By Dr. Mozammel Haque
Asian Muslim community is playing pivotal role in every section of life including politics. According to table of most influential Asian personalities published by Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, Labour Peer Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham is on top of the list. In 1987 the first four members of parliament from ethnic minorities were elected in half a century. Now there are 15 MPs from ethnic minorities, the majority of them Asian.
Powerful British Asian in Politics
Sadiq Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, comes third on the list of the most powerful British Asians in politics. "The more representative parliament has become, the more relevant the legislation has been," he says. "But the progress that has been made hasn't been as fast as it should be."
What progress there has been, however, has produced some very powerful figures. At the top of the list is Labour's Lord Nazir Ahmed, who became the first Muslim member of the House of Lords in 1998 and is seen as the leading Muslim political voice in Britain. He describes himself as "very much a peer of the people" because of his working-class background.
In the fifth place, Kashmiri-born Khalid Mahmood is best known for his outspoken views on the War on Terror. He is Birmingham's only ethnic MP, representing the Perry Barr constituency.
Mohammed Sarwar, Labour MP for Glasgow Central in the sixth place, Baroness Uddin, Labour Peer, in the eighth place. She is the first Muslim women to enter the Lords in 1998. Salma Yaqoob, who is in the tenth place, is the vice-chair of the Respect party, second to Labour in a Birmingham seat at the last election.
Powerful British Asian women
According to Daily Telegraph, there are top ten powerful British Asian women. Shami Chakrabarti, director of national civil rights group Liberty, tops the list of the most powerful British Asian women. Chakravarti has campaigned for human rights in Parliament, and the courts. She is rarely absent from our TV screens, and is a staple guest on Radio 4's Today Programme.
Among these top ten British Asian women, three are Muslim. Human Rights is a running theme and the seventh secretary general of Amnesty International, Irene Zubaida Khan, comes second on the list. She has led missions across the world through Bangladesh, Pakistan, Lebanon and Israel to discus human rights issues, and won the Sydney Peace Prize in 2006. "I lived through a war in Bangladesh and saw how people with nothing gave others food and shelter," she says. "It gave m courage to think that whn you can't rely on government to protect you, you can rely on human nature. So I've made the purpose of my life to contribute to society and give back what I get."
Legal services complaints commissioner and legal services ombudsman for England and Wales, Zahida Manzoor, is hot on her heel in fourth place. She oversees the handling of complaints by professional bodies, including the Law Society and the General Council of the Bar. Sayeeda Warsi, vice-chairman of the Conservative Party is tenth on the list.
Top Richest Asians in Britain
There are top 20 Richest British Asians, according to Daily Telegraph, among them four are British Asian Muslim. Sir Anwar Pervez and family, (worth 250 million pounds) who is in eighth place of the list, began his career in the food Business in 1963, when he opened a mini supermarket in Earls Court. He has since built an empire to become the "Cash and Carry" king with Bestway, a 50-warehouse operation in Britain, which employs around 4,500.
Next comes Firoz Kassam (worth 240 million pounds), a hotels and leisure magnate, and the former owner of Oxford United FC, Kassam is famous for his eponymous stadium, a 12,500-seater on the edge of Oxford, which includes a hotel, cinema, bowling alley, gym, and restaurants.
Abdul Alimmahomed and his family (worth 150 million pounds) is in twelfth place of the list. Birmingham-based Alimahomed recently sold his packaging company Europackaging to MidOcean Partners in a deal thought to be worth L170m-L190m, netting the family a tidy L100m windfall.
Shami Ahmed and family (worth 115 million pounds) is 15 on the list. Ahmed started out as a market trader in Burnley and went on to found the Joe Bloggs brand, which employs more than 2,000 people. Outside fashion he invests in properties across London and companies such as Austin Reed.
Iqbal Ahmed and family (worth 90 million pounds) is twentieth on the list. After arriving in Manchester with his family in the early 197s, Iqbal and his brothers, Kamal and Bilal, set up Iqbal Brothers to sell tropical fruit to wholesale caterers. They diversified into frozen fish and now run Seamark, best known for the Mr. Prawn brand.