The Academic Team
A project of this importance needs intellectual input of the highest calibre, combining a deep understanding of Islam, of modern academic thought and of contemporary British culture. The following team has been assembled.
Dr Matthew LN Wilkinson, Principal Investigator
Dr Matthew L N Wilkinson is the Director and Principal Investigator of Curriculum for Cohesion and Research Fellow in Islam in Education and Law at SOAS, University of London. He won a scholarship in Theology & Religious Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. He then embraced Islam in 1991 and studied the Qur’an and the related Islamic knowledge for ten years. Matthew taught History, Citizenship and Religious Education in mainstream, supplementary and faith schools for fifteen years. In 2007, he was awarded an Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Scholarship to undertake his PhD at King’s College London. He is the originator of the philosophy of Islamic Critical Realism, building upon the work of Roy Bhaskar, and the author of ‘A Fresh Look at Islam in a Multi-faith World: a philosophy for success through education’ (Routledge, 2014).
Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem
Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem OBE, BA (Cairo), PhD (Cambridge) is Professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) University of London and Director of the Centre of Islamic Studies at SOAS. He is a world-leading scholar of the Qur'an who has published a critically acclaimed translation, The Qur'an: English translation with parallel Arabic Text (OUP, 2010). In 2008, he was awarded an OBE for services to Arabic Culture & Literature & Interfaith Understanding.
Professor Nigel Biggar
Professor Nigel Biggar is the Regius Professor of Moral & Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford, where he also directs the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life. Before assuming his current post, he occupied chairs in Theology at the University of Leeds and at Trinity College, Dublin. He is a prolific, heralded author and his most recent book, Between Kin and Cosmopolis: An Ethic of the Nation, was published by James Clarke in 2014.
Max Hill QC
Max Hill QC is a leading barrister who has specialised in terrorism cases. He has acted as Counsel in many of the most significant terrorism and serious crime trials of the last decade, and was instructed throughout the Coroner’s Inquests into the 7 July 2005 London Bombings. He is Head of Chambers at Red Lion Chambers in London and is also Chairman of the Kalisher Trust working to encourage the ablest students from every background to become the next generation of criminal law barristers. From 2014-2016 he was Leader of the South Eastern Circuit. In March 2017 he succeeded David Anderson QC as the UK Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.
Professor Chris Husbands
Professor Chris Husbands is Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and was Director of UCL Institute of Education from 2011-2015. He was a Board Member at the Training & Development Agency for Schools between 2006-12 and is a member of the RSA Academies Commission. He has worked as a consultant or adviser to Local Authorities, OFSTED, the Department for Education, the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority and the National College for School Leadership.
Dr Edward Kessler MBE
Dr Edward Kessler MBE is the Executive Director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge and a Fellow of St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge and recognised as one of the leading inter-faith thinkers in Britain. In 2006, he received the Sternberg Interfaith Award from philanthropist Sir Sigmund Sternberg “in recognition of outstanding services in furthering relations between faiths”. He was awarded the MBE for services to inter-faith relations in 2011.
Professor Alan Norrie
Professor Alan Norrie, currently Head of the School of Law, University of Warwick, is a pioneering thinker in the fields of criminal law and legal theory. Underpinning this work is his development of critical realist theory to examine the ethical grounds of justice. Previous to his present appointment, Alan was Edmund-Davies Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at King's College London (1997-2009) He is also President of the International Association for Critical Realism.
Ms Christine Counsell
Ms Christine Counsell has been a leading thinker in the development of history education in the UK and internationally for the last 20 years. Christine taught history in state secondary comprehensive schools for ten years and was deputy headteacher in a comprehensive school in Bristol, UK. In 1997 Christine was appointed by the University of Cambridge to lead its secondary school PGCE history teaching-training course. She acted as a consultant at UK national policy level for the review of the National Curriculum for History in England in 1994 and 2007.
Mr Tim Winter is the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge and Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College. In 2009, Tim Winter was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. (Photograph by Aiysha Malik)
Tim Moloney QC
Tim Moloney QC worked as a university lecturer following the completion of his PhD before being called to the Bar in 1993. He took silk in 2010 and has developed a busy practice in crime especially terrorism, homicide and fraud and extradition. A sample of notable domestic cases include a 2011 plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange, a 2013 extradition of men to Rwanda accused of genocide and a 2013 Supreme Court case dealing with the relationship between international humanitarian law and terrorism.
Dr Julia Ipgrave
Dr Julia Ipgrave is Senior Research Fellow at the Religions & Education Research Unit at the University of Warwick. Her research interests include young people’s religious understanding, religion in education and inter-religious encounter. She has participated in a number of UK and European projects and published widely in these fields.
Mr Salah Al-Ansari is Visiting Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Heythrop College, University of London where he is also completing his PhD on Muhammad Abu Zahra & Islamic Modernism. He is also Imam of the Margate Mosque, Kent. He graduated in Classical & Modern Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University, Cairo in 2000. Salah was appointed an Imam and teacher at the Central London Mosque (2004-07) and then worked in a number of mosques run by the Al-Birr Foundation in Margate, Woking and Basingstoke, where he did extensive inter-faith work in collaboration with Hampshire County Council.
The late Professor Roy Bhaskar
Professor Roy Bhaskar was World Scholar at the Institute of Education, University of London (now UCL Institute of Education) from 2008 until his death in November 2014. He was the founder of the philosophy of Critical Realism. Critical Realism has had an enormous influence on the natural and social sciences over the past 25 years. Professor Bhaskar was regarded by many as one of the world’s most innovative and creative philosophers and his thought has made ground-breaking contributions to many fields including natural and social science, environmental studies, gender studies and the philosophy of religion.