Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman
Assalaamu Alaikum, Good Evening, Sursikar, Namasta
I would also like to join my wife to wishing you all a belated Eid Mubarak and Happy Diwali.
I hope that people sitting on the far table can hear me. Is this microphone working well?
About a month ago I went to a dinner and people at the back could not hear the speaker. A man at one of the back tables was getting frustrated and stood up and shouted at the speaker “can you speak up as I cannot hear you”. A man at the front table said to the person at the back table, do you want to swap places with me as I find the speaker very boring.
I also like the story of the speaker who was very boring and went on and on. A man at one of the tables could not tolerate this any more. He picked up a bottle and aimed at the speaker. He missed the speaker but hit the man sitting next to him. The man collapsed and other guests went to help him, to see if he was alright.
The speaker did not take notice of what was happening and carried on speaking, the man who had collapsed then opened his eyes and said to the people around him. Please hit me again as I can still hear the speaker.
I hope I am not giving you any ideas and if you find me boring please throw £50 pound notes at me and I will donate the money to charity but I will however keep on talking.
During the weekdays Lady Sheikh & I live in a flat at Albert Embankment. I can see House of Parliament and Big Ben clearly from our flat window. About a week ago I received a telephone from Carl Arrindell from Islam Channel. He wanted to see me and we were trying to arrange a meeting on the day. He asked me what time it is and I looked at Big Ben and told him the correct time is Quarter to eleven. As we live across the river someone said to me that I should get a boat and row the boat to Parliament as I would able to get here quickly and be able to vote when there is a division.
Whenever there is a division a bell rings and we have to be inside the chamber within a period of 7 minutes.
Everyone in the world associates Big Ben with the House of Parliament. Big Ben is in fact a huge bell in the clock tower and is named after a famous boxer. This year we have celebrated 150 years of the completion of the Clock Tower and Big Ben.
When I arrived in United Kingdom I started studying for the examination of the Chartered Insurance Institute. As you know the English common law is based on legal cases and there is a famous case of Beresford against Royal Insurance Company. Having studied this case I especially travelled to Westminster to look at the Big Ben.
The brief details of the case are as follows. A man took out a life insurance policy with Royal Insurance Company for a very large amount. His name was Major Rowlandson. Major Rowlandson fell on hard times and was very short of money. He however wanted to make sure that his family was well provided for. His life insurance was expiring on a certain day at 3 pm. Major Rowlandson took a taxi and asked the taxi driver to take him to the Houses of Parliament. When he arrived at Westminster Square he asked the taxi driver to look at Big Ben and tell him what time it is. The taxi driver said 10 minutes to 3 o’clock. On hearing this Major Rowlandson took a revolver from his pocket and shot himself and he died. So he died at ten minutes to 3 pm and his life policy was expiring at 3 pm. He deliberately asked the taxi driver to look at Big Ben and tell him the time as he wanted independent verification that he died before the expiry of the policy.
The estate and the family of Major Rowlandson made a claim under the policy for the sum insured.
The insurance company refused to pay and this case received a lot of publicity. The case eventually went to the House of Lords which is bit ironic as the incident occurred near the Houses of Parliament.
At this stage I would like to say that it was a crime at that time for a person to commit suicide.
People do jokingly say that it was the only crime where you were not prosecuted if you were successful.
The House of Lords had to decide whether or not the insurance company should pay the claim. The Law Lords decided that the insurance company should not pay the claim as suicide was a crime and the Major’s family could not profit in any way as a result of criminal activity.
We have with us today His Excellency the Ambassador of Bahrain. About two years ago I was invited to Bahrain by His Excellency the Ambassador at that time.
I was given VIP treatment and I was accommodated in a luxury hotel. Shortly after I arrived at the Hotel I was approached by a manager. He knew how to address me and said to me. “My Lord, I hope you don’t mind me saying this that all your expenses are paid by the Government of Bahrain except the consumption of alcohol”. I thanked him for mentioning this to me and I said to him that I was not concerned with this as I do not drink alcohol.
This reminds me of a true story which I was told by Mohammed Ali of Islam Channel who is with us today. A Muslim Scholar came to London and stayed at a 5 star hotel. After staying at the hotel for a few days he checked out and he was given a bill that he had consumed a lot of alcohol. The scholar said that he was teetotaller and does not drink alcohol and there was some sort of mistake. On investigation it was found that the Scholar opened his fridge to take a soft drink and found all sorts of alcohol. He opened the bottles and poured the alcohol down the toilet pan. When cleaners came to clean the room and saw that there were no alcohol bottles in the fridge and they replaced them with new bottles.
When the scholar came to his room he repeated what he had done the day before, emptied the alcohol in the toilet pan and threw away the bottles in the bin. This went on during the stay at the hotel and hence he was charged for all the alcohol. I hope that the hotel did understand the position and a suitable compromise was reached.
We have with us today His Excellency the Ambassador for UAE. I note that he is being driven in a grey Bentley with a special number.
I may mention that I am very fond of paintings, carpets and cars please do not think that I am showing off but we own three cars which include a Bentley which has my personalised number SHE1K.
About a year ago I attended a charity function at Goodwood which is a famous race course. I was wearing a suit and Lady Sheikh was sitting next to me. I noticed that a number of people were waving to us. I did not think that I was that famous and deserved that attention. As people were waving it suddenly dawned on us that they looked at the type of the car and registration number and thought that I was Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai as Sheikh Mohammed’s horses were running in the races that day.
I am from Uganda; we Ugandan Asians are very shrewd.
We came to this country penniless and most of us have done very well in the country.
A man is owed £10,000 by an Englishman, an American and an Asian from Uganda.
Each one of them owed the man £10,000 pounds. The man said to all three of them, if you do not repay the debt before my death than place the money in my coffin when I die.
The man dies and the three persons had not paid the debt.
All the three creditors therefore attend his funeral. They open the lid of the coffin.
The Englishman places £10,000 in £50 notes in the coffin.
The American buys £10,000 worth of gold and places this in the coffin.
The Ugandan Asian takes the £10,000 and the gold from the coffin and writes a cheque for £30,000 which he puts in the coffin. He says to the other gentlemen all our debts have been paid in full and walks away.