SAS RIGHTS & Saima Afzal Solutions She Dared : She Won

 Equality & Human Rights Advice/Research & Training

Saima Afzal MBE & Johanna Stiebert (SAS RIGHTS CIC-Company Directors) Company No: 10494756

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 Saima (Founder of SAS RIGHTS), has worked in the field of research and community development particularly in relation to religion, gender and South Asian culture for the last 15 years. She has led on a variety of projects such as domestic violence, forced marriages, and conducted research in areas such as drugs and substance misuse, child sexual exploitation in the South Asian communities, sexuality in Islam, childcare provision for South Asian women, use of stop and search powers by Police Officers against minority communities  to name but a few.


Saima served for over 10 years as an Independent member of the Lancashire Police Authority. Her key contribution to the Police Authority was around effective engagement with the minority communities of Lancashire, and the issues that affect them such as hate crime, use of stop and search powers, forced marriage, honour based violence, female genital mutilation and many others.  Saima also served as an Executive Board Member for the Association of Police Authorities from 2007 to 2012 as the national lead for Equality, Diversity & Human Rights.


Saima served as an Assistant Commissioner for Policing in Lancashire between Dec 2012 and Nov 2014, leading  on the key portfolio area of supporting ‘Victims’ of crime and involving community volunteers to improving policing in Lancashire. Saima now freelances and works on a variety of projects, such as advising the West Yorkshire PCC on how best to support victims of crime from BAME communities. Additionally Saima is recognised as a national safeguarding/public protection expert adviser on the National Crime Agency database, she is actively dealing with cases involving for example, Forced Marriages, ‘Honour’ Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation and other safeguarding crimes affecting BME communities.


Saima is an active Independent Human Rights campaigner as well as being the Director of her own Training and Research Consultancy, Saima Afzal Solutions (SAS, set up in 2011). Saima Afzal is also one of the Directors of SAS RIGHTS a Community Interest Company set up in Nov 2016 to provide a platform for marginalised communities to have their voices heard by the statutory agencies. Saima works very closely with the College of Policing as an External Associate on a number of work streams that cut across the arena of Protecting Vulnerable People and Equality, Diversity & Human Rights.


At 39 years old Saima was recognised for her work when she received the MBE for her Services to Policing and Community Relations in the Queen's Birthday Honours list June 2010. Saima was also given an Honorary Fellowship in Oct 2013 by Blackburn College in recognition of her academic contributions as well as her campaigning activity in the fight against discrimination and violations of Human Rights. Saima herself has been a victim of a Forced Marriage and has overcome many challenges and barriers in her fight to campaign for the rights of those affected by the injustices that still exist in society.


Further information about Saima’s work can be found via the attached link;

Johanna Stiebert

Co-Founder of SAS RIGHTS CIC

  • Position: Professor
  • Areas of expertise: The Hebrew Bible and: emotion terminology; ideological sub-texts; family relations; gender-based violence; sexuality. African-centred study of the Bible

I studied Biblical Hebrew and Hebrew Bible at the Universities of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand), Cambridge and Glasgow. I taught Hebrew language, Hebrew Bible and Judaism courses at St. Martin's College, Lancaster (1998-1999, now the University of Cumbria), the University of Botswana (1999-2002) and the University of Tennessee  (2003-2009) before joining Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds in September of 2009.


My academic interests include Biblical Hebrew philology and semantics of self-conscious emotions and of rape culture phenomena, ideological-critical and social-scientific readings of Hebrew Bible Prophets, gender- and queer-critical interpretation, and contemporary African-centred readings of Hebrew Bible texts. My most recent book is Rape Myths, the Bible, and #MeToo (Routledge Focus, 2020). Other recent monographs of mine are First-Degree Incest and the Hebrew Bible: Sex in the Family (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016) and Fathers and Daughters in the Hebrew Bible (OUP, 2013).

I was co-recipient, together with Professor of Biblical Studies Musa W. Dube (University of Botswana), of a British Academy funded International Partnerships grant (2011-14). The title of our project was 'Biblical Studies in Southern Africa and the UK in Dialogue: Trends and Challenges'. This project transpired in a co-edited volume with the title The Bible, Centres and Margins: Dialogues Between Postcolonial African and British Biblical Scholars (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018).

I was awarded the Humboldt Foundation's Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel research award and spent one year from August 2017 at the University of Bamberg. Please see:


I am co-lead for The Shiloh Project, investigating intersections between rape cultures, religion and the Bible. Together with co-directors of this Project Katie Edwards and Caroline Blyth, I edit a Routledge Focus series, 'Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible'.

Related to the Shiloh Project, I have been Primary Investigator of an AHRC Research Network Grant (International Highlight Notice), entitled ‘Resisting Gender-Based Violence and Injustice Through Activism with Bible Texts and Images’ (start date: 1 February 2018), which received follow-on GCRF funding (‘Religion and Gender-based Violence: Parnterships with Botswana and Ghana’, 2019). I am Co-Investigator of four further recent grants. The first is a White Rose Collaboration Fund entitled ‘Using religious imagery in popular culture to explore and challenge everyday sexism, sexual harassment and abuse together with secondary school students’ (2018) and the second a Worldwide Universities Network Research Development Fund grant entitled ‘An Intersectional Exploration of Religion and Gender-Based Violence: A Case Study of Accra in Global Context’.

For the project websites, please see:


The third, with the title ‘The Shiloh Project: Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible', is a large grant funded by the AHRC and led by Dr. Katie Edwards (University of Sheffield). With collaborators from the Universities of Auckland (Dr. Caroline Blyth) and Alabama (Dr. Richard Newton) this project undertakes intersectional investigations of the role of religion and the Bible in the media and popular culture.

The fourth grant, ‘Tales of Sexuality and Faith: The Ugandan LGBT Refugees Life Story Project', is funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust and led by my colleague Professor Adriaan van Klinken. This project supports a collaboration with Ugandan LGBT refugees in Kenya and uses life stories alongside biblical narratives as forms of empowering and activist expression.


JOHANNA & SAIMA will be embarking on a joint venture to co-author a small edition for tghe Shiloh Project on religion and rape culture. So, watch this space!


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