Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 17:41 pm (KSA) 14:41 pm (GMT)

British Muslim talent feted by Prince Charles

IPrince Charles greets Jordan's Princess Badiya bint El Hassan
IPrince Charles greets Jordan's Princess Badiya bint El Hassan

Muslim communities have "enriched Britain in every sense" Prince Charles said at an award ceremony for talented British Muslims alongside Jordan's Princess Badiya bint El Hassan.

The Mosaic Talent Awards were created this year in conjunction with one of the heir-to-the-throne's charities. Mosaic, which offers mentoring to help raise the aspirations of disaffected young Muslims and break down barriers across British society.

“[Y]ou have enriched Britain in every conceivable sense,” the prince told the awardees, calling them “the best long term investment I could ever make in the future success and well being of our Muslim communities in this country.”

"I was fascinated to hear the views of the imam of the Leeds Makkah Mosque (in the north of England) on how, through a wide range of initiatives including Mosaic, Britain seeks to integrate rather than isolate its minority communities and offers real freedom of choice and of expression," the prince said.

"I have to say that it is this acceptance -- indeed, this welcome -- of diversity which makes me rather proud to be British."

The winners

Among the winners was Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation

Among the winners was Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation (MWSF), an organization devoted to making it possible for Muslim girls to play sports by providing an all-girls environment.

“This is actually the first time we ever won an award, as a volunteer based org it was amazing to be at such a prestigious event,” vice-chair Ayesha Abdeen told AlArabiya.net.

Imran Hakim, 30, from Bolton in northwest England, was awarded the science and technology award for his iTeddy, an interactive teddy bear that he is now selling worldwide.

"I'm proud to be a positive role model for young Muslims -- there can be a lot of negative stereotypes in the press, so it's great to have the prince here tonight talking about something positive," Hakim said.

Princess Badiya helped choose the winners from among 31 finalists chosen from 57 entries.

“When I look at the scope and range of those short listed, it leaves me in no doubt that there is great drive, enthusiasm and ability in the young people of this country,” she said about the judging process.

Mosaic’s managing director, John O’Brien, also presented a somewhat belated birthday present to Prince Charles, who celebrated his 60th birthday earlier this month – a new international Muslim school founded in his name.

“The prince obviously doesn’t really need anything,” O’Brien told AlArabiya.net, but said that setting up a school to bring Muslims from the U.K. and around the world together would “delight” the prince.

British authorities have sought to engage more with Muslim communities since the suicide bomb attacks on London in 2005, which saw four British nationals blow themselves up on the city's transport network, killing 52 others.

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