Who We Are

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Sara Khan

Director and Co-founder

“Her voice—not the braying of the separatists could be the sound of our shared future.”  Sara Khan has also been described as having “stood up against patriarchy, challenged extremist Muslims and thrown the gauntlet down to far right extremists.” Having worked and actively campaigned for women’s rights within Muslim communities for over 18 years, Sara has a wealth of experience in understanding the huge challenges and barriers that face British Muslim women today.  To help redress these wrongs, Sara co-founded Inspire in 2009 to empower Muslim women and to help raise awareness of the inequalities that face British Muslim women which have prevented them from contributing fully to life.

Throughout her life, Sara has led on a number of innovative projects which have included leadership training, capacity building, women’s rights and the role Muslim women can play in countering extremism.  Sara has worked with several British Muslim organisations and has held numerous leadership positions including being elected President for a national Muslim Women’s youth organisation in 2002.  In March 2009, Sara was listed in the Equality and Human Rights Commission Muslim Women’s Power List.  Sara has participated on the Home Office’s Race Equality Advisory Panel Shadowing Scheme and in September 2005 after the 7/7 bombings sat on the Home Office’s Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Working Group.  Sara has also represented the views of young British Muslim women on a number of trips organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  Sara has written a number of newspaper articles and her work with Inspire has received national and international media coverage.

A born human rights activist she completed an MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights. Sara is also a qualified hospital pharmacist and has a Masters in Pharmacy.  Sara is married with 2 children.

Picture of Sara Khan, Director and Co-founder at Inspire

Tahmina Saleem

Co-founder

Tahmina is a passionate social activist with over twenty years experience in the voluntary sector.  In 2009 she co-founded Inspire with Sara Khan.  She worked as a consultant with the London Borough of Redbridge in 2008 and 2009, helping to meet the Local Authority NI35 targets as the Prevent Projects Manager.

Tahmina chaired the East London One World Festival as part of Islam Awareness Week in 2006 and was appointed the UK National Coordinator of Islam Awareness Week in 2007 and 2008. She has extensive experience working with the media; from September 2003 to July 2005 she was media officer for the largest Muslim umbrella organisation in the UK.  Tahmina was elected chair of the women’s section of a pioneering national Muslim youth organisation with over 1000 members in 1998 to 2000. She represented this body at international youth conferences. During the same period Tahmina managed a ‘New Deal Project’ in Hackney, North London in partnership with REED helping the most vulnerable members of society including the long term unemployed to overcome barriers to training and employment.

Tahmina has a background in social research; she co-authored with Eric Blythe, Senior Social Research Lecturer at Huddersfield University the report ‘Kirklees Young Carers’ which spearheaded the Kirklees areas provision in 1996.  Since the Manningham riots in 1995 Tahmina has been involved in cultural awareness training. In 1997 she received an award from the West Yorkshire Police for her services in training officers from the city of Bradford. In 2008 Tahmina received an award on behalf of the Inspire team for the design and delivery of a leadership training course for Muslim women in Hounslow, West London. The award was the Government Office for London Conference Award for Innovation for the Best Women’s Project 2008.  Tahmina is married with three children.

Picture of Tahmina Saleem, Co-founder at Inspire

Kalsoom Bashir

Project Manager

Kalsoom has worked extensively for the past 25 years with Muslim communities.  Having graduated at London university with a Bachelor in Education, Kalsoom went on to teach for 18 years in both primary and secondary schools as well as voluntary teaching in an Islamic school in Bristol.  Her last teaching post was in a secondary school as a home school liaison teacher working specifically to raise achievement of low achieving Muslim boys.  Kalsoom has been a school governor and having completed a certificate in Muslim chaplaincy from the Markfield Institute with distinction is also a chaplain at Bristol university.  This work has given Kalsoom a sound understanding of the unique diversity, aspirations and challenges that exist within Muslim communities.  To further support her work as a chaplain, Kalsoom completed a higher certificate in counselling at Bristol University.

Kalsoom has been regularly involved with interfaith initiatives and was a member of the founding board of Radio Salaam Shalom, a ground-breaking project creating space for dialogue between Muslims and Jews.  She has presented radio programmes on local community radio stations and has been a regular contributor to Thought for the Day on Radio Bristol.

Kalsoom has been the lead Prevent Office for Bristol City Council and has had responsibility for identifying areas of PVE consultation with Muslim communities in Bristol, delivering projects that build the capabilities of Muslim communities, including young people and women and to provide positive leadership and confidence to local communities in challenging extremism.  In addition to this role with Bristol City Council, Kalsoom was also selected to serve on the National Muslim Women’s Advisory group which advised the Department for Communities and Local Government on issues around empowering Muslim women and increasing their participation in the civic, economic and social life of the nation.  Currently, Kalsoom has been seconded to Avon and Somerset police as regional trainer.  She is married with four children.

Picture of Kalsoom Bashir, Project Manager at Inspire

Sabbiyah Pervez

Operations Manager

Sabbiyah Pervez is a graduate in Philosophy and Politics. As a political philosopher, she is determined to create change within her community by applying the simple rules of justice, equality and humanism. Having experienced cultural practices that both oppress and undermine Asian Muslim women, Sabbiyah is adamant on challenging the negative stereotypes of women that are currently perpetuated by the patriarchal culture that dominates some Muslim communities. She understands that it is a high mountain to climb, one that will be rocky on its ascent but Sabbiyah believes that through education, empowerment and emancipation, Muslim women can fulfil their potential. Sabbiyah currently facilitates a young girls group from the ages of 13-25 in Bradford, seeking to mould them into the next leaders of their community. The group are currently working on building bridges with the local Samaritans and Women's Aid. She was one of the eight contributors in a Channel 4 documentary entitled, 'Make Bradford British’ a documentary exploring the notions of integration and community cohesion within Bradford. Following the show, Sabbiyah has appeared on BBC Look North, ITV calendar, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Five Live as well as featuring in all the national newspapers including The Sun. Sabbiyah has also worked within several government organisations including Bradford and Keighley Youth Parliament, United Kingdom Youth Parliament and Cafcas; her aim to challenge the misconceptions that exist regarding Muslim youth living in UK today. She is currently working as a writer for the Asian Express, exploring controversial issues to provoke debate and dialogue. She is also in the process of doing similar work with the BBC. Sabbiyah is married and has a daughter.

Picture of Sabbiyah Pervez, Operations Manager at Inspire