Averroes brings together a number of people who offer unique insights and diverse sets of skills. They have backgrounds in the following: 

  • political and legal theory
  • international human rights and humanitarian law
  • conflict prevention and resolution
  • minority rights
  • international relations
  • contemporary Islamic theology, law and legal theory
  • medical policy and practice
  • community relations and grassroots activism

Murtaza Shaikh (Co-Director)
Murtaza specialises in minority rights, conflict prevention and freedom of religion. He has served as Conflict Prevention and Human Rights Fellow at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, where he advised on Islamophobia, Burma, Mali and the establishment of a dedicated conflict prevention mechanism. Prior to that, as Legal and Political Officer with the Initiative on Quiet Diplomacy (IQd), he advised and assisted international and regional organisations on conflict resolution, mediation and human rights such as the UN Mediation Support Unit (MSU), the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and various OIC Departments. He has also worked for the European Court of Human Rights, Minority Rights Group International and the European Human Rights Advocacy. He holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex and his PhD thesis focused on the ‘Protection of Religious Minorities: Between Islamic Law and International Law’ at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has authored a number of reports for and to international organisations, published chapters and journal articles, lectured and undertaken independent consultancies.

Mohammed Nizami (Co-Director)
Mohammed focuses on political theory, the framework for democratic engagement and wider ideas on democratic theory, citizenship, and framing Islam as a western religious tradition. He also specialises in Islamic law and legal theory, contemporary theology in politics, interpretive methods for religious scripture, and Islamic jurisprudence in relation to western Muslim minorities. He has authored reports for international NGOs and served on the advisory board of a number of Muslim organisations on matters related to religion, politics and social engagement. He holds degrees in Politics and International Relations from the University of London, and Islamic Law and Legal Theory from al-Azhar University. He engages and educates British Muslims in the capacity of Visiting Islamic Scholar to Kingston Mosque, as well as lecturing at various religious institutions around London.

Dario Quadri Ilkhani (Policy and Advocacy Assistant)
Dario’s research interests include interfaith dialogue, community cohesion, political participation and moral economy. He is particularly keen to explore community relations with wider society that reduce misperceptions and negative sentiments. He has previously worked as a Project Assistant for the University of Kent Development Office and was the recipient of the Santander Scholarship for the Brussels School of International Studies for their European Summer School. He read Politics and International Relations (first class honours) at the University of Kent. His dissertation focused on the Gulf Cooperation Council’s internalisation of threats to security. During his time at university, he campaigned on pressing human rights and environmental issues such as G4S and fracking as well as acting as an Academic Mentor for struggling students. He has also volunteered with the homeless and at an olive farm in Sicily.

Safoora Teli (Equality and Diversity)
Safoora has expertise in international humanitarian, asylum, immigration and refugee law. She is a qualified barrister and has experience as a local authority asylum seeker and refugee officer. She has served as a research affiliate for the Armed Conflict and People’s Rights Research Initiative, Berkeley University. She also previously worked at the 17th Session of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Cairo with a focus on anti-corruption. She holds an LLM in International Criminal Justice and Armed Conflict from the University of Nottingham.

Salman Younas (Islamic and Political Research)
Salman specialises in Islamic law, legal theory, and theology. He completed his undergraduate degree in political science with a focus on foreign policy. Following this, Salman pursued a Masters in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford where he is currently reading a DPhil researching the early rise and development of the Hanafi school of law. His research interests include contemporary Islamic political thought, such as questions relating to democracy, liberalism, civil society, legal reform, ethics in international relations, and Islam in the West. Salman has also spent a number of years educating the broader Muslim community through courses and lectures he has delivered at mosques, universities, and faith organisations in Britain, the United States and Canada.

Sohail Hanif (Islamic Research)
Sohail specialises in Islamic legal theory and scholastic theology, and focuses on Muslim identity. He completed his Masters at the University of Oxford where he is currently reading a DPhil researching the method of law making in the Hanafi school, the most widely followed by British Muslims. His interests lie in tackling contemporary formulations of Islam, Islamic law and Muslim identity, in light of classical Muslim scholarship and taking into account the needs of modern western Muslims. He explores the scope for full Muslim participation in, and contribution to, the political and social structures of British society. Sohail has also been teaching Islamic studies for over a decade and engages British Muslims lecturing at various religious institutions.

Sulekha Hassan (Policy Research)
Sulekha has previously been involved with a number of NGOs including Operation Black Vote and served as a manager on the Somalia SOS campaign lobbying the government. She read International History at the London School of Economics.

Sameer Mallick (Healthcare)
Sameer is an ENT surgeon and MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow in Otolaryngology at the University of Sheffield. A member of the Royal College of Surgeons, he graduated from King’s College London and has published a number of review articles in leading scientific journals as well as a book on consultation techniques. He has managed health portfolios for major Muslim charities and authored a number of key reports at Averroes.

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