Zia Chaudhry MBE is a British born Muslim whose parents originated from Pakistan. Having grown up in Liverpool, he went on to establish his legal career in the city as a barrister specialising in criminal law after he was called to the Bar in 1991.
Outside of his legal practice, Zia has been actively involved in interfaith work for over fifteen years, with a particular emphasis on dispelling misunderstanding about Islam and Muslims.
In 2005 he became the first Muslim Chair of the Merseyside Council of Faiths. In 2006 he was one of the founding members of the North West Forum of Faiths.
In 2007, with the support of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, he founded the Spirit of Cordoba, a charity seeking to rekindle the spirit of co-operation which was so evident between the Abrahamic faiths in Muslim Spain.
He is also a trustee of Gladstone's Library, a legacy of former Prime Minister William Gladstone, having earlier been involved in the establishing of the House of Wisdom, the library's Islamic collection.
More recently Zia became the author of Just Your Average Muslim. This timely story of his personal journey growing up as a Muslim in the UK was originally intended to serve as a guide for his own children but quickly developed to address wider issues concerning Islam and Muslims.
Intending to act as a bridge between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds, it nevertheless embraces the self-criticism Muslims need in order to fulfil their responsibilities to the human race and occupy a position of respect on the world stage.
In Her Majesty's Birthday Honours List of 2015 Zia was awarded an MBE for services to interfaith relations.
Synopses of books
Just Your Average Muslim addresses both non-Muslims and Muslims. To the former it offers reassurance and an insight into the thoughts and concerns of those who follow Islam, yet still manage to juggle the same daily routines that the rest of us are so familiar with.
To Muslims it serves as a wake-up call, reminding them of their responsibilities to the human race, their historic achievements and their current plight.
MBE – 2015 for services to inter-faith relations.
Wells Literary Festival 2014, Emirates Festival of Literature 2015, Guernsey Literary Festival 2015, Lincoln Literary Festival 2015.
Initially intending to provide a guide for his children, it soon became clear to Zia that there was a much wider audience interested in the issues discussed in Just Your Average Muslim, and that they needed to be addressed in a way which was free of the hysteria so often associated with media coverage of Islam.
Along with climate change, Islam in the modern world is perhaps the most pressing issue for the world's population and Just Your Average Muslim is a vital contribution to the discussion.
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