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.

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

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.

The Everyday Muslim Symposium

Welcome to my first blog post of 2015! It’s good to be back and blogging away once more. January has been quite an interesting month for me, and I am here to write about a wonderful event I was part of last weekend.

My mother, Shahida Rahman, was invited to speak at the Everyday Muslim Symposium, held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. In an evening of exploration into the realms of British Muslim Heritage, she talked about the history of Lascars. A Lascar was a sailor/militiaman from the Indian Subcontinent or other countries east of the Cape of Good Hope, employed on European ships from the 16th century until the middle of the 20th century. I was up next to read a short excerpt from my mother’s novel “Lascar”.

I was followed by some amazing spoken word performances from Tasmia Salim, Amaal Said and Mizan the Poet.

Tasmia Salim is currently finishing her studies at university. Her writing and performances are concerned with the oral traditions rooted in her culture and how personal narratives and histories are passed down between generations.

Amaal Said is a member of the Barbican Young Poets and Burn After Reading collectives. Her work explores the idea of home, identity and what war has meant for her family, among other things. Amaal is currently working on her first poetry collection.

Mizan the Poet (Mizan Rahman) is a spoken word artist whose brand of poetry is inspired by politics and real life experiences.

It was a fabulous event and I would like to thank Halima Khanom and Sadiya Ahmed for giving me the opportunity. I have found that it is a real challenge for some people’s voices to be heard, but that is only part of the battle. The next challenge is to be acknowledged. Everyone who performed had something valuable to share and it is really important that we are given that platform to express ourselves. You just have to keep persevering. Continue to work hard.

Keep on striving.