Speakers

Fatimah Binti Abdullah received her first degree in Usuluddin and Philosophy from National University in Malaysia (UKM) in 1981. She obtained her Master of Philosophy from St. Andrew University, Scotland in 1991, and her Ph.D. in Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) from Malaysia in 1998. In 2007, she received a Diploma in Social Sciences from International Islamic University in Malaysia. She has taught at the International Islamic university for more than twenty years. She has also taught at Ahfad University for Women in Sudan in 2011-2012. Currently, she is with the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and an associate professor at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, Turkey. She has published several articles and books on various aspects of Islamic thought, including a text-book on Islamic Aqidah for online education program (2001), Issues in Usuluddin (2009) and Islamic Ethics and Character Building (2014).

Kaarina Aitamurto holds the position of senior researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki. Her doctoral dissertation analyzed Russian contemporary Paganism and Nationalism. In her post-doctoral studies, she focuses on Muslim minorities in ethnically Russian areas and the rise of Islamophobia. She is the author of Paganism, Traditionalism, Nationalism: Narratives of Russian Rodnoverie and the co-editor of the books Modern Pagan and Native Faiths in Central and Eastern Europe and Migrant Workers in Russia: Global Challenges of the Shadow Economy in Societal Transformation. She has published several articles in such academic journals as Forum für osteuropäische Ideen –und Zeitgeschifte and the Europe-Asia Studies. She has also edited a special issue, “Politics of Religion and Patriotic Production of Culture in Today’s Russia” for the journal Transcultural Studies: A Journal in Interdisciplinary Research.

Sami A. Al-Arian is the Director of the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and public affairs professor at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. He received his PhD in Computer Engineering in 1986 and was a tenured academic in the US for many years receiving several teaching awards and grants, as well as having over forty publications to his credit. During his four decades in the US (1975-2015), Dr. Al- Arian founded numerous institutions and publications in the fields of education, research, religion and interfaith, as well as civil and human rights. He was a prolific speaker across many US campuses, especially on Palestine, Islam and the West, and Civil Rights. In 2001, he was named by Newsweek the “premiere civil rights activist” in the US for his efforts to repeal the use of Secret Evidence in immigration courts. In 2012, he was profiled by historians of the Encyclopedia of American Dissidents as one of only three Muslims in the US out of 152 US dissidents and prisoners of conscience in the past century included in the two- volume series (along with Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali). His US story was featured in 2007 in the award-winning documentary “US vs. Al-Arian,” and in 2016 in the book “Being Palestinian.” Dr. Al-Arian has written dozens of articles that were translated to many languages focusing on US foreign policy, Palestine, and the Arab Spring phenomena. His book of poetry on Spirituality, Palestine, and Human Rights Conspiring Against Joseph was published in 2004.

Sahar Aziz is Professor of Law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and Middle East and Legal Studies Scholar at Rutgers University Law School. Professor Aziz’s scholarship adopts an interdisciplinary approach to examine intersections of national security, race, and civil rights with a focus on the adverse impact of national security laws and policies on racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the U.S. Her research also investigates the relationship between authoritarianism, terrorism, and rule of law in Egypt. She is a recipient of the Derrick Bell award from the American Association of Law Schools and served as a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution-Doha. Professor Aziz is also the founding director of the interdisciplinary Rutgers Center for Security, Race, and Civil Rights. She teaches courses on national security, critical race theory, evidence, torts, and Middle East law. Professor Aziz’s academic articles have been published in the Harvard National Security Journal, Nebraska Law Review, George Washington International Law Review, Penn State Law Review, and the Texas Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Journal. Her book The Muslim Menace: The Racialization of Religion in the Post-9/11 Era is forthcoming with Harvard University Press.

Enes Bayraklı earned his BA, MA and PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna and conducted research for his PhD thesis at the University of Nottingham in Britain between 2009 and 2010. He served as deputy director of Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Center in London in 2011- 2013. Dr. Bayraklı also served as the founding director of Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centers in Constanta and Bucharest during the period of August- December 2012. Dr. Bayraklı has also been a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and International Relations and the head of the European and International Affairs MA Program at the Turkish-German University since 2013. Currently he is also the director of European Studies at SETA foundation. His fields of research include Islamophobia in Europe, Far right movements in Europe, Transformation of Turkish Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, German Politics and Foreign Policy.

Hatem Bazian is Provost, co-founder and Professor of Islamic Law and Theology at Zaytuna College, the first Accredited Muslim Liberal Arts College in the United States. In addition, Prof. Bazian is a teaching Professor in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Between 2002-2007, Dr. Bazian also served as an adjunct professor of law at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2009, Prof. Bazian founded the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the Center for Race and Gender at UC-Berkeley, a research unit dedicated to the systematic study of Othering Islam and Muslims. In 2012, Prof. Bazian launched the Islamophobia Studies Journal, which is published bi-annually through a collaborative effort with Pluto Press. In 2016, Dr. Bazain founded the International Islamophobia Studies Consortium with 26 universities and research centers. In addition to academic work, Dr. Bazian is a weekly columnist for the Turkish Daily Sabah Newspaper, founder and national Chair of American Muslims for Palestine, board member of the Islamic Scholarship Fund, Muslim Legal Fund of America, President of Dollar for Deen Charity, and Chair of Northern California Islamic Council.

Ahmed Bedier has worked for the past decade as a community organizer, radio show host, human rights advocate, television commentator and interfaith leader. Bedier is the founder of United Voices for America, a non-profit civic engagement organization that offers programs and training to enable and facilitate minority participation in all aspects of government and the political process. He is also the president of the Human Rights Council of Tampa Bay and serves on the state board of the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) of Florida. For the past five years Bedier has co-hosted TrueTalk a global affairs live radio show on Tampa NPR affiliate and community radio station WMNF 88.5fm. Prior to starting United Voices for America, Bedier served as the executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim civil liberties group.

Mehmet Bulut is the President of Isstanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. Dr. Bulut is also a Professor of Economics and Economic History. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in 2000 and M.A. from Posthumus Institute (1998) in the field of Economic History, and B.S. and M.A. degrees from Dokuz Eylü l University in Economics. He taught at Başkent University and served as Chair of the Economics Department. He became Dean of College of Political Sciences and Vice- President at Yıldırım Beyazıt University in 2011 and served as a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) in 2012. He also serves as member of the Board of Directors in several public and private companies. As a visiting scholar he has been to Dalarna (Sweden), Cambridge (England), Harvard, and Princeton (US) Universities. Dr. Bulut has many publications in refereed and international academic journals including the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient, Journal of European Economic History, Middle Eastern Studies, and Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies. He serves as the general editor of the Journal of Islamic Economics and Finance and Journal of Adam Academy of Social Sciences.

Farhan Mujahid Chak is an Associate Professor of International Affairs, at Qatar University. He also teaches at the College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, as a Sessional Instructor on Civil Society and Social Justice. Dr. Chak has worked at the United Nations, the Canadian Parliament and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. His research interests include Islam and Politics, Political Theory, Leadership, Secularism, Epistemology, Fundamentalism and Social Imaginaries. His latest book, “Islam and Pakistan's Political Culture”, was published by Routledge in October 2014.

Burak Erdenir is the Deputy Permanent Delegate at Turkey’s Permanent Representation to the European Union (EU). He holds a B.Sc. degree from Middle East Technical University, MBA degree from Georgetown University, MPA degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Administration from Ankara University. Dr. Erdenir has earned the Associate Professor title in the field of European Union. He has published on EU, Turkey-EU relations and identity issues including Islamophobia. Dr. Erdenir previously served as the Deputy Undersecretary at the Ministry for EU Affairs, which oversees Turkey’s EU accession process.

Johan Galtung, dr hc mult, is a professor of peace studies. He was born in 1930 in Oslo, Norway. He is a mathematician, sociologist, political scientist and the founder of the discipline of peace studies. He founded the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (1959), the world's first academic research center focused on peace studies, as well as the influential Journal of Peace Research (1964). He is currently the president of the Galtung-Institut for Peace Theory & Peace Practice. He has served as a professor for peace studies at universities all over the world, including Columbia (New York), Oslo, Berlin, Belgrade, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Sichuan, Ritsumeikan (Japan), Princeton, Hawai'i, Tromsø, Bern, Alicante (Spain) and dozens of others on all continents. He has mediated in over 150 conflicts between states, nations, religions, civilizations, communities, and persons since 1957.

Mehmet Görmez is the former president of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı) (2010-2017), which is the highest-level position for an Islamic cleric in Turkey. In 1987, he completed his bachelor's degree of Islamic Studies at Ankara University. He became assistant lecturer at Ahmet Yesevi University in Kazakhstan. In 1988-1989, he was at Cairo University. In 1995, he earned his PhD in Islamic Studies from Ankara University. From 1997 to 1998, he lived in the United Kingdom. In 2001-2003 Dr. Görmez taught at Hacettepe University. In 2006, he became full professor. Dr. Görmez speaks Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and English.

Todd Green is associate professor of religion at Luther College in the United States. As a scholar of Islamophobia, Dr. Green recently served as a Franklin Fellow at the US State Department in Washington, DC, where he analyzed and assessed the impact of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe on countering violent extremism initiatives, refugee and migrant policies, and human rights. Dr. Green writes regularly for The Huffington Post and has been interviewed by a variety of media outlets, including CNN, Al Jazeera, France 24, and Reuters. He is the author of The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West (Fortress Press, 2015) and the forthcoming Presumed Guilty: Why We Shouldn't Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism (Fortress Press, 2018).

Ramon Grosfoguel is an associate professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California in Berkeley. He received his BA degree in Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico in 1979, his MA and PhD degrees from Temple University in Urban Studies (1986), and Sociology (1992), respectively. Dr. Grosfoguel is internationally recognized for his work on decolonization of knowledge and power as well as for his work in international migration and political-economy of the world-system. He has also been a research associate of the Maison des Science de l'Homme in Paris for many years.

Farid Hafez is currently lecturer and researcher at the University of Salzburg, Department of Political Science and Sociology. He is also Senior Researcher at Georgetown University’s “The Bridge Initiative”. In 2017, he was Fulbright visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley and in 2014, he was visiting scholar at Columbia University, New York. Since 2010 he has been the editor of the Islamophobia Studies Yearbook, and since 2015 the co-editor of the annual “European Islamophobia Report”. Dr. Hafez has received the Bruno Kreisky Award for the political book of the year for his anthology Islamophobia in Austria (co-ed. with John Bunzl) and published more than 60 books and articles, including high ranking academic journals. Beyond that, Dr. Hafez is regularly publishing op-ed pieces and being interviewed by media outlets such as NPR, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, TRT World and many others.

Ali Hüseyinoğlu was born in Komotini/Greece. After completing primary education at bilingual (Turkish and Greek) school in his hometown, he went to Istanbul/Turkey where he finished secondary and high school education. Later, he moved to Ankara/Turkey and received his BA and MSc from the Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University (METU). His master’s thesis, awarded as the best thesis in 2005 at METU, was about continuities and changes of the Greek minority policy of Western Thrace in the post-Cold War era. After a year of compulsory military service at the Greek army, he started doctoral studies in 2007 at the Department of International Relations, University of Sussex/UK that was completed in 2012. His doctoral thesis was about historical development of educational regime of the Muslim Turkish Minority of Western Thrace in Greece after the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Since 2013, Dr. Hüseyinoğlu has been working as an Assistant Professor in the Balkan Research Institute at Trakya University in Edirne/Turkey. Minority rights, Turkish-Greek relations, Muslim Turkish Minority of Western Thrace, Rum Minority in Turkey, religious pluralism, Islam, religious rights of Muslims in Europe and Islamophobia are among his main research interests.

Erhan İçener is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at İstanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. He holds a BSc in International Relations from Middle East Technical University and MSSc and PhD degrees in European Studies from Queen’s University in Belfast. His research and publications focus on EU enlargement, EU external relations, Turkey and Romania's integration with the EU, and the Cyprus issue.

Ravza Kavakçı Kan holds a PhD in political science from Howard University in Washington, DC (2013). Her dissertation was titled “The Paradoxes of Turkey’s Role Model Status in the Debate on Its Accession to the European Union (EU): A Critical View of the Power of Representation.” Dr. Kavakçı Kan holds an MA (2008) degree in European Studies from Boğaziçi University and a BS (1993) degree in Software Engineering from University of Texas at Dallas. During her doctoral studies she published two book chapters. Dr. Kavakçı Kan also lectured at Hasan Kalyoncu University, teaching classes in political and social sciences, American Foreign Policy, Middle East Policy, Turkey- European Union Relations, International Relations and International Organizations. Her areas of interest include Orientalism, postcolonial theory, discourse studies, Relations between Turkey and the EU, the United States and the Middle East. She was a member of advisory board of Center for Postcolonial Studies of U{skü dar University. Since 2015, Dr. Kavakçı Kan has served as a Member of Parliament from Istanbul. She is the Vice-Chair of the AK Party in charge of Human Rights and a member of the party’s Central Executive Board. She is also the Head of Turkey-China Interparliamentary Friendship Group and Term President of the Steering Committee of United Nations Convention to Combating Desertification Parliamentary Forum. She is member of the Foreign Relations and EU Harmonization committees in parliament.

Nazia Kazi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Stockton University in New Jersey, where she teaches classes on race, empire, Islamophobia, and migration. At Stockton, she is faculty advisor to the Muslim Student Association and to the Students for a Democratic Society. She completed her graduate work at Columbia University and the City University of New York, where she conducted ethnographic research on Muslim American advocacy groups and their representational practices in the post-9/11 era. Kazi’s work on Islamophobia focuses on the troubling rise of the ‘good Muslim’ trope and the role of neoliberal multiculturalism. Her public scholarship has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and on the news programs, Democracy Now!, and Loud & Clear. Her book, Islamophobia: Race and Critical Thinking in the Age of Terror, will be published in 2018. In this book, she explores the connections between white supremacy, Islamophobia, and U.S. foreign policy.

Mohammad Marandi is an academic, political analyst and an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature. He is a graduate of the University of Tehran and Birmingham University and professor of English Literature at the University of Tehran. Dr. Marandi has appeared as a political commentator on international news networks such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, and Press TV.

Mohammed Moussa has been Assistant Professor in the Political Science and International Relations Department at the Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University since 2016. He received both his BA degree in Politics and Economics in 2005, and MA degree in International Studies in 2006, from the University of London, as well as PhD from the University of Exeter in Middle East Politics in 2013. In 2015-2016 he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of International Relations at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. He is the author of the book “Politics of the Islamic Tradition: The Political Thought of Muhammad al-Ghazali” (Routledge, 2015). Dr. Moussa published numerous articles including “Protests, Islamism and the Waning Prospect of Revolution in Egypt” and “Contemporary Islamist Discourses on the State before and after the 25 January Revolution in Egypt”. His research interests include Islamic political thought and tradition, the modern state in the Middle East, and the Arab uprisings.

Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman is an Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He is the Coordinator of the Malaysia Program and Seminar Series on Muslim Societies in Asia at the school. His research interests include the domestic and international politics of Southeast and South Asian countries and transnational Islamic movements. Dr. Nawab has written various papers, books and journal articles relating to his research interests. He is the author of “Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia: Imagining Identity in the Quest for an Illusionary Caliphate” (Routledge, 2018), “Islam and Peace-Building in the Asia- Pacific” (World Scientific, 2017) and an upcoming book titled “Pathways to Contemporary Islam: New Trends in Critical Engagement” (Notre Dame University Press, 2018). He has published in prominent journals such as Southeast Asia Research, South Asia, Contemporary Islam, Islamophobia Studies, Asian Security, Indonesia and the Malay World, and Contemporary Southeast Asia. Dr. Nawab is also a social activist and serves as the President of Critical Xchange and sits in the board of the Asian Muslim Action Network.

Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. He is director of the main clinical cytogenetics laboratory and founder and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Institute for Biodiversity Research at Bethlehem University in occupied Palestine. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke, and Yale Universities. He published over 130 scientific papers on topics ranging from biodiversity to cancer. He was chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between Peoples and currently serves on the board of Al- Rowwad Children's Theater Center in Aida Refugee Camp. He published hundreds of refereed articles and several books including “Mammals of the Holy Land”, “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” (English, Spanish, and German) and “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment” (Arabic, English, French, forthcoming in Italian). He also has an activism book published electronically on his website: http://qumsiyeh.org. His main interest is media activism and public education. He has given hundreds of speeches around the world and published over 250 letters to the editor and 100 op-ed pieces and interviewed on TV and radio extensively (local, national and international).

Salman Sayyid is a professor at the University of Leeds, where he holds a Chair in Social Theory and Decolonial Thought and is the Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy. He is also a Senior Research Associate at Al-Sharq Forum. Previously, Sayyid was Professor and the inaugural director of the International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding, in Australia. As the centre’s director, Sayyid made a film entitled “Everything You Wanted To Know about Muslims But Were Afraid to Ask”. He has held academic positions in London, Manchester and Adelaide. Professor Sayyid is a political theorist, whose work engages with critical theory and the politics and culture of the Global South. Sayyid’s work is recognized for its innovative and transformative impact. His studies of the political Islam, Islamophobia and racism, have been highly influential, and translated into half dozen languages. Some of his major publications include: “A Fundamental Fear”, “A Postcolonial People” (co-edited), “Thinking Through Islamophobia” (co-edited with Abdoolkarim Vakil) and “Recalling The Caliphate.” Currently, Sayyid is leading a major inter-disciplinary research program based on a dialogue between decolonial thought and political theory. As part of this research agenda, Sayyid founded a new international peer-reviewed academic journal ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies. He is frequent contributor to national and international media.

Ömer Taşgetiren is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science and International Relations Department at İstanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. He received his BA degree from Boğaziçi University (2005), his MA from University of Georgia (2010), and his PhD from Georgia State University (2016). His dissertation title was “Rethinking Turkish Laicism in Light of the Debates about Liberal Neutrality”. He published book chapters and journal articles on such topics as sociology of religion, political thought of Al-Farabi, the rights of nonliberal people within a liberal state, and the possibility and desirability of liberal neutrality. His research interests include comparative political theory, liberalism and its critiques, secularism, Islamic political thought, and comparative politics.

Maung Zarni is a scholar, educator and human rights activist with 30 years of involvement in the Burmese political affairs. He is the co-author (with Natalie Brinham) of the pioneering study, The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar's Rohingyas (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, Spring 2014) and Reworking the Colonial-Era Indian Peril: Myanmar's State-Directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims (The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2017/18). In the US, Zarni founded and led the Free Burma Coalition, one of the Internet’s pioneering human rights campaigns (1995-2004). Dr. Zarni has held academic positions, or research and leadership fellowships at many institutions including National-Louis University in Chicago, Georgetown Leadership Seminar, Oxford, LSE, Harvard, University of Brunei, the University of Malaya and the (Genocide) Documentation Centre -Cambodia. He served as a member of the Panel of Judges for the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) on Sri Lanka (2013) and initiated PPT on Myanmar (2017) which found the Government of Myanmar guilty of genocide against Rohingyas. He is a regular columnist in many publications and has been awarded “the Cultivation of Harmony” by the world’s oldest interfaith organisation, the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Dr. Zarni holds a PhD in curriculum studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a MA in education from the University of California-Davis.