Tehmina Kazi

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Tehmina Kazi has been the Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD) since May 2009. The non-profit organisation aims to raise awareness of the benefits of secular democracy and to promote a shared vision of citizenship.[1][2]


Kazi studied Law at London School of Economics from 2002-2005. She worked as a voluntary research assistant at Doctors for Human Rights between September 2004 and December 2005, before undertaking paralegal work at Thompsons Solicitors for a period of 7 months in 2006. Between December 2007 and April 2009 Kazi worked as a Project Officer at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, where she researched human rights issues as part of an inquiry into the Human Rights Act and its impact upon public service delivery. During this role she co-organised the Muslim Women Power List; an awards ceremony acknowledging the work of the most powerful Muslim women.[3][4]

In January 2011, Kazi was appointed as executive producer of Hidden Heart, a documentary film about British Muslims who marry outside of their racial and religious communities. During the same year she became a trustee of the Hope not Hate Charitable Trust, which seeks to challenge politics of hate and extremism within local communities. In this position she has reportedly steered the organisation's policies, advised upon building a socially cohesive society and ensured compliance with governance procedures.[4][5]

As of 2012, Kazi has been an advisory board member of the Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks Project, contributing to media coverage on anti-Muslim attacks in the UK and assisting with policy and funding issues. In 2012 she also became a freelance consultant for the Faith and Free Speech in Schools project, which aims to equip young people with the skills to criticise, defend and understand matters of free speech and faith.[4][6]

In January 2014, Kazi worked alongside Professor Ted Cantle, Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Rabbi Jonathan Romain and Alex Cunningham to judge a shortlist of the UK’s most inclusive primary and secondary schools. She would also undertake the Eric Lane Fellowship at the University of Cambridge in the same month, where she wrote two articles and an academic journal submission. This position ended in March 2014.[4][7]

Kazi regularly contributes to debates on civil liberties and foreign policy, and her articles have featured in media outlets such as the Guardian and the Huffington Post.[8]

Affiliations, Awards, Talks, Resources

Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill

In January 2012, Kazi advised Baroness Cox on her Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill. The Bill aimed to make it an offence for anyone to claim that Sharia courts have legal jurisdiction over family or criminal law in Britain. Kazi was quoted as saying that “There is a gap in the system for Muslim women due to the prevalence of Sharia councils. They don’t have any legal power and are completely informal so very hard to regulate and they rule on things such as divorce in Muslim communities. We want to educate women so they know what their rights are.” The Bill was opposed by some parts of the Muslim community, but was nonetheless supported by Kazi due to her belief that it would encourage greater equality for Muslim women unaware of alternatives to Sharia law.[9] Baroness Cox had previously confirmed that Kazi was "prepared to speak out in public and support my Bill” in a talk at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend in Florida in November 2011.[10] Kazi further contributed to a booklet seeking to provide evidence in support of Cox’s Bill. Additional contributors included Kalsoom Bashir, then of Preventing Violent Extremism, at Bristol City Council (and later in Inspire), Tahmina Saleem of Inspire, Anne-Marie Waters, then of One Law For All and later candidate for UKIP and founder of Sharia Watch, as well as Daniel Greenberg, Parliamentary Counsel, for the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.[11]

The European Foundation for Democracy

Kazi is a fellow of the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD), and discussed counter narratives to extremism at a round-table event in Brussels on 4 September 2015.[12][13] The EFD, which was established in November 2005, is a Brussels-based lobbying group and think tank associated with a transatlantic network of neoconservative activists. Director Roberta Bonazzi has rejected suggestions that the foundation has a strong pro-Israel alignment, stating that 'We try to not get involved in the Israel-Palestine issue'.[14] However, several of its campaigns have reflected policies propagated by the Israeli establishment – including its proposed ban on Hamas and Hezbollah television channels – and its stated goals appear to be in line with the known positions of the Israel lobby.[14][15][16]

The EFD is also at least partially funded by pro-Israel donors, and shares ties with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Salon's Eli Clifton labelled the latter foundation ‘Washington’s premiere hawkish think tank’, and highlighted its funding from Republican donors such as Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson.[17] EFD director Roberta Bonazzi denied ties with the FDD in 2014, stating that the two were ‘completely separate organisations, financially and legally separate’. However, when asked about documents sent to the US authorities which revealed a financial relationship between the two, she reportedly stated: ‘That is because most of our fundraising is done in the US. [The FDD was] our contact. Grants were sent them and then to us.’ Consistent with this, research has shown that the FDD provided a direct grant of $478,829 to the EFD in 2009, alongside a payment to Bonazzi for ‘networking and research’ activities.[14] Singer, who donates to the FDD, is similarly a major donor to the EFD’s US-based tax-exempt charity Friends of the EFD ($1 million between 2009 and 2013), as is American businessman and philanthropist Bernard Marcus. Both Singer and Marcus also fund the Middle East Media Research Institute (MERMI), to provide free English language translations of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto and Turkish media reports. MERMI has been described by the Centre for American Progress as ‘the Islamophobia network’s go-to place for selective translations of Islamist rhetoric abroad’. An additional donor to the EFD, Larry J. Hochberg, is also the former chairperson of the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces, who contributes via the Hochberg Family Foundation.[18]


  • Royal Society of Arts (2014): Centenary Young Fellow.
  • National Secular Society (2013): Secularist of the Year - finalist.
  • International Imam Hussain Council (2012): Outstanding Achievement Award – winner.
  • Cosmopolitan Magazine (2011): Ultimate Women of the Year Awards (Campaigner Category) – finalist.
  • BBC 100 Women (2014).
  • BBC 100 Women (2013).[4]

Conference talks

Kazi delivered a talk aimed at overturning myths surrounding the Government's Preventing Violent Extremism agenda on 20 July 2016 at Conway Hall in London.[19]



  1. BMSD: Tehmina Kazi, accessed 11 July 2016
  2. BMSD: Objectives, accessed 20 April, 2016
  3. European Foundation for Democracy Experts: Tehmina Kazi, accessed 02 August 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Tehmina Kazi LinkedIn Profile, accessed 12 July 2016
  5. Hope not Hate Structure HOPE not Hate, accessed 12 July 2016
  6. English PEN Faith in Free Speech, accessed 02 August 2016
  7. Tehmina Kazi Endole Profile, accessed 12 July 2016
  8. Public Spirit Contributors: Tehmina Kazi Public Spirit, accessed 11 July 2016
  9. Harrow Campaigner and the Battle for Equality Get West London, 12 January 2012, accessed 13 May 2016
  10. Baroness Caroline Cox at Restoration Weekend Frontpage Mag, 20 December 2011, accessed 30 May 2016
  11. Charlotte Rachael Proudman Equal and Free? Evidence in support of Baroness Cox’s Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, National Secular Society, May 2012, accessed 30 May 2016
  12. EFD Experts: Tehmina Kazi European Foundation for Democracy, accessed 08 August 2016
  13. BMSD Director Tehmina Kazi speaks at a European Foundation for Democracy round table on counter-narratives to extremism–04.09.2015 BMSD, accessed 08 August 2016
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Israel Lobby and the European Union, accessed 08 August 2016
  15. European Foundation for Democracy: Our Goals, EFD Website, accessed 08 August 2016
  16. European Foundation for Democracy: Campaigns, accessed 08 August 2016
  17. Home Depot founder’s quiet $10 million right-wing investment, ‘’Salon’’, 5 August 2013, accessed 08 August 2016
  18. Billionaire republicans and professional islamophobes: The pro-Israel lobby in Brussels, ‘’Spinwatch’’, accessed 08 August 2016
  19. Eventbrite: Myths about the Government's Preventing Violent Extremism, Tehmina Kazi Eventbrite, accessed 12 July 2016