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!

Bobby’s Breaking Boundaries

The last few weeks have been pretty exciting, particularly if you are a fan of the Bangladesh cricket team! Australia went on to win the ICC Cricket World Cup, but Bangladesh made history by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. It was a memorable tournament for the Tigers!

Earlier this month, I travelled alone to Birmingham. Believe me, it was a tough and exhausting journey! Cambridge to London King’s Cross, took the London Underground to Euston, and then jumped on the London Midland service all the way from London Euston to Birmingham New Street. From Cambridge to Birmingham, it must’ve taken me three hours! Why did I go to Birmingham, you ask? Read on.

I was at BBC Asian Network, representing Team Bangladesh in a cricket quiz on the Bobby Friction show! Five countries took part in the game – Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and England. The two teams that achieved the highest scores would appear in the final to battle for the ultimate prize… actually, there wasn’t a prize at all. We were all fighting for pride and bragging rights…

Team Pakistan were the first to be called up on Day One of the quiz and scored 10/10, leaving me and my team-mate Shaful Islam with a mountain to climb if we were to reach the final.

The quiz was divided into two parts. The first five questions were about Bangladeshi cricket, with the latter focusing on general knowledge of cricket. The first round began. Each question was bowled in with searing pace. We had to attack. We danced down the wicket and slogged them all for six. In other words, we got off to the perfect start, blazing through the first round as we turned up the pressure on Team Pakistan with five correct answers. The chase was on. So far so good. Five down, five more to go…

After a short musical interlude, it was time for the final round. Three more questions were launched at us. We kept our calm and composure, blasting them over the ropes yet again. We started to believe. We had hope. The final was within touching distance. We saw light at the end of the tunnel… and then the penultimate delivery left us stunned.

We failed to provide an answer for the ninth question. It was a dot ball. We knew at that point, it was out of our hands. We recovered to successfully answer the final question, finishing the quiz on 9/10. We were so close. It felt like the Asia Cup final of 2012 when Pakistan beat Bangladesh by a mere TWO runs… it was agonising! However, we had to remind ourselves that our involvement in this competition wasn’t quite over yet…

We were relying on Team India, Team Sri Lanka and Team England to score lower than us, which would have confirmed our place in the final against Team Pakistan. The dream was still alive. There was still a glimmer of hope but our chances were now hanging by a thread. Sadly, our fate was eventually sealed when Team England scored a perfect 10, knocking us out of the competition along with India (9) and Sri Lanka (8).

Dramatics aside, I had a fantastic time on the show! It was a really enjoyable experience and I want to thank the production team and Bobby for having me. It was great meeting Shaf as well – who was an awesome team-mate!

You can listen to our performance (and all our jokes) by checking out the audio clip below. Enjoy!

BBC Asian Network: Bobby’s Breaking Boundaries (Day Two), Team Bangladesh – 05 March 2015 by Ibrahim Rahman on Mixcloud

Ibrahim’s Review of 2013

Salutations. My fellow readers, welcome to the blog post that you have all been waiting for. You have been rubbing your hands viciously with excitement. Your heart has been pounding. You have been running around like a headless chicken, screaming with joy… maybe not.

This is my fifth annual review. We have reached a milestone!

There is plenty to talk about. It has been a year that began with frustration and uncertainty, but ended with satisfaction and a renewed sense of optimism. What happened? Let us turn back the clock…

It has been a difficult experience adjusting to life after university, as I officially attained graduate status in October 2012. The transition period between being a graduate and securing a job in the field of your degree or interest, it is a real test of one’s character and mental strength. It is like a football match. You find yourself a goal down but the response is crucial. How do you react? How do you approach the situation? How do you turn the tables in your favour when your back is against the wall? Everyone reacts differently to pressure. I discovered an interesting quote from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“When you think you have come to a dead end, read the map carefully once again and you will find a path you hadn’t dreamt of.”

Web development has been relatively quiet for 2013. From February to June, I volunteered at the Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum and managed their website, ensuring all of their content was up to date. Two web projects eventually came along at once in December. One website is almost complete and I am close to starting the next one. I think this probably warrants a blog post of its own! I do not intend to be so cagey, but I am also wary of keeping this review as concise as possible. All being well, you will find out soon enough.

This year, I was a reporter for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, assisting with the production of a short series on Ramadan (the Islamic month of fasting). I interviewed a range of local guests including Abdal Hakim Murad/Timothy J. Winter (a world-renowned Islamic scholar, researcher, writer and academic). He is the older brother of Henry Winter, the football correspondent of The Daily Telegraph. In July-August, the Ramadan series (comprising of four episodes or five if you include my report on the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge) was aired on Suzie Roberts’ Sunday Breakfast show. I returned in October to interview pilgrims who previously made the journey to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). Eid-ul-Adha followed soon after and I reported about this year’s celebrations from Kelsey Kerridge Sports Hall in Cambridge. I really enjoyed working with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and would like to thank all my interviewees for their contributions. Once again, huge thanks to Heather Noble, Suzie Roberts and the rest of the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire team for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

I recently got back into writing articles again! It’s been a while actually. When I was fourteen, I used to write for a paper called the Bangla Mirror. My first article was about Liverpool FC winning the Champions League… anyway, I produced a series of articles on tennis for SportPulse. I wrote five online articles, summarising all the men’s fourth round matches and the women’s semi-finals at Wimbledon, plus two men’s first round matches from the US Open. I recently became News Correspondent for The Asian World, a monthly newspaper based in Birmingham with a readership of over 200,000 and delivered articles on cricket. I covered the Bangladesh v New Zealand Test series that took place in October.

I have also done a fair amount of networking this year. I was listed in the “Brightest 50” and “Brightest 100” publications, highlighting and celebrating the achievements of selected British Bangladeshis from across the UK. I was recognised for my academic achievements, my endeavours in web design and development, and my work as a reporter for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.  I was also one of five individuals from around the country to be invited to attend the finalists launch of the Asian Media Awards in September. Hosted by presenter and broadcaster Lisa Aziz, the nation’s leading media professionals gathered at City Hall, London, as the full list of nominees for this year’s Asian Media Awards were announced. A month later, I was at Alexandra Palace, London, for the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who event. My mother, Shahida Rahman, was listed in their 2013 publication and was recognised for her work in literature.

Filmmaking? Not much to report for this year I’m afraid. I made two videos. One was a short film called “Dealing With a Difficult Teenager” starring three optometry students from Anglia Ruskin University, who all demonstrated how they thought an optometrist should handle a customer in the form of a stubborn teenage girl accompanied by her mother. They submitted this video as part of their work and they passed. Well done! It was really fun working with you all and I wish you all the best for the future!

My second and final video of 2013 was “Ramadan Roundup 3“. In this year’s instalment, I explored fasting in more depth and provided a report about the recent developments of the New Cambridge Mosque Project. I also had a “chat” with the Prime Minister about fasting, I wonder if he’ll give it a try next year? The Ramadan Roundup Facebook page has been doing well and has attracted hundreds of likes. Brilliant! Thank you for the support!

Overall, 2013 has been an eventful year and I am really looking forward to what lies ahead in 2014. I have met so many wonderful new faces recently, and I am looking forward to working with some of you in the new year! As always, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures. I am so grateful for all your support and generosity, and I wish you all the best for the year ahead.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bangladesh Draw in Mirpur

My second article was published in the December 2013 edition of the Asian World, a monthly newspaper based in Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Bangladesh v New Zealand
21-25 October 2013
Second Test, Mirpur
Bangladesh: 282 and 269-3
New Zealand: 437
MATCH DRAWN

Persistent rainfall throughout the Second Test steered Bangladesh and New Zealand towards a disappointing and frustrating conclusion in Mirpur, as the series ended 0-0.

Looking to build on their encouraging performance in the First Test, the Tigers decided to bat first with Tamim Iqbal leading the charge. The Bangladeshi opener was the top scorer of the first innings with 95 off 153 balls, collecting 17 fours in an impressive individual display. Although Marshall Ayub (41) and Mominul Haque (47) narrowly missed out on half-centuries, Bangladesh were eventually dismissed for 282.

New Zealand responded strongly through a maiden Test century from Corey Anderson, the 22-year-old blasting 13 fours and 2 sixes in a superb 116 off 173. Supporting knocks from BJ Watling (70 not out), Kane Williamson (62), Ish Sodhi (58) and Ross Taylor (53) boosted the total to 437, providing the visitors with an important advantage in the match. The Bangladeshi bowlers struggled to make their mark, despite the noteworthy efforts of their all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who managed to complete his tenth five-wicket haul. It was evident that the home side were faced with a difficult task as they prepared for their second innings.

New Zealand’s Neil Wagner successfully nullified any potential threats early on by removing the likes of Anamul Haque and Marshall Ayub. However, Tamim Iqbal replied with a patient 70 off 218 deliveries and established an excellent 157-run partnership with Mominul Haque, who maintained his tremendous form with a second successive century – striking 16 fours in an unbeaten 126 from 225. Bangladesh had set a new record – this was their highest third-wicket partnership in Tests. As Shakib Al Hasan chipped in with a solid 32 and remained at the crease with Mominul Haque, Bangladesh’s dominance with the bat ensured New Zealand were handed a challenging proposition going into the final day.

It was an impressive reaction from the Tigers which demonstrated a high level of discipline and maturity, particularly when they have been culpable for throwing away wickets in the third innings of Test matches. When the fifth day arrived, both teams were deprived of any action due to rain as the match came to a close. Bangladesh can walk away with their heads held high after drawing a Test series against a side ranked higher than them in the rankings. Mominul Haque was named both man of the match and the series.

Bangladesh Draw in Mirpur

Tenacious Tigers Reach Stalemate

My first article was published in the November 2013 edition of the Asian World, a monthly newspaper based in Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Bangladesh v New Zealand
9-13 October 2013
First Test, Chittagong
New Zealand: 469 and 287-7 declared
Bangladesh: 501 and 173-3
MATCH DRAWN

A spirited and history-making performance with the bat and ball from Sohag Gazi was one of the highlights in the First Test, as a battling Bangladesh were forced to settle for a draw against New Zealand in Chittagong.

The visitors elected to bat first after winning the toss and were quick to assert their authority, with Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson scoring 73 and 114 respectively. After Williamson’s departure from the crease, New Zealand appeared to be losing their way as they lost three wickets and trembled on 282-7, while Bangladesh endeavoured to wrestle back control of the match. However, a commanding 127-run partnership in the tenth wicket between BJ Watling (103) and Trent Boult (52 not out) put New Zealand in charge of proceedings once more, ending the first innings on 469.

Bangladesh made a poor start to their chase, teetering dangerously on 8-2 as Tamim Iqbal and Amanul Haque failed to make any meaningful impact. This prompted a steady and disciplined performance from Mominul Haque, who fired a mightily impressive 181 off 274 and notched up 27 fours in the process.

Valuable contributions from Bangladesh’s middle order added to their total but Sohag Gazi would make the headlines for becoming the first Test cricketer to score a century and take a hat-trick in the same match. The 22-year-old dispatched ten fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 101 off 232 balls, as the Tigers deservedly regained a temporary foothold of the match, finishing off with an excellent 501. In a rain-affected second innings, Fulton (59) and Williamson (74) forged another effective partnership for New Zealand. Ross Taylor provided support for the visitors with an unbeaten 54 but Gazi eventually stole the limelight. Having claimed two wickets off consecutive balls in that over, he went on to complete his hat-trick, thanks to a one-handed catch at first slip by Shakib Al Hasan. New Zealand ultimately declared on 287-7, setting Bangladesh a target of 256 in a maximum of 48 overs on the final day.

Despite an improved second innings display from Tamim Iqbal and positive scores from Marshall Ayub, Mominul Haque and Shakib Al Hasan, the match faded towards a draw.

Tenacious Tigers Reach Stalemate