Shaukat Warraich is a multi-award-winning social entrepreneur and is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Faith Associates, a pioneering enterprise developing strategies, organisational and operational capacity for the 3rd sector and commercial entities in the UK and abroad.
Shaukat has held diverse leadership positions in the commercial and charitable sectors. He has worked with and advised a number of UK and European government ministries, and over 30 UK local authorities and regional governmental agencies on matters of social policy, integration and working with faith institutions. He was the lead adviser and consultant commissioned by the British Government for the national consultation and ultimate launch in 2006 of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body (MINAB 2006), which constitutes over 600 mosques and Islamic centres in the UK.
Faith institutions have been a particular focus of Shaukat’s work. He has produced guides for management of mosques and madrassahs, and for their safety and security. In 2017 he established a global benchmark of standards for mosques and madrassahs under the Beacon Mosques standards kite mark, followed in 2018 by launch of the much acclaimed British Beacon Mosque Awards. He is also the chief editor of Imamsonline.com, a non-sectarian blog platform showcasing good practices of Imams globally, as well as facilitating the recruitment and placement of Imams in various community and public sector roles.
Shaukat’s community interventions include founding and launching the Iftar 2012 initiative during the London 2012 Olympic Games, whereby Olympic teams, dignitaries and ministers were hosted for Iftari in various mosques in Olympic cites to share the Ramadan experience. He is also the founder and Head of the Slough Community School, an initiative tackling educational underachievement in the Pakistani community, which received the “Excellence in Education” award from the Prince of Wales’ Mosaic scheme in 2009. In addition, he sits on the Facebook anti-hate working group OCCI and authored the Keep Muslim safe guide on Facebook. He is a regular commentator in the media on various subjects, particularly integration and cohesion.
Abdullahi Mohamed Alason is a Somali Norwegian who came to Norway at the age of 17 and is now father to three children. He is a committed patriot and dedicated to Kristiansand for all. He is a politician, now in his fourth tenure as member of Kristiansand City Council. Since 2007 he has been Chairman of the Labor and Inclusion Committee. He has contributed in national and local action plans for preventing violent extremism.
Abduallahi was an executive board member Kristiansand from 2015-2019, and prior to that an executive council member Kristiansand from 2011-2015, and Chairman of the Culture, Art and Sport Committee from 2007-2011. In addition, he has been employed as senior advisor to the Integration and Diversity Directorate since 2007. Previous roles also include member of the user committee at the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman from 2007-2011, and Member of The Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) from 2011-2019.
Abdullahi Alason has co-authored two books Run my son run and I am Muslim but first and foremost Norwegian.
Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri is a leading Irish Muslim religious and social thinker and commentator. A qualified theologian and jurist, he works for cohesion, integration and a fairer society from his positions as Chairperson of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council and Chief Imam at the Islamic Centre of Ireland. Born in Pakistan and raised in the Netherlands, Dr Al-Qadri has made Ireland his home for more than two decades. He promotes a European Muslim identity, working through his roles as a board member of EULEMA (European Leaders Majlis), European Muslim Forum and as a founding member of MJLC (Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council) to ensure that minority communities are considered in the formulation of policy and strategy at both EU and member state level. Dr Al-Qadri has worked on several projects tackling Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments, while being a long-term critic of extremism and radicalization and unequivocally condemning Islamist violence. He makes regular contributions in the Irish print and broadcast media, and has spoken at various eminent platforms, including the European Parliament.
Dr Amjad Mohamed Saleem is a political scientist with extensive knowledge of peace building, humanitarian affairs and development work and has worked for different organisations on these issues. He has a particular interest in interfaith engagement and a focus on South Asia. Amjad sits on the Leadership Council of the Joint Learning Initiative for Faith and Communities, is a member of the Board for ‘People Beyond Borders’ and ‘Eduspots’, and is an advisor to the Centre for Humanitarian Diplomacy, Sarajevo. He is an alumni of the International Visitors Leadership Program, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Concordia Forum. He is a Roxbourg Fellow, a senior fellow of the Global Peace Institute and a Hive Global Leaders Fellow. He has published in a number of journals, chapters in several books and a book in 2008, Lessons from Aceh. Amjad has an M.Eng. from Imperial College, London, an MBA from U21 Global Singapore and a PhD from Exeter University.
Amanda Figueras has worked for more than a decade on the frontline of journalism (El Mundo) and nowadays combines content creation with her work for interfaith and intercultural dialogue. She is a KAICIID 2020-2021 fellow and a former UNAOC fellow, a programme for which she was contracted as a local organizer in 2018. Amanda works as project manager at Foro Abraham (Spain), and she is an anti-Islamophobia activist. In 2018, Amanda published her book, Por qué el islam: mi vida como mujer, europea y musulmana (Why Islam: My Life as a Woman, European and Muslim).
Merilii Mykkänen has been a member of the Equality Commission of the CORE Forum (The National Forum for Cooperation of Religions in Finland) since 2021. She has been working for several years on equality-related issues in Finland. Currently, she is a grant-funded doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law. Her dissertation examines discrimination and the actualization of religious freedom of Muslims and Jewish people in Finland. She also serves as the vice president of the Finnish Muslim Forum, a non-profit cooperative body and expert organization aiming to increase the communality and cohesion of Finland.
Dr Alioune Bah is linked to the research center in German and contemporary philosophy of the University of the Strasbourg (France). He teaches political philosophy in University of Conakry Guinea). He wrote ‘The philosophical and theological reception of Islam in Europe in the Moderne period’ (2014), ‘The Our Father and Fatiha: two texts, one prayer’ (2015), ‘For Guineans: history, democracy and development’ (2020), and many articles focused on promoting peace and harmony in societies with religious, cultural and ethnic differences. Dr Bah has a PhD in philosophy.
Džemal Šibljaković is currently the head of the social department of the Islamic Religious Authority in Austria. After studying religious education (BA) as well as social work (MA), he worked as the first full time Muslim prison chaplain for over seven years. In addition, he has worked in various settings with young people and young adults (Men’s Counseling Association, Association for the Prevention of Violence and Extremism – Turn), where he dealt specifically with toxic images of masculinity and anti-democratic attitudes.
Abidah Ashraf is Section Chief physician of Emergency Psychiatry and is studying for a diploma course in criminology at Copenhagen University. She has been teaching basic psychiatry to physiotherapists, nurses, medical students (in a clinical setting) for many years, and lately also to physicians and psychologists. In addition, she is creative head and teacher (at times teaching assistant) at IslamAkademiet (a virtual Islamic online learning platform). She is also an Islamic psychotherapist, providing services through her firm ‘Afiyah. She is a board member of two organizations in Denmark, “Tro I harmoni” and “Muslimernes Fællesråd (MFR).
Alen Delic has been coordinator for Muslim pastoral care at Skane University Hospital for the past nine years. He is also a teacher on the Muslim Chaplaincy Course in Stockholm. From 2008-2020 he was Imam in one of the bigget mosques in the city of Malmo.
Alen has participated in Swedish public debate on Islam and Muslims for many years. He works for cohesion, integration and a fairer society, and is a board member of Open Skane, a social cohesion network as well as co-founder of Malmo Muslim Network.
Alen has a BA in Islamic Studies, and a Certificate in Muslim Chaplaincy from Markfield Institute for Higher Education (Leicester, UK).
Mabrouka Rayachi has worked for 20 years in Viennese schools as a teacher of Islam, and partly as a native Arabic language teacher. She graduated from the elite Bourguiba School in Tunis with a Master’s degree in English and German, and was then awarded a scholarship to study religious pedagogy in Vienna. She is currently working towards a PhD in Islamic religious education.
As a migrant, as a Muslim mother of three children born and raised in Austria, and as an educator, Mabrouka is constantly grappling with the problems of integrating children and young people of Muslim parents into the majority society of Austria. She feels it is important to convey to children and young people that there is no contradiction between being a Muslim and being an Austrian.
In 2017/18 she organized a series of training seminars called “Islam in the Classroom” for principals in different regions of Lower Austria. In these she tried to shed light on Muslim students, address the challenges in schools and develop solutions together. Mabrouka also co-authored the Curriculum for Islamic Religious Education in Secondary Schools, and is a member of many organizations dealing with inclusion and interreligious dialogue.
Naveed Baig is a PhD Fellow at the University of Oslo. His research focuses on Muslim pastoral care and health. He has also taught at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark. For the past 15 years Naveed has held the position of chaplain at Rigshospitalet (one of the largest hospitals in Denmark), and in addition is serving as a volunteer imam at the Danish Islamic Centre in Copenhagen. He has participated in the Danish public debate on Islam and Muslims for many years, and in 2021 co-published The Danish-Muslim Manifesto, a project that aims to discuss key issues on being Muslim in Denmark and Europe.
Abdassamad El Yazidi is General Secretary of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, a position he has held since May 2016. He heads the community of the Moad ben Jabal Mosque in Pfungstadt, Germany. Mr. El Yazidi is actively involved in the structural reform of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany and is dedicated to interreligious dialogue. He organized a trip of Christians, Jews and Muslims to Morocco in 2015 and coordinates the ‘Intercultural qualification of Imams’ project of the Goethe Institute. Previously, Mr. El Yazidi founded the first state association of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany in Hesse in 2014 and served as its chairman. From 2010 to 2013, he was chairman of the German Muslim Association in the Rhine Main Region. Mr. El Yazidi holds a management role at a global logistics company at Frankfurt Airport. He was born in the town of Langen in Hesse, and grew up in Germany, with a five-year stint in Morocco to study Islam and the Arabic language.
Pia Jardi is a social counsellor in the City of Helsinki, and an activist in the Muslim community interested in peacebuilding and interfaith dialogue. She seeks to bring about structural change to promote inclusion of minorities and combat discrimination.
Pia is the current President of the CORE Forum, which brings together organizations representing a large number of religions and denominations/groups within each. She is also Vice-Chairperson of the Islamic Council of Finland, General Secretary of the Finnish Muslim Forum, CEO of the Oasis Central Foundation and a board member of the European initiative, Religions for Peace ENIB.
Katri Kuusikallio is Executive Director of The National Forum for Cooperation of Religions in Finland (CORE Forum). CORE Forum is part of the international Religions for Peace network. CORE member organizations represent Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Latter-Day-Saints, including a large variety of denominations and groups for each.
CORE Forum has a number of thematic commissions, e.g. international affairs, communications, religious education in schools. Katri is CORE Forum representative on two advisory boards of the Ministry of Justice: equality cases and ethnic relations.
Katri has a Masters degree in Theology from Helsinki University. She has worked as a Lutheran priest, including in Tanzania from 2013-2016. She also serves as a member of the city council and city board in her hometown of Järvenpää.
Haythem Badawy is a researcher and trainer interested in human rights education, Integration, youth development, non-formal education and intercultural dialogue. He holds a PhD in socio-educational sciences from the University of Luxembourg, where his research focused on the integration process of the Arab refugees in Luxembourg. He graduated from the Universities of Alexandria, Glasgow and Luxembourg.
Previously he has worked in the League of Arab States, Anna Lindh Foundation and Bibliotheca Alexandrina, mainly in youth development and Euro-Arab cooperation. He co-founded several NGOs, and currently is director of the Training and Awareness Association in Luxembourg.
Haythem is a member of the pool of trainers of the youth department of the Council of Europe, an elected member of the National Council of Foreigners in Luxembourg, a Fellow of the UN Alliance of Civilisation and Chevening programmes, and a member of the Network for Dialogue.
Alve Högman is a thought leader in life-long learning and innovator in diversity-led platforms for inclusive civil participation, empowerment, and social sustainability. He is Secretary-General of the Ibn Rushd Foundation, a national Muslim faith-based study association, promoting its vision of Muslims as equal citizens of the Swedish community.
Previously he held positions as Head Principal within adult and vocational education institutions, such as Stadmissionens folkhögskola (the City Mission’s College), and Kista folkhögskola (Kista Community College, renowned for their life-long learning, social work, and social innovation).
Advocating for human rights and anti-racism, Alve Högman has built successful intercultural projects, with proven organizational learning outcomes and long-term societal effect. He has orchestrated multiple development initiatives for community organizing and active citizenship, both locally and internationally. His portfolio includes, among others, development projects in Mozambique, with the aim of increasing women’s participation in politics.
Dr Urfan Zahoor Ahmed was born in Denmark and studied Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, going on to became a specialist in Family Medicine. Since 2015 he has been a General Practitioner in Greater Copenhagen. For the last 20 years he has been employed at the University of Copenhagen, and since 2012 as an External Lecturer at the Department of Public Health.
Raised in a household with strong religious beliefs, Urfan is now Chairman of Minhaj-ul-Quran International, Denmark and holds a senior position in the largest Muslim umbrella organization in the country, the Danish Muslim Union. He is deeply concerned about the condition of Muslims in Denmark and, in his capacity as a leader in these bodies, intends to keep contributing to the identity formation of young Muslims in Denmark. He believes that better education and coordination within the Muslim community, collaboration with other religious communities, and engagement with civil society groups are some of the key factors to solve the challenges Muslims are currently facing in Europe.
Nejra Kadić Meškić is a CEO at the Center for Cultural Dialogue in Croatia. The Centre builds intercultural societies and fights growing mistrust and polarization by strengthening intercultural and interreligious dialogue. She is an associate at the Islamic Community in Croatia.