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Oussama Kardi and his fellow Jimmy Mizen Award nominees take the stage at the Celebrating Young People Awards ceremony.

Penryn Campus Politics student accepts national peacemaking award on behalf of FXU Islamic Society

Represented by University of Exeter Politics student Oussama Kardi, the FXU Islamic Society have won this year’s Jimmy Mizen Award.

The award was one of several handed out at the Celebrating Young People Awards ceremony on 1st July in London’s Leicester Square. The ceremony was organised by the charity Million Minutes in the hopes of recognising the often overlooked charitable and volunteer efforts of youths. The reception for the awards ceremony was held at the House of Lords, where nominees met and chatted with Baroness Sheila Hollins.

Oussama and his team, who are based at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, were nominated by FXPlus Multifaith Chaplain Becky Barber in recognition of the Society’s activities during the month-long national Islamic campaign “Believe and Do Good”.

Barber said: “I’m not sure if they would recognise themselves as peacemakers, but it is clear to me that in trying to help others, in living their faith and upholding principles of dignity, justice and respect, they work just as hard at tackling the negative image surrounding Islam, educating students and staff on campus and all those who meet them in the local community.”

During the campaign, the Islamic Society organised a number of high-profile educational and charitable activities, including a Discover Islam Week, distribution of roses decorated with messages about non-romantic love, a blood drive, a local beach clean-up (in conjunction with the Eco Society), and collection of food for the local food bank (in conjunction with the Christian Union).

Kardi said: "The Believe and Do Good campaign allowed us to engage with our fellow students, staff and our community by emphasising aspects of faith that are often overlooked. The Islam we hear about today is one that is associated with violence, with alienation and, unfortunately, with fear. We've started conversations, reached out beyond our differences and reminded everyone that it does not take much to do good. We are a society that was only formed this year - with few members and even fewer pounds in our account - but we have demonstrated that you don't need much to achieve much. All you need is an idea, a smile, and that dedication to go above and beyond to make a difference. Awards like this are a testament to the legacy of our efforts, and proves that despite the discord and disharmony that we continuously witness around the world, good things start with us here at home."

In addition to the Jimmy Mizen Award, which recognises a “persevering commitment to the common good or peacemaking”, the Islamic Society have also previously been awarded a number of other local and national accolades. This includes Best Campaign in the Country, Most Blood Donations, Most Active Islamic Society, Best Newcomer, Most Creative Islamic Society, and Best Student Union Relations, among others.

The Jimmy Mizen Award is sponsored by the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, launched by Mizen’s family in the aftermath of his murder at the age of 16. 

Million Minutes is a charitable organisation that seeks to give young people an opportunity to be heard and make a positive difference in the world.

Date: 7 July 2015

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