I recently returned from an incredible trip to Malaysia, where I was fortunate enough to present to a packed out stadium of thousands of people alongside some of the Ummah’s most amazing individuals during the Ilm Arts Festival. Connecting with these awesome people was like having my creative batteries recharged, as each inspire, empower and continue to create positive change through the work they do everyday.
Our Ummah is filled with amazing people and it gives me great pleasure to be able to highlight the wonderful creative talent of the awesome people who shared their amazing work during the festival.
Sajid Hussain aka “The Maestro,” is the philanthropic founder and brainchild of the Ilm Arts Festival. Sajid has always been passionate about the arts and began connecting with creatives around the world. Mobilising a dedicated team around him, Sajid began the festival to connect the arts with faith and social change.
Nouman Ali Khan
Nouman Ali Khan is the founder and CEO of Bayyinah and serves as a lead instructor for several programs including a number of traveling seminars and Bayyinah TV. His serious Arabic training began in the U.S. in 1999 under Dr. Abdus-Samie, founder and former principal of Quran College in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Nouman has a worldwide following of millions for his lectures and talks and is one of the most influential Muslims in the world.
Omar Regan jumped on stage as a stand-up comic in local Detroit Comedy Clubs in 1999 and soon after was awarded the leading role in a Regional Ford Focus Commercial and knew acting was his passion. Regan decided to leave Detroit and moved to Hollywood to pursue his passion.
Peter Sanders is a heavyweight in the photography world with over 30 years of experience. His mastery and skill are derived from an almost spiritual place, lending his photos a particular quality and feel that can’t be replicated. In 1970, he set off for India. This trip became a spiritual odyssey that led him onto Morocco and the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, where he photographed the hajj, at a time when few professional photographers had access to Islam’s holiest sanctuaries.
Asia Alfasi is a Libyan-British manga-influenced comic writer and artist. She was born in Libya and moved to Scotland at the age of 7. Since then, she has relocated to Birmingham, England, and lives there to this day. Her works synthesise Islamic, Libyan, British, and Japanese influences. She first gained notoriety when she was the first female to participate in and win the Hi8us Midlands Stripsearch competition with a portfolio based on her character Monir.
Ibrahim Muhammad Heshaam Jaaber is A third generation American Born Muslim, a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and The Founder and President of Color Me Muslim which is an identity based organization that focuses on the advancement of Muslim Youth. Ibrahim has also been writing and performing poetry for over 10 years, using the art of spoken word as a platform to reach out to the Muslim Youth and relay the message of Islam to anyone willing to listen.
Shinji Moriwaki aka Figure of Speech or just Speech, delivers songs that are politically and socially motivated. Born and raised in Kuwait to a Chinese mother and Japanese Father, he was brought up on the BBC and CNN which was his family’s idea of after-dinner entertainment. This daily diet of war and violence influenced his world view and eventually his music.
Mizz Nina is a renowned Malaysian singer, songwriter and business women. With an illustrious career going back to 1999 when she formed Teh Tarik Crew and after various achievements she went solo in 2010 with her album “What Are You Waiting For.” After returning from Hajj, in 2014 she announced she will only sing to women audiences and embarked on the launch of her fashion outlet Madeena.
Kamal has always been someone who has loved to express himself through Art. He is known for his Spoken Word pieces on YouTube and has used his talent to project the religion of Islam in a positive light. Based in Sydney, Kamal continues to study media and spreading the message of Islam through multimedia avenues.
Imagination, initiative and industry are embedded in the DNA of Tommy Evans. In his decade long career as a hip hop musician he appeared on over forty releases, managed a record label, collaborated with multi-platinum and underground artists alike and performed in the UK, USA and Europe. Presently, he produces and presents RTV’s “Beard Is Beautiful”; delivers motivational talks and dynamic spoken word performances.
Chef Syafiq Zane trained at the prestigious 3 Michelin Star establishment Jean Georges in New York City. After returning to Malaysia he founded F.I.Q’s (Food, Innovation and Quality) the flag ship restaurant in Subang Jaya that represents the foundation of his restaurant and his commitment to not only satisfy the hunger for food but also the hunger for excellence in the field of culinary science.
Shazet has been taking his originality and creative sounds to the new-school beatboxing scene ever-since the age of 15; especially in South-East Asia. From the shores of Penang, Malaysia and got his big break after winning Beatbox Melbourne Championship 2008 in Australia. He has then performed for various events around the world and represented Malaysia in the Beatbox World Championship 2009 that was hosted in Berlin.
At Just 19 years of age, Faisal Salah with his unique, powerful voice and thought provoking lryics narrates his journey back to islam to all. He has been known to leave crowds in awe as he tells stories of his past and emotional choices through his pieces. For someone so young he has shared the stage with many names such as, Mecca2Medina, Poetic Pilgrimage, Muslim Belal, Amir Khan and many others.
Ashley Chin aka “Muslim Belal” is an English actor, screenwriter, spoken word performance poet and former rapper of Jamaican descent. Reverted to being a young Muslim of Islam and coming from the ghetto upbringing of the streets of London, Muslim has dazzled and shared his journey with thousands across the world with his story. Muslim spends his spare time helping the youth by giving inspiring talks and doing interactive workshops.
Naima B Robert
Naima writes multicultural picture books with Muslim themes for children. Her first picture book, The Swirling Hijab, was included in the Booktrust programme. To date she has published thirteen picture books for children, many of which are used in dual language settings and are published in up to 31 languages.
Mohammed Ali, award winning UK artist, directed the first ever Ilm Arts Festival. Ali has been a pioneer in the street-art movement, fusing street art with Islamic script, delivering powerful and moving messages. His art has inspired a new generation across the globe, to boldly express their identity and ideals.
Baba Aliuses his sharp-witted style to take a realistic look at the everyday issues Muslims are confronted with, including being a Muslim teen, attending Muslim weddings and dealing with cultural issues that have impacted Muslims. What started out as a YouTube blog has turned into something that people all over the world are glued to, giving Ali the opportunity to travel the world and to perform his rare stand-up comedy.
In 2011 Hannah won the 3FF Urban Dialogues Artist Award for her works “Illumination” and “Chasing Paradise”. In 2012 she was short-listed for the Mica ‘My Place On The Isle’ Best British Emerging Artist Award. Her work received a special mention from the judging panel.
Jordan Richter is an American born professional skateboarder and youth advocate. The global phenomenon of Jordan’s skateboarding skills has taken him to Japan, Europe, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and Costa Rica. He has his name on skateboards, designed skateboard parks, and trained thousands of people how to skateboard. A documentary of the ways his journey to Hajj intersects with his skating career will appear on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network in 2015.
Amir Sulaiman is a poet, recording artist, activist and newly appointed Harvard Fellow. His poems cross subjects of love, tragedy as well as what it means to reconcile humanity with the unprecedented trials of modernity. He has performed his works across the US as well as many other countries including England, Belgium, Senegal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Iran and the Netherlands, and continues to tour world-wide.
Safina Sajid is a British born Muslim who lives and works in the northwest of England. In June 2013 she graduated with a First Class Honours degree in B.A Fine Art with Integrated media awarded by Lancaster University. Her creative practice concerns itself with the celebration and exploration of cross-cultures, identities and traditions. She explores the fusion between Eastern and Western cultures through sculpture, installation, painting, printmaking and photography.
Martin Travers is an international muralist, street artist and professional visual artist. Martin travels the world painting murals and working on community arts projects, giving workshops on culturally diverse developmental arts. Martin’s goal is to work towards building positive creative alternatives for “at risk” youth and communities. He specialises in teaching and facilitating workshops on this subject.
Since 1994, Zain Bhikha has inspired fans the world over with his messages of hope and upliftment. As a singer, songwriter and through creative workshops and television, Zain is amongst the most popular English Islamic artists, well-loved by young and old. With twelve albums under his belt and a thirteenth to be released this year, Zain’s audience continues to grow in his country of birth, South Africa, as well as globally.
Shaykh Daood Butt obtained a degree in Automotive Technology and was nominated amongst Canada’s Top Graduates of 2002. He went on to study at the Islamic Uni of Madinah for 7 years, after which he did a Master of Arts Degree in Islamic & Other Civilizations from the IIUM, Malaysia. Daood has developed as one of the leading youth councillor of our time and travels the globe parting knowledge.
He is not called Altimet for nothing. Whether busting rhymes as an MC, producing tracks, composing music or writing lyrics, Altimet delivers hot hits. Recognised for his talents and charm, Altimet strikes the chords that are deep within you. As a product of Malaysia, Altimet’s performances, videos and songs have been enjoyed by many both locally and globally. Not just a music guru, Altimet has launched his own brand of clothing.
Peter Gould is an Australian designer, creative entrepreneur and digital artist. The BBC described him as “among those young urban global Muslims leading the emergence of a new Muslim cool.” Peter’s spiritual and artistic journey into Islam over the last ten years has resulted in a flourish of creative projects aiming to illuminate and inspire hearts from around the Ummah.
Catapulted into the limelight from the 2004 Silver medal Olympic podium Amir Khan has become Britain’s highest-profile boxer racking up an impressive professional fight record; having become the World Light Welterweight Champion in July 2009. Living to box has been a self-proclaimed obsession for Amir Khan; one that has turned him from a talented streetwise boy, into a self-assured man and a World Champion.
Ahmed Bukhatir is a name synonymous today with any lover of music, specially the “acapella” style of singing. A singer, par excellence, with over 10 million fans, truly an artiste who proves that “music is a universal language”. He has sung in 3 different languages at this point, English, Arabic and French. Ahmed was born in 1975 into one of the biggest business families and he currently serves as a Senator for the Sharjah government.
Muadz loves to heal others through his music. Not only is he a talented and upcoming artist, he is also a multilingual vocalist who aims to touch the hearts of people from all walks of life through his unconventional style of music. With an array of performances that he has accomplished across the globe, Muadz now has a wonderful group of fans who follow his music.
Dubbed the “voice of a generation,” Boonaa Mohammed is a critically acclaimed award winning writer and performer with accolades including a playwright residency at Theatre Passe Muraille, a short story published in a Penguin Canada anthology called “Piece by Piece” and various slam poetry titles credits including winner of the 2007 CBC Poetry Face-Off “Best New Artist” award.
About the Author:
Peter Gould is a designer, creative entrepreneur and artist. The BBC describes Peter as a leader in “the emergence of new Muslim cool.” He aims, through his work on creative projects, to illuminate, enrich and inspire people through beauty & positivity.