About Me

Akeela Ahmed is an equalities campaigner specialising in youth and gender issues. She has over ten years experience of supporting vulnerable individuals with complex social and mental health difficulties, providing high intensity support services to young and homeless people from diverse backgrounds, including refugees, asylum seekers, ex-offenders and BAME groups.

She was Chief Executive of the Muslim Youth Helpline for three years, and has advised the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), the Faith Inquiry project run by the leading think-tank Demos, The Prince’s Trust Mosaic’s Ex-Offender Programme, the production team for the national primetime UK television drama Eastenders, as well as various government departments. Since 2012, she has been a Ministerially-appointed UK government advisor, sitting on the Cross Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred based at the UK Department for Communities and Local Government. Last year, she was appointed to the British government’s Office for the Children’s Commissioner advisory panel on the Child Sex Abuse in the Family Environment Inquiry. Akeela is also the Muslim Family Specialist at the Christian Muslim Forum in London.

In 2014 Akeela founded ‘She Speaks We Hear’ an online platform bringing together women’s voices, unaltered and unadulterated.

Akeela is a property development entrepreneur, and recently set up ‘Seaside CIC’ a social enterprise for homeless people with mental health difficulties. She holds an MSc in Mental Health Studies from the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. A regular contributor to national and international media, Akeela has appeared on BBC News, BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Today’ programme, BBC London, BBC Asian Network, Sky News, Channel 5 News, the Guardian, Telegraph, and the Independent, among others.

Tea drinking and challenging myself are my vices! All views are my own.

4 Comments on “About Me

  1. Dear Ms. Ahmed,

    In the BBC report referred to above (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/24204742), you are quoted as saying:

    “These findings indicate that we need to ensure young people are mixing at local levels and that they’re working on projects together so that people can get to know Muslims and vice versa.”

    I suppose that the other, quite reasonable interpretation of the report – that Muslims in the UK need to be more tolerant and respectful of the native culture, denounce terrorism more openly and distance themselves from the likes of Anjem Choudary and his acolytes – was not discussed?

    This kind of talk shop is all about Muslims being the victims, never about what Muslims need to do to integrate more into UK society. I personally find the kind of pandering to Muslims such as the female who refused to remove her veil in court recently as an unacceptable challenge to UK society by a bigoted group of people intent on forcing their own way of life upon UK citizens. Having travelled widely, throughout many Islamic countries, I am well aware of the kind of response I would receive if I challenged local laws in the way that woman did, for example. We must be fools in the UK to tolerate such behaviour in the name of multicultural understanding. The law is the law, and the woman should be made to comply with it.

    Doubtless this e mail will dismissed by you as an example of anti-Muslim hatred by a white middle class English professional male. The fact that I am a well educated and travelled man would be no defence against you lumping me into the Nick Griffin or Tommy Robinson camp. Yet you would be making a mistake to do that. I harbour no hatred towards Muslims per se, but I do wish they would integrate properly into UK society – something they have (in general) signally failed to do since their wholesale arrival in the late 60’s. I am hearing more and more disquiet from similarly well educated people about the state of UK society today, and in particular the influence of Islam.

    Like it or not, may I suggest that you and your fellows on the group need to think more openly about the “why” rather than the “what”. Given the group’s make-up, that’s an unlikely result.

    Regards,

    Brian Thompson

  2. Brian I’m quite disturbed by some of your comments – You expect every Muslim to denounce the acts of a few nutcases? Do you denounce every act of terror committed by non-Muslims? Do you ‘distance’ yourself from every nutcase preacher who is non-Muslim? Well I officially ‘distance’ myself from Anjem-even though I’ve never set a foot near him and complete disagree with almost everything he says – you happy now?
    If you have travelled as widely in the Muslim world as you claim then you would have noticed how welcome you were – which is not always the case for foreigners who visit the UK. Muslims do not challenge the laws in the UK – just because one woman made an issue of wearing the niqab in court – which got blown out of all proportion, you can hardly use that as an example to reflect the entire UK Muslim population.
    In most of the Muslim world you can drink alcohol despite Muslim beliefs being that alcohol is not permitted. And before you try to throw Saudi in as the typical example (which anyone from the UK only visits to earn money not exactly to holiday) – let’s look at Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, just a few of the countries that foreigners from across the world visit and drink, party etc… Many aspects of western culture are embraced in these countries – just look at the fact most of the men wear jeans, this didn’t exactly come from their own culture.
    As a Muslim who was born and brought up in the UK my kids go to karate, forest school, swimming, and hey we eat pizza & pasta too. Is that integrated enough for you??

    • Actually, Mr or Ms A, yes I do expect denunciation of all acts of terror. Although you may dismiss the perpetrators as nut cases, there seems to be a common thread – Islam, running through their behaviour. Why is that, we wonder? For that reason I expect the entire Islamic community to denounce these acts from within their community – loudly and frequently. I am not hearing that in general.
      And yes, I loathe religious intolerance of any kind, from any religion. I have no time for religion, but I am content for people to observe and believe what they wish to believe, as long as it does not impinge on my enjoyment of life. In that context I am happy to denounce the actions of, for example, the Westboro Baptist Church, and the anti abortion bigots in the USA who are more than capable of a bit of homophobia, or bombing or murder to further their extreme beliefs. Are you happy now I have done so?
      I haven’t forgotten the Fatwa placed upon Salman Rushdie and his years of hiding subsequently, or the riots in Denmark over a few cartoons. What is it with Islam that some people from within that faith feel empowered to menace and threaten others because either they don’t believe or because they have “offended muslim sensibilities?
      The cure for this is in your grasp, not mine. There are plenty of bigots within your community who are forever trying to push the boundaries, little Miss Niqab clearly being one of them. Try dealing with them first before you moan about your host nation’s alleged intolerance of your religion and culture.

  3. Hello Akeela, I am a filmmaker in London. I’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise some development funds for my film about Islamophobia in America. I think the topic is extremely relevant right now with what is going on in the political race and what will happen following the events in Brussels. Can you help me spread the world with the Muslim and South Asian communities you are in touch with? There are great rewards including one where I donate to the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.

    Here is the link to the campaign:

    https://www.phundee.com/reward/campaign/yatri

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Sashen Naicker

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