The homepage of this website contains a fairly comprehensive and frequently updated record of my most recent work. Here is a selection of some of the pieces I’ve been proudest of working on over the last few years. In no particular order:
1. Trojan horse: the real story behind the fake ‘Islamic plot’ to take over schools (September 2017)
I reported this story for Guardian long-reads for over a year, speaking to everyone from teachers who were implicated in the Trojan Horse affair, to politicians and councillors, local residents and whistleblowers. It was an attempt to look back at what exactly happened in Birmingham’s schools and why it became a national scandal.
Written for the Guardian’s long-read section, this piece follows a crime reporter in Karachi as he goes about his dangerous daily life, delving into no-go zones and keeping up links with police and criminals.
3. Terror, shipwreck, guns – 24 hours in a Karachi ambulance (March 2017)
A couple of years after the Karachi crime reporter story, I wrote another long-form piece tracking the day to day life of a resident of this city – this time an ambulance driver, working for the world’s largest voluntary ambulance service. Originally written for Mosaic, the piece was subsequently republished by Guardian long-reads.
4. A deadly battle of ideas: murder in Bangladesh (Autumn 2015)
This New Humanist cover feature examined the spate of brutal murders of atheists in Bangladesh. It was one of the first pieces in the British media to explore the root causes of this violence, and to speak to two survivors of similar attacks. In August 2015, a slightly shorter version appeared in the Guardian.
5. How legal aid cuts are harming the voiceless and most vulnerable (January 2014)
This feature for the New Statesman looked in detail at the government’s harsh cuts to legal aid, and the impact this is having on defendants, lawyers, and the entire British legal system.
6. Syria: my journey into a nightmare war (November 2013)
In late 2013, before the trend of young British people fighting for ISIS had become a huge story, I interviewed a young British-Syrian man who had fought with the Free Syrian Army. He spoke frankly about the reality of war, and his lack of preparation for the battlefield.
Written during the year I spent in Pakistan, in this New Statesman article I spent time with the country’s “hijra”, or transgender, election candidates. A legal change recognising them as a “third gender” meant they were able to politically organise for the first time.
8. War without an end (February 2014)
This feature for the New Humanist examined the role of religion in the conflict in the Central African Republic. I was not able to travel to CAR, so I focused on interviewing people who had fled the conflict or had ties to the country, including a woman based in the UK and a journalist sheltering in Togo.
9. Somali women struggle to make it in politics (June 2014)
In this article for Al Jazeera, I interviewed Somali women politicians, struggling against not only the dire security situation in the country but also against regressive social norms. I had planned to visit Somalia for this and other pieces, but unfortunately for security reasons the trip had to be cancelled, so I spoke to these impressive women in Kenya.
10. “My heart aches for Syria. I don’t think people think about that” (April 2014)
Soon after the British government said it would accept 500 of the “most vulnerable” Syrian refugees, I wrote this feature for the New Statesman telling the story of two Syrians who had already claimed asylum in the country.