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Biographies

Shaykh Luqman Ali - Artistic Director, Lecturer

Luqman initially trained in the sciences of Islam and the languages (Arabic, Persian and Urdu) and cultures of the Middle East and the Sub-continent and spent a decade working for publishing houses in the USA and the UK.

In 1997, Luqman co-founded Khayaal, the first professional theatre company of its kind offering audiences a fascinating experience of classic Muslim world culture through contemporary stagecraft. He adapted, co-directed and produced Khayaal’s award-winning debut production, Conference of the Birds, in 1998 which was described by Time Out as ‘a pleasure’ and ‘a refreshing burst of visual creativity’. He went on to pioneer the theatrical interpretation of the tales of Jalaluddin Rumi and Fariduddin Attar producing numerous theatrical shorts including Four Mystics and a Merchant, Bad Beard Day, Between the Devil & Me and Tattoos in Qazvin. In 2004, he broadened the scope of his work adapting traditional tales from right across the Muslim world in Tales from Muslim Lands which included Peony Garden on Nanshan Mountain, Bling Bling Blind, Incey Witty Spider and Man Take Thy Flight.

Luqman’s latest works are Sun & Wind, a spiritual reflection on extremism and Hearts & Minds, a theatre-in-education play for young people exploring issues of identity, citizenship and extremism. Since 2008, Hearts & Minds has reached over 20,000 mainly young people in schools and colleges across England and has also been performed in the USA. Luqman is currently writing a play exploring the intersection of Britain and Islam in the story of coffee. Luqman is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship and a member of the Concordia Forum.

Eleanor Martin - Associate Director

Eleanor obtained a BA Hons. in Drama & English Literature prior to training as a professional actor at Mountview Theatre School. She went on to work in theatre, film and television in Britain and abroad including parts in popular television drama series. Eleanor is also a theatre-in-education specialist with 25 years of experience delivering training in drama to adults and children nationally and internationally.
As a founding member of Khayaal, Eleanor has researched, produced, devised, directed, and performed for the Company since its inception. She co-directed and performed in the Conference of the Birds, Khayaal’s award winning debut production and has since played a pivotal role in all of Khayaal’s productions. For four years Eleanor toured Khayaal’s one woman play, Sun & Wind, about which BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme said ‘the play makes use of powerful writing and the extraordinary ability of the actress to convey the highs and lows of a woman struggling to reconcile her own pain with the need to convey truth.’ She most recently devised and delivered bespoke workshops for the British Museum’s critically acclaimed Hajj Exhibition as well as for Shakespeare’s Globe, Living Islam Festival and Goldsmiths University.

Syed Hasnain Bukhari

Syed Hasnain Bukhari Naqvi: Studied the Nizami syllabus, first with his father and then formally at Dar al-ulum al-Qadiriyyah al-Jilaniyyah until convocation. After Islamic sciences, he studied Philosophy at St Andrews University and University of Oxford, and currently a PhD student at King's College.


Qari Asim

Qari Asim MBE is a real estate solicitor by profession, working at DLA Piper UK LLP, one of the largest legal firms in the world. He deals with legal issues relating to commercial property and the construction of skyscrapers in Leeds, which are visible signs of the city’s booming economy. In the evening he deals with invisible improvements, assisting in spiritually uplifting the Muslim community. Qari Asim is also currently a senior Imam (prayer leader) at Leeds Makkah Mosque, which is UK’s Model Mosque. The mosque won the nationwide award due to its outreach work, and for planning initiatives that actively engage with youth, women and different community organisations.

Qari Asim is an Executive member of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board and provides guidance to mosques and Imams in the North of England. He has also advised local statutory bodies and law enforcement agencies in respect of Islamic and cultural issues. Qari is also Chair of Deen Foundation, an organisation dedicated to promoting education. He has translated a number of articles from Urdu to English and has authored a book Our Children: Our Future. Qari’s current focus is on youth engagement; he is co-founder of Young Minds, a voluntary community organisation committed to providing recreational and educational activities to the youth.


Professor Seyed Mohammad Ghari Fatemi

Seyed Fatemi spent thirteen years studying to the highest level in the traditional educational seminaries of Qum under the direct instruction of some of the leading scholars of the present day. Alongside his traditional education Seyed Fatemi was also trained in Public Law at Tehran University, receiving the award of both an LLB and an LLM. In 1999 Seyed Fatemi was awarded with a PhD from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manchester for research engaging with Comparative Human Rights.

Seyed Fatemi’s teaching and research interests include; the Philsophical foundations of human rights, International and comparative Human rights, Islam and Human Rights, Usul al-Fiqh and Hermeneutics, the History and Development of Fiqh, and Muslim Theology