Dr Nihal Abosaif
Nihal Abosaif is a Consultant acute physician in Birmingham Heart of England, NHS Trust, in Birmingham. She specialises in General Medicine, Acute Medicine, Kidney Disease and Stroke Medicine
On discussing her achievements and obstacles, Dr Nihal said:
“I have been working as a consultant for the last 12 years in different parts of the UK which made me gain a lot of experience looking after acute emergency patients with different backgrounds and ethnicities. I have dealt with patients in their most difficult situations and presenting with a lot of serious diseases, breaking bad news to them like cancer, serious illnesses that will lead to death, etc. I struggled a lot at the beginning to build my reputation and prove myself in my career and develop my skills.
I was a senior lecturer in my country Egypt and had finished my doctorate degree when I came to the UK. I had to apply my training from back home and find my way in the NHS and prove myself as a competent doctor. I couldn’t become a substantive consultant immediately as people didn’t accept me as a Muslim woman wearing hijab, and it was difficult for me to prove that I was an efficient doctor like others and that I have a brain as other doctors. I have excelled in my profession over the years and I was able to develop training programs for junior doctors and develop new courses in ultrasound as a new tool for diagnosing diseases. It was a long way but I was granted a diploma from the Royal College of Physicians and became a fellow of the RCP.
I have also shared in many charity trips to Bangladesh to visit the Rohingya camps and help build a new medical clinic for the women and children who escaped from Myanmar to the refugee camps. I also went to Calais to visit the Muslim refugees who were expelled from the camps and live in the streets and forests. I like to help in many other charity events and work as well as social events for my Egyptian colleagues in the community and other Muslim communities in Birmingham and outside Birmingham.”
Dr Nihal’s final advise is:
“I would recommend all women to work hard and believe in Allah that He will take care of their children. They need to be strong and share in the matters that affect their community and not to be silent.”
Dr Fella Lahmar
Fella Lahmar is a lecturer in Islamic studies and Education, and is the M.Ed Islamic course leader. Dr Fella’s qualifications include a PhD in Education from the University of Nottingham exploring diversity and development in Muslim schools in Britain and Main Educational Research Methods from the University of Nottingham. She obtained her MA in Islamic Studies from Loughborough University.
Dr Fella worked as a Research Associate at the University of Nottingham examining the complexities of international/transnational Higher Education and its links to politics in different contexts. She taught in different Muslim schools in England. She has a keen interest in interdisciplinary research combining Western and Islamic theoretical approaches to engage creatively and critically with the emerging issues in areas of research interest and expertise.
Her research interests are in Muslim schooling, philosophy of education, educating Muslims, Islam in education, Muslims in Britain, Muslims in Western Europe, contemporary Muslim political thought, Women in Islam, Islam in higher education, political thought, major trends in Muslim thought and Islamic thought. Her sources include principles of Islamic jurisprudence, Qur’an interpretation, Qur’anic sciences and Hadith sciences.
Dr Fella has many publications such as ‘Discourses in Islamic Educational Theory in Light of Texts and Contexts and Exploring the Complexity: the theoretical journey of a novice researcher’. She was awarded numerous grants during her professional journey including an award for outstanding contribution to Women’s Empowerment BISCA Award in 2016.
She has submitted many conference papers on a variety of topics highlighting important issues to Muslims in Britain including Muslim women and leadership, new Muslims and on integration complexities.
Dr Fella is currently working on her book ‘Islamic Schools in Western Europe: Objectives, diversity and belonging’ (Routledge) which is to be completed by the end of 2019. Some other works are under review, published or in press.
Sana Issa is CEO and founder of Sana Academy for Training and Consultations, author of a book on parenting with love – ‘When our souls met‘, a therapist and accredited trainer. She delivers workshops and training for women and mothers on different areas, such as life skills, therapeutic healing, parenting and relationships.
Sana is mother to five sons. She has many qualifications and has achieved certificates in therapeutic counselling, play therapy, counselling children in schools. She is a world class speaker in emotional freedom techniques, NLP, hypnosis and assisting teaching. She is a member of BACP and was awarded from Jordanian writers association, Al-Itihad secondary school and Muslim Association of Britain.
She was the keynote speaker at the Happy Family Global Conference and the host of the conference Women and Civilisation Dialogue in London. Sana has had many appearances as a guest speaker on radio and TV stations, such as MBC, BBC Arabic, Alhiwar, Hayat FM, Al-Jazeera and many more.
The biggest obstacle she faced was her divorce while in a foreign country with no family support. Other obstacles include the lack of finance to fund her training, English being her second language, lack of support from the community and other organisations whilst studying and working at the same time as raising her boys. Her greatest struggle was when she was denied her sons, having to fight to get them back.
Her advice to other women is to:
“always believe in yourself and trust your gut feelings. Always seek help and knowledge and never say you can not. Life will keep throwing challenges at you but its how you take it and what you make of it that makes all the difference, so be hopeful and optimistic. Finally be the change you want to see in others.”
Dr Amal Alsharafi
Amal Alsharafi holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Birmingham University. She is a former lecturer at Sanaa University in Yemen and is studying at the European Institute of Human Science in Birmingham, preparing for a Masters degree in Islamic Jurisprudence.
Dr Amal is currently the manager of the Muslim Student House Mosque (MSH) in Birmingham, which is a unique position for a woman, and this is what she had to say.
“Being the first female manager of this mosque was a big challenge, I had to deal with lots of obstacles at the beginning, but after huge effort and perseverance I managed to gain the trust of mosque attendees and local community. With the support of a dedicated team and committed staff, we managed to start a promising renovation project in our mosque, having started few months ago, we are finalising phase one and getting ready to start phase two of our project. Last week, our mosque took part in Visit My Mosque initiative, and we had a very successful day with the help and support of MAB youth team, community volunteers and our dedicated staff.“
Dr Amal’s advice to women is:
“Do not waste time, and always engage in doing something for your society.”
Ragad Altikriti is Vice President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and Head of Media. She is an inspirational speaker and trainer. She holds an MA in Learning Systems Design from the University of Leeds.
She has worked closely on issues concerning the Muslim community in the UK. She has been involved in organising events for the youth over the past 20 years. She has spoken on many different platforms at universities and in Parliament on behalf of Muslim women. She is a member of the European Forum of Muslim Women (EFOMW) and has contributed to significant discussions and sessions regarding Muslim women’s existence in Europe.
Ragad has experience working with politicians and decision-makers internationally and in the UK to organise important events for networking and raising awareness around significant topics. She supervises press releases on different topics of concern to the Muslim community. She has organised several press conferences on significant human rights issues.
She has been a guest speaker at many conferences and meetings and given workshops on dealing with the media and in public speaking. She speaks in many demonstrations and rallies in the UK on important human rights topics such as the plight of the Palestinians. Ragad is very keen on building bridges and opening dialogues for deeper understanding. She has been a guest on numerous radio and TV programs, both in English and Arabic, discussing issues relevant to Muslims in the UK. She has contributed towards discussions related to policies targeting Muslim communities such as Prevent. She has also provided training for workers in public sectors for better understanding of the Muslim community. She has also lately spoken in Islington Town Hall on Muslim youth between opportunities, violence and knife crimes.
Ragad works on many fronts with the youth and holds seminars to provide them with the training needed to engage within the different sectors of society without compromising their faith. She is an advocator for compatibility between religion and engaging positively in the West.
Ragad is an ambassador for motivating Muslim youth, and especially women, emphasising on the significant role they need to play to correct misconceptions and challenge the negative narrative portrayed in the media.
The main obstacle she faced while growing up was the lack of structure in Muslim women’s work to motivate and push women to advance with no limitations in any direction they wish to pursue. There were many hidden limitations and glass ceilings that hindered any progress that Muslim women made. The rise of Islamophobia poses a struggle but can be an opportunity to open many channels of discussions and correction of misinformation. In the past, it was hard for a Muslim woman to give talks at events where Muslim men were present, nowadays this is not even considered an issue. Ragad speaks to audiences of both men and women and manages groups for all.
Ragad calls upon Muslim women to believe in their abilities to stand out. They need to be seen and heard on all platforms. She pushes for them to not shy away from positions of power or influence and to use their visibility as Muslims to their benefit and not to hide behind it.