Commissioners

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 The Commissioners are listed below.

Sitting alongside them are the Muslim Leadership Group (drawn from a wide cross section of Muslim institutions who exercise leadership roles in their institutions and carry the respect of different sections of the Muslim communities in the UK) and the Youth Leadership Group (bringing together young leaders from various faith traditions who have experience of engaging in civic action and are leaders in their communities.)

 The Commission is chaired by:

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP, QC is the Conservative MP for Beaconsfield since 1997. Dominic served as the Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland from May 2010 to July 2014. Dominic is currently the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Society of Conservative Lawyers, President of the Franco-British Society and Vice-Chairman of the Franco-British Council. He is Honorary Recorder of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. In September 2015, Dominic was elected Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Jenny Watson served two terms as the Chair of the Electoral Commission, and stood down in December 2016. She is currently Vice Chair of the Money Advice Trust. She is a former Chair of both the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Fawcett Society where she led work on women’s participation in the labour market and in public life. Although she has spent much of her working life in the voluntary sector, Jenny has twice run her own business. She sits on the Commission in a personal capacity.

Commissioners (listed in alphabetical order):

Bishop Dr. Eric Brown has been ministering with the New Testament Church of God for over 40 years. He embraces corporate enterprise through extending his pastoral care and spiritual guidance to a variety of corporations including the Citizens Organising Foundation, the Haringey Peace Alliance and the Black Christian Leaders Forum among other worthy causes. Dr. Brown was elected as the first Pentecostal President of Churches Together in England in 2013. He is the presiding Bishop of the New Testament Church of God. He has been with Citizens UK as a Trustee for more than 15 years.

Fiona Cannon OBE has spent her working life in the diversity and inclusion field. She is a former deputy Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission and former Chair of the Women’s Justice Taskforce.  She sits on the Commission in a personal capacity.

Sir Trevor Chinn CVO is a Senior Advisor to CVC Capital partners.  His background is in the automotive industry, running Lex Service PLC, later RAC PLC.  He serves on the Executive Committee of the Jewish Leadership Council and on the Board of BICOM.

Professor Mohamed El-Gomati OBE is a professor of electronics at York University. He is an adviser to a number of UK universities and charities and speaks on the contribution of Muslims in science, technology and civilisation. Professor El-Gomati is chairman of The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation. He was awarded the OBE for his services to science in 2012

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray is Professor of Religious Studies at Cardiff University, and the founding Director of the Islam-UK Centre, established in 2005.  She has authored numerous books, journal articles and book chapters on Muslims in Britain, the most recent being Understanding Muslim Chaplaincy (Ashgate 2013), Muslim Childhood (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Muslims in Britain: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2010).  Professor Gilliat-Ray is currently the Chair of the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN).

Poppy Jaman is an internationally respected mental health advocate, national policy advisor and the CEO of successful social enterprise, Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA). Poppy currently holds a number of non-executive board positions for the following organisations; Director Armed Forces Community Directory - Veterans Council, Public Health England and NHS Workforce Race Equality Standards Advisory Board. She is also a founding member of the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA) Management Committee.

Hashi Mohamed is a first generation immigrant, born in Kenya to Somali parents and came to the UK as a nine year old. Hashi, a barrister and broadcaster, practises in public and administrative law, including though not exclusively in Judicial Review cases, planning and environmental law and general commercial litigation. He also works with the BBC on short documentaries and lectures, most recently on the experiences of child migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean into Italy. Hashi is also currently a non-Executive Director of Connect Justice.

Charlotte Milner, co-chair of the Youth Leadership Group, is currently in training to become a church leader in The Salvation Army. She studied English at Queen Mary, University of London. After graduating she worked for The Salvation Army in Stepney with youth and the community as a part of the Essential Programme, an initiative to train and equip young leaders. Charlotte has a strong passion for social justice and for building relationships in the community. She has been involved with Tower Hamlets Citizens for a number of years, and has helped to lead campaigns on multiple local issues.

Ifath Nawaz LLB is a consultant solicitor, and was a founding member and former President of the Association of Muslim Lawyers UK.  She has been a council member and co-Vice Chair of the Faiths Forum 4 London, and director of Muslimah. Ifath has played a key role in leading on issues affecting Muslim communities at the national and international level through her work on engaging with governments, local government and police and crown prosecution services and communities.  She has also delivered legal roadshows within the Muslim community on governance, hate speech, employment, human rights, and terrorism. Ifath has co-authored a number of reports including dealing with anti-terror raids, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body and increasing Muslim women participation in Mosques. Ifath also established a social enterprise providing training programmes for women and young persons on leadership, civil engagement and responsibility. 

Peter Oborne is the former chief political commentator of The Telegraph. He writes a weekly column for Middle East Eye and The Daily Mail, He has written a number of books identifying the power structures that lurk behind political discourse, including The Triumph of the Political Class and The Rise of Political Lying. He appears on BBC programmes Any Questions and Question Time and often presents Week in Westminster. He was voted Columnist of the Year at the Press Awards in 2013.

Sir Stephen O’Brien CBE is Chairman of London Works and a Trustee of the Mayors Fund for London, Barts Charity and Foundation for Future London. Previously Stephen was Chairman of Barts Health NHS Trust, NHS Tower Hamlets, the University of East London, International Health Partners, London First, Teach First and Charles Fulton and Co Ltd. He was the first Chief Executive of Business in the Community and supports several charities in their fundraising. His great passion is for building the communities of East London through the provision of good healthcare, housing, education and employment.

Kawsar Zaman, co-chair of the Youth Leadership Group, is a trainee solicitor at Clifford Chance LLP where he sits on the firms BME Steering Committee. He has volunteered for a number of charities and in 2015, awarded the Muslim News Malcolm X Young Person's Award for Excellence. As the first in his family to attend university, he graduated with a first in law from the LSE before reading for the BCL at Oxford University and the LLM at Harvard Law School as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2009, Kawsar was a Global Fellow of the Prime Minister and has worked at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, House of Commons and the Department for Education. He is currently a Governor at Morpeth Secondary School in Tower Hamlets and a Trustee of Toynbee Hall, an organisation working to address the causes of poverty and distress, with a special focus on the East End of London.

Dr Zuhair Zarifa was elected as the Chair of the newly established NHS commissioning body for Newham in 2012.  Zuhair is an experienced GP and surgeon in Primary care, with over 22 years working in an inner-city GP practice. He has been a Partner at Custom House Teaching and Training practice since 1990.  Zuhair has also served on the board of Newham PCT, and held the role of Clinical Director for Primary Care at Newham University Hospital from 2009-2011. He has worked as a Training and Educational Supervisor and Video and Audit Assessor to the London Deanery.


 

Advisors

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari is a noted civic leader, educationalist, parenting consultant and author. His career began in Physics research in King’s College London in the early 1980s; he then moved into secondary teaching in the 1990s. He is an Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary University of London and holds an Honorary Doctor of Education from the University of East London. He has been involved with several charities, and was a board member of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (London 2012). He took an early retirement in 2011 and now focuses on writing, working with civil society bodies and mentoring young people.

Hélène Balazard is a research fellow in France (CNRS – University of Lille) and an invited scholar at the Department of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Her areas of interest are community organising, participatory democracy and anti-discrimination action and policies in the UK and France.

Christina Dykes is currently studying for a PhD. She was responsible for redesigning the Conservative Party’s approach to candidate assessment and for introducing the Party’s first out-reach programme, as part of efforts to further encourage greater diversity in the political system. Working in the local government sector she has encouraged the application of organizational development techniques in politics. After three decades of working directly with senior central and local elected politicians and policy makers, she has an in-depth understanding of democratic networks and the processes which underpins them.  Her knowledge and application have proved useful as a Trustee and a Governor of charities and she has lectured on the value of political leadership in management. 

Sunder Katwala is the director of British Future, an independent and non-partisan think-tank which works for a confident, inclusive and welcoming Britain, by engaging with people's hopes and fears about integration and immigration, identity and opportunity, and promoting constructive common ground solutions. Sunder was previously General Secretary of the Fabian Society from 2003 to 2011 and a journalist with The Observer.

Saskia Marsh advises governments, companies, and international institutions on conflict transformation and socio-political risk management.  She has lived and worked in Muslim-majority countries for much of her career. Saskia is a former advisor to the European Institute of Peace on Israeli-Palestinian issues, and natural resource companies on their government and community engagement strategies across the Middle East and Africa. She previously worked in Kosovo, Gaza, and Lebanon as the United Nations’ youngest appointee, in a variety of strategic, political and operational roles.

 

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