Luton community heroes including inspirational Amani Liaquat honoured at Big Iftar

Inspirational campaigner Amani Liaquat was one of a number of community heroes honoured at The Big Iftar after the event returned last week in St George’s Square.

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 12:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 2:26 pm
Amani with her family at her graduation
Amani with her family at her graduation

The 23-year-old student died in February this year following her diagnosis with a rare and aggressive brain tumour after collapsing in her home on 29 April 2020, the day of her 22nd birthday.

In the months that followed her diagnosis, she passionately campaigned to raise awareness to help fund research to find a cure for the disease despite undergoing several gruelling rounds of treatment.

“This award we collected today shows the incredible impact Amani has had, not just in our community in Luton but around the world,” her father Khuram told the crowd on Friday.

“I’d like to thank everyone here for coming out and celebrating this moment with us which is quite a difficult time as it’s the first Ramadan without our beloved daughter.”

The Big Iftar is a celebratory event organised by Inspire FM that brings together people of all faiths and backgrounds to share food and good company during the holy month of Ramadan. Over 1,000 were at the event.

At the event, a number of individuals and organisations received awards for their achievements in making the town a better place.

Others recognised for their contributions in the town included Yasmin Yousaf, the founder of Friends of Bright Eyes, who has campaigned for children with disabilities for nearly 40 years.

Crowds at the event

Level Trust’s Jane Malcolm, Jamie Kelly of Chantry Primary Academy, Luton Council’s Sandra Hayes, Sergeant Carl Perri, Luton Central Mosque’s Mohammed Walayat and Community Interest Luton’s Mostaque Koyes were other individuals recognised.

ABCD in Luton, Challney High School for Girls, the Peace Garden Initiative and Connect4Causes completed the list of those receiving awards.

Inspire FM Station Operations Manager Mohammed Tariq said: “The Big Iftar is an opportunity for people from different backgrounds and cultures to share a meal and learn from another.

“Luton is such a special place to live and one of the reasons is that our communities respect one another. Working with our numerous partners, we were delighted to bring people together for our first event following the Covid pandemic.”

The Big Iftar event partners included Luton Council, Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation, Luton Foodbank and Chaul End Nursery.

Cllr Mahmood Hussain, the Mayor of Luton, said: “The Big Iftar brings us all together as we continue to break down any barriers that may exist and build unity in our community.

“Events such as this are a great opportunity for us all to pledge our support to respect each other’s differences and continue to ensure that Luton is a place where we can live and work in harmony.

“May I congratulate and thank the organisers for putting together a great event.”

Those that participated in Discover Islam Luton’s Fastathon Challenge, an initiative where people fast for the day and donate to Luton Foodbank, also joined the event.

Young people from schools all over the town received prizes from Roy Greening, General Manager of The Mall Luton, for their submissions Luton is Home photography competition.