Leicester Council of Faiths Board Profiles


FAYYAZ SULEMAN, Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths


Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths

Fayyaz Suleman's Bio

Fayyaz Suleman is an experienced and respected community-enabler who has worked for over 20 years to build bridges between different faith and ethnic communities, as well as non-faith communities.

With his expertise in charity governance and strategic insight and his grassroots links with many of the diverse (including hard to reach) communities of Leicestershire, Fayyaz has played a pivotal role in enhancing the work and profile of the Leicester Council of Faiths and supporting a strategic approach to building social and community cohesion. With his dedication to bring people together and build harmony at different levels, he has taken a leading role to diffuse tensions and take a united approach to dealing with events that undermine the unity of the communities of Leicestershire.

He has also led efforts for local NHS, local Councils, local Police and other stakeholders to ensure that faith communities are fully engaged in informing and shaping service delivery. He has previously served as a Non-Executive director in various public sector and third sector organisations including Leicester City NHS, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, Places for People, Community & Economic Development Agency and Grazrootz.

Professionally, Fayyaz runs a consultancy firm Fusion Consulting Services which is responsible for registering and supporting development of over 300 charities working to benefit all sections of society here in the UK and abroad and has actively been involved in various advisory groups.

NARENDRA WAGHELA, Treasurer of Leicester Council of Faiths


Vice Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths

Narendra's Bio

Narendra is also a Public Relations Officer of BAPS, a socio-spiritual International Organisation affiliated to the UN (since 1988), Trustee Board Member & Co-Chair Inter Faith Network UK, Trustee Board Member & Vice Chair of Voluntary Actions Leicestershire, Board Member of the Citizen Advice Bureau, Board Member of Mainstream Partnership – Helping & Promoting BME Artists.  As well as a member of the City Mayor’s Forum, the Bishop’s Forum, the Resilience Faith Forum and Radio Broadcaster and Treasurer for Hindu Sanskar Radio. Co-Chair Trustee Board Member of IFNetwork UK and Member of F&GP Committee

He has also previously been a Board Member of Health Watch Leicestershire, Chair of Leicester Hate Crime Review panel of the City and South Wigston Police, Member of Valuation Tribunal dealing with Council Tax and Rates, Member of SACRE (Leicester Standing Advisory Council of Religious Education), Chairman of ASRA Midlands Housing (Since 1995)

YASMIN SURTI, has been involved in interfaith work for several years


Secretary of Leicester Council of Faiths

Yasmin's Bio

Yasmin has been involved in interfaith work for several years and is currently the Secretary for the Federation of Muslim Organisations, an umbrella body with approximately 200 affiliates across Leicester and Leicestershire.

She is also a member of the Bishop’s Faith Leaders Forum, the City Mayor’s Faith and Community

Forum and a trustee for a number of local charities.  Yasmin has over 30 years experience of working strategically across the public sector at a local, regional and national level largely around learning disabilities, autism and mental health and am a strong advocate for equality and women’s rights.

MINOU CORTAZZI, Assistant Secretary of Leicester Council of Faiths


Assistant Secretary of Leicester Council of Faiths and an active representative of the Baha’i Faith.

Minou's Bio

Minou has been a member of the Leicester Council of Faiths since its inception in 1986 and has also been Treasurer and later Chair in that time.

She has been involved with a local environmental project in Aylestone, promoting the area by planting flowers and shrubs in different seasons for the last eight years.  Minou has volunteered as a Baha’i representative providing educational resources for primary, secondary, and some colleges in Leicester, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, and surrounding areas for the last twelve years.  She is actively involved in various women’s groups and continues her charitable work with Home Start, a valuable charity whose aim is to support families with young children.



Treasurer of Leicester Council of Faiths

Bharti's Bio

Bharti has lived in Leicester for over 45 years.  She enjoys meeting new people and working with them.  Bharti is very passionate about reflexology which she studied as part of her holistic therapies.  Bharti has worked for both the City and County councils for 35 years as a community worker and she also has a teaching degree DTTLS and has taught Gujarati and Hinduism for over 20 years.



Bushra's Bio

Bushra is an award winning solicitor who secured her first post as an Immigration Appeals Advocate prior to graduating as a Barrister.  She cross-qualified as a Solicitor (2008) and, under the Immigration Asylum Accreditation Scheme, as a Supervisor and Senior Caseworker before being headhunted by a Leicester firm as their Head of Immigration where she set up and ran an Immigration Department.

Bushra founded Bushra Ali Solicitors (2015) and is passionate about the empowerment of persons from diverse and none traditional backgrounds.  This is key to all her work/activities and saw her launch (2021) The Bushra Ali Group which focusses on the various community projects that she runs with a particular interest in equality and diversity.

Bushra was awarded Solicitor of the Year by the Leicestershire Law Society in 2012 and again in 2016.  She served as the youngest President of that Society, being only the eighth female and second female of colour.  During her tenure there Bushra was Chair of the Equality and Diversity sub-board.  Having expanded her business into Wales (2021) Bushra was co-opted onto the Committee of the Cheshire and North Wales Law Society and is their first Chair of Equality and Diversity.  Bushra also serves as a Committee Member at The Law Society of England and Wales on their Immigration Law and Policy Committee.

Outside of work Bushra serves on the Leicester Steering Group as the Lead for Register Our Marriage and as a Trustee on the Board for One Roof Leicester, a homeless charity.

LEON CHARIKAR, Progressive Jew and member of Neve Shalom, the Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation


Progressive Jew and member of Neve Shalom, the Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation.

Leon's Bio

Leon’s parents came to the UK from India and he was raised in London. He is part of a small Indian – Jewish community called ‘Bene Israel’, or ‘Children of Israel’

Leon currently works for Leicestershire County Council on policy and community engagement. He is married and has varied interests including running, drumming, dancing and chess.

HARMINDER SINGH JAGDEV, is the Sikh Faith advisor at De Montfort University and an executive member of the Leicester Council of Faith.


is the Sikh Faith advisor at De Montfort University and an executive member of the Leicester Council of Faith.    

Harminder's Bio

A qualified Engineer, Harminder has 33 years’ experience of running his own business in the engineering sector currently employing 700 staff globally supplying products to the global automotive marketplace.  Harminder is experienced in Manufacturing, Total Quality Management, Finance, and Project Management.

He is the co-founder of Akaal Education Trust and Falcons Primary School Leicester and currently serves as Vice President of Ramgarhia Board Leicester, the trust that runs the Gurdwara Sahib on Meynell Road along with the Ramgariha Community Centre on Ulverscroft Road, and the building of the new Gurdwara Sahib in Hamilton. Our main objective is to fulfil and encourage the religious, educational, cultural, sports and recreational needs of the community.

SULAKHAN DARD SINGH, retired NHS Sikh chaplain,



Sulakhan's Bio

Sulakhan is a retired NHS Sikh chaplain, British Heart Foundation ambassador and member of various Sikh organisations.  Joined LCOF 2013.  

FAYYAZ SULEMAN, Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths


Advisor of Leicester Council of Faiths
Redeemed Christian Church of God, City of Favour.

Ashiedu's Bio

Ashiedu worked for over a decade in various capacities as an engagement professional and currently serves on several multi-agency Boards.  She is a faith practitioner and is involved in various initiatives and projects around understanding and improving relations and channels of communication between various communities (working within ethnic, faith, no faith) as well as facilitating access to hidden communities.  She is also passionate about raising awareness and support for victims of violence, abuse and exploitation. She is also a representative member of the Bishop’s Faith Leaders Forum as well as the Leicester City Mayor’s Faith and Community Form Forum.

Father David Cain



Father David's Bio

Father David was born in in Derby and has served as a Catholic priest since 2003. His first posting was as assistant to Monsignor John Lally at Sacred Heart in Leicester. He then moved to Nottingham Cathedral: working for the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham as Vocations Director. Father David then studied for two years study at Leuven in Belgium on Ethics and Moral Theology. On returning to England, Father David served in Coalville. He then moved to the Briars Catholic Youth Retreat Centre in Crich, Derbyshire, before moving back to Derby.  In September 2022 Father David returned to Leicester, serving at Sacred Heart in Highfields and Our Lady’s Rushey Mead.

Monsignor Lally’s influence opened Father David’s horizons to the value of inter faith work. The role it can play building relationships around the city and beyond.  Also, how enjoyable it is to learn new things about other faiths and to be positively challenged in our own faith too.

As well as being a parish priest, Father David also works in education with young people and adults.


Reverend Chris' Bio

Reverend Chris has been involved in interfaith work for many years but over the past decade has been an active member of Loughborough Council of Faiths and serves as its current Chair.

Chris is also an elected member of the Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance, he is on the Board of Loughborough Churches Partnership and on the Managing Board of Loughborough Street Pastors.

His most recent full-time role was as the Anglican Chaplain to Loughborough University where he served as an active team member of the Multi-faith Chaplaincy.

Chris believes that strong interfaith partnerships serve as strong social glue in our local and national communities, and that it is of great importance that those interfaith partnerships are seen and celebrated on a regular basis.

Catherine Danaher



Catherine's Bio

Once you know someone’s name, you can’t stereotype, dislike, or fear them.  My life has been about hearing and understanding people’s stories, both personal and faith based. 

I’ve worked as a chaplain, solicitor and RE teacher. I came to Leicester to study in 1984 and could not bear to leave the diversity of this fabulous city.

I’m an active member of St Thomas More’s Catholic parish in Knighton, a participant in the Caritas (social mission) organisation in the Nottingham diocese, a school governor, and a Catholic School Inspector. 

I’m looking forward to sharing more stories as a Board member of Leicester Council of Faiths, inspired by Father John Lally, who invited me to take part.

Rina Shah



Rina's Bio

Rina is the Public Relations Officer for the Jain Samaj Europe (Leicester) and is the Jain faith representative on the Leicester Council of Faiths board.

FAYYAZ SULEMAN, Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths


Manager for the Leicester Council of Faiths

Emma's Bio

Emma joined the Leicester Council of Faiths as their new Manager in August 2022. Before this, Emma had a 25-year career in the museums and heritage sector. She supported local communities across the East and West Midlands to develop heritage projects.