Our Podcast

This isn’t your typical PR podcast. In an increasingly polarised world, these are the stories that need to be told.

Hosted by Muddassar Ahmed, our Managing Partner, PR Unmasked goes beyond news headlines to deliver a fresh perspective on current affairs. Insightful analysis is delivered to you bi-weekly from Unitas’ large network of journalists, academics, politicians, activists and more.

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Episode 7: Food Poverty in London – How the Covid-19 Pandemic has Devastated Food Security

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, food poverty has drastically increased in all of the UK. Already vulnerable communities are suffering the most, and the numbers of people relying on food banks have gone through the roof.

In this episode, Muddassar Ahmed sits down with local activists and politicians in East London to discuss the devastating effects of Covid-19 on food security. Our panellists include Rushanara Ali (Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow), Mariam Dawood (Councillor in the London Borough of Newham), Hibo Wardere (anti-FGM Campaigner and Activist) and Jon May (Professor at Queen Mary University and Founding Trustee of Bow Food Bank).

The discussion was organised with the Bow Food Bank, one of London’s largest independent food banks, with locations in Bow and Bethnal Green. The local area has a poverty rate of 39%, the highest in London as well as the country’s highest child poverty rate. The panel was joined by trustees and volunteers of the food bank to discuss how to tackle these issues.

The Bow Food Bank has stayed open even during national lockdowns feeding the members of the local community. Now with the end of the lockdown approaching, the question of how to end food insecurity remains.

 
 

Episode 6: How Spies Think – Ten Lessons in Intelligence

After dedicating decades of his life to the service of British national security and intelligence, former Director of GCHQ, Sir David Omand, is now sharing what he has learned during his extraordinary career.

He will discuss his new book, “How Spies Think: Ten Lessons in Intelligence”, and its goal to empower people to make better decisions by learning how intelligence analysts think, as well as how to use this knowledge to navigate the world during uncertain times.

In this episode, Muddassar Ahmed sits down with Sir David Omand to discover how to discern the truth in an age of disinformation, what the future of British intelligence looks like, and where our priorities should lie in helping the next generation to think critically.

 

Episode 5: Focus on Foreign Policy – How Malaysia is Balancing Between the US-China Rivalry

As governments across the globe come to terms with the economic crisis induced by COVID-19, leading voices in civil society, politics and academia are now starting to look towards the future. New roadmaps for foreign policy are being drawn using the lessons learned from the pandemic.

In this episode, we will focus on Southeast Asia by looking at the example of Malaysia and exploring the country’s response to the global crisis as well as its strategic position in-between the US-China rivalry. Muddassar Ahmed sits down with a panel of experts to discuss what the future holds for Malaysia, including the relationship with ASEAN, China’s posturing in the South China Sea and the Uyghur humanitarian crisis among other topics.

Our panellists include Tricia Yeoh (CEO of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs), Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Former Cabinet Minister of Malaysia for Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Justice) and Dato’ Mohamad Abu Bakar (Professor at the Department of International and Strategic Studies at the University of Malaya). The discussion was co-organised by International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC-IIUM).

 

 
 

Episode 4: The Mauritanian – How the Story of Guantánamo Diary was Brought to the Big Screen

In a brand-new cinematic take on the brutal reality of Guantánamo Bay, The Mauritanian tells the true story of Mouhamedou Ould Salahi, who was imprisoned in the detention camp without charge for 14 years. Salahi was finally released in 2016 when the US Government finally accepted his confession had been obtained through torture.

While hundreds of voices from Guantánamo remain silenced, Salahi’s story gives us precious insight into the injustices and the phycological toll prisoners endured. With the looming twentieth anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, the new Biden administration recently declared their intention to close the detention camp by the end of their term.

In a PR Unmasked exclusive, co-hosted by Rabia Chaudry (New York Times bestseller Adnan’s Story & Undisclosed podcast), Muddassar Ahmed sits down with the cast and the crew of The Mauritanian to talk about their experiences of making the film and what the future holds for the ongoing fight for justice.

In this episode, we are joined by Mohamedou Ould Salahi (played by Rahim) and his defence attorney Nancy Hollander (played by Foster), as well as the team that worked hard to bring Salahi’s memoir Guantánamo Diary to the big screen: Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald along with Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster, who were both nominated for a Golden Globe for their performances.

 
 

Episode 3: Beyond Protest – How to Create a Transatlantic Plan for Racial Justice and Equity

The call for racial justice and equity that followed the brutal killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, transcended national borders and sparked protests across the world. While protesting is a fundamental step towards change, if the demands of the protestors are not met with effective policies, then much of their efforts can fall by the wayside.

In this episode, Muddassar Ahmed sits down with leading American policy experts including Alex Johnson (Chief of Staff, U.S. Helsinki Commission), Youshea Berry (Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Legislation & Policy, USAID) and Mischa Thompson (Director of Global Partnerships, Policy & Innovation, U.S. Helsinki Commission), to explore a transatlantic response to systemic racism.

The discussion is based on a recent article by Muddassar and Alex Johnson, published by Just Security, on how effective policies, bi-lateral trade agreements and identifying inequalities highlighted by the coronavirus, are all crucial to ensuring racial equality. Given the shared history of slavery, racism, institutional prejudice and systemic inequity across the Atlantic, we must seize this moment to forge transatlantic agreements to address the legacy of racism and social injustice.

 

Episode 2: Islam in France – How Muslim Identity Became Politicised in the Republic’s Quest for Secularism

In France Laïcité (secularism) is a principle the republic has guarded fiercely. French Muslim communities often complaint this is to their detriment.

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, President Macron has strongly defended secularism in France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim population. As the French Muslim identity becomes hyper-politicised, the question of Islam and its compatibility with “French” values once again enters the public discourse.

Yet, Muslims themselves are often left out of these critical conversations. On this episode Muddassar Ahmed sits down with a panel of experts to talk about the future of Muslims in France, the correct response in a climate of increased stigmatisation, and what kind of example France sets with its existential battle against radical Islam.

The conversation is moderated by Salam Al-Marayati (President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council) and our panellists include Myriam Francois (Journalist & Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies, SOAS University of London), Melyssa Haffaf (Program Director of the Gender + Justice Initiative at Georgetown University) and Yasser Louati (human rights and civil liberties activist with a focus on Islamophobia).


 

Episode 1: The Road to 270 – How Muslim Americans Helped Secure Biden’s Victory

On this episode Muddassar Ahmed sits down with five Muslim change makers to discuss the role that Muslim Americans played in the US 2020 Election, and how the record-breaking turnout contributed to the defeat of populism in the US.

Our panellists include Sumaiya Ahmed Sheikh (Campus Vote Project), Wa’el Alzayat (Emgage Foundation), Farooq Mitha (Biden Election Campaign), Salam Al-Marayati (Muslim Public Affairs Council) and Salima Susswell (Biden For President).