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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

UK New Year Honours list gives award to solicitor who protects Muslim women from unregistered marriages

Aina Khan, founder of Register Our Marriage, was recognised with an OBE

Aina Khan has been honoured with an OBE for her work protecting women and children from unregistered marriages. Stephen Lock for The National
Aina Khan has been honoured with an OBE for her work protecting women and children from unregistered marriages. Stephen Lock for The National

A grime artist, a former deputy prime minister and a solicitor specialising in Islamic Family law are among 1,123 people named in the UK New Year Honours list.

Wiley, the “godfather” of the grime movement, which originated in east London, was awarded an Member of the British Empire gong (MBE) for services to music.

Responding to the news of his honour on Twitter, the 38-year-old, whose real name is Richard Cowie wrote: "Big up the Queen."

Aina Khan, the founder of Register Our Marriage (ROM), was recognised with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) award for helping protect women and children from unregistered marriages.

The campaign is aimed at Muslim couples who do not register their Islamic Nikah ceremony, although it is directed at all faiths.

Ms Khan said she hoped that her position on the list would show that “a child of immigrants can be a British citizen, can have a professional career and be given an award that has been handed out for a century”.

“I am from a Muslim Pakistani background and this award is good news for Muslims, Pakistanis and for women breaking through the glass ceiling,” she added.

Grime artist Wiley has been recognised in the New Year Honours list with an MBE. Sarah Dea/ The National
Grime artist Wiley has been recognised in the New Year Honours list with an MBE. Sarah Dea/ The National

Nick Clegg, the former leader of the Liberal Democrat party who served as deputy prime minister from 2010 to 2015, has received a knighthood.

The former member of parliament for Sheffield Hallam, a constituency with a heavy student base, lost his seat in June’s general election widely seen as a reaction to his part in increasing tuition fees during his time in government.

Sir Nick, as he will be known as, also clarified that despite accepting the honour, he would not be taking up a place in the House of Lords.

The former deputy prime minister was one of several remain campaigners in the 2016 EU referendum who were given awards.

While Brexiteers were also recognised. Graham Brady, who is a key influencer in the ruling Conservative party was given a knighthood and fellow Conservative politician Cheryl Gillan was made a Dame.

Ringo Starr, the former Beatles drummer, was given a knighthood, twenty years after his former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney was awarded his gong.

Responding to the news, he said: "It's great! It's an honour and a pleasure to be considered and acknowledged for my music and my charity work, both of which I love. Peace and love."

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Read more: Prince Harry chooses Muslim leader for message of reconciliation

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Part of the British honours system, New Years Day is marked by naming new members of orders of chivalry and other official honours in the name of the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

However, the Queen does not decide who makes the list, rather she approves a list given to her by her ministers.

Select committees divided into nine subject areas made up of independent experts and senior civil servants sift through a list of nominations and decide the recipients.

To be eligible for an honour, a candidate must first be nominated. Anyone can be nominated; however, they must be actively involved in what they have been nominated for.

A Knight Commander or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is the second highest order given in the honours. The highest is Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE).

A Commander of the Order of the British Empire follows in third, while an OBE ranks fourth followed by an MBE in fifth.