Ibrahim’s Review of 2017

Annual review number nine! Can’t say I’m a novice at this anymore. I can already imagine next year’s review. We’ll be throwing a party. Cakes and balloons. Lots and lots of balloons. And cakes. I like cakes. Especially fresh cream. With a jam filling…

But then the balloons burst, and I wake up. The calendar still shows it’s 2017. It’s not quite over yet, but it’s time to look back on some of my personal highlights of the year.

In January, I was at the British Muslim Awards 2017, shortlisted as a finalist under the Services to Creativity and Technology category. The awards ceremony was at the Athena in Leicester. The winner was tech reviewer Safwan Ahmedmia, widely known as SuperSaf. Congratulations to you Safwan! I am also pleased to announce that I have been nominated as one of the finalists in the “One To Watch” category for the British Muslim Awards 2018, which will take place in Bradford. I am humbled to have been shortlisted again and wish all nominees the best of luck.

Ibrahim was a finalist in the Services to Creativity and Technology category at the British Muslim Awards 2017

Between February and April, I was one of the presenters of “@7”, a topical magazine show on Cambridge TV. It was really fun presenting alongside co-hosts Billy Pointon, Victoria Innes and Bridget Bradshaw, as we looked at all kinds of local stories to do with arts and culture, entertainment, current affairs, and much more. It was also a pleasure to collaborate with Rick Pinder, the producer and director of the series. Many thanks to the Cambridge TV School for the opportunity and also to Billy, Victoria, Bridget and Rick for being so awesome to work with!

The “@7” gang: Ibrahim with co-hosts Billy Pointon (top-left), Victoria Innes (top-right) and Bridget Bradshaw (bottom-left), and series producer/director Rick Pinder (bottom-right)

Along came May when I appeared on “Unsung Hero”, a talk show on IQRA Bangla (Sky 825) presented by Ishaque Uddin. I talked about my work as a blogger and presenter, as well as discussing various issues affecting the youth and the British Bangladeshi community. You can watch the full interview right here:

Between May and June, it was certainly a very exciting period for British politics. We had a snap general election that coincided with the month of Ramadan. I invited each parliamentary candidate, standing to be MP for Cambridge, to my home for a live interview/chat on Facebook. I really enjoyed the experience of interviewing the candidates, listening to them all discuss various key issues in the run-up to Election Day. It was a Labour hold for Cambridge, winning with more than 12,000 votes. Many thanks to Daniel Zeichner, Julian Huppert, Stuart Tuckwood and John Hayward for joining me on Facebook Live during the election period.

Ibrahim interviews the 2017 parliamentary candidates for Cambridge on Facebook Live: Stuart Tuckwood (top-left, Green), Dr John Hayward (top-right, Conservatives), Dr Julian Huppert (bottom-left, Liberal Democrat), Daniel Zeichner (bottom-right, Labour)

My biggest highlight of the year was in July when a childhood dream of mine became a reality. I was offered a work experience placement with ITV News to assist the newsteam with their coverage of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships. The two weeks I spent at SW19 were amazing, and I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to be part of one of the world’s greatest sporting events. Huge thanks to the ITV News team for everything, it really was an incredible experience.

Ibrahim at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships

Fast-forward to October. My mother and I co-launched Cambridge Rise, a digital media network providing positive news coverage online for the Cambridge community and beyond through multiple social media platforms. Since the launch, we have produced video reports on the completion of a community mural and the Cambridge Mosque Open Day. There’s still more to come as we keep on producing news reports as well as making mini-documentaries, sharing untold stories from the city’s wider communities. The website currently features various articles and blogs, and we’re hoping to publish more content in 2018 from new contributors. Exciting times ahead!

2016 was a tough year for me, but there have definitely been some great moments this time round. The hard work always continues of course. Business as usual. How many times in our lives have we thought about doing things but felt we could never pull it off? Of course, it’s important to be realistic and not set ourselves a target that is unattainable. Why not break it down? Make it easy. There is another way. Even when you’re faced with restrictions and limits, you can still do it.

I recently came across a motivational quote from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“Many of us are guilty of overthinking. Remember, the battle starts in your mind. Don’t defeat yourself in your own mind before you’ve even started. Focus your mind in the right direction. Be positive about things. You will see the difference.”

To all those who have supported me through the good and bad times, I thank you. Let’s continue to have hope. Keep on spreading the positivity into the new year and beyond. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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!