Shiraz Maher holds a degree in History from the University of Leeds and an MPhil in Historical Studies from Cambridge University. After leaving university, he worked as a journalist, reporting on terrorism, radicalization and the Middle East. He has reported for some of the BBC's flagship current affairs programmes including Newsnight, Panorama, Our World, World News America, the World Service and Radio 4. His writings have appeared in the Times, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian, New Statesman, Prospect, Wall Street Journal and Standpoint.
Maher was subsequently a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange where he worked on Security, Counter-Terrorism and Foreign Policy. Last year he published "Choosing our Friends Wisely: Criteria for Engagement with Muslim Groups", a detailed study of the 'Prevent' aspect of the UK government's counter-terrorism strategy, exposing weaknesses in its application and practice. His paper also proposed a new theoretical framework to reform the initiative, arguing for the creation of a values-led approach in 'Prevent'.
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Zeynab Jalalian, a political prisoner in Iran, is going blind due to lack of medical care. She is at imminent risk losing her eyesight as a result of severe torture in prison.