Gulam Noon, Baron Noon

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Gulam Kaderbhoy Noon, Baron Noon MBE (born 24 January 1936) is a British businessman originally from Mumbai, India. Lord Gulam Noon is currently the chancellor of the University of East London.

Career[edit]

He has founded and operated a number of food product companies in Southall, London, specialising in Indian cuisine. His main business has been Noon Products, which he established in September 1987, manufacturing chilled and frozen ready meals, predominantly for UK supermarkets, mainly in the Indian and Thai ready meal categories. In 2005 Noon Products was taken over by Irish food conglomerate Kerry Group. In 1994 a fire in his factory destroyed everything, however within 10 weeks of this fire the company had begun selling its products again. He kept all his staff in employment during this period.[citation needed]

In the Sunday Times Rich List 2006 he was placed in 888th position with an estimated fortune of £65 million.

In March 2006 he came to wider notice as one of the businessmen embroiled in the "Cash for Peerages" scandal when it emerged that he had loaned £250,000 to the Labour Party. He was given an MBE for services to the food industry in 1994 (under a Conservative government) and knighted in 2002. It was widely implied[by whom?] that Sir Gulam had been given a knighthood, and promised a further peerage, in return for lending money to and hosting fundraisers for the Labour Party.

He was a declared backer of the former Britain in Europe group, a pro-European pressure group.

He was a "castaway" on the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs in 2004. He is also known as "Curry King" of Britain.

He was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of East London on 12 November 2009.[1]

He is a former trustee of the Maimonides Foundation, a charitable organisation promoting dialogue between Jews and Muslims.[2]

As of 2013, Lord Gulam Noon is currently the chancellor of the University of East London.[3]

Honours[edit]

Noon was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) in the 1996 New Year Honours.[4] He was later made a Knight Bachelor in the 2002 Birthday Honours,[5] having the honour conferred in December that year.[6]

On 27 January 2011, he was created a life peer as Baron Noon, of St John's Wood in the London Borough of Camden[7] and was introduced in the House of Lords on 31 January 2011,[8] where he sits on the Labour benches.

On 26 April 2012 Noon was made a Fellow of Birkbeck, a constituent college of the University of London.

Views on extremist imams[edit]

Noon was among those trapped in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel by terrorists, during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, but was rescued and later appeared on BBC News to describe his experiences.[9] He subsequently praised the response by India's Muslim community to the attacks, saying:

"Indian Muslims have refused to bury the nine dead terrorists. They are still in the mortuary. It is a good symbolic message for the rest of secular India." "Now Britain needs to get tough with the radical imams. We have the power to do something."[10]

He also called for Britain to toughen measures against extremist Muslim preachers, and said that the door was open for foreign imams to radicalise young Muslims in mosques across Britain:

"Having seen what I saw at close quarters, the indiscriminate violence and pain inflicted in the name of my religion, I am astounded that I hear from friends in the community that radical preachers are still coming to this country and praising attacks by Al-Qaeda and suicide missions. There is a limit to free speech. Extremists who preach their approval of suicide bombers should be sent back to their country of origin."[11]

Books[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Brian Rix, Baron Rix
Chancellor of the University of East London
2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent