Executive Committee Members

The members of the Executive of WCF are drawn from all major religious communities in Britain.

Joint President: Revd Dr Marcus Braybrooke

 Joint President: Revd Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Revd Dr Marcus Braybrooke is a retired Anglican parish priest. He has also been involved in interfaith work for over fifty years, joined WCF in 1964 and has served as Hon. Secretary, Editor, Chairperson and now, as Joint President. He was Executive Director of the Council of Christians and Jews from 1984-8, and is a Co-Founder of the Faith and Belief Forum (formerly the Three Faiths Forum) and a Peace Councillor.

Marcus has travelled widely to attend interfaith conferences and to lecture, and studied for a time in India and in Israel. In September 2004, he was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury '...in recognition of his contribution to the development of inter-religious co-operation and understanding throughout the world.' He and Mary were awarded the 2021 temple of Understanding Juliet Hollister Lifetime Achievement Award

He is the author of many books on world religions and Christianity. His 'Faiths Together for the Future: the story of the World Congress of Faiths and the growing global interfaith movement to heal the world' gives a fascinating story of how the interfaith movement has grown and suggests ways that the interfaith movement can contribute to solving the world's problems.

Other books include Meeting Jewish Friends and Neighbours; Pilgrimage of Hope; Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age; Time to Meet; How to Understand Judaism; What We Can Learn from Hinduism/Islam/Sikhism; Christian-Jewish Dialogue: the Next Steps.

He has also written or edited Learn to Pray, 365 Meditations for a Peaceful Heart and a Peaceful World and Beacons of the Light: 100 Holy People who have shaped the history of humanity; 1,000 World Prayers; and Life Lines.

Marcus is married to Mary, a Vice President of the World Congress of Faiths who was a social worker and a magistrate. They have two children and six granddaughters. One of them, Helen Hobin, has written their biography called 'Afternoon Tea with Mary and Marcus Braybrooke'.


Joint President: Rabbi Dr Jackie Tabick

Rabbi Tabick was the first woman rabbi to be ordained in Great Britain, in 1975. She served West London Synagogue as an associate rabbi until 1998 and then became rabbi of North West Surrey Synagogue in Weybridge. She held this position until July 2013, combining it with her role, since 2012, as the first female Convenor of the Reform Movement's Beit Din (rabbinic law court) in Britain and the Movement for Progressive Judaism's court in Europe. She is also the part-time rabbi of West Central Liberal Synagogue. In 2014 Jackie gained her PhD looking at the outcomes of conversion to Reform Judaism 1952-2002.

Jackie is married to Rabbi Larry Tabick and they have three children, one of whom has now himself been ordained as a rabbi in the M'sorati Movement.

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Chair and Editor of Interreligious InsightRevd Canon Dr Alan Race

Alan Race

Alan Race is recognized worldwide for his seminal ideas in interfaith understanding and relations, and has been involved in promoting interfaith dialogue and co-operation at many levels.

Alan is active in interfaith work locally, nationally and internationally. He has worked through interfaith dialogue groups and taught theology related to religious pluralism and interfaith work for many years. He is the author of the classic text in theology of religions Christians and Religious Pluralism (SCM, 1983 and 1993); Interfaith Encounter (2001); Christian Approaches to Other Faiths (2008); Making Sense of Religious Pluralism (2015); Pope Francis and Interreligious Dialogue: Religious Thinkers Engage with Recent Papal Initiatives (2018, edited with Harold Kasimow); and most recently, New Paths for Interreligious Theology: Perry Schmidt-Leukel’s Fractal Interpretation of Religious Diversity (2019, edited with Paul Knitter). A festschrift book discussing Alan’s ideas and his response was produced as Twenty-First Century Theologies of Religions: Retrospection and Future Prospects (2016, ed. Elizabeth Harris, Paul Hedges, Shanthikumar Hettiarachichi). Interfaith Worship and Prayer: We Must Pray Together (2019, ed. Christopher Lewis and Dan Cohn-Sherbok) featured Alan and several other members and friends of WCF. Find books here.

Alan is a retired Anglican priest and the Editor for WCF’s journal, Interreligious Insight.

 


Revd Feargus O'Connor

Feargus is a Unitarian minister who has been involved in interfaith co-operation and dialogue for many years through the WCF, the International Association for Religious Freedom, the Unitarian Interfaith Panel and the Unitarian Faith and Public Issues Commission.

As minister of Golders Green Unitarians, he facilitates and leads many interfaith peace and other services including the annual WCF celebration of animals. He is particularly active in peace issues, is a former secretary of the Unitarian Peace Fellowship, a member of the Gandhi Foundation and supports the very active and committed work of his congregation for the United Nations Association, Amnesty International and the School for Peace at Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salaam, the Israeli-Palestinian peace village.


Treasurer: Pejman Khojasteh


Pejman has presented papers on the subject of science and religion at The Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion - University of Oxford.

He has applied his experience and research in organisational risk management to societal risk management including religious oriented conflict causation and resolution. He is a Trustee of Inter Faith Network for the UK.


Maqsood Ahmed OBE

maqsood Ahmed

Maqsood Ahmed OBE is currently CEO of CDE Acumen, a private consultancy that advises on Government relations, strategy, community engagement, campaign management and communications, capability building, research and evaluation. His focus areas of work are countering violent extremism, inter-faith, community cohesion and social development. In 2021 he was appointed UK programmes director at the Al Mustafa Welfare Trust International. He has also been Director of Welfare and Community Development at the Muslim Hands overseas aid charity since 2012.

Maqsood’s background lies in working on anti-poverty, inter-faith and racial equality in a career which includes working in the Leicester Law Centre and Watford Borough Council for 15 years. Other appointments include time spent as a Trustee and founding member of the Drug and Alcohol Awareness Project in Ealing and founding member of the Leicester Central Mosque and Islamic Centre. In 2003 he was appointed as Muslim Advisor in the Home Office Faith Communities Unit. He was awarded an OBE for his ground-breaking role as the first Muslim Advisor to HM Prison Service, where he championed the opening up of Prison Chaplaincies to reflect the ethnic and faith diversity in many Prisons. He continues to advise on prison policy, drugs and violent extremism as a Trustee of the UK Prison Reform Trust.

Maqsood is passionate about interfaith dialogue and is a pioneer of Muslim/Jewish dialogue. He was instrumental in the first-ever Imams and Rabbis conference in 2006 in London. This was followed by a Muslim/Jewish women dialogue event in Manchester. He is also one of the Patrons of Abraham Fund UK, a charity that works to increase Palestine/Jewish engagement. He was awarded The Muslim News Al-Barooni Award for Excellence in 2008 for his work with the Muslim Community and his Inter-faith work in the UK and internationally.

He holds a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick, where his work focused on Islam in Contemporary Society.

 


Swadeka Ahsun

A considerable part of Swadeka's works focus on building Sustainable  within faiths while review in progress of 25 years since the Beijing Platform for action across diverse stakeholders, policy makers, academics, professional , organizations, through values as belief empowers people making people achieve change, bringing understanding, mutual tolerance,and  peaceful coexistence .

Swadeka obtained BA(honours) Arabic, MA(Islamic studies).  She conducted research on dialogue between faiths and religion under the professorship of Tim Winter, of the divinity college of Cambridge University.

Swadeka participated on interreligious dialogue and gatherings, among them , were in Assissi and Rome. She as well participated at the G20interreligious conference(Riyadh) and is preparing for the forthcoming one (bologna, Italy)

An Award Winning artist, having exhibited internationally, she is at present working on culture and heritage, developing sustainable policies, boundless creativity for Unesco together with international collaboration.

Swadeka is the recipient of the Muslim News Al-Hamra award, excellence in the Arts & Culture

Desmond Biddulph


Revd Bonnie Evans-Hills
BonnieEvans-Hills

Bonnie received her MA in pastoral theology from Heythrop College, University of London. She has considerable experience in inter-religious dialogue, focusing in particular on dialogue with Shi’a Islam following a period of study in Qum, Iran. Evans-Hills took part in a theological exchange at al-Azhar University in Cairo for the Anglican Communion’s al-Azhar Dialogue. Bonnie is currently Inter Faith Adviser in the Diocese of St Albans, and a parish priest. She serves on the national Presence & Engagement Task Group, resourcing multi-faith parishes, as well as Churches Together in Britain & Ireland Inter-Faith Theological Advisory Group. She has worked on occasion with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, and more recently the United Nations strategy for ending incitement to genocide, as well as joining the management committee of the Anglican Inter Faith Network. Evans-Hills is co-author of the book ‘Engaging Islam from a Christian Perspective,’ published by Peter Lang.


Warwick Hawkins

Warwick was previously a senior civil servant at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. For 17 years he advised successive Governments on religious engagement, and designed and implemented programmes to support inter-faith dialogue and faith-based social action. In 2013 he took early retirement to start a social enterprise, Faith in Society Ltd, with WCF’s former project officer Jenny Kartupelis. Faith in Society (www.faithinsociety.org.uk) helps faith groups wanting to get involved in civil society by offering support on fund-raising, strategy development, advocacy and research. 

 


Imam Monawar Hussain, MBE, DL

Imam Monawar Hussain is the Muslim Tutor at Eton College, Windsor; Muslim Chaplain to the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Founder of The Oxford Foundation.

Monawar read Theology at the University of Oxford, holds a Master of Arts degree in Abrahamic Religions from the University of London and trained as an Imam under the tutelage of the late Sheikh Dr Zaki Badawi KBE and Mawlana Shahid Raza OBE, at the Muslim College, Ealing, UK.

Monawar serves as an advisor to a number of national charities including the World Congress of Faiths, The Oxford Trust, History of Science Museum (University of Oxford), the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, Prison Phoenix Trust and the NSPCC National Advisory Group on Safeguarding and Muslim Children.

Monawar was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to interfaith and community relations in Oxfordshire, in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2017.  He is also a Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, an Honorary Research Fellow at the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham and High Sheriff in Nomination for Oxfordshire (2021-22). He was awarded the prestigious Sternberg Interfaith Gold Medallion for interfaith services in March 2020.

Monawar’s dissertation entitled: ‘Spiritual Journeying: An exploration in the light of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and Attār’s Conference of the Birds’, was published in 2016. In addition he has contributed to: Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care in Mental Health Settings (2019), Jessica Kingsley Publishers; Interfaith Worship and Prayer: We Must Pray Together (2019), Jessica Kingsley Publishers; BBC Prayer for the Day: Vol 2 : More Reflections for Daily Inspiration: 2 (2016) Watkins Publishing; Religion and the News (2012) Ashgate Publishing.


Dr Vinod Kapashi, OBE

Vinod Kapashi OBE is the founder, trustee and past president of the Mahavir Foundation, a Jain charity established in 1987. He attended Parliaments of the World’s Religions in Chicago, Cape Town, Melbourne and Barcelona and presented papers. He has taken part in special delegations to Buckingham Palace and to the Vatican.

Vinod has studied Jain scriptures and published his first book called 'In Search of the Ultimate' based on them. Since then, he has written twenty more books on Jainism, and has gained a PhD in Jain literature. He had undertaken many charitable projects and has been successful in raising money for various causes. He was appointed OBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to Jainism.

He is the past president of Harrow Interfaith Council and has always taken great interest in the Interfaith Movement.


 

       Barney Leith, OBE

John Barnabas (Barney) Leith has been has been an active Bahá’í since the mid-1960s. He has been a member of the UK Bahá’í community’s elected national governing council since 1993.

He has degrees in Sociology and in Social Psychology and Philosophy, and is a member of the teaching faculty of the Wilmette Institute, an online educational initiative of the US Bahá’í community.

He has an abiding interest in the role of religion in the public square and is keenly involved in inter-faith and multi-faith work. He is Chair of Trustees of the Faith-Based Regeneration Network, a UK-wide multi-faith social action network, and was for many years a Trustee of the Inter Faith Network for the UK. He also chaired both the Religion and Belief Consultative Group on Equality, Diversity and Human Rights and the Multi Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy.

He was appointed OBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to the Bahá’í Faith and to inter-faith relations.

He is married to Erica and they have three grown-up offspring and five grandchildren.


Sister Georgina Long

Georgina Long has studied Raj Yoga meditation for 35 years and is a senior teacher at the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. Currently she is the Brahma Kumaris' Inter Faith Coordinator UK.

In her working life she designed and promoted self development courses within the penal system for both prisoners and staff.  For twelve years and as part of a working party of senior prison staff and Raj Yoga teachers, she was instrumental in providing three day residential retreats for prison personnel at the Brahma Kumaris Retreat Centre in Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire.


Dina Mandalia


Brian Pearce, OBE


Ajit Singh, MBE

Ajit has over fifty years’ experience of working as a volunteer in the field of Interfaith, race relations and community development. Professionally a retired chartered town planner and architectural consultant, he was the co-author of the Commission for Racial Equality and The Royal Town Planning Institute’s pioneering report ‘Planning for a Multi-Racial Britain’ launched in 1983. He was also the co-founder of the first local Interfaith Group in the country In 1970s. In 1988, he was awarded an MBE for his services in race relations and community development. Over the years, he has contributed to many International and national events and has participated in the debates on human rights at the UN in Geneva.

He has been a member of the World Congress of Faiths and also of the IARF British Chapter since its inception.