with promoting peace and harmony amongst people of all faiths and those with none.
Organisers collaborated with local authorities, West Yorkshire Police and faith community groups for the event, which used expressive art, production, poetry and writings to promote peace.
"The team was looking to create a balance between media, art and culture to represent collective conscious, the voice of radical thinking, expression of innovation, transformation and emerging talent," explains Majid.
"The primary message of this video was to unite communities, promoting cohesion and to unite against terrorism.
"Through using creative means such as dance, music and drama, they hoped to create awareness and a bring communities together to form a united front on their message of peace."
Working in partnership with a range of key partners including, The Peace Museum UK and local schools in Bradford who were all invited to participate in the event which displayed the message of peace was well received.
This event also showcased young talent and develop young advocates and youth leaders who'll become the next generation of peace ambassadors.
A declaration was signed by their diverse partners to reinforce Majid's work and continued efforts.
Georgi Majid comments: "It was an absolutely amazing evening and I am so proud that all communities came together be it, Sikh, Hindu, Christian. The feedback has been encouraging.
"Walid Khan who was a victim of the Peshawar atrocity, which the video showcased, came along as a special guest and brought the audience to tears with his story and words.
"He is in The UK currently and on the back of this speech the local council wants him to share his story with schools to educate people and share his message against terrorist.
"He was struck by terrorist attackers and received eight bullet wounds and he endured a five-week coma, his family were even told to prepare for the worst and say their good byes as they didn't think he would pull through.
"Thankfully Walid did come around and wants to educate people how violence isn't the answer.
"The event was that much of a success everyone involved thinks we should continue even further and take the video to other major cities in the UK and spread the message further."
Georgi Majid also took time to thank all those who participated and all the partners who took part, including the hosts of the event, The Mercure hotel who sponsored the event.
Majid concluded: "We achieved what we wanted to do, the story has gone viral and we want to continue the message which the Global Journey for Peace shows."
Ironline Production UK are a pioneering production company originally from Pakistan, aiming to produce entertainment to redefine all aspects of media.
Listers Health a local ladies only gym based in the Historic Lister Mills building in the heart of Bradford has been shortlisted in one of the UK’s biggest fitness awards and are in the running for a prestigious national award.
The club has been shortlisted in the ‘Ladies only gym of the year category’ at the National Fitness Awards, an annual event which recognises excellence and achievement in gyms throughout the country.
The awards are organised in conjunction with leading fitness industry magazine Workout, with support from headline sponsor ServiceSport
When Maureen Coverdale Manager of Listers Health found out that her gym has made the shortlist of the ladies only category she was elated, she says: “To be shortlisted for such a prestigious award makes me and my team happy and truly grateful".
The next stage involves a visit to each finalist by a member of the awards team, who will take a look around the facilities and chat to members and staff before compiling a comprehensive report.
This will then be passed on to an expert judging panel to decide the lucky winners. Trophies will be handed out at a glittering awards ceremony on Friday, December 1st, at The Athena in Leicester.
National Fitness Awards’ event director Judith Halkerston said: “All our shortlisted facilities should be really proud of their achievements in being chosen as a finalist as the calibre of entries has been amazing.”
Maureen adds: “We are going all out to impress and showcase first-hand the great work going on at our club and the excellent efforts put in by the Listers Health team.
“We’re up against six of the best ladies only gyms in the UK, so we have to be on the top of our game during this stage, and we are confident that we can win!”
Recenlty, Listers Health has grown by leaps and bounds, having doubled in size to become one of the largest studio based ladies only Gyms in Bradford.
“Maureen adds: “We’ve significantly invested in quality equipment, excellent and passionate staff. We’re wholly committed to delivering consistent quality by listening to the needs and wants of our gym users.”
One of Yorkshire’s fastest-growing businesses played host to His Excellency Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, during his recent visit to Bradford.
CEO of Regal Food Products Plc Younis Chaudhry, welcomed the High Commissioner to the hub of the bakery. During the visit, His Excellency took in a tour of the new 44,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities as well as sampling some of the mouth-watering treats, fresh off the production lines.
The High Commissioner’s visit coincided with a recent accolade of the Regal brand acquiring a Top 10 place in the Grocer Magazine’s ‘Top Cake Products Survey’, along with the Financial Times FT1000 Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2017.
The High Commissioner also used the opportunity to congratulate Mr. Chaudhry and his team on their achievements and encouraged them to keep the momentum going and further build the brand.
Mr. Chaudhry took the opportunity to also congratulate and thank His Excellency’s Syed Ibne Abbas and Consul General Bradford, Ahmed Amjad Ali for their continual hard work and positive impact on the community.
His Excellency Syed Ibne Abbas assumed the charge of the office of the High Commissioner for Pakistan to the United Kingdom in 2014.
Prior to this, he served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Islamabad as the Additional Foreign Secretary. Ambassador Abbas also served as the High Commissioner for Pakistan to New Zealand from 2010 to 2013. He was the Consul General of Pakistan at Los Angeles, California from 2006 to 2010.
This is an artist’s impression of what the multi-million-pound development by Jinnah Group could look like
Works has commenced on Jinnah’s development which is set to offer hundreds of jobs and training opportunities in ‘one of its kind’ facility
Work has begun on a multi-million-pound development in Bradford which will offer hundreds of jobs and learning opportunities, while offering the city a new unique dining and conference facility.
The green light has been given to the Jinnah group for work to commence on their project which will cost around £5 Million.
The project will offer Bradford a facility which will include hotels, banqueting suites, a world food restaurant as well as a training centre for chefs.
Work started on the project on earlier this month after a planning application to turn an empty office block, Kingfisher House on Filey Street was approved by Bradford City Council. This will be transformed into a 35,000sq ft world food ‘centre of excellence’.
Saleem Akhtar, managing director of the Jinnah Group, spoke of his ‘excitement’.
He told Asian Express: “We are all very excited and looking forward to it. Hopefully it will become a place to be seen at.
“It will be one of the only places of its kind in the UK”.
Work began on Monday 11th September to refurbish and expand the building, creating a new entrance which has been inspired by the architecture of Burj al Arab building in Dubai.
The plans for the site have been set by Mi7 Developments in partnership with Jinnah Restaurants which fund the proposal and the World Curry Festival.
The restaurant is set to accommodate between 400-500 people, the hotel which is planned is set to have 25 rooms, while there is also going to be a teaching facility to educate future chefs and waiting staff.
Saleem Akthar spoke to us about the facility and what it will bring to the community and people of Bradford he said: “There isn’t a place like it in the UK for what I have planned under one roof.
“It promises to be something new and exciting for the Asian market, it will provide change and a chance to try something new.
“At the moment if people want change we can’t, we can’t go to the pub, hotel or restaurant as 99% of places don’t serve halal food, if we want change usually we can’t.”
Akhtar who runs numerous highly esteemed restaurants across Yorkshire explained why he singled out Bradford for his development. “Being in Bradford and looking at the catchment area, I soon realised this was the market which was required and I could use world food to help us expand.
“Bradford is known as the country’s ‘curry capital’, but this will offer something new for the city, I could offer English, Mexican, Chinese and more.
“The new build won’t just be a restaurant it will also offer other services, such as a hotel, conference suites, a Mediterranean al a carte restaurant as well as a lady’s spa.
“Importantly the new complex will offer training and employment opportunities which will be crucial to the project, but also the area.” Saleem explained.
“In the last ten years the industry has really struggled in recruiting kitchen staff and waiting staff.
“Our group employs 200 people and other groups across Yorkshire are struggling for staff so we will train these youngsters to be ready for these jobs.”
With work beginning in the last week, Saleem hopes that the centre will be completed and ready for opening in 2019.
Hosted by Mumtaz Leeds and Asian Express, Clarence Dock played host to some of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s biggest fans on Thursday 7th September.
The legendary qawwali singer-songwriter, met and dined with guests at the VIP event.
Rahat treated the 150 or so avid followers to hundreds of selfies at the grand setting of Mumtaz Leeds restaurant, and humbly answered any questions.
The award-winning singer was in the UK for his special 'Tribute Tour', where he performed some of his greatest Bollywood hits, as well as the music of his distinguished uncle and music tutor, qawwali maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.
A special award was also presented by Rahat at the dinner, coupled with a hug, to seven-year-old Dylan Avtar, who has raised over £2,500 for toys to gift to orphans in India, Pakistan and Great Britain.
Dylan, after being inspired by watching a film about orphans, turned around to his parents and said he wanted to make children who don’t have a mum and dad smile.
The primary school kiddo climbed England’s highest peak – Scafell Pike, ensuring he took with him to the summit, flags of India Pakistan and United Kingdom, in a great show of solidarity and love.
“Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is one of Pakistan’s greatest exports,” said one guest; “We should come out and celebrate the message of support for such celebrities – they’re doing a great job in dispelling stigmas and misconceptions.”
Another commented: “Music is a universal language. My 11-year-old may not perhaps understand all the lyrics, but she certainly hums to many songs in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. She’s thrilled to be here tonight dining with undoubtedly one of the biggest vocal stars in Bollywood.”
The event was sponsored by Asian Express Newspaper, Ice Scoop Gelato, Abu Bakr Superstores, Phantom the Lounge, SKR Solicitors and Avtar Properties.
Mumtaz Restaurant has played host to numerous celebrities over the years, and has even catered for Her Majesty The Queen.
Hailing from the picturesque rolling hills of Yorkshire to the foothills of Penang in Malaysia, the World Curry Festival reaffirmed Bradford’s pole position on the global curry circuit.
For six year’s the bosses of the World Curry Festival have been putting on an annual sumptuously delightful week-long showcase for people who have a love of South Asian cuisine.
But now with some new major developments underway, Bradford’s next World Curry Festival is to be postponed until 2018.
The renowned event, which was due to take place this October in the city, will have a new-look programme and a new venue.
The Festival, the only one of its kind to take place in Britain, has grown year-on-year since its launch eight years ago, attracting some of the biggest names in international cuisine, such as top celebrity chef Ken Hom and Grand Master chef Hemant Oberoi.
REVERED: India’s most-famous celebrity chef Hamant Oberoi has very much been part of the Festival since its inception in 2011
Founder and director Zulfi Karim said: “We have decided to take a gap year.
“The last few years have been relentless both here in the UK and abroad for the Festival, and it was time to recharge ourselves and the brand.
“It's important, like any other business, that you take time out to plan and focus on the product for your visitors and partners and that's exactly what we will doing.
“As well as travelling looking for new recipe ideas, we will be able to spend more time planning and come back better than ever in 2018.
“We have some exciting ideas for developing the Festival and extending it to a new audience and we’re looking forward to bringing those to fruition.”
The World Curry Festival was born out of a desire to bring people together to enjoy a shared passion for good food, culture and community, a unique celebration of one of the nation’s and planet’s favourite cuisines.
“I’d just like to thank all our sponsors, contributors and participants for their continuing support and all those members of the public, who’ve been asking me when we were going to announce the dates, for their kind interest and good wishes,” said Zulfi.
“They won’t have too long to wait and we hope next year’s event will be the best yet!”
Earlier this year Kala Sangam opened its doors to a group of exciting artists to create, play, rehearse and develop new work – they called it their ‘Artists Takeover’.
Askshay Sharma, Lucie Lee and Kamala Devam are to premiere their scratch performances at Kala Sangam Arts Centre, Bradford.
The evening features a range of styles by Lucie Lee, including a cutting-edge digital integrated dance and a 3D sculpture created by capturing visual images that are generated by moving in the space.
A new contemporary dance piece by Akshay Sharma – a new graduate from Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Akshay will be creating a contemporary dance solo which responds to the manual labour demands and low wages of workers in India.
The third instalment of the evening will be a Bharatanatyam Jathiswaram solo from Kemala Devam – a classical Bharata Natyam dancer, Kamala will use Kala Sangam’s space to develop a new jathiswaram solo set to live western and Indian classical music
Kala Sangam is a Bradford-based national organisation for South Asian arts, culture and heritage. It hosts a range of South Asian arts performances, classes and workshops in the arts, in addition to an extensive programme of community work with young people, families and minority groups.
The largest youth organisation in Britain with some 700 members, some as young as five-years-old, took part in a £500,000 fundraising effort.
Members of the AMYA from Bradford as well youth from all across the country held its 'Mercy for Mankind' Charity Challenge on Saturday 19th August in Fitz Park, Keswick.
This year welcomes the 33rd Charity Challenge, which first began in 1985. The group says that the purpose of all these activities is to engender the spirit of discipline and service to the wider community irrespective of people’s beliefs, race, or gender.
Their motto ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ underpins this ethos.
Since its inception AMYA has raised in excess of £2 million for UK charities. The event is generally hosted in a different location each year, with previous locations including the Tower of London, Hyde Park, Battersea Park, Hampshire and the Yorkshire Dales.
UK charities to benefit from the fundraising include The Royal British Legion, Save the Children, NSPCC, Barnardos, CLIC Sargent, UNICEF, British Red Cross, Cumbria Community Foundation and others.
Wadood Daud, Regional youth leader for North East said: “We raise hundreds of thousands of pounds every year for British charities. This year again, many of us are travelling to the Lake for the Mercy for Mankind Charity Challenge to raise funds for the most needy in our society without any distinction of faith, colour or creed.”
"The annual charity challenge is the highlight of the year. This year the half marathon in the Lake District was fantastic, a proper challenge in a lovely part of the world! And all that whilst raising thousands of for British charities- its really is one of the best annual events for me,” commented Qasim Amini.
Nasrullah Saeed said: "During the charity challenge, a lady asked me what was taking place and when I told here about the charity walk she donated some money and she thanked me as well for taking part.
“She already knew about our youth organisation because of our flood relief work last year and she was also very happy to see us again. I really enjoyed the positive and welcoming atmosphere."
Bradford Odeon a step closer to becoming new entertainment hub
Bradford Odeon looks set for regeneration and revitalisation. Plans have been announced to reopen the run-down site as an entertainment and conference venue which is hoped will become a vibrant hub in the city.
Bradford Live and Bradford council will bid for funding from a new Government pot which has been set up to use culture to regenerate parts of the North.
There are grants of up to £4 million from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund which are to be made available to a small number of transformational projects.
This is part of the legacy of the Great Exhibition of the North which is to be held in Newcastle next summer.
Bradford was on the shortlist to stage this event and are now working very closely with Newcastle who did win the rights to host it.
They are set to stage an exciting satellite programme of creative activity across the district between June and September 2018.
Bradford Live and Bradford Council see the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund as a golden opportunity to bid for cash that will transform the former Odeon building.
Bradford Council Leader, Councilor Susan Hinchcliffe, spoke of the investment she said: “This is a great opportunity for the Odeon. I think it’s just the kind of project which would provide the Government with a tangible, prominent legacy for their investment.
“We have continued to back Bradford Live’s proposals to transform this landmark building into a live music venue that would greatly add to the strong cultural life of this city.
“This venue would bring in thousands of extra visitors into the city centre each year, adding another vital piece of the jigsaw to Bradford’s regeneration.”
Lee Craven from Bradford Live spoke of their involvement in this process he said: “We are totally committed to bringing this iconic building back into use and ensuring Bradford is back on the touring circuit for major music acts.
“We have a vision that the building could also be used for conferences and other creative uses as it sits in a superb central location. Renovating the Odeon building will complement the adjacent Alhambra Theatre, completing the vista from the multi-award-winning City Park.
“Huge process has already been made and a successful bid to this fund would be another leap forward to achieving that aim.”
The first round of bids for the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund is being coordinated by Local Enterprise Partnerships including Leeds City Region.
Each Local Enterprise Partnership can nominate just one bid from its region which then goes forward to be judged by Government against all the other bids from other parts of the North.
Bradford West MP defends her controversial Twitter actions
Local MP Naz Shah, 43, has defended herself after controversy following her recent activity on Social Media site Twitter.
The Bradford West representative has been criticised for retweeting and liking a tweet which claimed that victims of abuse should ‘shut their mouths for the good of diversity.’
The Twitter post was written by a parody account of newspaper columnist Owen Jones, Shah later deleted her retweet and unliked the post.
The post in question said: ‘Those abused girls in Rotherham and elsewhere just need to shut their mouths, for the good of diversity.’
Despite deleting her retweet and unliking the tweet it didn’t escape the attention of, the Equality and Human Rights Commission chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath who claimed the MP should ‘know better’.
A spokesperson for Naz shah says: “This was a genuine accident 8 days ago that was rectified within minutes. To suggest otherwise is absolute nonsense.
“Her record speaks for itself Naz has been working for over 20 years on the issues of child abuse, violence against women and grooming, which is well documented.
“She has and will continue to advocate for all victims, and work towards eradicating this evil from society.”
“There is no community where men don’t rape girls and we must face up to it.”
Recently, as we saw 17 evil men and one woman found guilty of almost 100 sex abuse offences, we must first acknowledge the bravery of the victims of these brutal crimes, as well as how unimaginable it must be to have to relive the evil and the horrors that they went through.
Anger doesn’t come anywhere near in describing my feelings towards these vile criminals – criminals who thought it was not only acceptable behaviour to put innocent young girls through “sessions”, where they intoxicated them with alcohol, drugged them with “Mkat”, and brutally abused and exploited them – but then had the audacity to think they would get away with it.
Achieving justice was a painful experience and far from easy for these victims and thus the sentences given should be far from easy for these vulgar criminals.
However, I have been deeply disturbed by the coverage of the convictions, and how it has been painted as predominantly an issue of race, and not male-led sexual exploitation of vulnerable women.
To put things in context – my mother was abused. She is Pakistani. Her abuser was also Pakistani.
So seeing a headline which says “British Pakistanis ARE raping white girls...and we must face up to it” is beyond personal to me.
Such an incendiary headline and article is not only irresponsible but also sets a very dangerous precedent and must be challenged.
Let me explain why. Where another community is over-represented within a model of criminality, like for example, in cases of wider child abuse, where nearly 90 per cent of the perpetrators are white men we wouldn’t suggest that white people “are raping children” or use the whole community to describe the actions of a few criminals. That would not only be horrific but ridiculous.
I also have two sons. Blanket racially loaded statements like these set them up to fail before they even reach their teenage years.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am the first to challenge wrong wherever it happens. This includes within my own Pakistani community. I continue to challenge the patriarchal system and misogyny in the face of death threats – and I am not about to stop, that I can assure you.
But what I won’t accept, or tolerate, is a narrative that demonises every Pakistani man as a rapist. I won’t.
Let’s be clear about “Pakistani” men – are we including the The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, in this sweeping statement? Because he’s Pakistani. Or how about Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London? The list goes on.
There is no community where men don’t rape girls and we must face up to it.
Yes, Pakistani men are disproportionately involved in grooming gangs and this particular model of abuse. And no that is not a racist statement.
Neither is it racist to say that when it comes to wider child abuse nearly 90 per cent of those convicted and on the sex offenders register are white men. However, focussing entirely on one community ignores the fact that vulnerable young girls of all ethnicities are targeted by men.
Following an enquiry into this issue in 2012, the Government’s Home Affairs Select Committee called upon MPs to commission some research into this area of criminality. One expert witness was Nazir Afzal, the Chief Crown Prosecutor who’s correct approach, in recognising victims for the victims they were, led to the first ever convictions in Rochdale. Oh, and just for the record, he also happens to be a Pakistani man. Nazir explained, and rightfully so, that to address a problem we first need to understand it, which is why it is important to renew that call for some research.
It is also worth noting that Nazir’s approach also challenges this concept of “political correctness” – the key to his success was a change in the way victims were believed, which led to a whole cultural shift amongst statutory bodies, including the removal of the term “child prostitutes” from government literature in 2015.
For further clarity – only last year we were shocked and horrified about the abuse scandal in football, perpetrated by and large by white men – but we don’t say all coaches are abusers.
The government is currently looking into allegations of abuse by politicians – once again, by and large white men – but we don't say all white male politicians are abusers, just like we don't say that all white men in the entertainment industry are paedophiles either, despite the horrors of Jimmy Saville.
As I have alluded to previously, it is crucial to recognise that in many child sexual exploitation cases, victims are also of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including Pakistani victims. If anything, some women’s groups have indeed put forward the case that in fact Pakistani girls are preferred targets as they are less likely to come forward and seek help due to the concepts of honour and shame.
The evil of abuse is indiscriminate in its application.
One of the facts that all victims have in common is that they are targeted because of their vulnerability. The other commonalities are that the perpetrators are linked to other criminality, such as drugs, as well as the night time economy – be it takeaways, taxis or other forms of business.
We can’t stigmatise whole communities because of the evil few that we have within them. But at the same time, whenever abuse occurs regardless of who, what or where, we must ensure there is no hiding place for this evil.
And finally, just like nearly 90 per cent of child abusers who are white men do not typify all British white men, these Pakistani criminals do not typify all British Pakistanis. As we plunge further into this debate, let’s not drown out the most important voices which are those of the victims of this brutal evil.
Naz Shah is the Member of Parliament for Bradford West.
Bradford hosted great festivities as the Pakistani community celebrated 70 years since their independence day August 14 1947.
India was born as free democratic country on August 15 and the two celebrate seven decades as independent states in their own right.
The day began with Pakistan’s flag being raised outside the consulate in Bradford as the national anthem played out.
With that many waving their own personal Pakistan flags and smiles on their face the event moved inside the consulate and got underway.
A cake was cut at the end of the ceremony iced again with the Pakistani flag as the many in attendance were in high spirits shouting ‘Pakistan! Pakistan!’
Social, cultural, religious, political and other organisations marked the day and paid homage to national heroes and martyrs of the freedom movement.
(Left to right) Younis Chaudry, MP Naz Shah, Consul General, Abid Hussain and Ikram Butt enjoy the celebrations
Of course the history of the celebration can’t be forgotten as one of the largest mass migrations in modern history followed the partition.
Muslims trekked to West and East Pakistan (now know as Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction. Over a million people died.
More than 15 million people had been uprooted in the largest mass migration in the history of the world, travelling across the borders.
The Indian self-rule movement was a mass-based movement with a strong Hindu nationalism that brought about the ‘Two Nation Theory’ and is given the credit of being Pakistan’s creation.
After the second World War India and Pakistan finally freed from the rule of the British and became independent sovereigns in their own right.
Naz Shah MP for Bradford West spoke of her wish for occupied Kashmir:
“A huge congratulations to all of Pakistan, but while we are all celebrating we must remember the people of occupied Kashmir, who I hope can one day all celebrate together in peace and harmony.”
PROUD: Adeeba Malik CBE described the great steps Pakistan has made over the last 70 years
Consul General Ahmed Amjad Ali discussed how proud a moment it was for the people of Pakistan: “We have managed to achieve what are forefathers wanted for us.
“Pakistan is now becoming one of the main forces in South Asia and I wish for all our friends and family to prosper together.”
Adeeba Malik CBE described the great steps Pakistan has made since going independent: “This is a momentous occasion, and particularly in Yorkshire as the Pakistani community here is a well-established part of the region.
“They have contributed greatly economically, but there are still improvements to be made in things such as education.”
Bawa Saddique from Leeds at the Independence Day celebrations in Bradford
Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council's Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: "The early signs from the provisional results we have so far are very encouraging with the majority of schools in the district seeing their grades improve this year.
"We know that today's success is the culmination of years of hard work by our young people and the dedicated staff in schools across the district.
"The indications we have from the results of 22 of the 28 secondary schools across Bradford district are certainly positive. The vast majority of these schools have seen their average A-level grades improve compared with last year.
"There are also signs of strong success among students taking vocational and technical qualifications.
"As the country's youngest city the success of our young people is crucial to the future of our district. I am very pleased to see these initial results are positive. I would like to congratulate Bradford students on their achievements and wish them the very best for their future."
Manningham event organised and run entirely by young volunteers is an iconic representation of community cohesion
With the single aim of uniting communities through social activities and fun, a youth organisation smashed it at it’s annual event once again with over 1500 people attending.
The local Bradford initiative driven by volunteers, was born with the single vision of extending the hands of friendship towards all, no matter what faith or colour, in a call for community cohesion.
Since its founding some eight-years-ago, Hollings Youth Assocation (HYA) has been facilitating personal, social and educational growth of young people. In the Manningham area of Bradford, they've helped them reach their full potential in the society through social interaction.
The event on Saturday 5th August, held on the Drummond Road field, behind Manningham Sports Centre, brought in support from the Lord Mayor, several local councillors and MP's.
Imran Khan, HYA Chairman and youth worker comments: “HYA is a completely not for profit organisation.
“The event we put on every year is organised and run entirely by volunteers with the common interest of building links and unity in the community.
“I’m incredibly proud of the young people involved and believe that small gestures can often make a significant positive impact..”
“We believe that with the right support and help, the young people we work with will gain a more positive outlook of life and work hard to achieve their personal goals
Asian Express would like to send a special thank you to Project Manager Tausif Mohammed in bringing this story to our attention.