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Little superhero Muhammed Ali on award shortlist.

Byline: Paul Cole Print Editor

A PINT-sized superhero who defended his mum against a gang of seven armed raiders as they smashed their way into the family's home has been shortlisted for a Pride of Birmingham award.

Six year-old Muhammed Ali, who is only 4ft tall, leapt to the defence of mum Rifat Akram as masked men demanded gold and cash at gunpoint while the family waited for dad, Muhammed Siaz, to come home from work.

The raiders grabbed hold of Muhammed Ali's one-year-old brother, Adan Shahyan, during the terrifying ordeal in Balsall Heath at 8.30pm on October 2 - shaking the baby and yelling: "Tell us where the gold is!" But Muhammed kept his cool during the robbery, calming asking the robbers who tried to pull out Rifat's earrings: "Please keep away from my mummy. Don't you touch her!" The youngster's bravery has seen him shortlisted for Pride of Birmingham 2015. The awards, which recognise courage, caring, community and compassion, are organised by the Birmingham Mail in association with Virgin Trains.

Winners will be announced at a gala awards night at the city's historic Town Hall on October 2. Muhammed was first to spot the masked raiders when he rushed to the door after hearing a noise and thinking his dad had come home.

He called out to Rifat: "Spiderman has broken into our house!" At the time, Rifat, Muhammed and Adan were sitting in an upstairs bedroom with four year-old brother Muhammed Abbas.

"When Muhammed Ali heard a noise at the door he ran out to see if it was his dad," Rifat told the Birmingham Mail.

"A few seconds later he came back and said Spiderman had broken into the house, then these men wearing black face masks appeared.

"They had a knife and a gun. They came straight away into my bedroom and said 'Don't move, hands up.' "My children started crying at what was happening. The gang took everything out of the wardrobe and were searching and searching.

"They kept yelling 'Don't move, tell us where the gold is, tell us where the money is. Tell us right now!' "I was so scared. I thought nobody could save us. I was trying to think how I could call for help.

"I didn't have any gold in the house and I only had PS5 in my pocket. I thought they were going to kill me and I just felt lifeless. Then one of the men took my little baby and shook him very hard and shouted 'Tell me where the gold is!' At that point I thought I was going to faint."

As Rifat struggled to come to terms with what was happening, little Muhammed sprang into action.

"He told the men 'Please keep away from my mummy. Don't you touch her!'" said Rifat. "He came over and hugged me and tried to support me, tried to protect me.

"When they tried to take off my gold earrings he said 'No! Don't touch her, I'll do it.' "He kept saying 'Nothing's going to happen, I'm with you mummy. Just give them anything we have. Give it to him and ask him to go away from here' . "He was so brave. I thought I couldn't do anything, but he tried to motivate me and told me that I could. He saved the family that day."

Muhammed has already been awarded an Alan Henning Youth Award at Balsall Heath Forum's annual ceremony recognising neighbourhood champions.

West Midlands Police Superintendent Baz Javid, who presented that award, described him as an inspiration.

"It was so amazing to see that this small boy has shown such bravery in trying to protect his mother," he said.

Rifat has said that despite his bravery at the time, Muhammed is only just recovering from the trauma.

"After the incident he lost his con-fidence and he finds it hard to sleep at night," she said. "He has nightmares about people coming and killing me and his little brother.

"It's just settling down now, and we've had counselling to help. We try to motivate him by telling him that he saved us. He was such a support."

During the terrifying raid the robbers stole only a mobile phone. Noone has been charged in connection with the incident.

Mohammed has made it through to the Pride of Birmingham shortlist as one of the nominees narrowed down from more than 200 people suggested by Mail readers.

THE stars are shining bright for Pride of Birmingham - with a host of city celebrities helping present our awards.

The star-studded occasion already boasts a 'who's who' of Midland VIPs from rock and pop, showbiz and sport.

From music come Black Sabbath guitar hero Tony Iommi, pop wizard Roy Wood, Slade legend Noddy Holder and Hollyoaks singer-songwriter Abi Phillips.

Film and TV are represented by movie star twins James and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, and Yonderland and Horrible Histories star Martha Howe-Douglas.

Doctors regulars Lorna Laidlaw, Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh, Matthew Chambers and Laura Rollins will also be joining us.

Sporting celebs include Aston Villa legend Ian Taylor and Commonwealth Games golden girl Jodie Stimpson.

The awards will once again be hosted by Gaby Roslin, with more celebrity guests and live entertainment set to be announced. Other big names will appear on video, and the giant 'Big Hoot' owls who have caused a city sensation also have a part to play.

Judges including Jane Sutton mother of the late Stephen Sutton, the inspirational teenager whose efforts raised PS5 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust have been meeting to narrow down a shortlist of remarkable stories, with ordinary people achieving extraordinary things.

"The nominees we have been considering are remarkable," she said.

"There have been some very tough decisions to make."

As well as being a night to remember, Pride of Birmingham 2015 will help others, too.

Our charity this year is Birmingham Children's Hospital, whose worldwide reputation for excellence is the pride of the city.

Among our category sponsors are Natwest, Aston Villa FC, BBC Midlands, Severn Trent, Jerroms, Coventry University and South & City College Birmingham.


West Midlands Police chief constable Chris Sims with bravery award winner Muhammed Ali

Ex-Villa ace Ian Taylor and Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi | Gaby Roslin |

Abi Phillips |

Jane Sutton |

Roy Wood

Noddy Holder |

Oliver and James Phelps | Matthew Chambers |
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 29, 2015
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