The Speakers

Joseph Alagha

Joseph Alagha is a professor of Political Science at Haigazian University, Beirut, Lebanon. He is the author of Hizbullah’s DNA and the Arab Spring (2013); Hizbullah’s Identity Construction (2011), Hizbullah’s Documents (2011), and The Shifts in Hizbullah’s Ideology (2006). Alagha is a prolific writer on Islamic movements and the democratisation and liberalisation processes in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). His current research deals with political mobilisation and the performing arts in the MENA region.

Abdullah Al-Arian

Abdullah Al-Arian is an assistant professor of History at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. In 2014 he was a Carnegie Centennial Visiting Fellow with the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Denver. Al-Arian received his doctorate in History from Georgetown University. He is co-editor of the ‘Critical Currents in Islam’ page on the online publication Jadaliyya, andis a frequent contributor to the Al Jazeera English network and website. He authored Answering the Call: Popular Islam Activism in Sadat's Egypt (2014).

Husnul Amin

Husnul Amin did his PhD (2010) in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Netherlands, with a dissertation entitled ‘From Islamism to Post-Islamism: A Study of  a New Intellectual Discourse on Islam and Modernity in Pakistan’. Amin teaches in the Department of Politics and International Relations, International Islamic University Islamabad, and is an Iqbal Fellow at the Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue, Islamabad.

Hamid Bobboyi

Hamid Bobboyi obtained his BA and PhD degrees from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, where he also served as a research fellow. He was also a senior research fellow at the Northern History Research Project, Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna, Nigeria, and director of the Centre for Historical Documentation and Research at the university. Bobboyi has written widely on the history of Northern Nigeria, intellectual culture, and peace-building and regional integration. He was also a visiting scholar to several universities in the North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Bobboyi held positions in several non-governmental organisations. He is currently the Director of the Centre for Regional Integration and Development, Abuja.

Jocelyne Cesari

Jocelyne Cesari is a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center where she directs the Islam in World Politics programme. She teaches contemporary Islam at the Harvard Divinity School and directs the Harvard interfaculty program ‘Islam in the West’. Her research focuses on religion and international politics, Islam and globalisation, Islam and secularism, immigration, and religious pluralism. Her latest book is The Islamic Awakening: Religion, Democracy and Modernity (2014). She also authored When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States (2006) and Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Islam in Western Liberal Democracies (2013). Cesari coordinates two major web resources on Islam and politics: Islamopedia Online and

David Commins

David Commins is professor of History and the Benjamin Rush Distinguished Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Dickinson College. His publications include Islamic Reform: Politics and Social Change in Late Ottoman Syria (1990), Historical Dictionary of Syria (2013), The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia (2009), and The Gulf States: A Modern History (2014).  He earned his BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD from the University of Michigan.

Ebrahim Shabbir Deen

Ebrahim Shabbir Deen is researcher at the Afro-Middle East Centre. He assisted establish the first student consultancy in Africa (Consulting Academy Johannesburg), and was the first South African on its advisory board. He is a frequent commentator on television and radio on the MENA region, and is the author of Hezbullah vs. the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: A social democratic perspective (2012). He holds an MA in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Mohammad H Fadel

Mohammad H Fadel is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on legal process in medieval Islamic law at the University of Chicago. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 2000 and practised law with the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, where he worked on corporate finance transactions and securities-related regulatory investigations. Fadel has published numerous articles in Islamic legal history and on Islam and liberalism.

Abdullahi Gallab

Abdullahi Gallab brings to his research the unique perspectives of a scholar and former journalist in Sudan. He is the author of The First Islamist Republic: Development and Disintegration of Islamism in the Sudan (2008) and A Civil Society Deferred: The Tertiary Grip of Violence in the Sudan (2013). He is currently working on another book on Sudan: The Second Republic: Islamism in the Sudan from Disintegration to Oblivion.

Usamah Hamdan

Usamah Hamdan is the most senior representative of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Lebanon. A former head of international relations for the organisation, he is also a member of Hamas’s politburo. He is also a member of the Arab National Congress and the Arab Islamic Conference of the Board of Trustees of the Jerusalem Institute in Lebanon. Hamdan was born in the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza. His family had fled the village of al-Batani al-Sharqi during the 1948 war. Since then, he has lived in Kuwait, Jordan, Iran and Lebanon. From 1994 to 1998 he was Hamas’s representative in Iran.

Stig Jarle Hansen

Stig Hansen is an associate professor and leader of the MA programme in international relations at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He is the author of the renowned al Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group, 2005-2013 (2013), and The Borders of Islam: Exploring Samuel Huntington’s Faultlines from Al-Andalus to the Virtual Ummah (2009). Hansen is one of a few non-Somali experts on Somalia, and has been annually doing fieldwork in Mogadishu since 2004. He is a leading world expert on politics and religion with a focus on the Horn of Africa and the Arab Peninsula, and has appeared as an expert commenter on BBC, CNN, Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Chinese Channel 4, NBC and Bloomberg.

Nura Hossainzadeh

Nura Hossainzadeh is a PhD candidate (ABD) in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a graduate of Harvard College, where she earned her AB in Government. She also studied Islamic theology and Islamic political thought in seminaries in Qom, Iran. Hossainzadeh is currently writing her dissertation on the political thought of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Her research interests include Islamic political thought, contemporary Iranian political thought, and methods of comparative political theory. She has taught courses in Modern Arab Political Thought, American Political Thought and American Government.

Khaled Hroub

Khaled Hroub is the director of the Cambridge Arab Media Project (CAMP) at the University of Cambridge, where he teaches contemporary Middle East politics and history. He is the author of several books on political Islam that appeared in different languages. He also published a poetry volume in Arabic (2009), a literary collection (2009), and a current affairs account (Fragility of Ideology and the Might of Politics (2010). Hroub hosted a weekly book review show (‘Al-Kitab Khayru Jalees – A book is your best company’) on Al-Jazeera.

Stéphane LaCroix

Stéphane LaCroix is an associate professor of political science at Sciences Po, and a researcher at the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI). He is the author of Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia (2011), Saudi Arabia in Transition: Insights on Social, Political, Economic and Religious Change (2015 – with B Haykel and T Hegghammer) and L'Egypte en révolution(s) (2015 - with B Rougier).

Larbi Sadiki

Larbi Sadiki is an author, political scientist and senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK, specialising in Arab and Middle Eastern democratisation processes. He received a number of fellowships and awards, including from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Heinrich Böll Foundationand the Arab and Islamic Centre at the University of Melbourne. He has published path-breaking books such as Re-thinking Arab Democratization: Elections without democracy (2009), The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-discourses (2002) and Democratic Transition in the Middle East: Unmaking Power (2013). Sadiki's academic articles have been published in journals such as Political Studies, Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Democratization and Arab Studies Quarterly. His views and opinions are also widely sought and he is a regular columnist for Al Jazeera’s English service. Sadiki holds a PhD in political science and international relations from the Australian National University.

Ashur Shamis

Ashur Shamis was an activist against the Gaddafi regime in Libya for nearly thirty years. He co-founded and organised an opposition group that was the target of Gaddafi’s death squads. In 2001 he established the website which played a leading role in fighting Gaddafi and in overthrowing the regime in 2011. He served as an advisor to the transitional government in Libya.

Omar Shaukat

Omar Shaukat is a research fellow at the Afro-Middle East Centre, where his focuses include the Syrian crisis and the Islamic State group. He also maintains an active interest in political theory and the sociology of social movements in the Muslim world.

Azzam Tamimi

Azzam Tamimi is the director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, and has been visiting professor at Kyoto University (2004) and Nagoya University (2006). He has published several books on Middle Eastern and Islamic politics, including Rachid Ghannouchi: Democrat within Islamism (2001/2013), Hamas: A History from Within (2011), and Hamas, the Unwritten Chapters (2006).

Abdulkader Tayob

Abdulkader Tayob is professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Cape Town, and is the head of the Department of Religious Studies. He has worked and published on Islam in South Africa, Africa and modern Islam in general. His current work focuses on religion education in post-colonial contexts. His recent books – Muslim Schools and Education in Europe and South Africa (2011), Religion in Modern Islamic Discourse (2010), and The Life of Muhammad: Al-Wāqidi’s Kitab Al-Maghāzī(2011), add to his earlier books on Islam in South Africa. In addition, he has authored numerous articles and book chapters.

Last modified on Thursday, 19 February 2015 16:40

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