Ibrahim’s Review of 2016

I’m back! My first blog post of 2016! Let’s do the Sturridge…

Liverpool FC striker Daniel Sturridge is in the groove

Wait… what? Oh yes… I haven’t blogged all year. Oops. Sorry everyone. My ONLY blog post of 2016.

Technically that isn’t true though, I did write one blog post this year. It just wasn’t published on my website. More on that later…

I’ve got to say, 2016 has not been easy for me. It’s been a difficult year but on reflection there have been some great highlights to share, and I am determined to make my eighth review a positive one. It was a bright start to the year with the news that I had been shortlisted under the Services to Media category for the British Muslim Awards 2016. The awards ceremony took place on a cold evening in Birmingham where I lost out to BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan, but I was up against many tough opponents in my category. Excuse the footballing analogy but it was like being a newly-promoted team in the Premier League for the first time, and you’re just happy to be there knowing you’re probably going to get relegated anyway… or somehow you’ll find a way to stay up! Analogies aside, that night in January was a memorable occasion and it was an honour to even have been shortlisted under this fiercely contested category. Well done Noreen for claiming the award, you fully deserved it!

Ibrahim with BBC Asian Network presenter and award-winner Noreen Khan

A month later, I left my presenting role at Cambridge 105 to join LB24tv, an online British Bangladeshi TV network based in East London. From February to September, I presented Youth Corner – a web series chat show for the youth. The aims of the programme were to showcase the achievements of emerging talent, providing a platform for guests to share their experiences and inspiring stories, and discuss topics that are important to them. It was great to gain TV presenting experience but I particularly enjoyed meeting guests and getting to know them. It felt rewarding to introduce fresh new faces and offer them a platform, considering how the majority of Bangladeshi media outlets I’ve come across, seem to frequently promote the same people and do not provide other hard-working and talented individuals a chance. Many thanks to Abu Ali, Cháyya Syal, Mizan RahmanShuhel Ahmed, Amira HaqueSafwaan ChoudhuryHalima Khanom, Uzma Chaudhry, Carl Francis, Mohima Ahmed, Sharmin Yousuf, and Sayful Alam for all being part of the show! Special thanks to the LB24tv production team for giving me the opportunity to present the show too!

Ibrahim presents the chat show web series “Youth Corner” for LB24tv
The guests (top-left to bottom-right): Abu Ali, Cháyya Syal, Mizan Rahman, Shuhel Ahmed; Amira Haque, Safwaan Choudhury, Halima Khanom, Uzma Chaudhry; Carl Francis, Mohima Ahmed, Sharmin Yousuf, Sayful Alam

My experiences with presenting Youth Corner inspired me to publish my first-ever article as a blogger for the Huffington Post in October, focusing on my utilisation of digital media to engage and empower the youth within the British Bangladeshi community. Massive thanks to Abu Ali, Amira Haque and Shuhel Ahmed for your valuable contributions!

I left LB24tv in September to undertake a TV production course every Saturday at the Cambridge TV School for nine weeks. It was fantastic! What impressed me the most about the course was how much of the work was practical. It was very much hands-on. From the very beginning we were testing out the TV cameras, filming at various locations in Cambridge, presenting and interviewing contributors in the Cambridge TV studio, and editing our captured video footage. I did a fair amount of presenting over those two months as well – the autocue was great fun to mess around with! It was a real pleasure to work with so many awesome people throughout the course, and I would like to thank everyone involved (staff and students) at the school for their amazing support and enthusiasm. I hope we get opportunities to collaborate again soon and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours!

Ibrahim presents “Behind the Brush” for Cambridge TV, a show that explores the work of Cambridge artists

I also managed to sandwich a TV appearance on The Daily Show with Joseph & Salma, a magazine lifestyle series chat show hosted by Joseph and Salma Hayat, on British Muslim TV (Sky 845). In November, I joined the couple in their fancy-looking studio by the London Docklands to talk about how I was engaging and empowering the youth through my work using digital media, drawing some parallels to what I wrote in my blog for the Huffington Post. Thank you Joseph and Salma for having me on your show! That round table changes colour by the way. Thought it was pretty cool…

Ibrahim appears on British Muslim TV’s “The Daily Show with Joseph and Salma”

And finally, I found out almost a couple of weeks ago that I had been shortlisted as a finalist in the Services to Creativity and Technology category at the British Muslim Awards 2017! The awards ceremony will take place next month at the Athena in Leicester. Yes, Leicester – the home of the 2015/16 Premier League Champions. Unbelievable, but what an achievement. Anyway, next year looks like it’s already off to a good start…

Oh yes, what’s happening with Ramadan Roundup? I’ve had a lot to do recently and as you can see, there hasn’t been a new episode in the series since 2014. The timing just hasn’t been right for me yet, but let’s see what happens next year. As it stands, I do believe there is at least one more episode to produce. It’s just a matter of making time. As my filmmaking friend Shuhel Ahmed will tell you, even work on his upcoming superhero comedy web series Classified Freaks has stalled in recent months, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait. I’m really looking forward to watching it!

And that’s pretty much it for this year. I leave you with an inspirational quote from Mufti Ismail Menk…

“The road of life doesn’t allow you to travel backwards. Keep going. There’s a reason for everything. You may not see it now; just trust!”

As always, thank you all so much for your support and kindness, and for following my adventures in 2016. I hope things look up for us in 2017. Best wishes to you all.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Ibrahim’s Review of 2015

Here we go again. Another annual review. My seventh actually. A great opportunity to reflect on a rollercoaster twelve months. As rollercoaster rides come, this has been quite a thrilling one. Sometimes a thriller doesn’t quite go the way you want it to. We’ve all seen a crazy game of football littered with goals – some may recall Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Newcastle United in 1996. Pundits and commentators argue that was the greatest match the Premier League has ever seen. Almost twenty years…

Look at me, harking on about the past. History can be interesting though. Ask my mother, she’ll tell you. Anyway, let’s get this show on the road as I share some of my highlights of 2015 with you…

Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother's novel Lascar at the Bishopsgate Library in London
Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother’s novel ‘Lascar’ at the Bishopsgate Institute, London

In January, my mother and I were invited to speak at the Everyday Muslim Symposium, held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. It was a wonderful event to be part of and I really enjoyed the occasion, despite my reading skills being closely scrutinised by an attentive audience – and captured on camera! Many thanks to Sadiya Ahmed and Halima Khanom for giving me the opportunity to participate. You can watch my mother’s talk and my reading right here:


In February, I joined the team of presenters for a sports show on Cambridge 105, a local radio station based in Cambridge. Since August, I have been the lead presenter and producer of the new series. The show has covered local, national and global sport, and is aired every Saturday afternoon. This year, I interviewed a range of guests including Aziz Rahman and Shahin Miah of Cambridge Sporting Football Club, as well as the nation’s youngest restaurant/takeaway owner Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed – a former contestant on the popular BBC TV series The Apprentice.

Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport
Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport

You can listen to all the interviews on my brand-new Soundcloud page! I have really enjoyed hosting the show this year. Many thanks to my fellow team members Jack Swindlehurst, Jack LangleyTim Ebanks and Sam Tunbridge for all your help and support. Special thanks to Tim Willett, the station manager, for giving me the opportunity to be involved. It has been a pleasure to be part of Cambridge 105 and I hope the station continues to go from strength to strength.


Shaful Islam, Bobby Friction and Ibrahim Rahman
With quiz team-mate Shaful Islam (left) and BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction (centre)

2015 also witnessed a memorable ICC Cricket World Cup, particularly for Bangladesh who reached the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time. Unfortunately for England it was a tournament to forget, as they failed to qualify from their group.

In March, I ventured to the West Midlands to appear on a live BBC Asian Network show. I was on the Bobby Friction show and represented Team Bangladesh in a cricket quiz! It was great fun and we did pretty well – scoring 9/10! Many thanks to the production team and Bobby for having me. Shaf Islam was a top team-mate as well! You can listen to our performance (and all the banter) through the audio clip below:


Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards
Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards

It was a great year for Ramadan Roundup, as the latest episode of the series was nominated for a national film award. I attended this year’s Limelight Film Awards in June. Unfortunately, Ramadan Roundup 4 didn’t win the award but it was very humbling to have been shortlisted. News of the nomination was covered on local radio station Cambridge 105, newspapers East London News, London Bangla and Cambridge News, and on television through Islam Channel. You can watch our Ramadan Roundup interview with Raza Amode and myself right here:

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone for your support and to those who have contributed to the series. Unfortunately my plans for producing Ramadan Roundup 5 this year did not go ahead as I had hoped. Having said that, the episode is still in pre-production and I hope to continue working on it next year. God willing.

On the other hand, I can confirm that I have just started to film Ramadan Roundup 4.5, a mini-episode that is linked to Ramadan Roundup 4 but leads on to Ramadan Roundup 5. More news to come very soon, but do keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates! The adventure continues…

Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production...
Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production…

Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC's Ramadan in a Day project
Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC’s Ramadan in a Day project

In July, I was one of the contributors for the Ramadan in a Day project, a BBC Taster experiment delivered in partnership with BBC Asian Network. The project set out to capture a day of life during Ramadan, giving people the chance to tell their own stories through social media. I appeared in a series of videos that you can still watch on the BBC Asian Network YouTube channel. Check out one of the clips right here:


Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015

In September, I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Regional Journalist of the Year category at the Asian Media Awards 2015. I attended the official shortlist announcement at the ITV Studios in London, before making the very long trip to the Hilton Manchester Deansgate for the main showpiece in October. Unfortunately I missed out on the award, but I was really humbled to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s awards. It was a fantastic occasion.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile was listed in the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

And there you have it. My biggest moments in 2015 in a nutshell. Now, I’m going to sit in front of my clock and stare at it until it strikes twelve. Analogue or digital you ask? Don’t bother asking, that’s a very boring thing to do. Also time-consuming. Go ahead and laugh, you know that was funny…

As 2015 draws to a close, I shall leave you with this quote:

“The more difficult it is to reach your destination, the more you will remember and appreciate the journey.”

This year has been thrilling and memorable. A massive thank you to all of you for your support and kindness. I wrote in my last annual review hoping this year would be a great year for you all, and I really hope it has been.

Thank you for following my adventures this year. Let’s see what happens in 2016. Let the journey continue.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2015

Thursday 5th November 2015. The Meridian Grand, London – the luxurious setting for this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who event.

After attending the previous two events in 2013 and 2014, I was keen to get involved this time round and see what I could do to assist with from behind the scenes, particularly with the publication. I was tasked with editing the profiles of some new and existing entries that were to be included in this year’s publication. I also managed the social media sites for the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who this year, setting up profiles on Twitter and Instagram to promote the showpiece as well as helping to run the already existing Facebook page. I was keen for there to be a stronger social media presence, especially during the event. I thought this would be a great opportunity to promote the hashtag #bbwhoswho, knowing that there are many within the Bangladeshi community who are frequent users of social media and love to share photos.

On the night of the showpiece hosted by news presenter Lisa Aziz and barrister Anawar Miah, I tweeted throughout using the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who Twitter account – @bbwhoswho. The overall response to the Twitter coverage was positive, with guests engaging with the tweets and following the trend of using #bbwhoswhoRupa Huq MP, an award-winner on the night, and Zac Goldsmith MP, a London Mayoral candidate, both tweeted about the event.

Regarding the publication, I was listed as one of the contributors on the first page. Second from bottom.

Ibrahim was a contributor in this year's British Bangladeshi Who's Who publication
Ibrahim was listed a contributor in this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publication

In other news, before the awards ceremony kicked off, I was interviewed by Zakir Khan (see picture below). Somehow I made him laugh. Or maybe he was laughing at one of his own jokes. Or maybe he wanted to challenge me to a lightsaber duel. Look at him aiming his lightsaber-style microphone at me AND laughing… before the event started, they played out a segment from the Star Wars soundtrack. Funny, right? Fortunately, he wasn’t actually as menacing as his facial expressions showed. Phew! We had a brief chat about my contribution to this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publication and how I was helping out at the event. I wonder where this interview will be shown… Channel S possibly?

Ibrahim is interviewed by Zakir Khan
Ibrahim was interviewed by Zakir Khan before the event

While we are on the subject of audio equipment, Rez Kabir added a lively touch with his rich and distinctive voice-overs throughout the show. He just sat in a dark corner of the hall, bellowing into a microphone for a couple of hours. Well played. He’s also a very talented actor!

It was also a nice occasion to meet familiar and new faces…

Award-winning accountant Mahbub Murshed with Ibrahim
Award-winning accountant Mahbub Murshed with Ibrahim
Ibrahim with award-winner Kamru Ali
Ibrahim with award-winner Kamru Ali

To conclude, I enjoyed being part of the project. I would like to thank Abdul Karim Goni and Shahadoth Karim for giving me the opportunity to help out with the publication and at the event itself. The Meridian Grand was an excellent choice for this year’s venue and I think it would be good to see the next event hosted there again. Well done to everyone involved.

Asian Media Awards 2015

Thursday 29th October 2015. Destination Manchester.

Cambridge to Deansgate… journey time approximately 4.5 hours? Yes, it was VERY long and there was an eleven minute delay leaving from London Euston, which had a knock-on effect for the rest of the journey. Despite that, I arrived at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel on time and looked forward to what was expected to be an enjoyable and memorable evening. What a venue. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend the night there, but I did get a nice view from the top floor…

Ibrahim's view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel - the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim’s view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel – the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was one of five finalists shortlisted under the Regional Journalist of the Year category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. Below is my profile, published in page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure. Every finalist had their own profile too.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile – page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

The winner was Sangeeta Bhabra, presenter of ITV Meridian News. Congratulations to Sangeeta for winning the award!

My interest in broadcasting started four years ago when I was invited for a live interview, representing my university’s Islamic Society on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire‘s Sunday Breakfast show. Despite being incredibly nervous and unprepared for it, I enjoyed the experience and was really keen to do more! Since then, I have reported about Ramadan, the Hajj, and both Eid celebrations in Cambridge. I am currently presenting a sports show every Saturday from 2-5pm on Cambridge 105.

It wasn’t that long ago when my short film Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for a national film award, so I’m really humbled and privileged to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. It was also a real pleasure to see familiar and new faces on the night. One of them being up-and-coming comedian Guz Khan, also known as Guzzy Bear! He used to be a teacher I think…

Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim Rahman
Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim

Finally, I want to thank you all for your amazing support. It really means a lot. Huge thanks to my family and friends, especially to Raza Amode for coming along to the event.

All praise is to Allah and all success is from Him.

The Road to Manchester

No. I have not become a Manchester City fan. Neither do I support that other club that is within close proximity to them. Don’t even go there. Liverpool FC through and through. Jürgen Klopp – welcome to Anfield!

Klopp for the Kop: Jürgen Klopp is the new manager of Liverpool FC

Anyway, this blog post is not about football so let’s move on.

Since the Limelight Film Awards took place in June, the last four months for me have been really busy. Time for a quick recap.

Ramadan came and went. During the month of fasting, you may have come across my photo project on Instagram and Facebook – Ibrahim’s Ramadan Diary. I posted a photo every day, capturing scenery around Cambridge and writing some personal reflections.

Also during Ramadan, I was one of the contributors for the Ramadan in a Day project, a BBC Taster experiment delivered in partnership with BBC Asian Network. The project set out to capture a day of life during Ramadan, giving people the chance to tell their own story through social media. I appeared in a series of videos that can be viewed on BBC Asian Network’s YouTube channel. It was a fun project and it was great to be part of something that was entertaining but also informative.

Since August, I have been presenting and producing the new series of Cambridge 105 Sport, a live radio show covering local, national and global sport – aired every Saturday from 2-5pm on Cambridge 105. The show also aims to focus on recognising sporting activities in the local community, as well as interviewing live guests in the Cambridge 105 studio.

Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed
Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed were live guests on Cambridge 105 Sport

So far this series, I interviewed Aziz Rahman and Shahin Miah, two representatives from Cambridge Sporting Football Club, and I recently spoke to Safwaan Choudhury (the youngest restaurant/takeaway owner in the UK) and Nurun Ahmed (a former contestant on last year’s TV series of “The Apprentice”). Podcasts are available for all of these interviews and can be heard via the Cambridge 105 website, iTunes and the RadioPlayer smartphone app. Likewise, you can also listen to them right here:

So what was the point of the Manchester reference? Hold on people, I’m getting there. Last month, I had been shortlisted as a finalist under the Regional Journalist of the Year category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. I attended the Shortlist Announcement at ITV’s London Studios and I had the opportunity to meet journalist and broadcaster Mihir Bose, author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor, and ITN producer Roohi Hasan.

wpid-img_bkhdnf.jpg
With journalist and broadcaster Mihir Bose
Author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor with Ibrahim Rahman
With author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor
With media and communications expert Hasina Momtaz

The Regional Journalist of the Year award is a new category featuring in the Asian Media Awards 2015. The winner will be announced at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Thursday 29th October 2015. Here are the nominees:

wpid-img_d1223.jpg

Since the Shortlist Announcement, news of my nomination was published in the East London News, London Bangla and Weekly Desh (see below). In summary, the article written in Bengali lists the work I have done recently, and some information on the Asian Media Awards Shortlist Announcement.

wpid-weekly_desh_ama_16_10_2015.png

So there you have it. Seven days to go! I’m really looking forward to the occasion. It’s been a very eventful past few months. I must take up this opportunity to thank everybody for your fantastic support. It really means a lot. All praise is to God.

Manchester awaits.

The Rise of Ramadan Roundup 4

Greetings! No, this isn’t the title of my latest film. Sounds bold and epic though right? The Rise of Ramadan Roundup 4. Dare you to say that in a serious American voice. You know, the voice you hear in movie trailers. Yes, you know it. That’s it, treat yourself to a doughnut. Unless you are fasting of course, then eat it later. Mmm, doughnuts. Aaaaargh…

Since last month, I have been so busy! It’s Ramadan now and I’m still busy! But I have to say, since the day I found out Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for this year’s Limelight Film Awards to the day of the actual event itself, it has been a wonderful and memorable experience. Long story short, Ramadan Roundup 4 didn’t win an award, but I am really honoured and humbled that my short film was nominated for a national film award. I know I’ve probably used these words quite often, but let’s wind the clock back and review the past month. So where did it all start? Here’s a brief summary…

13 May 2015
I received an email confirming that Ramadan Roundup 4 had been shortlisted under the Freefall category at the Limelight Film Awards 2015.

19 May 2015
The Cambridge Mosque Project website published a news article on Ramadan Roundup 4‘s award nomination.

20 May 2015
The East London News published a news article about the award nomination plus a short biography on me. Huge thanks to Emdad Rahman for his well-written piece.

22 May 2015
Emdad Rahman
‘s article was also published in page 29 of the London Bangla newspaper.

London Bangla
London Bangla – 22 May 2015 (page 29)

26 May 2015
I was at Cambridge 105 for a live radio interview with Julian Clover on 105 Drive. We talked about Ramadan Roundup 4‘s award nomination.

30 May 2015
A news article of the award nomination was published in page 6 of the Cambridge News.

Cambridge News
Cambridge News – 30 May 2015 (page 6)

02 June 2015
I was at Islam Channel (Sky 806) to make a live TV guest appearance on Living the Life, a contemporary lifestyle talk show. I talked about the Ramadan Roundup series and I was joined by fellow cast member Raza Amode. It was a pleasure to be part of an awesome group of guests that day. We even met nasheed artist Zain Bhikha!

Ibrahim Rahman (far-right) and Raza Amode (second from right) on Islam Channel's Living the Life
Ibrahim Rahman (far-right) and Raza Amode (second from right) on Islam Channel’s Living the Life

14 June 2015
I was at Cambridge 105 for another live radio interview with Phil Rowe on the Sunday Breakfast show. We talked about the Ramadan Roundup series and the award nomination of Ramadan Roundup 4.

15 June 2015
The day of the awards ceremony. The finalists in the Freefall category alongside Ramadan Roundup 4 were Ahmed & MildredHoodforts Chicken and Revelations. The winning entry was Hoodforts Chicken, directed by the Mile End Community Project. Congratulations to them on winning the award!

Four years ago, the Ramadan Roundup journey began and I never imagined it would develop into a series, so it was truly humbling to have been a finalist for a national film award.

I want to thank you all for your amazing support. It really means a lot. Special thanks to my mother Shahida Rahman, Raza Amode, Tim Ebanks, Halima Khanom and Sam Tunbridge for all coming along and being such awesome guests. Massive thanks to everyone who have contributed to the Ramadan Roundup series, your time and efforts have been greatly appreciated. Thank you also to Munsur Ali and the Limelight Film Awards team for nominating Ramadan Roundup 4, and for hosting a great event!

Some of the Ramadan Roundup 4 gang - Nadia Ali (left), Ibrahim Rahman (centre) and Raza Amode (right)
Some of the Ramadan Roundup 4 gang – Nadia Ali (left), Ibrahim Rahman (centre) and Raza Amode (right)

And so the adventure continues! I can confirm Ramadan Roundup 5 is in pre-production and I expect this to be released later this summer. God willing.

In the meantime, check out Ibrahim’s Ramadan Diary on the Ramadan Roundup Facebook and Instagram pages. I have been posting something new everyday and I hope to keep this going until the end of Ramadan.

Until next time…

British Bangladeshi Business Awards 2015

Yes, this event was ages ago. But since many of you have been engrossed by the “election fever”, I don’t think it’s too late to share my latest blog post with you all. Anyway, let’s wind the clock back…

Wednesday 11th March 2015. I attended the inaugural British Bangladeshi Business Awards at the New Bingley Hall in Birmingham. My mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee in the “Media and the Arts” category. Here is a quick summary of my experience at this event.

We arrived at the venue a few minutes before 7:00pm and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the event would be starting strictly on time. By Bangladeshi standards, this was MIGHTILY impressive. I’m still in shock! Okay, perhaps I’m taking it a bit too far, but it was impressive nonetheless. This is the equivalent of Bangladesh achieving an Olympic gold medal. Or knocking England out of the World Cup… hold on, that DID actually happen right?

The Prime Minister was there too! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to speak to him, but he was clearly the main attraction of the event. There was also a moment of comedy when one of the speakers on stage inadvertently mispronounced the PM’s surname. Here’s a hint. It’s a country in Central Africa. Bonus points if you can get it right. Send me your answers on a postcard… never mind. Tweet them if you want.

David Cameron at the British Bangladeshi Business Awards
David Cameron at the British Bangladeshi Business Awards 2015

Apart from that, I thought the event was poorly organised. I felt there was a real lack of engagement with the audience. Too many people in the audience were busy talking amongst themselves and did not pay attention or show respect to those who were on stage.

The food was nice though.

Anyway, my mother was shortlisted but there was to be no silverware on this occasion. However, she didn’t go away empty-handed. Check out the certificate below. Another great achievement – well done!

Ibrahim's mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee  in the "Media and the Arts" category
Ibrahim’s mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee in the “Media and the Arts” category

All in all, it was an interesting and lively evening but regarding the execution of the event, it was far from satisfactory… even if David Cameron did show up.

Speaking of David Cameron, does anyone remember this? Go ahead. Watch it.

The American Sharia Experience

Wednesday 11th February 2015. I was at the Hackney Empire in London to attend the UK premiere of American Sharia, a Muslim comedy film by director, writer, comedian and actor Omar Regan. Talk about being multi-talented!

I arrived early and was one of the first people in the queue by the front door. As time passed, the line grew larger and larger and I could feel genuine excitement. This was my first appearance at any kind of premiere, so it was quite a unique experience and certainly a memorable one. British Muslim TV suddenly emerged, equipped with their broadcast cameras and reporters holding microphones as they approached members of the lively crowd. They asked me to pull a silly face for their cameras… not sure how that one turned out?

One of the photographers assigned me the honorable, prestigious but temporary title of… poster boy. It was fun while it lasted, for an amazing eleven seconds or something like that. Look at the sheer enjoyment on my face as I hold a colourful sheet of paper for the cameras.

Poster Boy
Poster boy

After waiting patiently outside for about an hour, the doors finally opened and everyone slowly filtered through and into the theatre. The event kicked off with beautiful recitation from the Qur’an, followed by some hilarious standup comedy from Omar Regan and and a passionate fundraising appeal led by Ajmal Masroor. Once the fundraising had finished, the film was shown at 8:30pm, almost two hours later than the time stated on my ticket!

American Sharia finished at 10:00pm and then we had the opportunity to throw questions at key members of the cast, as well as the film’s producer Couni Young, for about half an hour. By 10:30pm, the event was drawn to a close and before heading back home to Cambridge, I took photos with Omar Regan and Baba Ali!

Ibrahim Rahman and Omar Regan
Ibrahim Rahman and Omar Regan

 

Baba Ali and Ibrahim Rahman
Baba Ali and Ibrahim Rahman

I also had a nice chat with Couni Young about the film, who appeared to express willingness and interest in helping to produce more features in this industry.

Overall, I left with mixed emotions. I was disappointed and frustrated with certain aspects of the event. The time management was so poor and this is a recurring theme in so many events I go to, especially Asian weddings and other fundraising dinners. I was expecting to leave at 9:00pm, hoping the event would finish by then but I didn’t get home until 12:30am! Having seen young children queuing up outside with their families from 5:30pm and then for the film to finish at 10:00pm, this showed the event organisers’ incompetence and lack of consideration towards youngsters who had school the next day and would probably sleep early. There were many people who had work in the morning – myself included. Travelling to and from the venue was not exactly straightforward, hence why I tried to allocate more than enough time to my journey so I could be punctual.

Penny Appeal, the charity organisation who are coordinating the UK tour and presenting the movie, emailed me plenty of reminders to arrive early. Here are examples of what they said. The first one is their email subject.

“YOUR American Sharia showing: Don’t forget to arrive early!”

“LONDON, DON’T FORGET TO ARRIVE EARLY!”

“Make sure to turn up on time at 5.30pm – you won’t get in once we’ve started!”

“Make sure to arrive on time. If you arrive after 6.30pm you will not be allowed in”

“DOORS CLOSE 6:30PM PROMPT”

As you can see, different times were stated in the two emails I received – 5:30pm and 6:30pm. There was no time stated in any of the emails for when the film would start, except for the ticket I received on the day which said 6:45pm. I expected the film to start at this time. The emails did not specify a time for when the fundraising would take place and how long this would take. With the screening of the film being delayed even further and the audience having no idea of when it would be shown, this led to members of the crowd becoming increasingly agitated and disgruntled. Of course, I will always support fundraising for good causes and I am sure many people would do the same, but this should be appropriately planned and carried out in an effective manner. Set a time and stick to it. Some people sitting in front of me were clearly unhappy and left during the film, affecting my view in the process.

This is the first time I have published a critical response to an event I have attended, but I really feel it is necessary that people are aware of this because it is simply unacceptable. Timekeeping is a serious problem and is something that has to be addressed, especially within Asian communities. It is seriously damaging and leads to a breakdown in trust, which becomes increasingly difficult to claim back if these habits continue to persist.

So what did I get for arriving early? Leaving late. All in all, an entertaining but frustrating evening.

Ibrahim’s Review of 2014

It’s that time of year again. The time when I turn around 180 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise and immerse myself with flashbacks. Whoa, that was bright! Oh, that was just me being dazzled by a car’s headlights. How can I be looking at a car’s headlights when I am supposed to be looking at my computer and focusing on this annual review? We’ll never know. Or maybe you will. It could just be one of life’s mysteries. Anyway, I digress.

Welcome to my sixth annual review. As always, another eventful year has found itself arrive and depart through the revolving doors of time. Is it me or am I starting to become poetic? No, I’m serious. Tweet me about it. Use an appropriate hashtag if you like. Be nice though. Let’s rewind the last twelve months…

Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time
Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time

I have travelled to quite a few places this year, and January witnessed my first trip to Anfield. After winning free tickets in a competition, I went to visit the home of my favourite football team – Liverpool FC. The result was a disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa but watching from the stands was a memorable experience! I visited Anfield again three months later to watch the “Celebration of the 96” charity match. Another 2-2 draw!

Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium
Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium

In February, lightning struck twice. My brother Imran ALSO won free tickets to watch Arsenal play Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as the Gunners sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over their London rivals. It was a different kind of experience to the one I had at Anfield, but enjoyable nonetheless. The inside of the stadium was visually impressive and we had a nice view from the stands. Overall, it was an enjoyable visit and the match was decent. Let’s hope Imran wins tickets again!

Ibrahim speaks on-stage at the Maa Amar Maa Awards
Ibrahim speaks on-stage at this year’s Maa Amar Maa Awards

In March, I attended the Maa Amar Maa Awards in London – an awards ceremony hosted by Pillar Productions to honour British Bangladeshi mothers in the UK. My mother won the Mother of the Year award! I was also invited on stage to say a few words which was quite nerve-wracking, but good practice for my public speaking skills. I met old and new faces but at the end of the day, it was a wonderful and joyous occasion. Definitely one of the highlights of the year!

Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan
Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan

Some days after the event, we were both invited for a live interview on BBC Asian Network. In an exciting and lively exchange of words with presenter Nadia Ali, I was asked about why I nominated my mother for an award. We also participated in a fun “Mother v Son” quiz! We were interviewed alongside Dilara Khan, the CEO of Pillar Productions and producer of Maa Amar Maa. Once again, another memorable day!

The Second Yellow
The Second Yellow

Welcome to May. I teamed up with Abu Ali to form The Second Yellow, a joint venture with the aim of delivering and discussing some of the biggest stories in football through writing articles and producing a podcast series. We have produced two episodes so far but are hoping for greater things in the new year. Watch this space!

Ramadan Roundup 4
Ramadan Roundup 4

I spent the next couple of months preparing for Ramadan Roundup 4. Raza Amode and Ubaid Sajid returned for this year’s instalment, after previously appearing in Ramadan Roundup 2. We also welcomed many new faces including Nadia Ali from BBC Asian Network! Cambridge locals Moghees Darr, Amira Haque and Ayat Rasool also made their first on-screen appearances in the series, and Uzma Chaudhry silenced the doubters by providing her voice all the way from Manchester for the opening scene. I should visit Manchester one day, it sounds like a nice place! It was a big cast this year and I am really grateful to everyone for being part of it! THANK YOU!

Ibrahim at Inspire FM
Ibrahim talked about the Ramadan Roundup series at Inspire FM

Throughout July, Ramadan Roundup gained a fair amount of media exposure through Inspire FM, a community radio station in Luton. I talked about the series as a live guest and “co-host” on the Urban Kube Show, presented by Shemiza Rashid. The series also got a mention in Weekly Desh, a bilingual British Bangladeshi weekly newspaper distributed around the UK. A North American-based online magazine called The Aerogram also published their series review. Thank you to all for your coverage!

In August, I reported for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to cover the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge. My Ramadan reports from last year were also repeated again on the Sunday Breakfast show.

September came along and I joined local community radio station Cambridge 105 as a reporter. My first report appeared on 105 Drive with Julian Clover, after attending the “Question Cambridge” event and I interviewed Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, about his thoughts on the city’s transportation infrastructure and encouraging more people to get into entrepreneurship. Listen to the report here.

Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network
Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network

I also worked for a month as a trainee assistant producer at BBC Asian Network on Nadia Ali‘s show. I had an amazing time! I recorded, edited and uploaded short video clips onto the BBC Asian Network Facebook page and had some fun posting and reading tweets! I also had the privilege of meeting Nurun Ahmed, a contestant from the tenth series of The Apprentice.

Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of "The Apprentice"
Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of “The Apprentice”

I recorded an awesome Apprentice-style video with Nadia performing as Sir Alan Sugar, who was analysing a comical pitch from Nurun. The video reached out to over 25,000 people within 7 days! I really enjoyed the experience and definitely would love to return again!

And then it was November. I attended the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2014 publication launch and awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace, London. I was listed in this year’s publication, recognising my work as a reporter, filmmaker, web designer and developer. I was also told that I am the youngest ever entrant to be listed in the book!

Finally, we reach December. I returned to Cambridge 105 to report from this year’s Mill Road Winter Fair. As the Fair returned for its tenth year, the Cambridge Mosque on Mawson Road also held its annual open day. I went to find out what was happening and then I went off to interview local stallholders. My two reports also featured in their podcast. All in all, another enjoyable day!

2014 has been an amazing year for me. There have been some challenging and difficult moments at times, but the tremendous support I have received from so many of you really helped me to keep going. Here is a quote I found a couple of days ago from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“Don’t forget those who have helped you along the way. Meet them; give them a call. We can never show too much appreciation to those who matter.”

I cannot thank you all enough, I am so grateful for all your support and generosity. May you all be immensely rewarded for your efforts. I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people this year and I hope 2015 will be a great year for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed following my adventures this year – let’s create some new ones together.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

P.S. There’s a new web series on the horizon…

Rahman Red Reflection: Liverpool Triumph in Marathon Penalty Shootout

Liverpool won a dramatic penalty shootout 14-13 against Championship outfit Middlesbrough to reach the fourth round of the League Cup.

The Reds took the lead after ten minutes through 17-year-old debutant Jordan Rossiter, but the away side equalised when Adam Reach headed in just after the hour mark. In extra time, Suso came off the bench for Liverpool to slam home with 11 minutes remaining but Middlesbrough’s Patrick Bamford stunned Anfield with a last-gasp spot-kick to force a penalty shootout.

Simon Mignolet pushed out the away side’s first penalty from Bamford but Raheem Sterling failed to score Liverpool’s fifth, confirming sudden death in the shootout. Twenty penalties were all scored in a row as each player from both clubs, including the goalkeepers, demonstrated fantastic courage and showed nerves of steel. The match finally reached its conclusion when Boro winger Albert Adomah missed the target – Anfield roared with relief and celebrated a memorable victory.

Middlesbrough certainly deserve massive credit for pushing Liverpool all the way in this cup tie. There is still plenty for Rodgers to worry about and he must have been relieved to see his side progress to the fourth round of the League Cup.

Overall, performances this season have generally been poor (except for the display at Tottenham Hotspur) but worryingly and most importantly, the league results have been unsatisfactory. The Merseyside derby is fast approaching and both Liverpool and Everton have struggled in the league so far, but Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez will view this game as a great platform to reignite themselves as they aim to climb the table.