Trustees

Iftikhar Awan, Chair
Independent Management Consultant

“Muslim Aid is one of the longest established British Muslim charities, and over more than three decades has served the needy of the UK and countries around the world. Its mission and work is now needed more than ever and it is important that it is able to respond effectively. I decided to join Muslim Aid as a trustee to bring my skills and experience to help it to continue its mission.” 

Iftikhar is an independent management consultant, with over 30 years’ experience working with the private, public and third sector. He specialises in programme, project and change management, and business consulting, particularly in the area of customer service improvement. Iftikhar's work has taken him to all parts of the UK, as well as to the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He is a founding member of a number of community organisations and has served on the Board of several charities, working at local, national and international level. He is actively involved in interfaith and community cohesion work, and is an advisor to the UK government on issues related to the Muslim community. Iftikhar has appeared on BBC television talking about his faith, and has broadcast on BBC Radio, particularly ‘Prayer for the Day’ (Radio 4) and ‘Pause for Thought’ (Radio 2). He has also advised on the scripts for BBC drama and documentaries.


Sara Pantuliano, Deputy Chair
Managing Director, ODI

“I am proud to be joining Muslim Aid as Vice-Chair of the Board. Muslim Aid works in some of the world’s most brutal crises, partnering with local organisations to provide life-saving support and long-term opportunities to the world’s most vulnerable people. Muslim Aid has a well-established presence in countries affected by armed conflict and violence, such as Sudan, Somalia and Syria, which have long been a focus of my work. I very much look forward to working with Muslim Aid to further and evolve the agency’s efforts in the face of today’s changing humanitarian and development landscapes.”

Sara Pantuliano is a Managing Director at ODI, where she has led the humanitarian team for six years.

Sara is a member of the Global Future Council on the Humanitarian System of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Managing Editor of Disasters Journal, a Trustee of SOS Sahel and IRIN news, and has served on a range of advisory boards, including Oxford University’s Refugees Studies Centre and the UN Association of the UK.

She previously led a high-profile UN response in the Nuba Mountains, acted as an observer at the IGAD Sudan peace process and lectured at the University of Dar es Salaam. She has written extensively on Sudan, conflict and humanitarian affairs.


Mohammed Abdul Aziz
Director, Aziz Foundation

Mohammed Abdul Aziz completed his LLM at UCL and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1996. He worked as a teacher, police officer, and a lawyer. Abdul Aziz has also served as a Council Member of Liberty and a Trustee of the Book Foundation and the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre.

Abdul Aziz was the founding CEO of FAIR (2000-3) and the British Muslim Research Centre (2003-5). He has also served as a Commissioner at the Commission for Racial Equality (2003-7) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (2005-7) and on the Commission for Equality & Human Rights Taskforce and Steering Group (2003-6) and the TUC’s Commission on Vulnerable Employment (2006-8). He was elected Chair of the European Network of Racism (ENAR) for 2007-10 and Vice-Chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum for 2010-14. During this period, he was also a Director of FaithWise Ltd and a Consultant Senior Advisor to the UK Government on Race, Faith & Integration (2004-11). He has also sat on two national Honours Committees at the request of the Cabinet Office (2005-11).

Abdul Aziz was a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University (2010-12), Director of the Centre for Policy and Public Education at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge (2012-15) and an Associate Member of St Edmund's College, Cambridge (2013-15). Between 2013-16.


Habibunnisha Patel, Trustee
Legal Consultant, International Development

“Muslim Aid is a fantastic organisation that has delivered essential aid to those most in need around the world for over thirty years.  Through the work of Muslim Aid, I hope to help continue to tackle the increasing global inequality so that our fellow global citizens can access their basic human rights to things like food, water, shelter, health, and education.”

Habibunnisha is a freelance legal consultant in the international development sector. Since moving into the third sector 6 years ago, Habibunnisha has worked for NGOs and development consultancy firms and, most recently, was Associate General Counsel at Plan International. This followed a decade as a corporate/mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Slaughter and May, an international ‘magic circle’ law firm, advising a range of publicly listed and private companies, working with clients including the UK and Botswana governments and successful client secondments to Istithmar World, Dubai, GE Capital and Royal & Sun Alliance.  Habibunnisha has lived and worked in various parts of Asia and the Middle East and her international experience and travel to date spans over 50 countries.

Habibunnisha graduated in Law from the University of Cambridge and has a postgraduate in Law.  She was on the London Regional Leadership Group for Mosaic, a Princes’ Trust Charity, and mentored with the charity for a number of years.


Aaqil Ahmed, Trustee
Media Executive and Professor

"Like many people I have long been an admirer of the fantastic work of Muslim Aid and it’s a real honour to be asked to help them continue to make a difference in the lives of so many around the world and right here in the UK. As a child of a refugee and someone who has visited many conflict and disaster zones I know that help wherever it comes from can be a matter of life and death and its my hope that I can help build on the past successes of Muslim Aid as it move forward to deliver real impact and change wherever its needed.”

Aaqil Ahmed is the former Head of Religion and Ethics at both the BBC and Channel 4. At the BBC his role included commissioning religion TV, running in house TV and radio production in Salford and Belfast as well as being the Head of Religion internally and externally.

At Channel 4, he was also the Head of Multicultural Programming. Winning numerous awards from BAFTA, Emmy to Royal Television Society, as well as nominations including Grierson and Oscar.

He has just set up Aaqil Ahmed Media Consultancy and currently has a number of projects in development with broadcasters in the UK and abroad. Alongside TV production, the consultancy is working in digital and social media with a number of private foundation as well as a digital media agency and is delivering bespoke cultural literacy, journalism and diversity workshops and training.

Aaqil is Professor of Media at the University of Bolton and a published writer and speaker on media, diversity, religion, demographic change, culture and ethics.

He was the Head of The Creative Diversity Network Commissioning Group, devising and pitching the pan TV industry Trainee commissioning editor scheme He has also created a number of bursaries and training schemes to address gaps in production teams and is currently working with a number of companies to advise on their diversity and inclusion needs.

Aaqil is a co-founder of Mosaic, a Princes Trust mentoring organisation that mentors thousands of hard to reach children, pairing them with successful business role models.

He is also a member (designate) of the Higher Education Funding Council of Wales, a Trustee of The Rugby League Foundation for London and an advisory panel member of the University of Westminster.

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