The Muslim News Awards for Excellence is unique and special because of the dedication of its judges. Each year, a diverse and independent panel from all walks of life come together to shortlist and select winners from a rich list of nominees. This year is no exception.
Dr Sariya Cheruvallil is a sociologist specialising in the anthropology and sociology of religion or belief. She is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Society, Religion and Belief (SRB) at the University of Derby. She is passionate about ‘religion and belief’ diversity Britain and beyond, and undertakes research from an inclusive paradigm and with a constant strand of promoting inter-faith dialogue, cohesion and pluralism. She is the author of Muslim Women in Britain: Demystifying the Muslimah (2012), Religion or Belief, Discrimination and Equality: Britain in Global Contexts (2013) and a number of other academic and non-academic articles. Sariya is of Indian origin and is a convert to Islam, having previously been brought up in the Catholic faith, and the enduring influence of which she continues to value in her life.
Ummulbanin Merali the Chief Executive of QFatima, a registered charity that promotes the understanding and education of Islam. Ummulbanin Merali also runs the QSchool World of Learning Madressa and the QPid matchmaker service – all based in Stanmore in north London. Born in Tanzania, Ummulbanin came to the UK to study Psychology and worked for a while at Barnados. She then changed careers, moving into banking until she took a break to start a family. Now Ummulbanin is very much involved in community education and community relations. Ummul Banin is also an executive member of Harrow Inter faith Council and was a member of SACRE for some years.
Talal Rajab is a Business Relations Manager at the Industry and Parliament Trust, an independent, non-lobbying educational charity that provides a trusted platform of engagement between Parliament and business. As Business Relations Manager, Talal has responsibility for ensuring that the IPT’s events, training, Fellowships and overall content and delivery reflect the needs and interests of our supporting organisations. Talal initially joined the IPT in 2011 as a Parliamentary Officer working on the flagship Fellowship programme for parliamentarians. Prior to joining the IPT Talal worked at the Quilliam Foundation, where he was involved in the training of public sector workers and also led on research projects and policy papers. A Londoner whose heritage is from Zanzibar, he studied History and Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, and has an MA in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics.
The Revd Canon Dr Angus Ritchie is the Founding Director of the Contextual Theology Centre in East London. The Centre was established in 2005 to equip churches to engage with their communities, the Centre is based at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine in Limehouse. For fourteen years, he has ministered in East London, and has been an active congregational leader in London Citizens. He is also a member of Citizens UK National Council. Angus additionally is Assistant Priest at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Bethnal Green and an Assistant Chaplain at Keble College, Oxford. Angus is a Research Associate at the Faculty of Philosophy in Oxford, and author of From Morality to Metaphysics: The Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments, published this month by Oxford University Press.
Dr Haifa Takruri MBE is a professor in Engineering and Science Engagement at the University of Salford. Haifa began her training as an electronics engineer with a multidisciplinary practice at Birzeit University in Palestine. She currently focuses on teaching wireless and mobile networking. Haifa is also heavily involved in research projects, public engagement projects and initiatives that aim at addressing the under-representation of women and minorities in engineering and science studies and careers. In June 2009 she was awarded an MBE for services to Women, Black and Minority Ethnic people in Science, Engineering and Technology Education in recognition of her contribution. In March 2010 she was the winner of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence in Engineering, Science and Technology.