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!

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.

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.

Maa Amar Maa Awards 2014

Thursday 27th March 2014. A memorable evening in London.

I nominated my mother, Shahida Rahman, for an award at the Maa Amar Maa Awards – an awards ceremony created by Pillar Productions to honour British Bangladeshi mothers in the UK across a range of categories.

I attended the event with my mother (obviously!), father and sister. We arrived at the Decorium quite early, so I used this time to explore the venue. Actually that’s wrong, I didn’t really explore much at all as we were expected to loiter about in the foyer before the event began. However, I met familiar faces and made some new connections! Hosted by the vibrant and elegant BBC Asian Network presenter Nadia Ali, the event featured live entertainment and a wonderful three-course meal catered by Pride of Asia.

As the night progressed, all the awards had been announced except for one – Mother of the Year. Suddenly, my mother’s name was announced. It took us all by surprise – my mother was shocked! She briskly walked up towards the stage and was presented with her trophy, posing with the accolade alongside Dilara Khan and Shahagir Bakth Faruk (the CEO’s of Pillar Productions). I was still trying to come to terms with this wonderful achievement, and then Nadia requested for me to come up on stage as well and say a few words… WHAT?!

I didn’t have anything planned! What was I going to say? Somehow I managed to conjure up a short speech, acknowledging the efforts of Pillar Productions and the Maa Amar Maa team for all their hard work, and paying respect to all mothers for everything that they do.

Congratulations to all the mothers who won awards and to those who were nominated this year!

Finally, I want to use this opportunity to thank my mother for everything she has done for me. I know words will never be enough. You are the queen of my heart and you have always been the driving force in my life. You gave me the encouragement and strength to take on so many challenges in life – may Allah elevate you to the highest level of paradise.

Thank you.

Mother and me - December 1992
Mother and me – December 1992

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

The Power of Networking

Thursday 7th November 2013. A day to remember.

“Erm… why?”

Well, well, well. Look who it is. It’s the invisible voice! Go and crawl back into your hole.

“Oh wow. Ibrahim’s finally showing some backbone! I have taught you well. You do realise that if I didn’t make these amazing appearances in your blog posts… I provide the comical moments which you simply could not deliver without my assistance.”

I am not a comedian. Besides, everyone knows my jokes are bad. Nothing new. You’re just here to scare off my readers! Off you go, the door’s just over there. Second turn on the right.

“I provide the colour. The vibrance. The beauty.  I once found the bottom of a rainbow you know.”

I have two words for you. GO AWAY.

“I’ll be back. This is not over, Mr Rahman…”

Goodness me… so what is the “Brightest 100”? Let’s get down to business and go back in time… LIVERPOOL WON THE LEAGUE TITLE! I think we travelled too far. 23 years. We are way off…

Here we are then, Saturday 11th May 2013. It was the FA Cup Final. Manchester City lost 1-0 to Wigan Athletic… sorry, am I rambling too much about football? Some of you don’t like football? Oh. Never mind then. Apart from the big match, this was the day of the “Brightest 50” event, organised by a not-for-profit organisation called PRiDEA. My profile was listed in the “Brightest 50” publication, a book that highlighted and celebrated the achievements of 50 British Bangladeshis from across the UK. I was recognised for my academic achievements and work in web design and development.

Fast forward… STOP. Six months later, I found myself at the House of Commons and listed once again in PRiDEA’s latest publication for the “Brightest 100”. This time, I was acknowledged for my work as a reporter for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Both events were really good and inspiring. I met some wonderful people and I am still in contact with them today. It’s a great feeling. I am honoured and privileged to have been listed in both publications and I would like to congratulate everyone else who also featured as well.