People

Organizing Committee

Ovamir Anjum

Ovamir Anjum is the author of the article “Who Wants the Caliphate?” published in 2019 at Yaqeen Institute which serves as the provocation for this project. He is professor and endowed chair of Islamic studies in the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Toledo, co-editor of the American Journal of Islam and Society (previously known as the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences), and recently appointed editor-in-chief for the review board the Yaqeen Institute. His areas of research include Islamic history, theology, political thought, and history broadly. His publications include Politics, Law, and Community in Islamic Thought: The Taymiyyan Moment (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and Ranks of Divine Seekers: Translation of Ibn al-Qayyim’s Madarij al-Salikin(Brill, 2020), first two of four volumes. His selected publications can be accessed at https://utoledo.academia.edu/OvamirAnjum

Uthman Badar

Uthman Badar is a student of Arabic, the Islamic Sciences, and Continental Philosophy. He is currently in the late stages of a PhD in Philosophy at Western Sydney University, centred on a critique of the conception of secularity and the legitimation of secularism. He is also an active member of the Muslim community in Sydney, Australia with over fifteen years of engagement in grassroots Islamic activism and apologetics, as well considerable engagement with mainstream Australian print, radio, and television media. 

Butheina Hamdah

Butheina Hamdah provides administrative and operational support to the Ummatics Colloquium project. She is a graduate student completing her Master of Arts in Sociology at the University of Toledo in Ohio, where she also received her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a focus on political theory. Her research interests include Muslim community and identity, Muslim engagement with and resistance to liberalism, classical sociological theory, and political sociology. She also comes from an extensive background working in research organizations/think tanks as well as the American Muslim non-profit sector.

Aisha Hasan

Aisha Hasan is a researcher in International Development with a regional specialization in the Middle East. She holds a BSc in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. An Associate Researcher at the Ayaan Institute, her interests include the impact of the neoliberal turn, employment trends in the Muslim world and Islamic economic theory. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the Qarawiyyin Project - an initiative dedicated to reviving Islamic discourse amongst Muslim women. She regularly speaks at community events and universities in the UK on topics related to women in the Islamic tradition and challenges for Muslim communities in the West.

Contributors and Colloquium Participants

Hamdija Begovic

Hamdija Begovic is a Bosnian-Swedish doctoral student at Södertörn University, Stockholm. His dissertation is on the ideological legacy of Alija Izetbegovic within contemporary Bosnian politics, and his interests include Muslim engagement with and resistance to Western modernity.

Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown is the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service 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. Dr. Brown has studied and conducted research in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Iran. 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; expanded edition 2017); Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011), which was selected for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures Muslim Journeys Bookshelf; Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy (Oneworld, 2014), which was named one of the top books on religion in 2014 by the Independent; and Slavery and Islam (Oneworld, 2019). He has published articles in the fields of Hadith, Islamic law, Salafism, Sufism, Arabic lexical theory and Pre-Islamic poetry and is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law. Dr. Brown’s current research interests include Islamic legal reform and a translation of Sahih al-Bukhari. He is also the Director of Research at the Yaqeen Institute. 

Safaruk Chowdhury

Safaruk Chowdhury studied Philosophy at Kings College London completing it with the accompanying Associate of Kings College (AKC) award. He then traveled to Cairo to study the traditional Islamic Studies curricula at al-Azhar University. He returned to the UK to complete his MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies with distinction. His doctoral dissertation was on the eminent Sufi hagiographer and theoretician Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami (d. 412/1021) published as A Sufi Apologist of Nishapur: The Life and Thought of Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami (Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2019). Chowdhury's research interests, in addition to Sufism at the moment, are in paraconsistent logic, metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology with keen interest in how these subjects were articulated and discussed within the Islamic intellectual tradition - especially within kalam theology. His most recent book is entitled Islamic Theology and the Problem of Evil (New York and Cairo: AUC Press, 2021) which is the first work in Islamic Studies to treat the topic within the analytic theology approach. Chowdhury is currently lead researcher on the project Beyond Foundationalism: New Horizons in Muslim Analytic Theology funded under a John Templeton Foundation grant award in association with Cambridge Muslim College and Aziz Foundation. Chowdhury runs the Islamic Analytic Theology website and his academic work can be found on his Academia.edu page.

Sami Hamdi

Sami Hamdi is the Managing Director of the International Interest, a global risk and intelligence company. He advises governments on the geopolitical dynamics of Europe and the MENA region, and has significant expertise in advising companies on commercial issues related to volatile political environments and their implications on market entry, market expansion, and managing of stakeholders. Sami is also featured as a commentator for Aljazeera (Arabic and English), Sky News, BBC, TRT World, and other outlets.

Sadek Hamid

Sadek Hamid has held teaching and research positions at the universities of Chester, Liverpool Hope, Cambridge Muslim College, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and currently works within the international NGO sector. He has been actively engaged in Muslim communities for more than 30 years and prior to transitioning to academia was a Youth & Community Development professional. He has written extensively on Muslim young people, Islamic activism, religion, politics, and public policy. Some of his published research papers can be downloaded at: https://oxford.academia.edu/DrSadekHamid and journalistic articles for The New Arab are available at: https://english.alaraby.co.uk/author/66345/sadek-hamid. He is author of Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: The Contested Ground of British Islamic Activism, (I. B. Tauris, 2016), co-author of British Muslims: New Directions in Islamic Thought, Creativity and Activism, (Edinburgh University Press, 2018), editor of Young British MuslimsBetween Rhetoric and Realities  (Routledge, 2016), co-editor of Youth Work and Islam: A Leap of Faith for Young People (Sense, 2011) and Political Muslims: Understanding Youth Resistance in a Global Context (Syracuse University Press, 2018). 

Ali Harfouch

Ali Harfouch has a Masters in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut. He researches and writes on Islamic political theology and modern political theory. 

Iyad Hilal

Iyad Hilal holds a Masters in Islamic Jurisprudence & Islamic Legal Theory from Kulliyat-al-Shari'a (Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University) in Riyadh. He has taught and written on various issues related to Islamic law and Usual al-Fiqh for over 30 years. He has also authored the following works: Al-Mu'ahadat al-Dawliyya fi'l-Shari'ah al-Islamiyyah (International Treaties in Islamic Law) (1991), Studies in Usul al-Fiqh (4th Edition Coming Soon), and Abhath al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah (Studies in Prophetic Sunnah) (Forthcoming). Most of his lectures, khutbahs, and video series can be found on Al-Arqam Institute's YouTube and Facebook page.

Kamal Hussain

Kamal Hussain completed his BA in Arabic and MA in Near & Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS.  He is currently in the final stages of his PhD Thesis on Minority Fiqh at SOAS. He was an associate lecturer from 2007 to 2015 at Birkbeck, university of London teaching Islamic jurisprudence and other Islamic studies subjects on the undergraduate and postgraduate level. He has lectured on Islamic Law and Criminal Justice on the LLB course.  He was a lecturer in Islamic law at the Muslim College, London. He has also worked as an Arabic translator for a number of years translating various fiqhi and other Islamic texts. He is a solicitor and currently runs a law firm in London. His research interests are Minority Fiqh and constitutional law.

Basit Iqbal

Basit Kareem Iqbal is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University (Canada). Based on fieldwork in Jordan and Canada, his book manuscript is titled, "God Grants Relief: Tribulation and Refuge after the Syrian Uprising." His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Qui Parle, Method and Theory in Studies of Religion, Anthropological Theory, The Journal of Religion, Muslim World, and Political Theology.

Muzaffar Iqbal

Muzaffar Iqbal is the president of the Center for Islamic Sciences (established in 2000 as Center for Islam and Science and renamed in 2013). Over the past thirty years, his research and publications have focused on three broad areas within the framework of Muslim encounter with modernity: (i) the impact of this encounter on Muslim self-understanding of their spiritual and intellectual traditions; (ii) relationship between Islam and science and the role of modern science and technology in the reshaping of the intellectual, social, and political landscape of the Muslim world; and (iii), Qur’anic studies, including Western academic studies on the Qur’an. His publications include twenty-one books and over one hundred articles. His books and articles have been translated into Persian, Bahasa Indonesia, Albanian, and Korean.

Muhammad Jalal

Muhammad Jalal is a lecturer of politics and international relations at a London-based college. He hosts The Thinking Muslim podcast and delivers a regular course for young Muslims exploring the thoughts of Islam and Liberalism. He writes for numerous online journals including Traversing Tradition. He is currently working with the Geopolitics and International Relations stream of the Ummatics project.

Katrin Jomaa

Katrin Jomaa is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Rhode Island. Her interdisciplinary research interests encompass classical and modern political philosophy, as well as Islamic thought and Qur'an exegesis. Prof. Jomaa focuses on the relationship between politics and religion in the Middle East. Her research method employs analysis of Islamic primary sources to explore key concepts which could be utilized in constructing modern Islamic political theory. In addition to her interests in politics and religion, Prof. Jomaa has a dual passion for science where she received two degrees in Engineering and applied Materials science. Prof. Jomaa's teaching interests include Politics of the Middle East, Islamic Political Thought, Political Philosophy, Islam and Democracy, Religion and State as well as Introduction to Islam, Islam and Modernity, and Quranic Studies and Exegesis. She was awarded a visiting academic position at Oxford University for the Spring of 2018 semester where she shared her research with the academic community.

Joseph J. Kaminski

Joseph J. Kaminski received his PhD in Political Science from Purdue University in 2014 and currently is an Associate Professor affiliated with both the Political Science and International Relations Departments at the International University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His current research interests include, Religion and Politics, Comparative Political Theory, and New Approaches to Islamic Public Reason. He also is the author of The Contemporary Islamic Governed State: A Reconceptualization (Palgrave, 2017) and Islam, Liberalism, and Ontology: A Critical Re-evaluation (Routledge, 2021). A more complete list of his scholarly outputs can be found at: https://ir.ius.edu.ba/people/joseph-jon-kaminski 

Hafsa Kanjwal

Hafsa Kanjwal is an assistant professor of history at Lafayette College. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan in History and Women’s Studies. Her research is on the history of modern Kashmir. She has written and spoken on Kashmir for a variety of news outlets including The Washington Post, Al Jazeera English, and the BBC.

Samir Mahmoud

Samir Mahmoud is currently Lecturer at the Cambridge Muslim College on the BA in Islamic Studies and the Diploma in Islamic Psychology. Recently he was an Assistant Professor at the Lebanese American University. He has a BA (Hons) in Anthropology & Politics with a focus on multicultural theory and comparative religion, and an MA in Architectural History, Theory & Urban Design with a focus on the traditional townscape from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He also holds an MPhil in Theology & Religious Studies with a focus on comparative philosophy and aesthetics. He completed a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Winter (Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad).

Ibrahim Moiz

Ibrahim Moiz is a student of international relations and history. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto where he also conducted research on conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has written for both academia and media on politics and political actors in the Muslim world.

Thomas Parker

Thomas Parker earned Double Degrees in Arabic and International and Area Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2014. He recently finished his Masters in Civilizational Studies from Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul, Turkey. His academic interests include Ottoman History and Islamic Political Thought, while also pursuing the Islamic Sciences. He is the author of "On the Theology of Disobedience: An Analysis of Shaykh Bin Bayyah and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's Political Thought", among a number of other academic publications in ReOrient and the American Journal of Islam and Social Sciences, as well as journalistic and semi-academic publications for platforms such as Maydan, Al-Sharq Strategic Forum and TRT World.

Walaa Quisay

Walaa Quisay is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester, where she researches non-violent civil disobedience in contemporary Islamic thought with a particular focus on debates on the permissibility of hunger strikes. She is also working on her first book with Edinburgh University Press on Neo-Traditionalist Muslim networks in the West with a focus on how they navigate modernity, tradition, and politics. Formerly, she was a fellow at the University of Birmingham and Istanbul Sehir University, where she taught courses on Islamic Studies, Religious Studies, and Sociology. She received her Phil from the University of Oxford at the Faculty of Oriental Studies. Her research interests include Muslim political subjectivities, popular political theology, theodicy, spirituality, and traditionalism and modernism in contemporary Islamic thought.

Heba Raouf Ezzat

Heba Raouf Ezzat is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Alliance of Civilizations at Ibn Haldun University (IHU) in Istanbul, Turkey. She also teaches at in the Departments of Political Science and Sociology at IHU. For nearly 30 years, she taught political theory at Cairo University. She was also an adjunct professor at the American University in Cairo (2006-2013). She spent two years (2014-2015) at the Civil Society and Human Security Unit at the London School of Economics (LSE) as a visiting fellow before moving to Istanbul – where she is currently based – in 2016. Her academic writings and teaching cover a wide range of topics, including classic and modern Western political thought, Islamic political theory, women and politics, global civil society, urban politics, cities and citizenships, and Middle East politics. Besides her teaching and writings, she co-established a Diploma for Public Policy and Child Rights 2010 that was a project funded by the European Commission and coordinated between four Arab and four European universities. For that effort, she was awarded the Prize for Outstanding Support of German-Egyptian Collaboration in Science and Innovation. Since 2015, Dr. Raouf Ezzat supervised and introduced the full translation of Zygmunt Bauman's Liquid Modernity series into Arabic. She also translated Ziauddin Sardar's book Mecca: The Sacred City to Arabic. Her latest work is a research paper on the "Project on the Future of Human Rights in the Arab world" titled, "The Human Rights Movement and the Islamist: The Paths of Convergence and Divergence" with the Arab Reform Initiative/Paris, and forthcoming chapter titled, "Re-imagining Egypt: The State of War" in a book titled, Contemporary Thought in the Middle East (Routledge 2021). Her current research is on the reconfigurations of space in the Egyptian urban planning and urban politics, and the recent rise of Egyptian Ultranationalism.

Muneeza Rizvi

Muneeza Rizvi is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on Islam, humanitarianism, and securitization with a focus on British Muslim involvements in the Syrian war. She is currently a contributing editor for American Anthropologist and a volunteer copy editor for The Abolitionist. Her own work has appeared in Al Jazeera, ReOrient, and the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences.

Alexander Thurston

Alex Thurston is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. His research focuses on Islamic thought and activism in West Africa. His most recent book is Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel (Cambridge, 2020). He blogs on and off at Sahel Blog (sahelblog.wordpress.com).

SherAli Tareen

SherAli Tareen is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. He received his PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University in 2012. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. He has also written extensively on the interaction of Islam and secularism. His book  Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. He is currently completing his second book called “The Promise and Peril of Hindu-Muslim Friendship.” His other academic publications and talks are available here. Tareen also co-hosts the popular scholarly podcast New Books in Islamic Studies.

Osman Umarji

Dr. Osman Umarji holds a Bachelor's of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master's and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from UC Irvine. He has studied Islam at al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, specializing in Islamic legal theory (Usool al-fiqh). Dr. Umarji is the Director of Survey Research and Evaluation at the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Education at UC Irvine. He has taught courses on Usool al-fiqh, Usool al-hadith, and other Islamic sciences. He also teaches child/adolescent development and statistics. His expertise in both Islamic sciences and the social sciences allows him to conduct empirical research on contemporary issues facing Muslims.

Mobeen Vaid

Mobeen Vaid is a Muslim public intellectual and writer. A contributing writer for muslimmatters.org, his writings center on how traditional Islamic norms and frames of thinking intersect the modern world. In recent years, he has focused on Islamic sexual and gender norms. Vaid also speaks at confessional conferences, serves as an advisor to Muslim college students, and was campus minister for the Muslim community at George Mason University. He has reviewed The Study Qur’an for the Journal of Islamic Sciences and published “Can Islam Accommodate Homosexual Acts? Qur’anic Revisionism and the Case of Scott Kugle” for the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (AJISS).

Fadi Zatari

 Fadi Zatari is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and a lecturer in political science and International Relations at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University since 2017. He received his PhD in Civilization Studies from Alliance of Civilizations Institute at Ibn Haldun University. Also, he holds a masters’ degree in international studies from Birzeit University, and a masters’ degree in political theory from the University of Frankfurt. He received his bachelors’ degree in political science from Al-Quds University.  He is fluent in Arabic, German, English and Turkish.