Fatima Ahmed is studying for an MA in International Law under the 2021-22 cohort at SOAS. Her interest in diversity and inclusion stemmed from her time studying BA Politics at the University of York, where she was elected as the Black and Asian minority ethnicity officer for Constantine College. She held various seminars aimed at generating awareness of the BAME experience and issues faced by British Muslims that form as part of this community. Alongside this, she began blogging about contemporary issues such as ‘The aftermath of the Grenfell tower: 7 months on’, during which she highlighted the deep-seated social divisions in the borough, ‘connected roads with unconnected residents’.
Her need to learn more about those key areas led her to the Mediterranean Island of Malta, where she worked for numerous non-governmental organisations such as People for Change, UNHCR and Migrant Women Association of Malta, where she published press releases for United Nations Holidays such as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
Upon successful completion of this masters, Fatima hopes to pursue a career in Law, aiming to provide legal remedies for asylum seekers in the UK.
Mustakim is continually touched by the very personal stories behind each person who he is privileged to meet through hiswork in journalism, be this as part of BBC documentaries he helps develop and produce, or investigative features he made alongside my BA English Language and Linguistics degree. Every story told is one step forward in the interests of helping to show audiences what’s really going on in the world – the good, bad, and the ugly. He has been fortunate to have been able to use hiscommunity background to aid him in ensuring those who very often feel too afraid to speak out, marginalised or voiceless in society, are given a platform and are not forgotten.
As a Public Affairs and Policy professional within the Children’s sector, Alia is responsible for championing children’s rights to security and safety by using research, case studies and expertise to influence government policy on health, education and safety for children. Her job is to provide the paramount support that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in society require, in particular British Muslims. British Muslim children are disproportionately disadvantaged due to systemic racism, Islamophobia and continue to live below the poverty line, which further hinders their future chances of bettering their lives as the future generation. Alia aspires to advocate for and bring effective representation in policy for British Muslims which supports their development from a young age and increases their prospects of success.
Ibrahim’s aim is to establish a legacy which benefits Muslims in education, empowering them to make positive contributions to society whilst preserving their Islamic identity. During his Masters, Ibrahim was able to work for a number of mainstream, SEN, and alternative provision schools across London which inspired him to base his dissertation on the challenges of Islamophobia within educational institutions and the role educational leaders can play in countering them. In addition, he acted as Vice-Captain of the ISOC football team of King’s College London becoming top scorer of the University along the way.
As an interdisciplinary researcher and visual artist, Taqwa is interested in how film, art, and design can be used to explore historical and post-colonial notions of identity, Islam, and social-spatial organisation. During her BA Middle Eastern Studies (University of Cambridge), she realised that the rewriting of colonially-informed narratives is essential to challenge assumptions and foster more nuanced, critical thinking within British Muslim and wider non-Muslim communities.
Undertaking traditional Islamic studies at Ebrahim College and Cambridge Muslim College afforded Taqwainsight into the relevance of Islamic paradigms to post-colonial experiences. Living abroad in Iran and Jordan, revealed to me the potential to bring such useful but esoteric academic discourse into the universal language of film through human story-telling. For me, the power of visual imagery to immortalise and express concepts in a way that words cannot is evident in how Islamic heritage has successfully preserved its core ideas and values through art and architecture. Film is a relatively new media that can celebrate and contribute to this heritage.
Having completed his undergraduate studies in Arabic and International Relations and engaged in interfaith dialogue over several years, Rakin has long been interested in the importance of language and communication. He believes that in order to effectively challenge misrepresentative narratives of marginalised communities, Muslims must first understand how these narratives come to exist in the first place. His hope is that he can use the skills gained through the study of Strategic Communications to better understand the relationship between language and power and, in doing so, we can effectively offer alternative narratives that are authentic and true to the realities of marginalised communities.
Ladan Abdulle studied for an LLM Law, specialising in Public Law at UCL, as part of the Aziz Foundation’s 2020-21 scholarship cohort. Ladan focused on European union law, refugee law and international human rights law during her studies at UCL. She based her thesis on the impact of the EU-Turkey deal on refugees, in particular the illegality of the actions taken by the EU, Turkey and Greece in refouling and pushing back refugees, contrary and in violation of international law.
During her studies, Ladan had supported the All-Party-Parliamentary Group on Legal aid as an inquiry assistant and helped with research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sustainability and the provision of legal aid. Ladan also continues to work as a legal caseworker at the AIRE Centre, a legal charity that specialises in providing advice and litigation on European law, fundamental rights and international human rights.