Mohammed Ilyas

How to be an Ally

Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Hertfordshire, Mohammed Ilyas shares his thoughts on how to be an ally.



The wonderful content you see here is uncensored; the views and opinions expressed by the speakers at the Festival of Ideas Reimagined are their own and do not reflect the views, opinions, official policy or position of the University of Hertfordshire.

About Mohammed Ilyas

Mohammed Ilyas is a professional in the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion field and is passionate about Equality and Human Rights and Social Justice. Growing up as a child of immigrant parents, a young Pakistani Muslim unsure of his identity in the midst of the multi-cultural metropolitan that Britain was morphing into during the 1980’s afforded many challenges.

Not only was he expected to be a role model for his younger siblings but to conform to family, cultural and community expectations, and questioning (to an extent in denial) his identity, and unable to express this to his family and friends, this was also the period when Section 28 was passed prohibiting the 'promotion' of homosexuality in the UK. As a result, Mohammed felt lost in Britain where the notions of ‘acceptance’ and ‘fitting in’ seemed illusive.

Throughout his life, Mohammed has faced various barriers and disadvantages due to his identity and background. However, despite the challenges, it was these experiences which empowered his identity and ignited his passion to challenge cultural and societal expectations and norms, barriers and disadvantage.

He is also a passionate activist for inclusion and change to ensure his nephews and nieces and others don’t have to face the same challenges, barriers and lack of acceptance that he did.

If you liked Mohammed, why not enjoy...