COMMUNITY champions have been rewarded for their work in Leeds with honorary degrees from a city university.
Qari Asim, Hanif Malik and Harbans Singh Sagoo all received their degrees from Leeds Metropolitan University.
And afterwards they told of their pride at being added to the university’s hall of fame.
Qari, a practising solicitor and imam at the Makkah Mosque in Hyde Park, said: “I am absolutely delighted and incredibly humbled to have received this prestigious honour from a distinguished institution.
“This honorary doctorate gives me a renewed sense of purpose to work even harder to enhance community relations.
“My role as a lawyer and as an imam may at first appearance seem very different but actually they have a lot of common elements – that is helping people to resolve their issues.
“Both roles are challenging and also emotionally stimulating.
“I see it as an absolute honour to be a conduit between people and their Lord and that’s something that’s phenomenally humbling to me.”
Hanif, founder of Beeston’s Hamara Healthy Living Centre, said: “I am absolutely honoured and privileged to get this award from Leeds Metropolitan University.
“My advice to students graduating today is to aim high and never let people tell you that you can’t achieve your goals because I’d like to think I’ve proven people wrong over the years.
“Regardless of your background, if you aim high and you’re committed and passionate about what you do, you can get there.
“Leeds Met were involved with the Hamara Centre right from the outset in terms of its development so I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that without the input of the university, we may never have had the Hamara Centre.
“Since assisting with the development, we’ve undertaken lots of health initiatives together over the years and for me, the collaboration has been really important.
“For them to come out into communities and assist organisations like Hamara I think speaks volumes about the university as an establishment.”
Harbans has helped support the Sikh community in south Leeds and is chairman of the Leeds Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, which runs courses in everything from computing to Indian music.