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An excellent course which provided a really useful overview of the issues.

Participant, The British Embassy



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Participants
  1. Sughra Ahmed, Policy Research Centre
  2. Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour, Islamic College for Advanced Studies
  3. Irshad Baqui, Islamic Foundation
  4. Yahya Birt, Kube Publishing
  5. Prof Ted Cantle CBE, Institute of Community Cohesion
  6. Andrew Copson, British Humanist Association
  7. Dr Harriet Crabtree, Interfaith Network UK
  8. Dr David Green, Civitas
  9. Prof Gwen Griffith-Dickson, Lokahi Foundation
  10. Dr Usama Hasan, City Circle
  11. Dilwar Hussain, Policy Research Centre
  12. Sunder Katwala, Fabian Society
  13. Prof Michael Kenny, Institute for Public Policy Research
  14. Dr Brian Klug, St Benet’s Hall, Oxford
  15. Maleiha Malik, King’s College, London
  16. Prof Tariq Modood MBE, University of Bristol
  17. Dr Patrick Riordan SJ, Heythrop College
  18. Dr Abdullah Sahin, Markfield Institute of Higher Education
  19. Naved Siddiqi, Policy Research Centre
  20. Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, Markfield Institute of Higher Education
  21. Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon, Oxford
  22. Nick Spencer, Theos

Biographies

Sughra Ahmed is a Research Fellow in the Policy Research Centre of the Islamic Foundation. Her area of research is currently young Muslims in Britain. She is working with a number of organisations to consider the issues young people face whilst growing up in the UK and the impact of this upon wider British communities. Sughra is a Trustee of the Interfaith Network UK and previously co-ordinated the ‘Women in Faith’ interfaith project training British Muslim women to get involved in interfaith activity at a regional and national level. Sughra is also a trainer in Diversity and Cultural Awareness, mainly training personnel employed in the public sector on areas such as beliefs & practices, understanding women in the Muslim community, and contemporary debates within Islam. Sughra has a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature and an MA in Islamic Studies. She is an Executive member of the Association of Muslim Chaplains and Co-Founder of the Young Muslims Forum. She regularly contributes to debates in the local media.

Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour: While turning in his studies from Mechanical Engineering at Queen Mary College to sociology at LSE he developed a deep interest in religious studies. This interest eventually led him to the seminary in Qum, the most renowned centre for Shiite studies where he was attracted to different branches of Islamic studies. After progressing to the Advanced Seminary level, he was invited to teach at the University of Cambridge, department of Oriental Studies, where he taught for three years before moving to the Islamic College for Advanced Studies, London. Apart from his academic pursuit, he is interested in script writing. He is well known for writing the script for the acclaimed movie and television series the Virgin Mary.

Irshad Baqui is the Executive Director of the Islamic Foundation, where he is responsible for the overall operations and management of various departments within the Foundation. He is on the Board of Directors of Kube Publishing Ltd, a publishing company involved in the publication of literature related to Islam and Muslims. After obtaining an MBA from Bradford University School of Management, he has gained extensive experience in managing a number of businesses in the UK and abroad. Irshad has worked in a variety of industries such as financial services, manufacturing and general trading where he has successfully managed and delivered several profitable projects.

Yahya Birt’s day job is working as Commissioning Editor at Kube Publishing, which is hoping to do some exciting things with Muslim publishing. Otherwise he moonlights fitfully between academia, policy, journalism and community activism – all grist to the mill of the “British Muslim issue”. He has done the usual round of government consultations in the past, but is now hoping to do something more fulfilling with his time. Surprisingly he still has a life outside this whirlwind of attention and scrutiny, retaining a nerdy interest in science fiction, worries about saving what little is left of Leicester’s architectural heritage, and enjoys tramping in county parks with Fozia and his two children, Sulayman and Layla. He inconsistently maintains a popular blog – Musings on the Britannic Crescent – at www.yahyabirt.com.

Prof Ted Cantle CBE: In over 30 years in public service, Ted has held a wide range of senior positions at national and local level focussing, in particular, on urban regeneration and key social and economic problems. In August 2001, Ted Cantle was appointed by the Home Secretary to Chair the Community Cohesion Review Team. The ensuing ‘Cantle Report’ was produced in December 2001 and made around 70 recommendations. The concept of ‘community cohesion’ was subsequently adopted by the Government and Ted was asked to chair the Panel which advised Ministers on implementation. Prior to this, Ted was the Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council (1990 and 2001), Director of Housing in Leicester City Council (1988 to 1990) and Wakefield MDC (1979 to 1983), Under Secretary at the AMA (1983 to 1988) and had also worked for Manchester City Council. He is now Professor at the Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo). Ted joined the IDeA in 2000 and is now an Associate Director. His book Community Cohesion: A New Framework for Race and Diversity, was published by Palgrave Macmillan (updated edition 2008). He was awarded the CBE in 2004.

Andrew Copson is Director of Education and Public Affairs at the British Humanist Association (BHA). He coordinates the BHA's campaigns for a secular state and for an end to religious privilege and discrimination based on religion or belief. He also coordinates the BHA's education work promoting understanding of Humanism as a non-religious worldview both in formal school and college curricula and to the public at large and promoting beliefs and values education in schools and colleges. He has written on these issues for The Guardian and New Statesman as well as various journals and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Associate of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University.

Dr Harriet Crabtree is the Director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, for which she has worked since 1990. The Network links faith community representative bodies and inter faith bodies in the UK and works with them to promote good inter faith relations. Before coming to work for the Inter Faith Network Harriet studied and worked in the United States from 1981, living at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School (from which she received her doctorate in theology) and teaching there and in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University. In a personal capacity, she served during 2006-07 as a member of the UK Government's Commission on Integration and Cohesion.

Dr David Green is the Director of CIVITAS: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society. He has written a number of books and pamphlets on public policy issues including Mutual Aid or Welfare State, Allen & Unwin, 1984; Reinventing Civil Society, 1993; Community Without Politics,1996; We’re (Nearly) all Victims Now: how political correctness is undermining our liberal culture, 2006; and Individualists Who Co-operate: education and welfare reform befitting a free people, 2009. He occasionally writes for the newspapers, including in recent years contributions to The Times, the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Telegraph, and occasionally broadcasts on programmes such as Newsnight, the Moral Maze and the Today programme.

Prof Gwen Griffith-Dickson is the Director of the Lokahi Foundation. She is a Visiting Professor at King's College London, and the Emeritus (and first female) Gresham Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, and a Fellow and external PhD supervisor and governor at Heythrop College, London. Formerly of Birkbeck College, University of London, she created and managed for 10 years the largest continuing education programme in religion in the country, encompassing Religious Studies, Islamic Studies and Theology programmes from undergraduate to PhD level, and was Head of School of the School of Arts and Cultural Studies. She has worked in interfaith relations for many years, including 10 years’ service on the Executive Committee of the World Congress of Faiths. She has an international reputation for scholarship in philosophy and theology in different religious and philosophical traditions, their mutual relations, and their impact on contemporary issues.

Dr Usama Hasan is Director of the City Circle, a London-based network of Muslim professionals that has been at the forefront of forging an authentic Muslim identity in Britain for the last decade. He is Senior Lecturer in Engineering & Information Sciences at Middlesex University and an imam at Tawhid Mosque in Leyton.

Dilwar Hussain is Head of the Policy Research Centre, based at the Islamic Foundation. He is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University tutoring on Islam in the West and a Fellow of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths College. Dilwar was a Commissioner at the Commission for Racial Equality (2006 – 2007). He worked on the Preventing Extremism Together workgroups set up by the Home Office after July 7th 2005. He has published on British Muslim communities and Muslim identity, including co-authoring British Muslims: Between Assimilation and Segregation (2004). He served on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Urban Life and Faith (2005 – 2006), and was co-chair of Alif-Aleph UK (2005), a network that brings together British Jews. He is a columnist for Emel, a lifestyle magazine. Dilwar is married, has three children and lives in Leicester.

Sunder Katwala is General Secretary of the Fabian Society, and took up the post in October 2003. Sunder joined the Fabian staff from The Observer where he was a leader writer and internet editor, as well as editor of The Observer's 2001 election guide. He was previously founding Research Director of The Foreign Policy Centre (1999 – 2001), where he wrote research reports including Reinventing the Commonwealth (1999) and Democratising Global Sport (2000) and was Commissioning Editor for Politics and Economics at Macmillan (1995-1999). Sunder is a regular contributor to broadcast and print media on British and international politics. His research interests include citizenship and British identity, the European Union, foreign policy and globalisation, and the future of Labour and progressive politics more generally.

Prof Michael Kenny is currently a Visiting Research Fellow, and acting Head of Social Policy, at the Institute for Public Policy Research. He is an academic based at the University of Sheffield, where he is currently Professor in the Department of Politics. He has over 15 years experience of teaching and researching in the areas of UK Politics, the history of political thought and the politics of Englishness. He is the author of several books, including The Politics of Identity and The First New Left, as well as numerous articles in journals such as American Political Science Review, Political Studies, Journal of Political Ideologies and Political Quarterly. He has been Head of Politics at Sheffield, and has had visiting posts at Wolfson College, Oxford University and at the University of California at Berkeley and the College of William and Mary, in the US. At ippr Mike is working in the areas of political reform, inter-governmental relations after devolution, re-designing the state, and the place of religion in British public life and policy.

Dr Brian Klug is senior research fellow in philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford and a member of the philosophy faculty at the University of Oxford. He has a doctorate in Social Thought from the University of Chicago. He is hon. fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton, and fellow of the College of Arts & Sciences at Saint Xavier University, Chicago. He is co-editor of A Time to Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity; Children as Equals: Exploring the Rights of the Child;and Ethics, Value and Reality: Selected Papers of Aurel Kolnai. He has published widely on race, antisemitism and related subjects, and is currently working on two books: Offence: The Jewish Case and Being Jewish and Doing Justice. He is associate editor of the journal Patterns of Prejudice.

Maleiha Malik is a Reader in Law. She studied law at the University of London and University of Oxford. She is a barrister and a member and fellow of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. Maleiha Malik’s research focuses on the theory and practice of discrimination law. She has written extensively on discrimination law, minority protection and feminist theory. She is the co-author of a leading text titled Discrimination Law: Theory and Practice which was published in 2008. She is, along with Dr Jon Wilson from the Department of History at KCL, the co-ordinator of the AHRC project on ‘Traditions in the Present’ which explores the relevance of 'tradition' in contemporary societies. Maleiha Malik's current research focuses on the intersection between sexual and cultural equality, and it explores the adjustments that may need to be made to feminist theory to accommodate increasing cultural pluralism. She teaches courses in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, Discrimination Law and European Law to undergraduates and postgraduate students.

Prof Tariq Modood MBE is Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. He has researched and published extensively on the politics of being Muslim in the West and co-founded the international journal, Ethnicities. He is a regular contributor to the media and policy debates in Britain, was awarded a MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations in 2001 and elected a member of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2004. His recent publications include Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain (Minnesota and Edinburgh University Presses, 2005), Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (Polity, 2007); and as co-editor, Ethnicity, Social Mobility and Public Policy in the US and UK, (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A European Approach (Routledge, 2006) and Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship, Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Dr Patrick Riordan SJ is Associate Director of the Heythrop Institute for Religion, Ethics and Public Life. He teaches political philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. His main areas of research are Religion in Public Life, Citizenship, the Philosophy of Justice, and the Common Good. His publications include A Grammar of the Common Good: Speaking of Globalization (London: Continuum, 2008), Values in Public Life: Aspects of Common Goods (editor) (LIT Verlag, Berlin-Münster-London: 2007), Philosophical Perspectives on People Power (Philippines, 2001), and A Politics of the Common Good (Dublin: IPA, 1996). Among his recent articles are: ‘Talk and Terror: the Value of Just-War Arguments in the Context of Terror’, in: Israel, Palestine and Terror (edited by Stephen Law, London: Continuum, 2008, pp. 163-174); ‘Characteristics of Christian Ethics. A Catholic Perspective’, in A Catholic Shi’a Dialogue: Ethics in Today’s Society (edited by Anthony O’Mahony, Timothy Wright and Mohammad Ali Shomali, London: Melisende, 2008, 69-83). He regularly reviews books for The Heythrop Journal.

Dr Abdullah Sahin, educated at the Universities of Ankara and Birmingham, comes from an Islamic and Educational Studies background and has been interested in exploring diverse issues informing learning and teaching of Islam in mainly secular, culturally and religiously plural contemporary societies in Europe. Dr. Sahin conducted research on identity formation among British Muslim youth and worked on educational strategies to address the impact of religious extremism in their lives. Recently (2004 – 2006) he completed an international research project entitled “Religious Extremism and Kuwaiti Youth: The Role of Educational Policy in Addressing Regional Security Concerns in the Gulf.” Dr. Sahin has taught at the universities of Birmingham, Aberdeen, and Gulf University for Science and Technology (Kuwait) and is a member of “International Seminary on Religious Education and Values (ISREV). He is currently working on a book entitled Pedagogy and Identity Formation: New Directions in Islamic Education. (Kube Publications).

Naved Siddiqi is a Research Fellow in the Policy Research Centre at the Islamic Foundation, Leicestershire. He is the lead trainer and coordinator of the Centre’s training services. Naved’s current research interests include youth, integration and gender issues. Formerly a legal adviser for a leading medical insurer, Naved went on to become Managing Editor in the creation of emel, the contemporary lifestyle magazine with a British Muslim focus. He was tutored in the social and political history of Islam by the late Professor Zaki Badawi. Naved was an advisor to Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command following the terrorist attacks of 7/7. He has worked on and presented a number of radio programmes on the subject of faith, citizenship and integration. His work with Clare Catford on the BBC radio documentary ‘Your Faith or Mine’ won the Best Documentary prize at the Andrew Cross Awards 2006. He resides in Berkshire with his wife and four children.

Dr Ataullah Siddiqui is Research Director at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, where he also teaches ‘Islam and Pluralism’, ‘Inter-Faith Relations’. He is a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for the History of Religious and Political Pluralism, University of Leicester. He was founding President of the ‘Christian-Muslim Forum’ and is an honorary member the ‘Leicester Council of Faiths’. His publications include: Christian-Muslim Dialogue in the Twentieth Century (1997), Islam and Other Faiths (1998). Christians and Muslims in the Commonwealth: A Dynamic Role in the Future [Co-Edited 2001]. He has contributed chapters in several books including: ‘Believing and Belonging in a Pluralist Society – Exploring Resources in Islamic Traditions’ in David A. Hart (ed.) Multi-Faith Britain (2002), ‘Islam and Christian theology’ in The Modern Theologians, Edited by David Ford 2005 and ‘Muslim View of Christianity’ in Perry Schmidt-Leukel and Lloyd Ridgeon (Eds.) Islam and Inter-Faith Relations, London: SCM Press, 2007. He is the author of the government report Islam At Universities in England: Meeting the Needs and Investing in the Future, (2007).

Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon, born in Cardiff, served for more than twenty years as an Orthodox rabbi to Jewish congregations in England. In 1983 he founded the Centre for the Study of Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations in Birmingham, and for a decade was active in international interfaith dialogue. He then moved to Oxford as Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish studies, and though now retired remains on the faculty of the University.

Nick Spencer is Director of Studies at the public theology think-tank, Theos, and author of several Theos reports including Doing God: A future for faith in the public square and Neither Private nor Privileged: The role of Christianity in Britain today. He previously worked as Research Director at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and as researcher and writer for the Jubilee Centre, and has a background in quantitative and qualitative market and social research, for Research International and the strategic marketing consultancy, The Henley Centre. Nick researches and writes on issues of religion and society. He is the author of a number of books, most recently (with Bob White of Cambridge University) Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living (SPCK, 2007). He has a blog on the Telegraph and has also written for The Guardian, Church Times, Church of England Newspaper, and The Tablet. He has recently finished a book on Charles Darwin’s religious beliefs, Darwin and God, which it due to be published in early 2009. He is married to Kate and they have two young children, Ellen and Jonathan.