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Our Vision


MEND (Muslim Engagement & Development) is a not for profit company working towards enhancing the active engagement of British Muslim communities in our national life, particularly in the fields of politics and the media.

MEND aims to achieve this by:

  • Running seminars for Muslims on how to engage productively with the media and politics
  • Training Muslims to effectively respond to derogatory and inflammatory news stories through providing media resources and training
  • Organising forums for journalists to interact with local Muslim communities ensuring greater access to the Muslim grass roots
  • Working with other Muslim and non Muslim organisations to ensure Islamophobia is regarded as socially unacceptable as anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and xenophobia. We concur with the definition of Islamophobia contained in the OSI report, ‘Muslims in Europe- A report on 11 EU Cities’, that Islamophobia constitutes the “Irrational hostility, fear and hatred of Islam, Muslims and Islamic culture, and active discrimination towards this group as individuals or collectively”.
  • Highlighting the work of journalists and other public figures that undermine social cohesion in Britain and foment anti-Muslim prejudice
  • Encouraging voter registration and civic participation in British Muslim communities

Our Team

Founder of MEND+

Sufyan Gulam Ismail

Sufyan Gulam Ismail is an award-winning Serial Entrepreneur and Philanthropist and was recently ranked amongst the 500 most influential Muslims in the World. He graduated from the University of Manchester and then started his career training with Deloitte. Sufyan has built numerous businesses over the years specialising in financial services, private equity and real estate.  His businesses have won numerous awards including ‘UK’s fastest growing company', NW entrepreneur of the year and have been listed in the Sunday Times Top 100 Fast Track corporate listings.  His businesses have donated over £5m towards alleviating poverty in developing countries, supporting orphans and providing emergency medical relief in disaster zones.  Sufyan has also authored various briefing papers and part-authored a university textbook on Islamic finance.    

In 2014, Sufyan formally retired from full-time business activity to focus on philanthropic adventures with a key focus on tackling Islamophobia. To this end he was the founder of MEND which specialises in tackling Islamophobia via a dual approach of advocacy in Westminster and media engagement as well as improving media and political literacy of grass roots British Muslims across the UK. In 2016 he formally stepped down as CEO of MEND.

National Heads+

Shenaz Bunglawala
Head of Research

Shenaz Bunglawala holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in political science and has taught undergraduate courses at the LSE and King’s College, London and Religion and Faith in Humanitarian Contexts for the MSc in Psychosocial Consultation at UEL. Shenaz sits on the Research Excellence Framework 2014 expert sub-panel for Theology and Religious Studies and advises on various AHRC/ESRC research projects.She is a member of the Management Board for the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science at Lancaster University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Trustee of the Muslim Media Forum. Her work has been published in books, journals and periodicals.

Azad Ali
Head of Community Development & Engagement

Azad has been a community activist for over 20 years. Azad has extensive experience working in a central government department in various roles. He is Chair of the Muslim Safety Forum and one of the founding trustees of the Civil Service Islamic Society and its former President.Azad is a member of Liberty and formerly a member of its National Council. Azad sits on the National Accountability Board for Schedule 7 Stops with the Police and Home Office. He is also a member of the IPCC’s Community Advisory Group and the Home Office’s Trust and Confidence Community Panel. He is a presenter on Muslim Community Radio’s flagship show Easy Talk and a presenter of Islam Channel’s Your Views on the News.

Consulting Associates+

Fatima Khan
Hate Crime and Stakeholder Lead

Fatima has over ten years’ experience in community development and working in the voluntary sector, including over eight years of working directly with the Muslim community. She has developed and delivered a number of projects on hate crime and more specifically, on anti-Muslim hate crime, for the Department of Communities and Local Government.Fatima was vice chair of the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF) for 3 years and was an advisory board member of the European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC). Fatima has also worked on projects with Waltham Forest Council, British Transport Police and Surrey Police amongst other clients. Fatima is currently the Hate Crime and Stakeholder Lead for Mend co-ordinating all of its work nationally on recording anti-Muslim hate crime.

Research staff+

Farrah Sheikh
Research Assistant

Farrah holds an MA in Near and Middle East Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) and a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Social Anthropology from Brunel University. Farrah is currently a Nohoudh Scholar at SOAS completing her doctoral studies comparing British Muslim identity constructions in three English cities. She is a member of the Centre of Islamic Studies at SOAS. Farrah is committed to social justice and promoting human rights for all regardless of community or creed.

Khadiza Shahid
Research Assistant

Khadiza graduated with an MSc in Human Rights and BSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics. Prior to joining Mend, she worked for an anti-human trafficking NGO encouraging vulnerable women survivors to redevelop career aspirations. She has also worked for a Diaspora membership network providing organisational capacity building support. She has been actively engaged with various other charities like Survivor’s Fund and Jeans for Genes.

Community Engagement and Development team+

Yorkshire & Humber
Shahab Adris

Shahab is a graduate of International Development with East Asian Studies (Leeds University) and will soon be completing his postgraduate MA in Media and International Development from UEA. He has travelled to Europe on a ‘journalism and conflict’ trip coinciding with the centenary of the first world war and completed an ‘Essentials in Humanitarian Practice’ course, helping him understand the dynamics of humanitarian and emergency assistance, courtesy of UEA School of International Development.

Shiplu Miah

Shiplu is an experienced project coordinator with PRINCE2® project management qualifications, APM® qualification, and a BA Honours in Accounting and Law. His experience includes several years of work with charities, NGOs, and in local government. Shiplu is currently studying for a Masters in Marketing Communication at Birkbeck College, University of London.

North West
Yusuf Tai

Yusuf graduated with a BA Hons in Politics and Social Policy. He is the former Regional Director of Forward Thinking. He has a strong community focused approach and is passionate about social change. In a variety of roles, Yusuf has first-hand experience of working with a diverse range of frontline, grass roots and faith communities across England. His expertise has enabled him to provide communities with opportunities to gain access to government and other statutory institutions while supporting organisations in internal development and capacity-building.

Abdul Qudues Zafar

Qudues holds a BA Honours in Business Management and has been actively engaged in citizen politics in the Midlands for 10 years establishing three independent youth related organisations. Qudues has won numerous awards for his community engagement work, particularly with young Muslims, including the News of the World Children Champion Award (2011) and the National Youth Agency Youth Worker Award (2011). He is passionate about supporting communities to develop into cohesive and connected bodies that can nurture
positive change.

Technical team+

Abul Juwel Mahmud
Graphic & Web Designer

Juwel is an experienced graphic and web designer with over seven years’ experience of working in this field. Prior to joining Mend in February 2014, he delivered a project that was showcased at the Houses of Parliament and developed a website highlighting the work of NGO projects overseas.

Imran Shah
Online & Social Media coordinator

Seasoned activist for 6 years, specialising in social media and grass roots activism. Imran started his activism just before graduating in Physics at the University of Manchester. Since then, he has worked voluntarily with youth activists and established activist organisations and charities with their social media strategies. Imran runs his own blog, is a political poet and a personal and character development mentor.

Administrative and support staff+

Manija Omar
Project Manager

Manija holds a degree in Business Management from Kingston University. She is former President of a cultural society at Kingston University. Her previous career experience is in office operations providing administrative support to a variety of respected commercial and charitable organisations. She volunteers for a number of Muslim organisations under various roles, including a project coordinator role delivering workshops and training classes to empower, motivate and educate Muslim women. In her spare time Manija also tutors young students in Maths and English.