2015 Summer Institute for Scholars – Biographies


ASMA AFSARUDDIN is Professor of Islamic Studies and Chairperson of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University, Bloomington.  She received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the Johns Hopkins University in 1993 and previously taught at Harvard and Notre Dame Universities.

Professor Afsaruddin is the author and/or editor of seven books, including Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015); the award-winning Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought and Praxis (Oxford University Press, 2013); and The First Muslims: History and Memory (OneWorld Publications 2008), which was recently translated into Turkish.  She has also written over fifty research articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries exploring issues as diverse as pluralism and dialogue in the Qur’an, moderation in Islamic thought; exegetical, legal, and ethical approaches to war and peace in Islam, political Islam and democracy, roles of Muslim women, and Muslim-Christian relations. She currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy; as a member of the academic council of the Prince al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion. Professor Afsaruddin’s research has been funded, among others, by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which named her a Carnegie Scholar in 2005


IMAD-AD-DEAN AHMAD graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1970, and in 1975 obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona. He teaches an introductory course on Islam at the Wesley Theological Seminary and holds a position as senior lecturer at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD, where he has taught honors courses in “Religion and Progress” and on “Religion, Science, and Freedom.” He is author of Signs in the Heavens, co-editor of Islam and the West: A Dialog, and co-author of Islam and the Discovery of Freedom. Dr. Ahmad’s essay “An Islamic Perspective on the Wealth of Nations” has appeared in the International Library of Critical Writings on Economics series #129 The Economics of Property Rights. His most recent books are The Islamic Rules of Order and the Directory of Policy Experts in Islamic Studies and Muslim Affairs. He serves as a Muslim chaplain at American University in DC.


JASSER AUDA is the Director of Maqasid Institute, UK, and Visiting Professor at Carleton University, Canada. He is a founding member and a member of the executive board of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, a member of the academic committee of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and a Fellow of the International Institute of Advanced Systems in Canada. He wrote a Ph.D. thesis on the Philosophy of Islamic law at the University of Wales, UK, and a Ph.D. thesis on systems analysis at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and an M.Jur. thesis on maqasid/purposes of the Shari’ah at the Islamic American University. Early in his life, he had studied Fiqh, Usul, Hadith, Sunnah, and memorized the Qur’an in the halaqas of the Azhar Mosque in Cairo. He worked as a Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics in Doha, Director of the Maqasid Center in the Philosophy of Islamic Law in London, as a professor in the Faculty of Law, Alexandria University, Islamic Fiqh Academy of India, American University in Sharjah, University of Waterloo, Canada, and has lectured on Islam in dozens of universities and institutes around the world. He is the author of a number of books including, Maqasid al-Shari’ah as Philosophy of Islamic Law: A Systems Approach (London: IIIT, 2008).


MAHMOUD M. AYOUB was born in South Lebanon. He received his education at the American University of Beirut (BA, Philosophy, 1964), the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., Religious Thought, 1966), and Harvard University (Ph.D., History of Religion, 1975). From 1988 to 2008, he was a Professor and director of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religion, Temple University, Philadelphia, an Adjunct Professor at the Duncan Black Macdonald Center, Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, a Research Fellow at the Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania, and the Tolson visiting professor at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley California. Prof. Mahmoud Ayoub has also previously taught at San Diego State University, the University of Toronto, and McGill University. Mahmoud Ayoub is the author of a number of books including, Redemptive Suffering in Islam and The Qur’an and Its Interpreters (vol. 1 & 2). The summer of 2000 saw the release of his two-volume publication, Dirasat fi al-‘Alaqat al-Masihiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Arabic (Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations). Islam: Faith and History appeared in 2004.


MOHAMMAD H. FADEL is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law. Professor Fadel wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on legal process in medieval Islamic law while at the University of Chicago. Professor Fadel was admitted to the Bar of New York in 2000 and practiced law with the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, New York, where he worked on a wide variety of corporate finance transactions and securities-related regulatory investigations. Professor Fadel also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the Honorable Anthony A. Alaimo of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Professor Fadel has published numerous articles in Islamic legal history and Islam and liberalism.


MARK GOULD is Professor of Sociology at Haverford College. He has a B.A. in sociology from Reed College and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University. He teaches and writes on a range of topics, including the role of capitalist social development in the genesis of the English Revolution; the nature of contemporary racism, culture, opportunity structures and poverty in the inner-city USA, and the jurisprudential consequences of the sociological reconstruction of economic theory—especially for the law of employment discrimination and for the revitalization of fiduciary obligations in corporate law. He is currently also a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School, where he will focus his writing on how various relationships between the foundational aspects of religiosity resulted in different forms of religious commitment in Islam, Christianity and Judaism that had divergent consequences for the emergence of democracy and human rights. He is also endeavoring to construct a viable theory of natural law to both criticize contemporary understandings of human rights and to make manifest the universality of “human rights.” He is also writing about the logic of religious commitment and its consequences in Islam, about Islamic constitutionalism, about the role of reason in Christianity and Islam, and about a group of folks, including Kemal A. Faruki, who have attempted to reconstruct Islam(ic law).


MINA E. KHALIL is a second-year Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on the legal, social, and political history of the Middle East, particularly of Egypt and Iran, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is interested in how Middle East political and legal actors attempted to design liberal constitutional systems and how they dealt with questions related to minorities and women within their societies. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University in philosophy and political science and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has extensive research experience across the Middle East and, from 2012-2013, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative and Islamic Law at the American University in Cairo. In addition to English, he knows Arabic, Persian, and French.


MUQTEDAR KHAN is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and Islamic Political Thought, from Georgetown University in May 2000. He founded the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Delaware and was its first Director from 2007-2010. Dr. Khan is a Fellow with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He was a Senior Nonresident Fellow with the Brookings Institution (2003-2008) and a Fellow of the Prince al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University (2006-2007). He has been the President, Vice President and General Secretary of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. He is the author of American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom (Amana, 2002), Jihad for Jerusalem: Identity and Strategy in International Relations (Praeger, 2004), Islamic Democratic Discourse (Lexington Books, 2006) and Debating Moderate Islam: The Geopolitics of Islam and the West (University of Utah Press, 2007).


GIANLUCA P. PAROLIN is Assistant Professor of law at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He joined the AUC Law Department in Fall 2008, after having served as a Research Fellow and earlier as a Post-Doc in the Law Department of the University of Torino (Italy)—his alma mater, which awarded him an LL.B./LL.M. (2001, with honors) and later a Ph.D. in Public Law (2006). Over the past few years, Gianluca has held visiting positions in New York, Rome, Tokyo, Trento, and Zurich. At AUC, Gianluca teaches mainly comparative law, comparative constitutional law, and Islamic law reform, while at Cairo University he teaches in the English section of the Law School. Gianluca’s research interests heavily focus on the region. Within the broader field of comparative law, he explores areas that bridge the public/private law divide, along four main lines of research: (1) regional governance and constitutional arrangements, (2) citizenship, (3) teleological readings of Islamic law (maqasid), and (4) fiqh al-aqalliyyat. Among his publications: Citizenship in the Arab World (Amsterdam 2009), “Constitutions Against Revolutions” in BJMES 1/2015, and “Equality Before the Law (in Classical Islamic Law)” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Islamic Law (Farnham 2014)


ASIFA QURAISHI-LANDES specializes in comparative Islamic and U.S. constitutional law, with a current focus on modern Islamic constitutional theory. She is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar and 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Quraishi-Landes writes on comparative legal theory and Islamic law. Recent publications include “The Separation of Powers in the Tradition of Muslim Governments,” and “What if Shari’ah Weren’t the Enemy: Re-Thinking International Women’s Rights Activism and Islamic Law.” Currently, she is working on “A New Theory of Islamic Constitutionalism: Not Secular. Not Theocratic. Not Impossible.” This project seeks to articulate a new constitutional framework for Muslim majority countries that will answer both the Muslim impulse for a shari’ah-based government, as well as secular concerns that a non-theocratic system is important in order to respect human and civil rights. Professor Quraishi-Landes holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School. She has served as a Public Delegate on the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (2010), the Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and as advisor to the Pew Task Force on Religion & Public Life.


SHERMAN JACKSON is the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He was formerly the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Visiting Professor of Law and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Dr. Jackson received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. From 1987 to 1989, he served as Executive Director of the Center of Arabic Study Abroad in Cairo, Egypt. His research interests begin in classical Islamic Studies, including law, theology and intellectual history, and extend to placing this legacy in conversation with the realities of modern Islam in the West, most especially Muslim communities in America. This implicates issues of race, immigration, liberalism, democracy, religion in the modern world, pluralism, constitutionalism, Muslim radicalism and related areas of inquiry, again, all in conversation with the classical and post-classical legacies of Islam. He is now in the early stages of a major book, tentatively entitled: Beyond Good and Evil: Shari’ah and the Challenge of the Islamic Secular.


LAURENS DE ROOIJ is a doctoral candidate at Durham University in England. His supervisors are Chris Insole, Matthew Guest, Douglas Davies and Joanildo Burity of Durham University. His dissertation examines how non-Muslim people in Britain interpret news reports about Islam and Muslims. This is an interdisciplinary study that discusses the issue of media reports about Muslims and Islam whilst drawing upon areas such as hermeneutics, epistemology, media studies, philosophy of identity, and religious studies. The research will hope to garner a greater understanding into the way the individual understands and interprets media reports related to Islam as well as the effect a media report can have on the way it is perceived and received. He has completed Durham’s Learning and Teaching Award (DULTA) in 2014, making him an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Laurens is the post-graduate convenor for the Islam, Modernity and Law research centre at Durham University.


MASHAL SAIF is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Clemson University. She has a Ph.D. in Religion from Duke University. Dr. Saif’s research interests include Islam in contemporary South Asia; the trans-temporal dynamics between medieval and modern Islamic discourses; contemporary Muslim political theology; the intersection of religious studies and postcolonial theory, and the anthropology of the state. She is the recipient of a number of fellowships and awards including the American Academy of Religion’s International Dissertation Research Grant. Dr. Saif’s publications include an article in The Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies and an article in the journal Thinking about Religion. She has also authored a chapter in the book Religion and Everyday Life and Culture. Dr. Saif’s dissertation examines how traditional Muslim scholars contest tradition, authority, and sovereignty in post-9/11 Pakistan.


MOHD. AL ADIB SAMURI is a senior lecturer in Sharia Law Department, Faculty of Islamic Studies, The National University of Malaysia (UKM). He received his LL.B., LL.M. and Ph.D. from the Faculty of Law, UKM. His Ph.D. research focused upon the application of sentencing theory among Malaysians judges in Court for Children in adjudicating orders for juvenile offenders. Al Adib has been teaching comparative law under Malaysian legal system since 2012. He has taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate on a wide range of subjects and topics including, the development of Islamic law in Muslim countries, comparative child law, comparative criminal law, and comparative civil court procedure. Currently, he has been conducting several research projects such as community service order for juvenile offenders and Shari’ah offenders in Malaysia, faith-based rehabilitation program for juvenile offenders and Shari’ah offenders, hudud law in Malaysia, and apostasy. Al Adib has publications in the fields of child law, juvenile justice, Islamic criminal law, Shari’ah court, and Malaysian legal system.


MELEK SARAL studied Political Science, Law and History at the University of Munich, Germany, the University of Bradford, UK and the European University Institute in Italy. She received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Munich, Germany, in July 2012, in the field of political science. Her scholarly interests range from socialization, democratization and EU-Turkey relations, to human rights and minority rights. Currently, she is a postdoctoral researcher at URPP Asia and Europa at the University of Zurich, and is working on a research project, “Discourses and practices of human rights in the Arab uprising countries.


ANDREA L STANTON is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Denver, in Denver, Colorado, focusing on twentieth and twenty-first century Islam in the Middle East. She obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. in Middle Eastern history from Columbia University, and obtained her B.A. from Williams College. Her primary research focuses on broadcast media of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her most recent historical work examines government management of religious broadcasts in Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s, connecting this to a broader trend of Middle Eastern states controlling religious communities’ access to radio and television. Her most recent contemporary work examines the recent phenomenon of “Islamic emoticons,” which appear in online Islamic chat forums and websites. She also has research interests in Arab Muslim immigrant communities in the United States, and in the relationships between new media technologies and religious authority. Her first book, This is Jerusalem Calling: State Radio in Mandate Palestine, was published by the University of Texas Press in September 2013. Professor Stanton is an affiliated faculty member with the Center for Middle East Studies and the Conflict Resolution Institute, both housed at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies.

DŽEVADA ŠUŠKO is Director of the Institute for Islamic Tradition of Bosniaks, which is the research institution of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dr. Šuško was appointed as the first woman in a leading position within the Islamic Community in Bosnia. She is an Assistant professor at the International University of Sarajevo, International Relations department. There she teaches courses related to the history, politics, and society of Southeastern Europe. She grew up in Germany where she completed most of her studies in history, political science, and cultural anthropology at Heidelberg and Hamburg University. Besides that, she did several studies abroad, such as in Florence, Ottawa, Ramallah, and Madrid. However, her focus has always been Bosnia, Islam in Europe, European Muslims, particularly the Bosniaks, as well as the position of women in society. She is the author of several book chapters and journal articles. Currently she is working on the publication of her Ph.D. thesis, “The Issue of Loyalty: Reaction of the Bosniaks to the Austro–Hungarian Empire (1878–1918).” Recently she was chosen by Anne Frank Foundation as one of ten experts to write a common history of Yugoslavia. She is married and has three children.

ETGA UGUR is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, Tacoma. He teaches classes on Comparative Politics, American Foreign Policy, and Middle East Politics. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Utah in 2011. His dissertation examined public activism of the LDS Church in Utah and the Gulen Movement in Turkey. Prior to coming to Washington, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Muslim Studies Program at the Michigan State University. He also taught there as a Visiting Assistant Professor at James Madison College. Dr. Ugur’s research interests include religion and politics in the Middle East; Islamic movements; religion, civil society, and social capital; Turkish politics, and comparative government. His publications appeared in journals such as The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs and New Perspectives on Turkey. He has recently coedited a book with Mohammed Ayoob, entitled The War on Terror: Assessments and Reflections, which was published by Lynne Rienner in 2013. He is currently working on his book manuscript entitled Politics of Religious Representation in the U.S. and Turkey: A Comparative Perspective.


DAVID H. WARREN is currently working on the role of the Sunni ʿulema throughout the Arab Spring and its aftermath. He recently defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Manchester on the renewal of the Islamic fiqh tradition in the twenty-first century, with specific reference to Yusuf al-Qaradawi and his intellectual school based in Qatar. He has previously published articles based on his research in journals such as Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life and New Middle Eastern Studies and he was formerly a student, of primarily Maliki fiqh, at the madrasa of the late Muhammad Salim al-ʿAdud in Mauritania and has similarly studied at the University of Damascus, as well as in Yemen.


HISHAM ALTALIB is the President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). He was born in Mosul, Nineva, Iraq. He holds a B.Sc. in electrical engineering from Liverpool University, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University. He has held several positions in various Islamic organizations, including the Muslim Students Association, and the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations. He is a founding member of the International Institute of Islamic Thought. He is the author of A Training Guide for Islamic Workers, which has been translated into over 20 languages, and Parent-Child Relations: A Guide to Raising Children (IIIT, 2013)>


ABDULAZIZ SACHEDINA is Professor and IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Dr. Sachedina, who has studied in India, Iraq, Iran, and Canada, obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He has been conducting research and writing in the field of Islamic Law, Ethics, and Theology (Sunni and Shi’a) for more than two decades. In the last ten years he has concentrated on social and political ethics, including Interfaith and Intrafaith Relations, Islamic Biomedical Ethics, and Islam and Human Rights. Dr. Sachedina’s publications include: The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2002); Islamic Biomedical Ethics: Theory and Application (Oxford University Press, February 2009); Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights (Oxford University Press, September 2009), in addition to numerous articles in academic journals. He is an American citizen born in Tanzania.


SHERALI TAREEN is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and currently the Resident Fellow at IIIT. He received his Ph.D. in Religion/Islamic Studies at Duke University and his B.A. at Macalester College. His work centers on Muslim intellectual thought in modern South Asia with a focus on intra-Muslim debates and polemics on crucial questions of law, ethics, and theology. He is currently completing a book project entitled “Polemical Encounters: Competing Imaginaries of Tradition in Modern South Asian Islam” that explores polemics over the boundaries of heretical innovation (bid’a) among leading 19th century Indian Muslim ‘Ulema. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Law and Religion, Muslim World, Political Theology, and Islamic Studies.


ERMIN SINANOVIĆ is Director of Research and Academic Programs at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Before joining IIIT, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he was also a faculty affiliate with the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. In 2011, he became a Faculty Associate in Research at Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University. Prof. Sinanović studied for an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He obtained two B.A.s (one in Qur’an and Sunnah Studies, the other in Political Science) from the International Islamic University Malaysia, and an M.A. in Islamic Civilization from the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), also in Malaysia. His work has been published in Politics, Religion & Ideology, Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations, and Intellectual Discourse. He is the author of a monograph, Singapore’s Muslim Minority: A Moral Voice? Comparative Perspectives on Integration in a Global Age (Singapore: Centre for Research on the Islamic and Malay Affairs, 2013).

IQBAL UNUS is a former director of The Fairfax Institute (TFI), the instructional division of International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), where he has also served as director of human development and director of administration since 1989. Prior to joining IIIT, Dr. Unus served as secretary general of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Between 1980 and 1982, Dr. Unus taught in the applied sciences and nuclear engineering departments at King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Some of the offices he has held include president of the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada (1975), several offices including president of the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE), and a trustee of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS). His major area of interest is non-profit management and leadership studies. He has conducted numerous training programs in leadership skills and facilitated strategic planning retreats for Muslim community organizations. Dr. Iqbal Unus holds two Master’s degrees in physics and nuclear engineering and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics (1977).
HISHAM ALTALIB was born in Mosul, Nineva, Iraq. He holds a B.Sc. in electrical engineering from Liverpool University, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University. He has held several positions in various Islamic organizations, including the Muslim Students Association, and the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations. He is a founding member of the International Institute of Islamic Thought. He is the author of A Training Guide for Islamic Workers, which has been translated into over 20 languages, and Parent-Child Relations: A Guide to Raising Children (IIIT, 2013).
JAMAL BARZINJI is President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, USA. He was a founder and has served as President of the Muslim Students Association, and is a founder of Islamic Society of North America. He has served as the Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences at the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Dr. Barzinji holds Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana State University, and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering & Fuel Technology from the University of Sheffield (UK). Dr. Barzinji is a recipient of numerous awards for his contributions and service to American Muslim organizations and causes, including ISNA’s Dr. Mahboob Khan Community Service Award.
ABUBAKER AL-SHINGIETI is Executive Director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, USA. He has been a Research Associate at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He has also served as Vice President at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD). In addition, he was the editor of Islamic Horizons, a monthly magazine of the Islamic Society of North America and was a founding member of the Society for Islamic Thought and Culture in Khartoum, Sudan. Dr. Shingieti earned a B.Sc. (Honors) in Architecture from the University of Khartoum and a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
M. YAQUB MIRZA is President and CEO of Sterling Management Group. He is also an Advisor to the Board of Trustees of the Amana Mutual Funds. Dr. Mirza is a member of the Board of Directors, University Islamic Financial Corporation, and is a member of the Board of Trustees, George Mason University Foundation, Inc. He holds a M.Sc. from University of Karachi, and a Ph.D. in Physics and an M.A. in Teaching Science from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of Five Pillars of Prosperity: Essentials of Faith-Based Wealth Building (White Cloud Press, 2014).