Saturday, August 19, 2017
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by Sophie Bourner
You wouldn’t be mistaken in thinking that your company logo and slogan is the branding for your business. Although these features are key, it does however go far beyond this, branding involves every part of a customer’s experience when they are involved in your business.

From your logo on your website, to your social media and online­ presence, to printed advertising and even staff uniforms! Your brand incorporates the way in which you interact with customers, be that on the phone, email or via social media platforms. Branding is the way in which a customer identifies you when they think of your company name, service or product.

At Se7en Services we adopted a simple black and white logo which reflects the values of our company, we are black and white, you get what you see. This has been carried through all of our marketing and advertising materials, both online and in print, allowing us to be easily identified by our customers. This continuity offers stability to our customers, and we follow this through with top level customer service.

So why is branding so important for your business?

  • BRANDING UPHOLDS RECOGNITION. You are more likely to do business with a company that is familiar to you. Consistent branding that is easy to recognise will help customers feel more comfortable when purchasing a product or using an experience.
  • YOUR BRAND HELPS SET YOU APART FROM THE COMPETITION. With technology allowing us to connect with people from all over the world, it is vital that your business stands out from the crowd. You are no longer competing on local level. A clear and structured brand guideline will help you stand out from the numerous other business out there.
  • YOUR BRAND TELLS PEOPLE ABOUT how you run your business. From the visual features of your brand to the way that your phones are answered these all work together in telling your customer about the kind of company that you are. Is your business giving off the right impression that reflects your business values?
  • CLEAR BRAND GUIDELINES GIVES DIRECTION FOR YOUR STAFF. A clear brand guideline will provide clarity to your staff with how to act when working with customers. That way you are safe I the knowledge that everyone is working to the same standard.
  • A STRONG BRAND Helps GENERATE REFERRALS. When you find a company that you like doing business with, you are more than likely going to tell your family and friends about it. A strong, consistent brand will help customers remember who you are so that they are able to refer you later on.

Branding works best when it is built on a strong idea. The likes of Coca-Cola, Apple and Nike are worth far more than their physical assets, and their strong company branding is what has helped them exceed this value. Your own branding needs to infiltrate your entire business. Here at Se7en Services we can help you figure out your brand guideline and help you put it into place. We cover everything from logo design, to social media graphics, to printed advertising, keeping in line with your own brand guidelines.

Sophie Bourner
Branding + Marketing Consultant
01904 207005
07710 081196
sophie@se7enservices.com

A man is doing the unthinkable by walking across Britain to promote peace.

Tanausu Herrera (39), set off from London on 24 May and has so far covered over 800 miles.

He landed in Bradford last week and only by chance he was spotted by locals who questioned his passing through the city. Local businessman John Simms, who runs Glyde House, was amazed at Tanausu’s effort, that he convinced the Tenerife born trekker to stay in the city to rest and recover from the strenuous walking distance he has covered.

John persuaded Jonathan Hall, Deputy General Manager at the Midland Hotel, to provide a room and food for Mr Herrera who could also take time to visit Bradford’s Peace Museum.

Speaking to Urban Echo, Mr Herrera said: “I started walking from London on 24 May. The reason why I took the decision to walk the whole of England was that I was upset with all the violence and uncertainty happening around the world. More so, the recent violence here in England with the Manchester and London terrorist attacks.

I want to promote peace. I see myself as a messenger for peace. I want to show the world that humanity does still exist.”

Mr Herrera’s passing through Bradford was a low key affair as he has only been promoting his activities via his personal Facebook page. It was only by luck that Mr Simms bumped into him and was so impressed by his efforts, that he wanted as many people to know of Mr Herrera’s quest for peace.

“I just could not let him leave our city without us celebrating the fact that he visited us. He is doing an amazing job and we all need to get behind him during the rest of his journey”, Mr Simms told Urban Echo.

Mr Herrera has been mainly camping throughout his journey and has been relying on food donations from strangers.

“I have lost a lot of weight since I stared this journey but that was expected. The plan is to walk to London and rest for a while and then I would like to walk to Brussels where I can hand a letter to the European Institute of Peace.

“I would also like to thank everyone that supported me in Bradford and for all their love. Bradford people are truly amazing.”

You can follow Mr Herrera’s journey on Facebook and if you do come across him somewhere in the UK, do offer him some support and a bite to eat.

by Noreen Khan
In a time of austerity and desperation when facing insurmountable economic and financial pressures coupled with loneliness and being a single parent, the future is often bleak. The pathway to prosperity is economic self-sufficiency and for that to happen there should be a strong and stable safety net that works to support single mothers at both the grassroots level and with the aim of bringing progressive policy development change at the highest level.

This is very much the fundamental core of the work of Neesie. It believes that in order to move single mothers and their families out of poverty and onto a path towards long-term economic stability, graduated and continued support is necessary. Neesie provides a platform for single mothers and their children to enable and facilitate them to grow independently, simultaneously accessing mutual support to help better their lives, and experience love and understanding. To provide opportunities for engagement in an atmosphere of care, love and joy.

We believe that by strengthening mothers in the areas of confidence building, education, employment, social cohesion and inclusion and parental support, the entire family structure can be strengthened. We seek to make progressive steps by engineering opportunities, through partnership working that will strengthen women with children in these areas thus removing barriers that interfere with their ability to prosper. Neesie aims to provide women with children, the hopes and skills to build an economically and emotionally stable home environment through our sustainable programs.

Neesie deliver a range of programme through tailor made solutions ranging from financial security, employment, training as well as advice on health and well–being, training and development, first aid, fire safety, hate crime and bullying to cybercrime. The diverse range of programmes are designed to meet the needs of our broad spectrum of society and the hundreds of mums that are supported through Neesie.

Neesie works locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, establishing convivial platforms for women so that they can energise and prosper. The added value that Neesie brings from the Third Sector is the voice of an invisible community who have been neglected and looked upon as not a vulnerable community. However, the alarming statistics indicate otherwise and the trajectory of lone parents is increasing. Therefore, Neesie is working very closely with Government Ministers to introduce and implement policy directives to look at putting in place interventional measures to avoid further pressures on public services.

Neesie is committed to providing pathways to prosperity for mothers, who might otherwise live in poverty. We give them an opportunity to build a new life full of hope, by inspiring, educating and energising them to reach their full potential in society. With the help of our strategic partners, we can successfully balance the scales of priority to their advantage ensuring a brighter future and creating a legacy for their children and our community.

If you or anyone you know can benefit from Neesie or further support Neesie, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Noreen Khan on 07505 994069 or email on info.neesie@gmail.com

Facebook: Welcome Neesie

Twitter: @TweetNeesie

Noreen Khan (Director) is a Community Social Engineer, making advances in community and social inclusion, rigorously working on systematic Policy Development with Government Ministers to pave pathways to prosperity.

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by Janette Ward

This month we will explore overthinking – it is what psychologists call self-focused rumination. This means thinking too much, usually negatively – needlessly, passively, endlessly and excessively pondering the meanings, causes and consequences of your character, your feelings and your problems.

I find doing it uncomfortable and painful so when looked into how to stop doing it, I learnt about several strategies, that I use and the result is that I rarely ruminate now.

Research shows that overthinking sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negatively biased thinking, impairs a person’s ability to solve problems, saps motivation and interferes with concentration and initiative.

The combination of rumination and negative mood is toxic. If you are plagued by rumination, you are unlikely to become happier before you can break the habit. It is likely that we all do it from time to time, so to stop or reduce it significantly, here are some strategies you can adopt…

1. The first is simple but powerful, that is to distract yourself. The activity to distract yourself needs to be engrossing enough so that you don’t easily fall back into ruminations. The activities need to make you feel happy, curious, peaceful, amused or proud. Even a temporary lift in mood can make you feel energised, more motivated to interact with people and more creative in how you approach your problems. Things that help to distract me are reading, being with my granddaughters and cooking.

2. Use the STOP technique by telling yourself in a way that works for you i.e. SNUP – Serves No Useful Purpose; or imagine your hand held up as a reminder etc.

3. Another is to set aside thirty minutes every day to do nothing but ruminate, ideally at the same time each day. More often than not, when the appointed time arrives, you’ll find it difficult and unnatural to force yourself to overthink and the issues you had set aside to ruminate will seem less important than before.

4. You could talk to a sympathetic and trusted person about your thoughts and problems. Often sharing can help you feel that your problems aren’t as overwhelming as you thought they were and it can be useful to hear someone else’s perspective.

5. Writing out your ruminations can help you organise them, make sense of them and observe patterns you haven’t seen before. Writing is also a way to unburden yourself of your negative thoughts, allowing you to move past them. I have find this strategy particularly helpful especially writing at night as it enables me to sleep better.

6. Also taking action. If there is a particular situation you are overthinking about, decide on one small step you can take to improve the situation or help you feel a bit better i.e. making an appointment with a counsellor, write an email, get all your bills together, etc.

7. Another technique is to strengthen your identity and work towards building your sense of self-worth. This is a biggie, but you could begin by learning or undertaking something new. This can enhance your self-confidence. It also helps by making a list acknowledging your strengths and qualities, using positive affirmations, treating yourself like you would your best friend, being part of a self-development group, etc.

8. Learning to meditate can have a very calming and relaxing effect on your life, which can help you distance yourself from your worries and ruminations and leave you with a feeling of well-being. It can help you to be more mindful and the research states that being mindful – in the present moment, significantly reduces overthinking.

9. When you are busy ruminating about a particular situation, ask yourself ‘Will this matter in a year?’ Chances are in a month, six months or a year from now you won’t even remember it, let alone be upset about it. In 150 years from now, no one who is alive today will still be living, this brings home there are few things in life so significant that they are worth overthinking about.

10. Another suggestion is to visualize yourself as a tiny dot on the Earth, which is a tiny part of the Milky Way, which makes up an infinitesimal speck of the universe, it can give you a different perspective.

11. Finally, if you resolve that the trouble you’re enduring now is indeed significant and will matter in a year, then perhaps consider what the experience can teach you. Focusing on the lessons you can learn can help to soften the impact.

I hope that you find these strategies helpful. I deliver workshops on overthinking and if you are interested, I can be contacted at janette@circleswork.co.uk and www.circleswork.co.uk

 

by Mohammed Ajeeb, CBE

“Terror destabilises, not constructs; and instability creates vacuum, filled, for more often than not, by those with a fascistic agenda, whether that fascism is sponsored by religious fundamentalism or multinational colonialism”, wrote Huck Gutman, professor of English in the University of Vermont, USA.

There is no denying the fact that terrorism thrives within the illegitimate borders of occupation and dictatorship; it festers behind security walls put up by imperial powers; it crosses those borders and climbs those fences to explode inside the countries responsible for, or complicit in, occupation and domination. The manifestations of this a priori can be observed both in Palestine and Kashmir.

In 1979, the USSR entered Afghanistan with its thousands of troops to prop up the newly established pro-Soviet regime which was near collapse due to lack of political and military support. But the truth was that the US began aiding the Islamic fundamentalist Mujahedeen six months before the Russians made their move. According to Zbigzeniew Brazezinski, the then security advisor to Jimmy Carter, this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

However, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan still raised alarm bells in Western capitals. It was feared that such a move by the Soviet was a serious threat to the vested interests of America in South Asia as well as in the Middle East and that the Russian’s old dream of controlling hot waters could come true. The USA was reluctant to engage in direct confrontation with the Soviets. Instead the Americans cajoled General Zia ul Haq, the sixth president of Pakistan, to launch offensive against Russians from within his country with arms and money supplied by them. Zia, with the help and guidance of his intelligence agency ISI, was responsible to train and arm the Mujahedeen in partnership with the CIA. Zia ul Haq, a self-acclaimed fervent Islamist, was determined to drive the “Godless, atheists and Communist menace” out of Afghanistan. Recruitment and training of volunteers from almost all over the world, particularly from the Muslim countries of Middle East and Africa as well as China, to take part in the war effort against the “evil “of Communism.

The bulk of Mujahedeen, who were readily willing to sacrifice their lives to defeat Soviet infidels, were Afghans and Pakistanis. It has been alleged that the Pak Army’s battalions in Mujahedeen outfits were also included in the fighters. Billions of dollars were poured into the war effort by the USA and Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudis matched the USA’s contributions dollar-for-dollar for the purchasing of arms and paying the Mujahedeen. In addition, private donations to help Mujahedeen in their war efforts against the Soviets amounted to 20 million dollars per month at their peak. Osama bin Laden was one of the prominent fighters among Mujahedeen. He too contributed heavily in terms of finance to the Afghani Jihad.

HENCE THE FOUNDATION OF EXTREME RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY WAS LAID BY THE UNITED STATES AND ITS STAUNCH ALLY ZIA-UL-HAQ WITH THE FINANCIAL BACKING OF SAUDI ARABIA AND THE SPIRIT OF JIHAD WAS REKINDLED.

 Meanwhile Gen Zia was killed in an air crash with the American Ambassador and a few military top officers. By this time, he was convinced that American policies toward the Muslim world were loathsome and designed to maintain its hegemony upon Muslims.

When the Soviets left Afghanistan, America too deserted that country leaving behind the Afghan war lords who continued to fight with one another for another decade while the Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI continued to manipulate them. At that period of time “interior depth” became a catch word in Pakistani politics. It was said that Pakistan is in dire need of “interior depth” in Afghanistan. During this period, hordes of Afghan young pupils studying in various seminaries of Pakistan, especially one in Akorra Khatak, were ready to take over power from the warring Afghan war lords. These were the Taliban, now well equipped, trained and reedy to fight for Mullah Umer’s victory.

As the Taliban were invading the war-torn country, on their way to Kabul, they swept away war lords like Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, a one-time hot favourite of Pakistan’s ISI. Their Chief or Amir was a one-eyed Mullah Omar who defeated his opponents and established the Taliban government in 1996. Afghanistan, thus, became a safe haven of Osama bin Laden, a rich Saudi national, who organised his terror group Al-Qaeda, now to revenge USA after having dealt with the Soviets.

The decision of the Soviet Union to withdraw from Afghanistan, was hailed as the humiliating defeat for the Soviets and a great victory for the Mujahedeen forces and the USA. The West celebrated the victory with a sigh of relief but without the realisation of this victory’s long-term consequences. America and its allies in the war were so much intoxicated with their victory that they failed to recognise they are leaving behind both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the rapidly growing monster of Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

It has to be understood that America and Saudi Arabia were the main culprits of creating and nourishing the monster of Al Qaeda and Taliban and Pakistan was used by them, as a front-line state, because of Zia’s belief in religious obscurantism. As a result, the country is still facing and suffering extremism and terrorism and ranked internationally as having witnessed the worst forms of violence and terrorism next to Iraq.

Then came the catastrophe of 9/11 when 19 terrorists, 17 of which were Saudi nationals, hit the twin towers and the Pentagon. The intelligence sources pointed out the involvement of Osama bin Laden in the attack. Mullah Omar adamantly refused to hand him over to the US and hence, the invasion of Afghanistan by US and its NATO allies, which continues till today.

Another illegal war was imposed on Iraq in 2003 in the name of democracy by Bush and Blair. In subsequent years Libya, Syria and Yemen were also invaded by American imperialists and their allies ostensibly under the guise of changing regimes and gifting freedoms and democracy to the peoples of these countries. Instead, all these nations and their wealth, national and cultural heritage and the infrastructure has been destroyed to unprecedented levels. Millions of innocent civilians have met their deaths in horrible ways and millions have been forced to leave their home lands to become unwanted refugees. The countries that were responsible for causing decimation and destruction of their countries are refusing to accept them as refugees.

All the panic, volatility, unrest and political instability and divisions deliberately created by the West in some Muslim countries is, in fact, the major contributory factor in the rise of extremism and terrorism. Any people would resort to violence if they are pushed to the wall.

In desperation, people can engage in activities which in normal circumstances they will avoid. The younger generation of Muslims globally are not willing to submit meekly to the powerful and to be subdued, dictated and controlled. Unlike their despotic rulers, they hate to be subservient to the powerful West. The rapid advancement in technology and the access to the internet coupled with social media are playing the most important role in disseminating all sorts of information in a matter of seconds even to the most remote areas of the world.

The extremist and terrorist groups like Daesh and Al Qaeda have come into being and have organised themselves only in those countries which have no effective governments and are engulfed in civil wars. They are just filling the vacuum. They DO NOT enjoy the popular support. The victims of their brutality and savagery are 99.9 per cent Muslims. If these war- torn countries are allowed by the imperialist power and its partners to restore normalcy in accordance with their political, cultural and religious values, the perpetrators of extremism and terrorism will die their natural deaths. They only flourish in areas where either there are no governments at all or are very weak and ineffective.

However, in Western Europe, the terrorism committed by a tiny number of Muslims is a direct reaction to state terrorism perpetrated by the USA and its allies in the Middle East and elsewhere and the biased and lopsided policy in relation to Palestine and Kashmir. To be quite explicit and honest, I will say without any fear of contradiction that the terrorist acts in Great Britain are intrinsically linked to our policy of intervention in the domestic politics of the countries under discussion.

In other words, we have to review our foreign policy. British Muslim communities have been consistently demonised and dehumanised by certain sections of our national press and media. Of course, any act of terror is abominable and unacceptable in any civilised and peaceful society and anyone who is found to be preaching and promoting such an obnoxious ideology must be brought to book and punished. But to paint the entire community with the same brush is not only unfair and unjust, it is also harmful for community cohesion. As a whole, the 3 million British Muslims are a law-abiding and peaceful community and have lived in Britain for longer than half a century.

The government and security agencies have been complacent in nipping the evil of extremism in the bud as it began to raise its ugly head in the nineties. I wrote a paper in 1999 warning the Labour government of the growing danger of extremism among a few Muslim organisations who had established links with the outfits who were already engaged in terrorist activities in Sudan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Although my paper was discussed in a meeting of the National Executive Committee, nothing was heard of any action thereof.

These organisations in Britain were financed by Saudi Arabian individuals as well as government. It is ironical that Saudi Arabia, a country, which is well known for supporting, promoting and exporting terrorism, still remains a blue-eyed boy of the USA. Does it not expose the West for its double standards and hypocrisy?

The recent visit of Donald Trump to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia endorses the perpetuation, in that country, of the worst autocratic monarchy in the world. The speech he delivered in Riyadh should put an end to any hope of a rapprochement between the US and Iran. He called on Arab members of the recently formed defence alliance of 39 Muslim majority countries led by Saudi Arabia, to isolate Iran and held that country responsible for promoting global terrorism though Iran is vehemently opposed to Islamic State.

Trump openly took sides with religious, sectarian and political divisions of the Middle East and told the world that America would continue to be a part of the Saudi-led defence alliance which is fighting in Yemen. It is worth noting that Trump singled out Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organisations. Both of these are anti-Zionism and have long been opposed by the US and Israel. Trump knows that the growing conflict between Arab Sunnis and Shia Iran can become precursors to a future sectarian war in the region. America will ensure that they fall into such a folly. The American foreign policy makers have to learn fast that the era of unipolar world is over. Soon it has to face the challenges of new emerging powers with new alliances. As the present Leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, recently said Trump should build bridges and not walls. Trump should heed to his advice and work for the world and not for dividing the world and creating more divisions and hatred.

In Britain, since the 7/7 odious terrorist attacks in London, few more similar attacks have been carried out. In the space of twelve years, 85 innocent lives have been lost and more than two hundred injured. These horrific incidents are too many and even a loss of one life is too much. They have contributed to the increase of ISLAMOPHOBIA and divided our communities.

It is worth keeping in mind that militants are still capable of striking anywhere at any time. It is also worth noting that groups such as Daesh and the English Defence League are all the time on the lookout for sick and weak and individuals with a split personality to recruit them in their ranks and use them for a heinous motive of committing terror in our cities.

However, the overall impact of extremism and terrorism and the toll it is taking on our peoples’ lives is something that must be thoroughly examined at the widest level and this examination must have in its scrutiny the review of our Foreign Policy.

 

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Steve McNichol. Managing Director of Se7en Services

In a time of mass political and social unrest, how can businesses protect themselves from the pitfalls of an uncertain world and economy?

With a snap General Election soon to be upon us, Brexit to be a reality in a matter of months and new attacks on people and infrastructures taking place each day, who in their right mind would want to own or manage a UK business?

In truth, today is no better or worse than yesterday to take the plunge into the world of commerce. Though the political and social climates may seem bleak, and with neither of the electoral front runners offering an obvious answer to fixing the economy without adding more pressure to struggling businesses, it is important to believe that there will always be a tomorrow for the UK economy. No matter what happens on June 8th and no matter the impact of Brexit, trade in Britain will continue, adapt and grow again.

There is no magic formula to achieving success, as individuals and business leaders, all any of us can do is be sure that we are as prepared as we can be to protect ourselves from changing times and unpredictable events such as those that occurred recently in Manchester. Key however, to giving yourself and your company the best chance of success are a few seemingly simple rules that I have learned through my professional career which will stand any leader in good stead.

  • Plan. Make sure that you are certain of your financial and strategic goals. It sounds simple but if you are unprepared, you will never be able to measure success and identify areas which need to be improved.
  • Research. Stay up to date with National and World News. If you are not aware of what is happening around you, you cannot adapt and stay ahead of the game. No business can prosper without a willingness to change with the times.
  • Listen. Take the best advice possible. Very few people can do every job in their organisation and a good leader recognises the importance of accepting help. If you surround yourself with good people and advisors, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed.
  • Look forward. Embracing technology can make everything from enhancing communication to creating tangible operational efficiencies a reality. In a world in which Social Media is king, no true leader can drive a business forward without accepting changing times and maintaining a Social Presence.
  • Stop. All businesses are only as strong as their leaders. A leader is an ambassador to their clients and employees. If you are too tired to motivate your workforce and lead your business growth will stall.

As Managing Director of several successful businesses and having learned from the many mistakes that I have made along the way, I am proud to say that the mission of Se7en Services is to help every business become the best that it can be by providing support to our clients and helping every business to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen me along the way. We are proud to offer fair, unbiased, independent advice to anyone who wants to grow and protect their business.

The United Kingdom and particularly the North of England is an exciting place to be and to do business, even in these uncertain times. We have knowledge, creativity and tenacity to overcome the challenges that lay ahead and with confidence and drive can become a true force to be reckoned with. Keep faith, try, be willing to make mistakes and learn. Things will get better.

By Steve McNichol. Managing Director of Se7en Services.

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by Sidraa Razaq
by Sidraa Razaq
It seems like an obvious question to ask, however I often find myself dealing with clients who aren’t actually aware of what their true legal position is.

Although a majority of Muslims know that a Nikaah is required in order to be married under Islamic Law, there are many Muslims who do not understand how a Nikaah alone affects their marital status under English law. Working with Islamic divorce client for a number of years, I have seen this situation arise on many occasions.

A common example would be where clients instruct me on their Islamic divorce whilst not realising a civil divorce would also be required. This is simply because many individuals fail to recognise that although a Nikaah is an Islamic ceremony, it can in certain circumstances change their legal status.

After dealing with hundreds of divorce cases, I have noticed how there is a general misconception within the Muslim community in which they assume a Nikaah alone is always sufficient enough to start marriage life in England.

What these Muslim couples are unaware of is that if the marriage breaks down a Nikaah alone will not provide the same level of legal protection that would be available if they had also registered the marriage via a civil ceremony.

A recent case I dealt with involved a client who had come out of a 15 year marriage however she did not have any automatic rights over her husband’s assets as they only had a Nikaah performed in this country and had failed to then register the marriage. Many of these clients are those who chose to stay at home in order to look after the household and raise the children. They therefore relied on their partner to financially support them. Without any legal protection by virtue of a recognised marriage, should the marriage fail or their partner die, then their legal rights are extremely limited and may also affect their inheritance rights.

However independence plays a key role in some taking the step of not actually wanting to register the marriage because they are both themselves financially stable. They take the view that not registering their Nikaah may be an advantage as it protects them claims against the others wealth should the marriage breakdown.

What is the true position when it comes to the Nikaah and English Law?

It all comes down to where the Nikaah took place. Couples who marry in England and choose to solely participate in a Nikaah ceremony will not be classed as “married” under English law. Therefore, they will not acquire the automatic rights granted to married couples under English law. They are regarded as common law partners.

By opting to only undergo a Nikaah ceremony, couples are in effect denying financial security and other advantages which come from having a civil marriage. The reality is that while a Nikaah ceremony in England fulfils the religious aspect for religious marriages it does not satisfy the requirements for a legal marriage under English law.

So when is a Nikaah classed as a valid marriage under English law?

A Nikaah which takes place abroad in an Islamic country will be accepted to be a valid marriage under English law. Therefore there is no requirement to undergo a civil ceremony.

This now brings me to the topic of bigamy and polygamy which as you will be aware is a criminal offence in this country.

I cannot stress how many times I have faced clients who are completely oblivious to the fact they are about to commit a criminal offence.

A situation which I have faced on numerous occasions is where an individual obtained an Islamic divorce for a marriage which took place in a country such as Pakistan. They later decide to re-marry.

It is then I have to advise them due to marriage being abroad the Islamic divorce is not sufficient and a civil divorce will also be required otherwise they may face criminal prosecution if they enter into a subsequent marriage under English law without first correctly ending the first marriage.

Sidraa Razaq

s.razaq@shiresolicitors.co.uk
Trainee Solicitor
Shire Solicitors
7 Eldon Place
Bradford BD1 3AZ
Voted Three Best Rated in Bradford
01274 727373

by Sarah Taylor
by Sarah Taylor
From their name ‘Nervous ‘Orse’, to the sweeping moors that feature as a backdrop to their video for the song ‘Dead Is The New Alive’, the Bradford based four piece are undeniably influenced by their Yorkshire roots; and with their unique blend of individual musical influences and genres Nervous ‘Orse have created an original and exciting sound that has seen them gain a loyal and growing following, and become firm favourites on the local live circuit.

Keen to find out more about the ‘Orse I met up with them ahead of the forthcoming release of two new singles, and discovered a group of musicians whose personalities are as diverse as their sound, but whose talent and passion unites them in their mission to make good music – and get it heard.

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Image courtesy of John Sargent / jackharrybill www.jackharrybill.co.uk

The band formed in 2014, originally as a three piece and having since added a fourth leg the four ‘Orse-men are: Dave McKinley (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar), Luke Carter (Vocals/Electric Guitar), Jacob Riley (Vocals/Drums) and Danny Sapko (Vocals/Bass)

Their sound is built on the solid songwriting skills of Dave, described by his bandmates as “a kind man who writes thought provoking lyrics”, and Jake who in Dave’s words is “an enigma, probably the most talented musician I’ve ever worked with – and doesn’t write a poor song!”

On top of this steadfast songwriting foundation Luke brings his versatility and perfectionism as a guitarist, and bassist Danny, who, being heavily influenced by Motown and Soul, is jokingly cited by the rest of the band as “playing too many notes!”

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Image courtesy of John Sargent / jackharrybill www.jackharrybill.co.uk

Add to this the harmonies, melodies and swapping of lead vocals that altogether create a unique and original sound, so unique in fact that it has led to the band often being described as ‘genreless’. However, this is not so much because it’s impossible to ascribe their sound to any specific musical genres, but because the band are driven by the desire to make good music, without genre constraints, as their two new singles, ‘Libertine’ and ‘Here’s To You’ which differ hugely in style, serve to demonstrate.

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Image courtesy of John Sargent / jackharrybill www.jackharrybill.co.uk

As the winners of ‘Outstanding Band 2016’ at the Grassroots Awards through the Yorkshire Gig Guide the band have clearly created a sound, style and audience experience that has put them in a field all of their own. Unanimous in agreement that winning the award is one of their proudest achievements so far it is by no means the only one of note. 2015 saw them being approached by a new local independent label Wide Mouth Records, and asked to sign, becoming the label’s inaugural band, followed by the release of their debut album ‘Where This Now Finds Us…’ later that year. They have also played at Bingley Music Live, Bradford Festival and on the main stage at Saltaire Festival. 2017 is already gaining pace for the ‘Orse as they eagerly look forward to the release of their two new singles, and a second album.

Not only are Nervous ‘Orse a band of talented, passionate musicians, they are also thoroughly good guys with boundless enthusiasm, integrity and heart. I’ll attest that when I heard ‘Here’s To You’ I found it emotionally impactful, and I felt the same when I learned that in 2015 the band released their single ‘Calling Orson’ which was written in memory of the late Robin Williams, as a ‘name your price’ or free download in support of #WorldMentalHealthDay (10th October) donating the proceeds from the track download to mental health charities.

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Image courtesy of John Sargent / jackharrybill www.jackharrybill.co.uk

To find out more about the band, upcoming releases and gig dates LIKE, LISTEN and FOLLOW here:

www.facebook.com/nervousorse
www.twitter.com/NervousOrse
www.youtube.com/c/NervousOrse
www.nervousorse.co.uk

Or catch them live on the following dates:

24th March at The Exchange, Russell Street, Keighley with Waiting For Wednesday and John Boxall – £5 OTD
7th April at ‘360 Club’ at Lending Room – The Leeds Library – Tickets £5
14th April at Al’s Dime Bar, North Parade, Bradford – Free entry
3rd July at Groovy Happening – £3 entry (no ticket needed) Monthly live music event and social gathering that is a fundraising initiative for Manorlands, Sue Ryder, held at Parkside Social Club, Haworth

Having worked in unions for over seventeen years, Leeds based Mizan Muqit is today the first Asian General Secretary of any British Trade Union.

Equality for Workers Union (EFWU) are an independent UK based workers union, working to change employer attitudes and support all workers equally. Mizan alongside his colleague, co-founded EFWU two years ago after working most of his career at BT and then O2 as a union official.

Mizan Muqit
Mizan Muqit

Born in the town of Kirkcaldy, Fife, in the East coast of Scotland, Mizan moved to Leeds in 1995 to study a post graduate in HR and then graduate at the city’s university. It was Leeds where Mizan decided to forge his career as he detected an up-and-coming city that would present him with more opportunities rather than returning to Scotland.

As his career progressed, he also witnessed forms of racial discrimination in the work place. But he quickly realised that these people needed help who were experiencing difficulties at the workplace mainly due to their race and religion. It was then that he decided to help others who were not aware of the help that was out there as he noticed many victims chose to stay silent as they were afraid of losing their jobs.

Speaking to Urban Echo, Mizan, 44, states: “My development was stifled by the other union for years that I worked with. Since I have set up EFWU, a high majority of union officials from the other union have not congratulated me. Some senior union officials said that I was going to fail. That made me more determined. It took a year of intensive interviews and checks by government officials to approve my application for a trade union. My co- founder and I spent thousands of pounds for the initial costs of creating a British trade union.

hgvhgv“Now, employers are intimidated by me as at times I have to be assertive and robust with them. I am a strong believer that knowledge is power. People do not know their rights at work and are not taken seriously.”

I have seen union member’s bonuses taken away, people developing disabilities during work due to the stress caused by employers. These are low paid jobs for people have no choice but to be bullied and victimised. My job is to put an end to this and let working people out there know that you should not have to endure any form of bullying and victimisation at work. Nobody should. “

Asked about EFWU, he continues: “We welcome everyone regardless of race, religion and ethnicity to our union. I have represented thousands of union members in Yorkshire and beyond.

We will support them. We will go over and beyond to help our union members. This union has been a dream. My aim is unionise companies in the public and private sector. Many companies in the private sector are not unionised. They don’t want a union because a union would demand better pay and a better working environment.

FullSizeRender“There is also a lack of awareness about trade unions. People are scared that if they approach a Union, they will be fired. By law, that cannot happen.

So what is a Trade Union and what do they do?

“For people not familiar with trade unions, we provide advice and information about employment law, discrimination acts, health and safety in the workplace and most importantly your employment rights. The UK Employment Equality Law is a body of law which legislates against prejudice-based actions in the workplace. As an integral part of UK Labour Law it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because they have one of the ‘protected characteristics’, such as age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation,” explains Mizan.

“Regarding discrimination, direct discrimination is treating a person less favourably than another who lacks the protected characteristic, is always unjustified and unlawful, except when there is a ‘occupational requirement’ which is a legitimate business justification accepted by a court. Indirect discrimination is also unlawful, and this exists when an employer applies a policy to their workplace that affects everyone equally, but it has a skewed impact on people with a protected characteristic when there is no good business justification for that practice. Other forms of discrimination include harassment and victimisation which are equally illegal.”

image1Mizan’s commitment to EFWU has seen his union grow to hundreds of union members in a short period of time and the union is growing currently at a rapid rate and word of mouth is spreading around the district rapidly about his and his co-founder’s abilities to bring employers to justice often resulting in tribunals where employers are forced to compensate and make changes to their internal policies. It is an individual’s legal right to join any union of their choice.”

But with his responsibilities and daily fight for workers’ rights and equality, Mizan knows that his role also brings with it his detractors. As he concludes, “I am probably one the most hated person by organisations in the public and private sector.

“But it does not bother me one bit. As long as I can keep fighting and continue to help change people’s lives for the better, I will continue to do so. I will never be in the pockets of employers”

If you feel you have been bullied or suffer from any other form of discrimination at a workplace, you can contact EFWU on www.efwu.org, email: info@efwu.org or by telephone on 0113 336 5261. EFWU are the first union to offer 24 hours and 7 days a week service including all bank holidays.

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By Qainaat Aftab

qainaat@urban-echo.co.uk

It’s February and it’s the infamous month of Valentine’s Day.

Every year we see the capitalist notion where hundreds of red hearted balloons and red roses fill up the shop shelves. Valentine’s Day is nothing but a capitalist con and another way to make singletons feel left out.

couple-rezsizedI find it odd how some of my friends get so caught up on the idea of being alone on Valentine’s Day. In reality, it’s just another day. But listening to their conversation, I couldn’t help but find their plans hilarious and outlandish. Therefore I have decided to share them with you.

My friends came up with a plan called ‘What every girl should do on Valentine’s Day’. Be prepared as no doubt, you will find some of their ideas bizarre and funny.

Firstly, forget about secret Santa, how about a secret Valentine? It might be a little clichéd but you can get a little gift and no one will be complaining.

valentines-day-wallpaperSecondly, every group of single girl’s need a movie night in. As my friends suggested, do it Bridget Jones style.

Thirdly, go out and wine and dine in style with your friends. If you are on a tight budget, call all your friends over and have a one dish party. It’s a great way of catching up too.

The fourth idea came from the hit comedy series Friends. As ridiculous as it sounded to my ears, it might be a great thing to do for a laugh. So, why not have a cleansing ritual? Burn and leave all the negativity behind you to allow new and positive things to come into your life.

Last but not least, forget a romantic weekend break for two. Why not adventure and explore away with your friends and have a girl’s trip away for the weekend. I can guarantee you some of your best memories will come from that

Some of you may find it humorous and some may pick up some great ideas. Whichever one it is we’d love to hear from you.

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