Azim Ahmed, 28, is Editor of On Religion magazine
To mark three decades of the IWA’s role in making Wales better, we decided to look forward to ‘the next thirty years’ by introducing some of the people who will be shaping ‘the Welsh agenda’ as the future unfolds. We have teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers and their #GreatWales campaign, which celebrates the ideas and people who contribute to the Wales of the future.
Azim Ahmed, 28, Editor of On Religion magazine
I recently submitted my PhD thesis which looks at contemporary Islam in Britain, and I’m currently writing a book based on some of the research. It is a topic I’m quite passionate about, the history of Muslims in Wales. I think the current climate, in which belonging and identity are so prominent as aspects of our national debate means the time is right for an account of the story of Wales’ countless Muslims, from the medieval travellers, to Victorian gentlemen converts, to the sailors who made their home in Welsh ports.
I am Editor of On Religion magazine, a labour of love that I started as a PhD student but has grown beyond my expectations. I founded it to host the voices of academics and experts on religion into the debate about faith and society, to raise the tone of discussion and quality of religious literacy. It’s been an important space for discussing religious nationalism, global conflict, and less charged issues of history and theology.
I volunteer for the Muslim Council of Wales as their Assistant Secretary General. The Muslim Council of Wales is an umbrella body that brings together Muslim organisations, mosques and charities. Naturally, interfaith has been a staple part of the work we have done for the past ten years. As society is becoming seemingly more polarised, we’ll be continuing with this in the future with even more commitment. Personally, I’m pleased to have seen how the relationships built through interfaith works years ago are proving to be invaluable resources today.
In the coming years, I hope I can help contribute towards a vision of Wales that is confident of its multi-religious and multi-cultural history, that celebrates diversity, and finds unity in differences. These probably sound like grand ambitions, but there are few alternatives for me and other Muslims, migrants and minorities.
My parents sacrificed a lot to move to Wales, and to give me the opportunity to call Cardiff my home.
Each day, throughout the month of June, we are celebrating the exceptional people on the Next 30 list by publishing a short pen portrait here on Click on Wales, as well as raising their profile on Twitter using #IWAnext30 and #GreatWales to highlight the exciting contributions these people are making to Wales’ future.