Our Team


Ovamir Anjum

Founder & Chief Research Officer

Dr. 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 at 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

Ashraf Motiwala


Ashraf Motiwala serves as the President of the Ummatics Institute. He is a board member of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and serves as an advisor/investor to multiple for-profit and non-profit organizations. He received his masters degree from Southern Methodist University and an undergraduate degree from SUNY Stony Brook.

Uthman Badar

Research Operations Manager and Lead Editor

Dr. Uthman Badar is a student of Arabic, Islamic Sciences, and Continental Philosophy. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Western Sydney University in 2023, where he currently teaches as sessional staff. His research interests include secularism and religion, liberalism, political theory, and political theology. His doctoral dissertation is centered on a critique of the conception of secularity and the legitimation of secularism in liberal political thought. He is also an active member of the Muslim community in Sydney, Australia with over two decades of engagement in grassroots activism, da’wah, and apologetics.

Butheina Hamdah

Marketing Operations Manager and Technical Support Specialist

Butheina Hamdah is Marketing Operations Manager and Technical Support Specialist at the Ummatics Institute. She recently completed her Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Toledo in Ohio, where she also completed 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.

Sadek Hamid

Research Associate

Dr. Sadek Hamid is Research Associate at the Ummatics Institute. He is also a Research Fellow at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and has previously held teaching and research positions at the universities of Chester, Liverpool Hope, Cambridge Muslim College, and Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. 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 Muslims: Between 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).

Joseph Kaminski

Research Associate and Symposium Coordinator

Dr. Joseph J. Kaminski is Research Associate and Symposium Coordinator at the Ummatics Institute. He 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

Contributing Writers

Farhan Anshary

Doctoral Student, Newcastle University, UK

Farhan Anshary is a doctoral student of spatial planning/urban studies at Newcastle University, UK. His academic interests include global urbanism, global environmental issues, and social theories in general.

Ali Harfouch

Researcher and Writer on Islamic political theology and modern political theory

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.

Muzaffar Iqbal

President, Center for Islamic Sciences

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.

Hafsa Kanjwal

Assistant Professor of History, Lafayette College

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.

Ibrahim Moiz

Ummatics Contributing Writer

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.

Asim Qureshi

Research Director, CAGE

Dr. Asim Qureshi is Research Director at the advocacy group CAGE. He graduated in Law and read for a PhD in International Conflict Analysis. He is author of Rules of the Game: Detention, Deportation, Disappearance (2009), A Virtue of Disobedience (2018), and I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting Racism in Times of National Security (2020).

Alexander Thurston

Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Cincinati

Dr. Alexander 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 at Sahel Blog.

Omar Suleiman

Founder and President, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

Imam Dr. Omar Suleiman is the Founder and President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, and an Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at SMU (Southern Methodist University). He is also the Resident Scholar at Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair Emeritus of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square.

Mobeen Vaid

Muslim Public Intellectual and Writer

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).

Colloquium Contributors

Abdullah Al-Arian

Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University in Qatar

Abdullah Al-Arian is an associate professor of history at Georgetown University in Qatar. He is the author of Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat's Egypt (Oxford University Press) and the editor of Football in the Middle East: State, Society, and the Beautiful Game (Hurst/Oxford University Press). He is editor of the "Critical Currents in Islam" page on the Jadaliyya e-zine. Previously, he was the Carnegie Centennial Visiting Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. His writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, Middle East Eye, MERIP, Muftah, and Al-Jazeera. He received his doctorate in history from Georgetown University. He also holds a master’s degree in sociology of religion from the London School of Economics and received his BA in political science from Duke University.

Hamdija Begovic

Doctoral Student, Södertörn University, Sweden

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

Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

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

Research Scholar in Islamic theology and philosophy, Ibn Rushd Centre of Excellence for Islamic Research

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.

Khadijah Elshayyal

Associate Fellow, Alwaleed Centre, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Khadijah Elshayyal has recently completed successive postdoctoral and teaching fellowships at the University of Edinburgh, where she organised and taught on a number of courses across IMES and the School of Divinity. With a specialism in the contemporary history of Muslims in Britain, she received her PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests lie in the representation, political and cultural activism of Muslims and ethnic minorities in the UK. She is author of Muslim Identity Politics: Islam, activism and equality in Britain (IB Tauris, 2018) and Scottish Muslims in Numbers: understanding Scotland’s Muslims through the 2011 Census (University of Edinburgh, 2016).

Sami Hamdi

Managing Director, International Interest

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.

Shadi Hamid

Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution

Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and an assistant research professor of Islamic studies at Fuller Seminary. He is the author of "Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World" (St. Martin's Press), which was shortlisted for the 2017 Lionel Gelber Prize. He is also co-editor with Will McCants of “Rethinking Political Islam” (Oxford University Press) and co-author of “Militants, Criminals, and Warlords: The Challenge of Local Governance in an Age of Disorder” (Brookings Institution Press). His first book “Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East” (Oxford University Press) was named a Foreign Affairs "Best Book of 2014." Hamid served as director of research at the Brookings Doha Center until January 2014. Hamid is also a contributing writer at The Atlantic and vice-chair of the Project on Middle East Democracy's board of directors.

Iyad Hilal

Islamic Scholar

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, 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

Doctoral Candidate, SOAS University of London

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

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, McMaster University, Canada

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.

Katrin Jomaa

Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Rhode Island

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.

Jonathan Laurence

Professor of Political Science and Director, Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College

Jonathan Laurence is Director of the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy and the author of several books and numerous essays on culture, religion and politics. Professor of political science at Boston College and a former fellow of the Brookings Institution and the American Academy in Berlin, he is a board member of Reset Dialogues US. His work has appeared in such venues as the New York Times, The Economist, Foreign Affairs, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Le Monde. Jonathan received his BA from Cornell, CEP from Sciences Po-Paris and PhD from Harvard.

Darryl Li

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and Social Sciences, University of Chicago and Associate Member, University of Chicago Law School

Darryl Li is an anthropologist and attorney working at the intersection of war, law, migration, empire, and race with a focus on transregional linkages between the Middle East, South Asia, and the Balkans. Li is the author of The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity (Stanford University Press, 2020), which develops an ethnographic approach to the comparative study of universalism using the example of transnational "jihadists" -- specifically, Arabs and other foreigners who fought in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia Herzegovina. Drawing on ethnographic and archival research conducted in Bosnia and a half-dozen other countries, the monograph situates transnational jihads in relation to more powerful universalisms, including socialist Non-Alignment, United Nations peacekeeping, and the U.S.-led "Global War on Terror."

Thomas Parker

Ummatics Contributing Writer

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

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Walaa Quisay is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh researching carceral theology. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester, where she researched 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

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Institute of Alliance of Civilizations, Ibn Haldun University, Turkey

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

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

Muneeza Rizvi is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her PhD 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.

SherAli Tareen

Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Franklin and Marshall College

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

Director of Survey Research and Evaluation, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

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.

Fadi Zatari

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, Turkey

Fadi Zatari is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University in Istanbul, Turkey. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). 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.