When are you at your happiest?
Playing with my five month old niece. She is an angel. And probably when I’m with my family, when we’re all together.
What’s something that you are passionate about?
Social justice. I’m a solicitor and specialise in criminal law. I see a fair bit of indirect discrimination particularly towards people in the Muslim community. Particularly when it comes to recent years, certain laws that have been drafted, and the way they indirectly discriminate against people in terms of where they can go and how they live their lives. It limits their freedom of expression and excercising their rights, and in practicing their religion. And I’m very very passionate about representing people in those circumstances.
What’s a significant achievement of yours?
Being admitted by a lawyer was probably a big one. It was a really long road for me, and I struggled with working out what direction I wanted to take my life in. I started out studying law thinking I would be a corporate or commercial lawyer. I think the idea behind that of being successful and being in a corporate environment and closing big deals was what appealed to me. It was once I started working in that area I realised that’s not what makes me happy.
So I took some time away from study and work, and for more than 6 months I just tried to work out exactly what I wanted to do. I spent a lot of time during that period sewing and baking bread, and then eventually Alhamdulillah [Praise be to god] after a series of fortuitous events I ended up with a criminal law firm and that was the path for me. There’s more contact with people and you can affect real change, something you can actually see and feel in people’s lives.
What do you hope to achieve in 2016?
I think the main thing I would like to achieve is just to do everything that I do in my life, to do it the best I possibly can and for it to have meaning, and for it to be a true reflection of the amount of care and effort that I’ve put in.
Who is your role model?
I don’t think I have one role model, I probably have a fair few. I come from a family where a single mum, she was raising 3 daughters. So any females, independent strong females, are my role models.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m not sure there’s anything they would be surprised to know about me. Unfortunately I’m pretty frank so I can’t hide much!
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken?
I don’t know that there are huge risks I’ve taken because everything that I’ve done, after the fact, has been the path I was meant to go down. So looking back on it in hindsight it’s difficult to say it was a huge risk because ultimately it was where I was meant to be.
What’s something that has changed your life?
I can’t say there is one thing that has changed my life. More recently my youngest and baby sister got married and moved overseas. We’re very close and that’s been life changing. Becoming an aunt and being besotted with my niece has been life changing. I think little things…
What’s your best advice to give to other people?
The advice I’d like to give people is that the most important thing is to be the best version of yourself. That means constantly improving who you are and what you do. If you do things with good intentions you’ll ultimately end up where you’re meant to be.
The things that have happened in my life that have been really big struggles for me, have ultimately been my biggest blessings. In hindsight they have defined where I have ended up and helped me to understand not just myself but what I want in life, what makes me happy, where I want to go, what my beliefs are and what my strengths are.
And so I think being able to reflect and having insight into yourself and your emotions, and your personality, and the reasons you think the way you do, whether it be your background, how you grew up, your family circumstances. If you’re able to reflect on those and understand why you think the way you do, then you grow as a person and that can only help you in whatever you are doing in life.
What role do your beliefs play in your life?
They define everything I do. I guess the best way for non religious people to understand it, is it’s the little voice inside your head that guides you when making decisions, and it’s having faith in that little voice to guide you in the best way for yourself and others.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
That I think that fundamentally people are good. Working in criminal law you see the worst of people and you see the best of people, and there are very few situations I’ve come across where I’ve met someone who I didn’t think had a redeemable quality about them. Every single person, no matter how horrendous what they’ve done is, has something about them that is redeemable. Ultimately we’re all children of god and we can all relate. Regardless of the exterior and how people present and the ideology or the negative things they might be outwardly projecting. Internally deep down inside we’re all the same. When it comes to being able to help someone, the colour of your skin and your gender and your religion don’t make as much of a difference, and all those things fall away, and you’re just two people, one helping the other.