Britain – Queen Elizabeth Honors Muslim Athlete

SHAFAQNA - A British Muslim woman has been honored by Queen Elizabeth II for her outstanding services to the British Society in 2015, as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors list.

“Honestly I was shocked when I found out, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Rimla Akhtar, chair of Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation, told Get West London.

“I feel like I’m at the beginning of my journey – to receive this honor is such an amazing feeling.

“It’s nice to see what myself and my colleagues are doing is appreciated and important,” she added.

Akhtar has received an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday honors list, for promoting equality and diversity through her organization.

Led by Akhtar, the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation aims to raise awareness and provide sporting opportunities for women, especially those from ethnic minority communities.

The Muslim women’s foundation also works at bringing the playing field to the boardroom and bringing people together, she said.

Besides leading the sport foundation, the Muslim woman has also co-founded “the Listening Service”, an organization that provides mental health awareness and support for all women.

The service also targets women from minority communities.

“I feel like I’ve got massive support behind me, but this should be for everyone involved not just for me,” Akhtar said.

The prestigious award recognizes people who have made achievements in public life and committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.

In 2014, the 32-year-old Akhtar became the first Muslim woman to join the 121-strong Football Association Council.

As a part of her efforts to make football more inclusive, the Muslim athlete was among campaigners who pushed FIFA to end hijab ban.

Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2 million.

In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.

Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.

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