was born in Karachi, Pakistan, came to Britain as a boy in 1961, grew up in Brent, London, and studied at the universities of Durham and Swansea. He married Glynthea in 1979 and they have two daughters, Ghizala-Ruth (19) and Yasmin-Cariad (14).
He was a university lecturer in political theory in the 1980s before entering racial equality policy work, including at the Commission for Racial Equality, London. Subsequently he has been a research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and the University of Manchester. From 1993 to 1997 he was at the Policy Studies Institute, London, where he was the principal researcher on the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities.
From 1998 he has been a Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and is the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. He has held more than 35 research grants, including principal applicant of the current £1m award from the Leverhulme Trust for the Bristol-UCL Programme on Migration and Ethnicity (2003-2008). He has fourteen (co-)authored and (co-) edited books and over seventy-five articles or chapters in political philosophy, sociology and public policy, including 20 reproduced in readers.
His work has increasingly focused on British Asian Muslims, the politics of being Muslim in Britain and the West and its relation to the theory and politics of secular multiculturalism.
He co-founded the international journal, Ethnicities and his most recent publications include Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain (Minnesota and Edinburgh University Presses, 2005); Ethnicity, Nationalism and Minority Rights (co-editor, Cambridge University Press, 2004); Ethnicity, Social Mobility and Public Policy in the US and UK (co-editor, Cambridge University Press, 2005); Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A European Approach (co-editor, Routledge, February, 2006).
He was Adviser to the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, 1997-2000, which produced the Parekh Report, advises political parties, government departments and NGOs and is a Trustee of the Young Foundation. He is a regular contributor to the media and policy debates, was awarded a MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations in 2001 and elected a member of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2004.