Ruqayyah is a formidable campaigner against racism and serves as the Black Students Officer at the National Union of Students (NUS). She is the first hijabi Muslim woman to sit on the NUS National Executive Committee in a full-time post. She has also served as convenor of the Student Assembly Against Racism National, and education officer at the University of Leeds. In February 2008 she put a motion to the NUS condemning the Israeli siege of Gaza, noting, "What the Israeli government is doing to the people of Gaza cannot be described as anything other than the collective punishment of a civilian population something which is illegal under the fourth Geneva Convention." In March 2008 she was conferred a Muslim News Award for Excellence (Young Person's Award). Her forthright stand has often pitted her against NUS leadership.
She describes herself as someone "born and bred" in Bradford ? she was educated at the University of Leeds. In 2005 her student union work led to her winning the award of committee member of the year.
The Manningham riots in July 2005 and their aftermath have been important formative experiences: "it was not multiculturalism, but the violent provocations of the National Front that instigated the riots. The fallout was just as devastating for Muslims; white youths who threw petrol bombs where given community service while Asian youths who threw stones were given four years for riot offences in high category prisons. Such blatant discrimination and racism in the judiciary was not dealt with anywhere. The campaign by Muslim families for reduced sentences that matched those of the white community went unheeded when their appeals failed in court."
Ruqayyah has also spoken out on other pressures placed on the Muslim student community after 7/7: "Students do not have to have to be Muslim to have been 'radicalised' in recent years and Islamic groups are not the only student societies to have become 'increasingly politicised'. The biggest campaigns on campus have been for peace and global justice. Many young Muslims have joined with a diverse range of communities, in for example opposing the war in Iraq. Dispelling the myth of apathy, students - Muslim and non-Muslim - are engaging in the political process, through protesting, lobbying and campaigning. This should be celebrated not treated with suspicion".
Her achievements have included securing the funding for the rebuilding of the prayer area at Leeds University. She has observed that prayer rooms are important as a welfare network, "they are a chance for Muslim students to get together, as they can be so isolated, especially where there are few non-alcoholic student spaces." She has also been a former member of the Youth Parliament in Bradford.
Ruqayyah Collector was born in 1983 and has been nominated for the Muslim News Awards for Excellence.
Sabin Malik is a Commissioner for the Women?s National Commission. The WNC engages with over 500 women?s affiliate organisations to address issues affecting women in the United Kingdom.
Sabin is Chair of a specialist Migration and Asylum Working Group that brings together government departments, experts, academics and community groups on trafficking, citizenship & integration, immigration, the Asylum and Nationality Act, and the points-based system for managed migration.
Sabin is also a Community Cohesion Specialist with substantial community, national and international experience leading local and national initiatives focused on Community Cohesion, Equalities, Gender, Community Development and Extremism.
Sabin is the Principal Community Cohesion Officer for the London Borough of Hounslow and is currently leading on a major study on far right extremism and religious fundamentalism. Sabin has been asked to advise a number of local authorities and organisations nationwide.
Sabin was also involved in the first Peer Review of Oldham Council. The Review was to evaluate the progress of Oldham Council and key partners since the social disturbances in 2001.
Sabin is passionate about community issues and has been actively involved in voluntary work with youth and women?s organisations for 17 years. Sabin has held numerous Executive positions, and has managed national and local projects on capacity building and leadership training.
Elected as Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, inheriting Clare Short's comfortable majority. Ms Mahmood is a barrister and daughter of Mahmood Ahmed, chairman of Birmingham Labour Party, won after an accrimonious selection battle against rival councillor Ms Mosquito. She has said that her aim would be to represent the people of Ladywood as a British citizen, not as a Muslim or a woman.
Baroness Warsi is the first British Muslim woman to hold a cabinet position in Government, following the May 2010 General Election. She is a minister without portfolio and co-chair of the Conservative Party. Prior to the Election she served as Shadow communities secretary.
Baroneess Warsi was born in Dewsbury in 1971. She was educated at Birkdale High School and Dewsbury College, and the at the University of Leeds where she read Law (LLB). She attended the York College of Law to complete the Legal Practice Course and then trained with the Crown Prosecution Service and then the Home Office Immigration Department.
After qualifying as a Solicitor, Sayeeda worked for John Whitfield, the last Conservative Member of Parliament for Dewsbury and at Whitfield Hallam Goodall Solicitors. Sayeeda then went on to set up her own specialist practice, George Warsi Solicitors, in Dewsbury.
Elected as Labour MP for Bethal Green & Bow. During her campaign she noted, "my achievements are the achievements of the teachers and youth workers at Mulberry School and Tower Hamlets College. It was their belief in me that gave me my passport to opportunity – a place at Oxford University, and jobs in Parliament, the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, and now as an Associate Director of the Young Foundation in Bethnal Green." Rushanara Ali was a director at the policy research body, the Young
Foundation. She has served as a parliamentary assistant to former Labour MP Oona King, who described her as a 'brainbox'.
Before joining the Young Foundation, Rushanara worked at the Communities
Directorate of the Home Office, as a Team Leader, taking forward a work
programme in response to the 2001 disturbances in the north of England.
She has also worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and as a
Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research. Rushanara
is a currently a Commissioner for the London Child Poverty Commission.
Her recent publications include ?The Angry East End? (with Kate Gavron
in 2006), ?Parties for the Public Good ( with Fiona Mactaggart and
Geoff Mulgan) and ?Life Begins at 60: What kind of NHS after 2008??.
Rushanara Ali grew up in Bethnal Green and Bow arriving from Bangladesh at the age of 7 with her family. She studied at Mulberry School and Tower Hamlets College, then going to Oxford for her PPE.
Mrs. Anjum Anwar, a teacher, has a unique job as a Muslim member of the staff of a cathedral. She was appointed as a dialogue development officer at Blackburn Cathedral in April 2007, working on its community cohesion, education, outreach and interfaith development agency programme.
Previously she served as an education officer at the Lancashire Council of Mosques, spearheading the "Understanding Islam," educational program in partnership with Lancashire County Council, for five years, working across Lancashire schools/colleges, and was awarded an MBE in 2005 for her services to the community of Lancashire. Anjum Anwar is passionate about justice, and was reported to have told the USA Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice on her visit to the Cathedral in 2006, that "We don't want blanket-bombing; we want dialogue".
Anjum states of her background: "I was born in Karachi in Pakistan, and I came to England, with my parents in 1966 mainly for education. My parents were rather secular, but they valued education. When I was 12 years old, my father's friend asked me what I wanted to become. I answered: "A journalist." I wanted to speak and write about justice - because if you have justice, then you have peace. I qualified as a teacher and spent four years doing Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies."
Her main role at the Cathedral is to promote inter-faith understanding and dialogue, though she notes, that "we are very distinct in our worship here, not diluting each other' faith. Interfaith worship couldn't possibly work..." Anjum Anwar works with Canon Chancellor Chris Chivers and both have contributed to dialogue work in UK and abroad. Their paper on "Local Authorities and inter-religious dialogue from UK perspective was recently published by The Council of Europe - "Gods in the City." She is also chair of Woman's Voice - a grass root organization for women.
Recently she headed the Anne Frank (+ You) exhibition in Blackburn Cathedral along side BESA - A Code of Honor - an exhibition which highlights the work of Albanian Muslims who saved many Jews during WWII. Anjum Anwar is married with a 15 year old son, Danyal, her "alpha and omega".
Mrs Ebrahim won her city?s Enterprise Programme's Best Business Idea 2007. Peterborough?s award was based on a year?s planning she had undertaken to import and distribute specialist halal and vegetarian confectionary in the UK.
She notes, ?tThe next challenge will be to get the products sold in the UK. Our products aren't just for Muslims or vegetarians, the halal marshmallows are nut-free and are suitable for people with nut allergies too."
She has already sourced halal marshmallows from the Philippines and is in the final stages of the packaging and branding for selling them to wholesalers throughout the UK. The marshmallows are made using gelatine from halal ingredients and will be available from select outlets and chemists in Peterborough from May 2007.
Her advice to entrepreneurs is ?keep it simple. Time is the most precious thing to me because it's the one thing I can't buy. Always under promise and over deliver."
Mrs Ebrahim lives in Peterborough with her family, including three children.
Maleiha Malik teaches at the School of Law, Kings College, London where she is Professor . She studied at the University of London (LLB) and Oxford (Bachelor of Civil Law) and is also a barrister and a member of Grays Inn. She specializes in tort, jurisprudence and anti-discrimination law, with numerous publications in this field. In recent years she has offered nuanced and well-researched contributions on the 'accomodation' between Muslim faith needs and British liberal-secular values, interfaith relationships and Islamophobia.
In his Chatham House lecture in October 2004 Dr Williams, discussing the tension between individual rights and a minority community's rights in the liberal state, noted: "Maleiha Malik, a professional jurist of Muslim allegiance, has recently written at length on this conflict, arguing that, since we cannot just go back to conservative nationalism, and since the interests of minority groups are not adequately safeguarded by classical liberal principles of individual entitlement and non-discrimination, we need a more sophisticated model of the relation between the state and its minorities, which in turn requires some rethinking of the original picture of the state contracting with a mass of atomised individuals".
She was also quoted by the Archbishop in his famous 'shariah' speech at the Royal Courts of Justice in February 2008:"Maleiha Malik, following Alasdair MacIntyre, argues ...that there is a risk of assuming that 'mainstream' jurisprudence should routinely and unquestioningly bypass the variety of ways in which actions are as a matter of fact understood by agents in the light of the diverse sorts of communal belonging they are involved in".
Maleiha Malik is a former member of the governing council of the human rights body, Liberty. Since 1989 has has served on the editorial board of the international journal, 'Social and Legal Studies'. From 2000 to 2005 she was a member of the Home Secretary's Steering Group on the implementation of the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. In March 2006 she participated in Georgetown University?s ?Building Bridges" seminar. She was an important and hard-hitting contributor at the FCO-organised conference Engaging with the Islamic World, held in Istanbul in July 2006. She was also a speaker at the January 2007 event 'World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations? organised by the Mayor of London. Her books include 'Feminism and Muslim Women' and 'Discrimination Law: Theory and Context? (2008, co-authored with Nicholas Bamforth and Colm O'Cinneide).
Ayesha Qureshi made her mark as a Community Relations Manager in preparation for the London Olympics 2012 bid. Previously she worked on community projects in Tower Hamlets and for the BBC.
Ayesha was awarded an MBE for her 2012 bid work in 2005. She played a prominent role in organizing the youth initiative that impressed the IOC. She notes, "We took 50 children to Singapore with us, and that was seen to be one of the clinches for us and had a very strong impact on the final decision day, and a lot of people voted for us because we had that youth element".
After the Olympics bid work she has moved on to an international law firm.
Shaista Aziz is a member of Oxfam's Rapid Response Team and the Middle Eastern region media coordinator. She has been part of Oxfam work at most of the recent humanitarian disaster spots, including Aceh after the Tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake zone and most recently Lebanon.
Writing in her blog posted on 3rd August 2006 she notes, "my energy levels are beginning to drop as the fatigue sets in I can feel the stiffness in my neck and shoulders. The combination of a lack of sleep, the heat, information overload and temporarily living in a conflict zone has an impact on you. Since the Oxfam rapid response team arrived in Beirut on Saturday we've been working around the clock. We've been meeting partner organizations on the ground, making phone calls to partners in the main conflict areas in the south to gather information about the humanitarian needs, and coordinating our relief response with our international NGO's. This is the third emergency that I've worked on in a year and a half. The challenges that we are facing are immense. The UN estimates that 900,000 people are displaced in Lebanon with a further 150,000 displaced in Syria, this in addition to an estimated 350,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. The Middle East is home to an increasing number of people who have had to flee from their towns and villages because of conflict, many unable to ever return to their land?..
Shaista, from Oxford, joined Oxfam in 2004. When 22 she spent time in the refugee camps of Balata and Jenin in the West Bank and the slums of Khan Younis and Rafah in the Gaza Strip, noting, "I accompanied ambulance drivers and paramedics. I worked with Palestinian women who had set up income-generating projects in refugee camps".
Writing about her own life experiences, she observes, "I am a British Muslim woman, and two years ago I decided to start wearing the hijab.. like thousands of Muslim women across the world - the hijab has become part of me, and I wear it with confidence and pride?the journey started a year before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, but my quest for knowledge accelerated after September 11th when the Muslim community around the world and in the UK were under intense scrutiny by the politicians and the media. It was then that I decided that I wanted to be a visible Muslim. I wanted people who walked past me in the street to know that I am a Muslim and that I am proud of my religion, heritage and culture".
Before joining Oxfam, she worked for Al-Jazeera's English news website in Doha, Qatar. She has worked for the BBC and written for New Internationalist magazine. In 2006 she was elected to the National Union of Journalists' Black Members Council. She has been a guest speaker at the International Women's Festival 2006.
Ayfer is an active Labour Party member and a councillor, also having stood as a parliamentary candidate in the last General Election. A Turkish Cypriot by origin, she studied graphics and fine arts, eventually establishing her own business. On Muslim involvement in the political process, she notes, "I am hopeful that in the next parliament we will have more Muslims and maybe more Turkish members in parliament; even if I don't get in I would like to see Turkish MP's there. Especially in Europe as Turkey role is now made more critical". She remained a Labour activist notwithstanding Blair's misadventure in Iraq: " I went through a dilemma during that period like all Muslims did, it almost caused my sending in my resignation to the Labour party but in the end I thought I would be far more of value staying in then getting out. I don't believe I would have achieved more outside than I did inside the Labour party. I believe you can only change people's views by reason and discussion not by force".
On her religious and cultural identity she observes. "The teachings in the Quran are about respect and tolerance and its interpretation is as diverse as we are. The Guardian debate [January 2005] reflected the wonderful diversity of the Quran and its people. The message in the Quran is not negative, it's positive; I think that it is a beautiful and gentle religion for me it means a focus on prayer and self development and externally respecting of others. I believe we can learn and grow by messages of all the religions of the world. I was a little annoyed with the Guardian because on their front cover they used the stereotypical image and I participated to challenge this, I wanted to show that there are many different types of people in the Muslim culture just as there are many types of Christians in the world. If I had covered my head this would have been a barrier for me like my name has been being so foreign.
Ayfer Orhan has two children both at university.
Rehana is a Chaplain at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust and also the Birmingham Women's Hospital. She is at the sharp end of the social realities within the community: "There have been instances when working as a hospital chaplain I have spoken to women who have given birth only to be submerged by the grief of a previously unacknowledged abortion. Disability awareness in Muslims is a relatively new concept because on the Indian subcontinent, many babies with disability die and caring for a disabled child or adult long term is a new challenge".
In addition to providing individual counseling to patients, she has been active in seeking better facilities for Muslim patients and their visitors, and in November 2004 organised an Awareness Week with coffee mornings at the Trust's hospitals. The programme included talks on the Muslim healthcare environment, Fasting and the Muslim patient and Islam's contribution to medicine. Her comment was: "At this time, it is more important than ever to ensure Muslims feel welcome in hospital and equally, share our faith and practice with those of other faiths or of no faith, breaking down barriers and taboos and eradicating misconceptions that are prevalent today".
Her job also involves visiting terminally ill people in acute NHS hospitals in Birmingham. She notes, "it can be the simplest things that make a difference, like providing prayer mats or pointers showing which way is east when people want to pray". Rehana Sadiq was one of four lead chaplains in the strategy project team 'Caring for the spirit'
Ahdaf Soueif is a distinguished novelist of whom the late Edward Said noted "she has put Arab society and culture before the English reader with great ingenuity and inventiveness." Her 'The Map of Love' was short listed for The Booker Prize in 1999.
Born in Cairo in1950, her further studies were at the University of Lancaster where she completed a PhD in linguistics. She has had spells as a university teacher at the University of Cairo and King Saud University in Riyadh.
Her recent writing indicates a shift from the world of romance and the past to a commitment to do something about the harsher tragedies unfolding in the Muslim world today. She has translated Mourid Barghouti's "I Saw Ramallah", and in 2004 published her first volume of non-fiction, 'Mezzaterra' (the common ground between cultures). The reviewer Guy Mannes-Abbott notes "Souief is transfixed by the Palestinian uprising. She writes, contra Said, of having always felt 'essentially in place: Egyptian, Muslim'. So, writing about Israel's dispossession of the Palestinians in front of a wilfully diverted world, her combination of centred gravity, minute precision and insistent humanity generates highly clarified truth. The truth makes for bleak reading, as her nightmares materialise in massive Israeli settlements".
She is also emerging as an astute and witty commentator of social and poltical developments in Egypt. In a recent diary of her time in Cairo, she described a joke doing the rounds: it has a Mubarak aide suggesting, "Mr President, shouldn't we draft a speech for you saying goodbye to the Egyptian people?"
Mubarak: "Why? Are the Egyptian people going somewhere?"
She was married to the late Ian Hamilton, poet, editor and biographer.
Yara El-Sherbini is a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art, London. She is also a stand up comedienne taking on issues of politics, race and religion. She is making her mark through her works on visual puns (home craft classes on 'carpet bombs') and verbal puns (for example: "it's a dark alley" - it's a dark Ali). Yara is a member of an exciting community of avant-garde second-generation British Muslims establishing themselves within the mainstream artistes movement. Another word play:
Iman preaching to a crowd
Policeman: "I'm afraid I'll have to stop you preaching, sir."
Bystander: " Oh c'mon mate, this man 'as a right t'be'erd.'
Policeman: "It's his beard that worries me."
Her book Sheikh 'n' Vac is published by Book Works (2005)
Dr Saeeda Shah is a Lecturer at the Centre for Educational Leadership
Management, University of Leicester, which she joined in early 2003.
She is editor of 'Educational Management News' and a member of the
Leicester Education Research Publications Editorial Board.
Her areas of interest include educational research methodologies, education of girls
in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith society like Britain (she herself has had
three children go through the system) and opportunities for women in
higer education management.
Her recent publications include 'Leading Multicultural schools: a concept of adab in managing diversity' (2005)
and 'Leading Multicultural Schools: a new understanding'(2004) presented
to the 7th International BELMAS Research Conference, July 2004. She has
also led research comparing the experiences of Muslim girls in single
sex schools, both mainstream and in the private faith schools sector.
She was formerly on the faculty of the University of Azad Jammu and
Her PhD at the University of Nottingham (1995-98) was based on
a higher education institution in Pakistan. She notes that "Research
supports that exclusion of women from positions of power in the HE
management hierarchy is a pervasive phenomenon even in the 'developed'
Robina is director of 'Positive Action in Housing', a campaigning organisation based in Glasgow that works for the provision of secure, affordable and decent housing to minority communities. She has spoken out in defence of asylum seekers, who are often housed in areas that make them vulnerable to racist attacks. She has appeared before the Scottish Parliament in June 2005 to provide expert comment on the condition of asylum seekers, of whom there are 8,000 in Glasgow alone.
Robina has appeared as herself in the film 'Gas Attack', a portrayal of the plight of asylum seekers in which she is cast as an asylum support worker - a case of art imitating reality. In 'Gas Attack' - produced by Sam Kingsley and directed by Scottish director Kenneth Glanaan - an asylum centre in Glasgow's Sighthill estate is subject to an anthrax gas attack. Robina has also appeared in 'American Cousins' (2003), a film about two US-Italian mafiosi finding refuge in Glasgow.
She has served on the Lawrence Steering Group, the Chhokar Family Justice Campaign and the Race Equality Advisory Forum. In 2003 she stated that the then Home Secretary Blunkett was "cynically using the issue of asylum to wind up fears about terrorism and gather support for a war on Iraq." She has herself been subject to a racist attack in Glasgow.
Born and raised in the West Midlands, Zareen Roohi Ahmed began her career in design and marketing but soon moved into the public sector to progress in project management in an urban regeneration company in Derby. Always wanting to work for a children's charity, in 1998 Zareen began work as a fundraising & marketing manager at the NSPCC. Five years later Zareen was appointed as Regional Manager & then National Operations Director at The Experience Corps a new government initiative designed to encourage people into volunteering. Zareen led teams across the country to help recruit over 200,000 people into volunteering; over 20,000 of which were of Muslim origin.
Throughout her career Zareen has been a keen volunteer herself, mentoring young Asians who are underachieving at school, presenting on an Islamic Community Radio station, chairing a centre in Derby called JET, Job's, Education & Training and helping a number of other national charities. In 2004 the mother of two who is a keen painter founded a community arts organisation called 'Silverleaf' Arts which aims to get isolated people, especially women involved in their communities through innovative workshops in visual Islamic arts.
Zareen's PhD study about the lack of involvement of Muslim women in Britain inspired her last year to set up her own management consultancy, Lightbox, which focuses on addressing root causes within deprived communities in Britain and promoting inter-faith dialogue and understanding.
Zareen was appointed CEO of the British Muslim Forum on May 1st 2006, a body that addresses Muslim social, economic and religious needs.
Salma Yaqoob is a prominent anti-war activist and Respect's co-founding member and vice-chair. With a total of 10,498 she came second with 27 percent of the vote in Birmingham's Sparkbrook & Small Heath constituency in the May 2005 General Election. In May 2006 she was elected councillor for the Sparkbrook ward in Birmingham. In December 2006 she acted as an electoral monitor in the Venezuelan presidential elections.
Born in Bradford but raised in Birmingham, Salma has proven to be a remarkable icon not only for Muslim women, but for Muslims and activists throughout the country. Being a mother of three boys never stood in the way of Mrs. Yaqoob campaigning tirelessly for what she believed in and for positive change in her local community and way beyond.
Salma Yaqoob has addressed numerous demonstrations and meetings all protesting against the War in Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. She has continued to fight for civil liberties in Britain and against all policies that target those freedoms and liberties, including the anti-terrorist law recently proposed. She is a strong advocate for the right of Muslim women to wear the Hijab. Her campaigning for the rights of the elderly and those most in need, has already won her widespread support.
She is author of 'Global and local echoes of the anti-war movement: A British Muslim prespective', in International Socialism Journal (autumn 2003), 'The ?war on terror? and racism, asylum and immigration', in Arguments against G8 (eds Gill Hubbard and David Miller, Pluto press 2005) and British Muslim radicalism post 9/11 in Islamic Political Radicalism: A European Comparative (ed Tahir Abbas, Edinburgh University Press, 2006).
Writing in the socialist journal 'International Viewpoint' in January 2008, following the Respect Party's conference in November 2007 that was a fraught affair due to withdrawal of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), she noted, "The SWP have suggested that there is a retreat from engagement in radical politics by Muslims, and that George Galloway was adapting to this reversion to conservative community politics. They locate this retreat in the impact of the 7/7 bombings. This claim is wrong. There is no evidence that Muslims, radicalised by the impact of war and Islamaphobia, are falling in behind Home Office attempts to incorporate establishment figures on the basis of softening opposition to British foreign policy or to their campaigns of demonisation against Muslims. The handful of Muslim figures who have taken such a view patently do not have the support of the wider community. Any political benefits the Labour party have gained from the ?Brown Bounce? have very much disappeared. While there is fear and concern over new government threats to our civil liberties, there is simply no evidence that the Government?s agenda is substantially weakening the anti-imperialist or anti-racist consciousness among any significant layer of Muslims in Britain today".
An open letter to Salma Yaqoob from Salaam's Al-Maktabi
A sceptre is haunting respect?
Anila is a feature writer in the tabloid ?The Sun? and was formerly a columnist with the Yorkshire Post, which she joined in 1998. In 2004 she won the Press Gazette's Regional Newspaper Columnist of the Year 2004 - the citation noted ?At last, relaxed, humorous writing about issues so often dominated by political correctness. Anila?s columns have an easy, light touch. She never takes herself or her subject matter too seriously, and thus gets her message across". At the Yorkshire Post she covered a variety of topics, from TV reviews to local news and community issues.
In a recent article she observed, ?every Muslim woman is my sister, every Muslim man is my brother and no, I am not secretly dating a member of Hamas. Things I didn't care about before now irk me like the men who shake my hand though I am clearly a woman. But the man at security is still baffled. 'But why do you lot have to keep your hair covered?' he asks. I think for a second, flash him a smile and say: 'Because we're worth it'."
On joining The Sun she declared, ?Don't be put off by the picture of me. I'm just a gal who likes to hide her highlights under a bushel - or a headscarf".
After the youth disturbances in her hometown Bradford in June 2001, she wrote, "I woke up to discover my beloved Bradford had been burning. Images of police in riot gear and Asian boys, faces in purdah and hurling missiles, were flashed across the world. Burned out cars are strewn across the road like broken promises. Nothing has worked. Even the traffic lights have given up. Community leaders speak of unspeakable disgust. After going round in circles we have wound up back at square one. But this was not Islam. Muslims would have packed the mosques at the obligatory prayer times, not mixed Molotov cocktails and stared at police. And their heads would have been covered, not their faces. Shame, anger, disgust. We condemn the actions of the mindless thugs who have brought this nightmare back to Bradford. Yes, Asian boy, the world is racist. Yes, the National Front was stirring. But you and you alone, have made things a thousand times worse".
Naaz Coker is the Chair of St George's Healthcare NHS Trust and has served as Chair of the British Refugee Council and Director of the Race and Diversity programme at the King's Fund . She has written widely on racism and ethnic health inequalities in the NHS and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. She is a member of Standing Pharmaceutical Advisory Committee to the Secretary of State for Health and a trustee of the Media Trust and a Director of the Community Channel. She is also a member of the Home Office Race Equality Advisory Panel (REAP). In July 2005 Naaz Coker received an
Honorary Doctorate of Science from Leeds Metropolitan University in recognition of her service to the NHS and for her work with refugees and
In May 2003, she was awarded 'Asian Woman of the Year' by the Asian Guild and in June 2004 she won the Asian Women of Achievement award in the public sector category. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and in 2003 was one of three candidates short listed to Chair the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).
Naaz has made significant contributions to the professionalisation of institutions in the voluntary sector, faith-based and other. She was born in Tanzania and completed her University studies in the UK. She graduated in 1971 with a degree in Pharmacy and in 1974 gained a Master's degree from the University of London followed by a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from the Open University Business School in 1991.
Wahida Shaffi is chair of the Community Counselling Service in Bradford. She has a BA in Health and Community Studies and an MA in International Politics and Security Studies/Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford. She is a qualified social worker and a participant in the leadership programme of the Intercultural Leadership School, Bradford.
In 2000 she spent time in Sri Lanka, researching Oxfam projects including the Kalmunai Peace Foundation. She is a speaker for the Stop the War Coalition Bradford, recently noting,"It is true to say that there are serious challenges facing the world, but it is important to recognise that what is required in these dark days is a need to hold on to the belief that ultimate success does not rest on violence and fear but collective and individual compassion,critical reflection and alternative peaceful solutions".
Yasmin Qureshi was born in Gujrat and moved to Britain in 1972 when she was nine. She was recently appointed the London Mayor's Human Rights advisor. She was also Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Brent East, facing an incumbent Lib Dem MP in the 2005 General Election. In August 2007 she was selected by Labour for Bolton South East, inheriting a comfortable majority of over 10,000 votes from retiring MP Brian Iddon.
Yasmin Qureshi qualified as a barrister in 1985. She has worked in the Government Legal Services and the Crown Prosecution Service. She was the Head of the Criminal Legal Section of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and later the Director of the Department of Judicial Administration in Kosovo. She is a past President of the Pakistan Club (UK). She is the former Chair of the Human Rights and Civil Liberties Working Group of the Association of Muslim Lawyers.
Nusrat Chagtai is a human rights lawyer and practicing solicitor. She has worked for Phil Shiner at Public Interest Lawyers, leaving in February 2006 to take up an assignment as an International Bar Association (IBA) Legal Specialist on a capacity building project in Malawi to help develop the Malawi Law Society. She is working on a publication for the IBA and the Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa on developing Bar Associations and Law Societies.
A law graduate from University College London, Nusrat Chagtai also has an LLM in Human Rights Law gained with Merit. As part of the United Nations mission to East Timor, she assisted in the prosecution of serious crime cases and also in capacity building of junior East Timorese lawyers. She has represented the International Commission of Jurists in December 2003 as an observer at trials of Kurds in South East Turkey. Her other experience has included working as the advice and information officer for Liberty in the Human Rights Litigation Unit and as a legal officer on the Muslim Council of Britain's project to increase awareness within the Muslim community of the new religious discrimination legislation as it affects the workplace.
She is one of the Directors and Executive Committee members of the British Muslim Human
Habiba is the first Muslim woman to hold the post of student union president - of Birkbeck College, University of London. In January 2004, Prime Minister Tony Blair responded in The Guardian newspaper to her question on student fees funding. Habiba played a key role in campaigns to increase the influence and participation of Muslim students in student politics, and was one of the two Muslims successfully put forward in the 2004 National Union of Students conference for the elected positions on its steering committee. Habiba studied Politics, Philosophy and History at Birkbeck and she also has an MSc in Globalisation and Development.
She has has served as equal opportunity officer at the National Postgraduate Committee, a charity that represents and promotes the needs of the UK postgraduate community. Her subsequent assignments have included working on UN and USAID economic development projects with the International Medical Corps in Baghdad.
Dr Al-Rasheed is a Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King's College London. Originally from Saudi Arabia, her first degree was in Sociology and Anthropology from Salford University. She subsequently gained a PhD in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University. She has been at King's since 1994. Her field work has included a three year study of the Iraqi Assyrian community in London.
Madawi herself is a member of the Rashidi family of the Shammar tribal confederation of northeastern Saudi Arabia. Her book 'Politics in an Arabian Oasis' (1991) provides an account of the Rashidis in the Nineteenth Century.
Her other scholarship include the much-cited 'A History of Saudi Arabia' ( 2002). Most recently she has published (co-authored with Robert Vitalis) 'Counter Narratives: History, Contemporary Society and Politics in Saudi Arabia and Yemen' (2004) and, in 2006, Contesting the Saudi State - Islamic Voices from a New Generation'.
Imtiaz is a senior lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the Anglia Polytechnic University (APU) in Cambridge and a research fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. After obtaining her doctorate from the University of London, she was awarded the prestigious Royal Society fellowship and she worked at the world-renowned Institute for Molecular Science in Okazaki, and the University of Tokyo in Japan.
Her research interests span the field of chemical physics : from high resolution spectroscopy to laser diagnostics and even astrochemistry and radioastronomy. Currently she is engaged in the discipline of plasma chemistry namely the remediation of gaseous pollutants using technological plasmas. Her current and most recent collaborators include the University of Cambridge, the University of Manchester, Accentus plc (Culham Science Centre), the University of Tokyo and NASDA (National Space Development Agency of Japan).
A self-confessed Japanophile, she visits Japan frequently and enjoys collaborative research with NASDA (National Space Development Agency, Japan). She is fluent in Japanese and has lectured on Islam in the country.
Imtiaz is involved with Planet Science (a government initiative to encourage schoolchildren/youngsters to study science to a high level). Amongst her professional affiliations are Chartered Chemist, Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (and regional committee member), Chartered Physicist, Member of the Institute of Physics, Member of the Society of Chemical Industry, Member (and committee member) of AWISE (Association of Women in Science and Engineering) and Professional Member, Governing Council.
Farkhanda Chaudhry is the first Muslim women Justice of the Peace in Scotland. She was awarded a MBE in 2004 for supporting women's social and political development in Iraq in her capacity as the Gender Advisor to the Coalition Authority and was nominated by the Muslim News Awards for her contribution to international relations. She was awarded the Women of the Year Award in 2005 from Universim (University of Peace and Culture) based in Lugano, Switzerland. She was a serving commissioner for two consecutive years for the Women's National Commission and has been Chair of the Muslim Women's Network at a UK level. Currently she is serving on the National Muslim Women's advisory board established by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Hazel Blears.
In Scotland she is a member of the strategic working group on faith and belief. She has been active in the voluntary sector for over 20 years and worked on a range of issues, pprimarily race equality. At a community level she has developed and facilitated the creation and development of organizations such as BEMIS and the Muslim Council of Scotland. She is also committed to enhancing community relations through interfaith development which has taken her across the world. In her capacity as a consultant she designs and delivers training, capacity building, project management and research at a local, national and international level. She is a mother of five children and grandmother of three.
Ghada Karmi is a leading activist for Palestinian rights and the author of a widely acclaimed personal memoir, 'In search of Fatima - A Palestinian Story'. Ghada was born in Jerusalem and left Palestine for England in 1949 at the age of seven. She trained in medicine at Bristol University and practiced as a doctor for many years. She later acquired a doctorate in the history of Arabic medicine from London University. From the early 1980s until 1995, Dr Karmi worked as a specialist in the held of migrants and refugees, and held a number of research appointments on Middle Eastern politics and culture at the School of Oriental & African Studies, Durham University and Leeds University. She is former president of the Palestinian Community Association in Britain and a vice-chair of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU). From 1999 to 2001 she was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. She is Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
'In Search of Fatima' provides a chilling recollection of a morning in July 1946 when Jewish Irgun terrorists in Jerusalem blew up the King David Hotel , headquarters of the British administration in Palestine: "Suddenly we heard a dull thud in the distance and minutes later our mother, who had been out visiting, came running home?.Shortly afterwards, the radio announced that bombs had exploded in the King David Hotel and many people were killed?by the end of that day, the full story became clear. Jewish terrorists had blown up a whole wing of the hotel posing as Arab delivery men and smuggling explosives in milk cans into the basement?..they said it took four days to dig out and move the bodies of the dead and wounded to the Government hospital".
Ghada Karmi married an English doctor, John Thorley, in 1964. The marriage failed when during the 1967 war between Israel and the Arabs, she found out that her husband was "not on my side".
Her publications include Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process? and, as co-editor with E. Cotran, The Palestinian Exodus, 1948-1998.
Haleh Afshar teaches Politics and Women's Studies at the University of York and Islamic Law at the Faculte Internationale de Droit Compare at Strasbourg. In the Department of Politics she is the Director of the MSc in Development and Administrative Problems, while also doubling as the Director of the MSc in Women, Development and Administration - the only course of its kind in the UK - at the Centre for Women's Studies.
In October 2007, Professor Afshar was conferred a peerage in recognition of her work - she will take up a seat on the House of Lords cross-benches as a non-party political peer.
She is the joint convenor of the Development Studies' Association's Women and Development Study Group and has edited several books produced by this group; the most recent include Women and Empowerment, Illustrations from the Third World Macmillan, Basingstoke 1998 and Women and Globalization and Fragmentation in the Developing World, edited with Stephanie Barrientos Macmillan 1999.
Professor Afshar was born and raised in Iran where she worked as a journalist and a civil servant before the revolution. She has provided a moving account of her experiences in the aftermath of September 11: As that day, September 11, unfolded, I turned into a Muslim. Of course I was born a Muslim in Iran, I grew up as one under the Shah in the 1950s and 1960s, but I had never really thought about it, it wasn't an issue, just there in the background. But after that conference I took a taxi back to the station. The driver was a Muslim, and when he realised I was one as well, he slowed right down. He asked me what we could do, as Muslims, about this terrible event, and about our own position. We progressed across that city at around 10 miles an hour - and talked and talked....Maybe it is because I am used to working within liberal academia, where it is less of an issue, than in other harsher places where Muslims are trying to make themselves invisible, but all of this has brought out the Muslim in me, an attitude of 'I will face you all'. I object to being cowed".
Shaheed Fatima is a barrister in the Blackstone Chambers, a practice headed by Charles Flint and Presley Baxendale, and which includes Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC. She graduated with a first class LLB from the University of Glasgow and her other qualifications include the BCL from Oxford. She has an LLM from Harvard where she was the Kennedy Scholar and Gammon Fellow. At Blackstone Chambers she has gained a wide range of experience in the commercial, media, employment, EC, human rights and public law fields. Shaheed Fatima is an up and coming expert in a variety of fields.
Shaheed Fatima is a Retained Lecturer in Contract Law (Michaelmas and Trinity Terms, 2003/4) at Pembroke College, Oxford. During 1998-1999 Shaheed taught contract law at Pembroke College, Oxford and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She completed a three-month internship working for the Office of the Legal Advisor, NATO HQ, Brussels in 2001.
Shaheed has contributed to Goode, Commercial Law (forthcoming 2003), acted as research assistant for North and Fawcett, Cheshire and North?s Private International Law (1999) and for Crawford, Private International Law in Scotland (1998). She has given papers on Copyright issues on the Internet (at the ?International Conference on Literature and the Internet? Sorbonne University, Paris IV, March 2002 and at the ?British and Irish Legal Education Technology Association Conference? University of Warwick, April 2000). She has written on Shaheed has also written on the application of international law in domestic proceedings in the journal 'Judicial Review' . She was also admitted to the New York Bar in July 2002.
In December 2007, Shaheed Fatima receved the Human Rights Lawyer of the Year award - it was handed to he by the Director of the human rights body, Justice, Roger Smith. The citation noted her "remarkable work, often on a pro bonon basis. For her brilliant analysis, consistent arguments and commitment in debating human rights cases before both the British and the European courts".
Perween Warsi is a self-made millionaire whose managerial skills have awarded her company, S&A Foods some 20 accolades for excellence. She was awarded an honorary MBA by the University of Derby and an MBE in the British New Year´s Honours list.
Born in Bihar, north India, Perween married at the age of 17 and migrated to the UK with her husband in 1975.
She established her company, S&A Foods - named after her sons Sadiq and Abid ? in 1986, from a single vision. She wanted ?to see the whole British nation enjoying [her] food.?
S&A Foods grew into a large booming industry carrying a cuisine line including Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, and traditional English meals.
Perween secured contracts with British Airways, Shell garages, and restaurants. Further contracts were signed to supply Asda, Safeway and Tesco as well as other international chains, boosting the company?s export trade.
With a turnover approaching £90 million, S&A Foods employs 1,300 people and makes 1,500,000 meals a week.
In 2000, Perween was awarded the Ummul Mu?minin Khadija for excellence in enterprise by the Muslim News. She also received the prestigious CBE award in the Queen?s Jubilee Honours list and the Ashridge International Leadership Conference accolade for outstanding leadership in 2002.
Huddersfield-raised Mona Siddiqui studied Arabic and French at the University of Manchester, before proceeding to doctoral work on the Hanafi fiqh and marital relations. Dr Siddiqui is now Head of Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the
University of Glasgow, Senior Lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies, and Director
of the Centre for the Study of Islam.
Dr. Siddiqui has authored a series of
chapters in books including "The Image of Christ in Islam" in Stanley Porter's
Images of Christ Ancient and Modern and "The Muslim Presence in Europe: Past
and Present Issues" in A Europe of Neighbours.
She is a regular contributor
to 'Thought for the Day' for BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 4. She is a consultant
on Middle Eastern Affairs for the Ministry of Defence and a member to both the
Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburg, and the
Scottish Religious Advisory Council for the BBC.
Dr. Siddiqui has organized
a series of conferences covering a multitude of subjects, including Islamic
theology, classical literature, modern Arabic literature, women and Islam, and
contemporary issues facing the Muslim world. She has delivered a series of speeches
at many international conferences such as the Christian-Muslim Seminar held
in Qatar and the Religion and Media Symposium held in Atlanta, U.S. The Centre
for the Study of Islam has most recently been awarded a $100,000 grant from
the Ford Foundation in New York to study philanthropy amongst British Muslims.