Scholars’ Biographies – 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 Shiite) 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: Islamic Messianism (State University of New York, 1980); Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture, co-authored (University of South Carolina, 1988) The Just Ruler in Shiite Islam (Oxford University Press, 1988); The Prolegomena to the Qur’an (Oxford University Press, 1998), 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.


Nathan J. Brown, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, is a distinguished scholar and author of six well-received books on Arab politics. His expertise is on Islamist movements, Palestinian politics, and Arab law and constitutionalism. Brown’s latest book, When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics, was published by Cornell University Press in early 2012. His current work focuses on Islamist movements and their role in politics in the Arab world. In 2009, Brown was named a Carnegie scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. For the 2009–2010 academic year, he was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In addition to his academic work, Brown has served on advisory committees for Human Rights Watch and the committees drafting the Palestinian and Iraqi constitutions. He has also served as a consultant to USAID, the United Nations Development Program, and several NGOs. Brown is the author of Resuming Arab Palestine (University of California Press, 2003); Constitutions in a Non-Constitutional World: Arab Basic Laws and Prospects for Accountable Government (SUNY Press, 2001); and The Rule of Law in the Arab World: Courts in Egypt and the Arab States of the Gulf (Cambridge University Press, 1997).


Yahya M. Michot (Belgium, 1952) joined Hartford Seminary in 2008 as Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations. He is also the current editor of the journal “The Muslim World” edited by the Seminary. From 1983 to 1997, he taught Arabic philosophy, language, history and literature in Louvain (Belgium) and, from 1998 to 2008, Islamic theology and Arabic in Oxford (UK). He has published numerous books and articles about Islamic classical thought, drugs in Muslim societies and Islam in the West, including “IBN SÎNÂ. Lettre au vizir Abû Sa‘d” (Arabic edition & translation, 2000), “AVICENNE. Réfutation de l’astrologie” (Arabic edition & translation, 2006), “Ibn Taymiyya: Muslims under non-Muslim Rule” (2006), “Ahmad al-Aqhisârî: Against Smoking. An Ottoman Manifesto” (Arabic edition & translation, 2010), “Musulmans en Europe” (2002), and the chapter “Revelation” in the “Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology” (2008). Dr. Michot has served as a consultant to various universities, international organizations and official bodies in the UK. From 1995 to 1998, he was president of the Higher Council of Muslims in Belgium. He is internationally recognized as a specialist of both the Iranian philosopher Avicenna (d. 1037) and the Syrian theologian-mufti Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328). He has also explored the influence of Avicenna on later Sunnism and English thought, that of Ibn Taymiyya on pre-Wahhâbi Ottoman puritanism and modern Islamism.


Najib George Awad Najib George Awad is a Syrian Arab Christian theologian and poet. He is the Associate Professor of Christian Theology and the Director of the International PhD Program in Hartford Seminary, CT. He is the author of God, Man and Evil: A Theologico-Existential Study (Arabic-2005), God Without a Face? On the Personal Individuation of the Holy Spirit (English, 2011), And Freedom Became a Public Square: Political, Sociological and Religious Overviews on the Arab Christians and the Arabic Spring (English, 2012), and Beyond Hierarchism: Trinitarian Theology, Postmodernity and the Notions of ‘Personhood’ and ‘Relationality’ (English, forthcoming 2013).


Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. He is the author and editor of 6 books, which include Colonialism Violence and Muslims in Southeast Asia (London: Routledge, 2009) and Radicals: Protest and Mobilization in Colonial Malaya (Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2014 [forthcoming]). His research interests include Colonialism and Postcolonialism, Identity Politics, Minority Rights and Movements, Muslim-non-Muslim Relations, with a special focus on Southeast Asia.


Mohamed Mosaad Abdelaziz Mohamed is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Northern Arizona University. He graduated from School of Medicine Cairo University, worked as an orthopedist, received another degree in psychiatry and neurology and worked as psychiatrist, received a master in anthropology and sociology from the American University in Cairo, and a PhD in religious studies from Emory University. He also had a traditional education of the Islamic scripture, law and theology. He founded the Egyptian Interfaith Association, co-founded the Middle East Abrahamic Forum, the only regional organization that has members of the three Abrahamic faiths, is a member of the Interfaith Committee of the World Council of Churches and served as the Middle East and North Africa Coordinator of the United Religions Initiative, URI, as well as a member of URI Global Board. In addition, he worked as a freelance writer, a translator, an editor of Microsoft magazine in Arabic, a multimedia program designer, a director of software marketing department, and a producer of three TV talk shows, among other odd jobs.


Mahmoud M. Ayoub is Faculty Associate in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT. He 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. In 1998, Dr. Ayoub helped devise and launch a graduate M.A. level program in Muslim-Christian relations and comparative religion for the Centre for Christian-Muslim Studies, University of Balamand, Lebanon, and since the Spring of 1999, has been its visiting professor. Mahmoud Ayoub has also previously taught at San Diego State University, the University of Toronto, and McGill University.


Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D., is an internationally known interdisciplinary scientist of Palestinian descent, born at sea and raised in the United States. He is author of Signs in the Heavens: A Muslim Astronomer’s Perspective on Religion and Science, a senior lecturer at the University of Maryland and he teaches a course on Islamic religion, history and civilization at Wesley Theological Seminary. He also teaches a course on Islamic history and civilization for the summer students program at the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Dr. Ahmad has received the “Star Cup for Outstanding Public Service” award from the Montgomery County Civic Federation, the “Champion of Democracy Award” from Marylanders for Democracy, the “Samuel P. Chase Freedom Award” from the Libertarian Party of Maryland, and the “Sentinel Award” from the Montgomery County Civic Federation.


Abadir M. Ibrahim is a J.S.D. Candidate at St. Thomas University School of Law LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights and has two LL.M. degrees one in international law and one in human rights law. His experience encompasses work in both practical and academic settings including in advocacy. As a legal practitioner he has had a working experience with criminal law and procedure and has some experience in labor rights and constitutional litigation. His academic experience includes teaching, among others, human rights law, private international law, constitutional law, and legal history. He currently lectures at St. Thomas University School of Law on the topic of human rights and religion in relation to Islamic law-ethics. He has published in academic journals on a variety of human rights and international law topics and his advocacy publications also extend to non-academic outlets. His current research interests include democratization and human rights in Islam.


Seifudein Adem is Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director, Institute of Global Cultural Studies, SUNY Binghamton. He has taught at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) from 1988 to 1992 and University of Tsukuba (Japan) from 2000-2005. He is author and editor of more than half a dozen books including Hegemony and Discourse (University Press of America, 2005) and Anarchy, Order and Power in World Politics (Ashgate, 2002). Dr. Adem’s academic works have appeared in several academic journals including African Studies Review, Journal of Black Studies, African Studies Quarterly, Review of International Sociology, Global Development Studies, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, and so forth. Dr. Adem is also a former president of New York African Studies Association.

Emin Poljarevic is a Visiting Scholar at the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies department at the University of Edinburgh. There, his research focuses on Islamist mobilization within the framework of social movement studies, studies of state repression, and dynamics of social motivations. Currently he is exploring patterns of socio-political shifts in the Middle East and North Africa. He currently examines micro-level effects of the ongoing democratization processes in Egypt and Tunisia. The analysis is centered on evolving tensions between a spectrum of Islamist groups and their opponents. Previously, he had worked as a research assistant and project coordinator at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University (2004-2007). There he conducted policy-related research while teaching social security issues in Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia. During his PhD studies at the European University Institute (2007-2012), he was a visiting assistant professor at the SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen (2010/2011).
Ahmad Najib Burhani is a PhD Candidate in Religious Studies at University of California-Santa Barbara. His academic interests include Islamic movements in Southeast Asia, martyrdom in Islam, and minority religions in Islam such as Ahmadiyya. His recent publications: “Al-tawassuṭ wa-l I`tidāl: The NU and Moderatism in Indonesian Islam”, AJSS 2012, 40(5-6), “Transmission of Islamic Reform from the United States to Indonesia: Studying Fazlur Rahman’s legacy through the works of Ahmad Syafii Maarif”, IMW 2013, 41(119), “Lakum dīnukum wa-liya dīni: The Muhammadiyah’s stance towards interfaith relations,” ICMR 2011, 22(3), Muhammadiyah Jawa (2010), “Defining Indonesian Islam: An Examination of the Construction of National Islamic Identity of Traditionalist and Modernist Muslims” in Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting Images and Interpretations (AUP 2013), and “Liberal and Conservative Discourses in the Muhammadiyah: The Struggle for the Face of Reformist Islam in Indonesia” in Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam: Explaining the “Conservative Turn” (ISEAS 2013).
Ahmad Kazemi Moussavi is a professor of Islamic law and modern Islamic developments who currently teaches at George Washington University. He taught these fields at the University of Maryland (2006 till 2011), University of Virginia (2007-2010) and International Islamic University of Malaysia (1992-2005). He was born and received his education in law in Iran and served as a lawyer and diplomat for nearly 20 years. He got his Ph.D. in “Islamic Studies” from McGill University in1991, and taught at McGill and Tehran Universities before joining the International Islamic University of Malaysia. He has published five books entitled Religious Authority in Shi’ite Islam (1996), Facing One Qiblah (co-author 2002) Shi’ite Ulama and Political Power (2004), ), Guide to Equality in the Family in the Maghreb (trans. into Persian, 2007) and Islamic Legal Methodology (usul al-fiqh, forthcoming 2013)) in addition to having nearly 100 articles in academic journals.
Mojtaba Mahdavi is Associate Professor of Political Science and Middle East studies at University of Alberta, Canada. His recent books include Towards the Dignity of Difference? Neither End of History nor Clash of Civilizations (co-edited, Ashgate Publishing 2012) and Under the Shadow of Khomeinism: Problems and Prospects for Democracy in Post-revolutionary Iran (Rowman & Littlefiled, forthcoming). He is currently working on two book projects: Post-Islamism in Context: Neo-Shariati Discourse, and Political Sociology of Post-revolutionary Iran. His contributions have appeared in several refereed journals and essays, edited volumes and interviews in English, Farsi and Turkish languages. He is the recipient of several awards and grants including the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), the IDRC Canada Partnerships Grant, Killam Research Operating Grants, and the Worldwide University Network (WUN) Grant. His research interests lie in modern Islamic political thought, democratization in the Muslim World, secularism, Islamism and post-Islamism, social movements, and international politics of the Middle East.
Peter Mandaville is Director of the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies and a professor of government at George Mason University. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. From 2010-12 he served as a member of Hillary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State where he helped to shape the U.S. response to the Arab Uprisings. He is the author of Global Political Islam (2007; 2nd edition forthcoming 2014) and Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma (2001) as well as several edited volumes in the fields of international relations and Islamic Studies. He has testified before the U.S. congress and consulted widely for media, NGOs, and government.
John O. Voll is Professor of Islamic History and past Associate Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He received his Ph.D. degree from Harvard and taught Middle Eastern and world history for thirty years at the University of New Hampshire before moving to Georgetown University. He is a specialist in modern Islamic history and the author of Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World and a number of other books and numerous articles. He is a past president of the Middle East Studies Association and has served on the Boards of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and the World History Association. He has done research on Islamic movements in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia as well as in the Middle East.
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Ali A. Mazrui is Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is also Albert Luthuli Professor-at-Large at the University of Jos in Nigeria. He is Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large Emeritus and Senior Scholar in Africana Studies at Cornell University. His books include A World Federation of Cultures: An African Perspective (published by the Free Press in New York in 1976) and Cultural Forces in World Politics (James Currey and Heinemann, 1990). Among his books on language in society is The Power of Babel: Language and Governance in Africa’s Experience (co-author Alamin M. Mazrui) (James Currey and University of Chicago Press, 1998). His most recent books include Islam Between Globalization and Counterterrorism (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press and Oxford: James Currey Publishers, 2006); A Tale of Two Africas: Nigeria and South Africa as Contrasting Visions (London: Adonis-Abbey, 2006) and The Politics of War and the Culture of Violence (Trenton, NJ, Africa World Press, 2008).
Abdullah Al-Arian is an assistant professor of history at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. In 2011, he received his doctorate from Georgetown University, where he wrote his dissertation on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during the decade of the 1970s. His research interests include: Islamic social movements, US policy toward the Middle East, and Islam in America. He received his Masters degree from the London School of Economics and his BA from Duke University. He is a contributor to the Al-Jazeera English network and website. His first book will be published by Oxford University Press later this year. It is entitled “Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Egypt (1968-1981).
Jonathan Brown is an Associate Professor and Assistant Director at Prince Alwaleed bin Tala Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. He received his BA in History from Georgetown University in 2000 and his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2006. His book publications include The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon (Brill, 2007), Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oneworld, 2009) and Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011). Dr. Brown’s current research interests include the history of forgery and historical criticism in Islamic civilization, comparison with the Western tradition; and modern conflicts between Late Sunni Traditionalism and Salafism in Islamic thought.​
Usaama al-Azami is a PhD candidate at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies. He began his Arabic studies at the European Institute for Human Sciences (IESH) in Château-Chinon, France, where he earned a diploma in Arabic in 2003. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oxford where he earned a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies in 2008. In addition to formal education, he has studied with traditionally trained Muslim scholars in the UK and the Middle East. Among his teachers in more traditional have been Shaykhs ‘Abd-Allah al-Judai‘,Mohammad Akram al-Nadwi, and briefly, Muhammad al-Yaqoubi in Syria. His dissertation critically examines Islamic legal and religious reform in the modern period, focusing on the transformation of maṣlaḥa and maqāṣid discourses, as well as the development of political thought and siyāsa shar‘iyya.​
Louay Safi is Professor at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies. He received his B.Sc. in civil engineering, and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Safi has served as the Common Word Fellow at Alwaleed Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Associate faculty with Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI), fellow with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), and Visiting Professor at George Washington University (2001). He has also served as an Associate Professor of Political Science (1994-99), Dean of Research (1998-99), and Senate Member at the International Islamic University, Malaysia (1995-99). Dr. Safi has published extensively on such issues as socio-political development, modernization, democracy, human rights, and Islamic resurgence, including eleven books and numerous academic papers. His most recent books include: Palestine: Prophetic Principles Over Prophecies (Outskirts Press 2009), The Qur’anic Narrative (Praeger 2008), Leading with Compassion (Outskirts Press 2008), and Tensions and Transitions in the Muslim World (University Press of America 2003).