TRIBUTES have poured in for a pioneering Bradford community leader who helped shape the lives of Muslim women across the UK.

Nuzhat Ali was a founding member of the Bradford-based Muslim Women's Council, an award-winning writer and Bradford Cathedral's first Muslim interfaith development officer. She died on Tuesday of cancer, aged 57.

Born in Bradford, Nuzhat did a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies and worked tirelessly across different faiths and communities.

She won the Channel 4/Northumbria University Writing for Television Award at the Northern Writers’ Awards in 2015 and wrote several plays, including When George Came to Bradford, and compiled a book on the shared heritage of head coverings across Abrahamic faiths. A teacher and mentor for young people, she worked with h the Young Muslims organisation and the Islamic Society of Britain, organised many Muslim Women's Council (MWC) events and was involved in developing its women-led mosque initiative.

Bana Gora, MWC Chief Executive, said: “Nuzhat regarded herself as a life-long student, and we are proud to say we learned and continue to learn so much from her life and beautiful legacy. Her significant, profound impact on the lives of everyone she came into contact with is evident from the outpouring of love we're witnessing all over social media. Nuzhat has always been an immense source of knowledge, comfort and support for so many of us, this is a great loss for our community. Her courage, honesty and dedication will always be remembered. Nuzhat was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Maroof, her three children and three grandchildren.”

Imam and broadcaster Ajmal Masroor said: “Nuzhat was a strong leader with a gentle touch, warm heart and disarming smile. She was extremely focused on education, creativity and free thinking. She was active in interfaith work bringing communities of different faiths together and forming trust and mutual respect. She was not shy about her views nor did she sugar-coat her opinions. She was a dedicated soldier in the service of humanity."

Hassan Joudi, Deputy Secretary General and Mosque Affairs Co-ordinator at Muslim Council of Britain, said: “On behalf of the MCB I send our condolences to the Muslim Women's Council and express our profound sadness at the passing away of Nuzhat Ali. I was fortunate to liaise briefly with Nuzhat during 2019 in connection to the Women in Mosques Development Programme."

Reverend Jenny Ramsden, Faith to Faith worker at Touchstone Bradford said: “Completely devastated by the death of my beloved friend Nuzhat; as are so many from across Bradford and far beyond. At the Great Get Together in Bradford, in memory of MP Jo Cox, we spoke together on the theme of 'We have far more in common than that which divides us', a phrase which sums up Nuzhat’s passionate commitment to working together with people of different faiths to create a more peaceful world."

Daniel Greenwood, Chief Superintendent of West Yorkshire Police, said: “I was so sad to learn about the passing of Nuzhat, There are no words that will ease the grief you are all experiencing. May Allah (swt) grant her Jannat-ul Firdaus. My deepest condolences on behalf of Bradford District Police. Our thoughts are with the Muslim Women’s Council and Nuzhat’s family at this difficult time."

Council for Mosques Bradford said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of sister Nuzhat. She will be greatly missed for her courageous and incisive leadership.”

Imam Qari Asim MBE said: “May Allāh raise the ranks of Sister Nuzhat. Amongst other talents, she was passionate about serving communities. May the Lord grant the family and friends fortitude to bear the loss, and grant the ability to continue Nuzhat's legacy.”

Nuzhat’s funeral took place in Bradford yesterday. Her family has set up a fundraising page to build water wells in her name: