Speakers and Moderators

All Times are Istanbul Time (GMT +3, EST +7)


Rabia Aamir is an Assistant Professor of English at National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan. She is also the managing editor of NUML Journal of Critical Inquiry and an awardee of Research Fellowship at Columbia University, New York, USA (2018). Since 2007, in addition to teaching, she is serving in different administrative capacities. Working as Social Events Devisor and Focal Person for Anti Plagiarism, she is currently working as Coordinator Sophy’s Forum in Faculty of English Studies (FES) and coordinated a successful conference on Kashmir in Dec 2019. She has a teaching experience of more than seventeen years at different levels. A graduate of Kinnaird College and University of the Punjab Lahore, she has presented her research both at national and international levels. Her earlier publications include research articles in the genre of 18th and 19th century English Novel, 20th century American fiction, Native American literature, South Asian literature, and poetry contributions. Her research interests include postcolonial literature, post 9/11 Pakistani fiction, comparative literature, literary theory, ecocriticism, and Postcolonial Environmental Ethic.



Mariam Abu Ali graduated from Georgetown University with a major in Government and a minor in Arabic. In 2017, she completed her certificate in Non-profit Management from Duke University. Mariam has been advocating on behalf of her brother Ahmed Abu Ali, a victim of torture and extraordinary rendition and a U.S. political prisoner for 18 years.



Leena Al-Arian is a Palestinian-American human and civil rights activist living in Boston, MA. She is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Civil Freedoms, an organization that advocates on behalf of “war on terror” prisoners and their families. Leena has worked at a number of human rights and justice non-profit organizations including American Muslims for Palestine, United Voices, and the Middle East Children’s Alliance. She holds a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. She is a contributor to the volume, Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).



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 two decades receiving best teaching awards at the University of South Florida (1993 and 1994) and several 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 in the Encyclopedia of American Dissidents as one of only three Muslims in the US out of 152 dissidents and prisoners of conscience that were included in the series in the past century (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 several studies and numerous articles 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. He is also the author of The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East, Washington, DC, American Educational Trust, 2013 (under a pen name) and The United States and Israel: From Enabler to Strategic Partner, IZU Publications, 2019.



Usaama al-Azami is a Departmental Lecturer in Contemporary Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford. He read his BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Oxford, and his MA and PhD in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Alongside his university career, he has pursued Islamic studies in seminarial settings in which he has also subsequently taught. He is primarily interested in the interaction between Islam and modernity with a special interest in modern developments in Islamic political thought. His first book, Islam and the Arab Revolutions: The Ulama between Democracy and Autocracy, looks at the way in which influential Islamic scholars responded to the Arab uprisings of 2011 through 2013. His broader interests extend to a range of disciplines from the Islamic scholarly tradition from the earliest period of Islam down to the present.



Yasin Aktay received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1990, Master’s Degree in 1993 and PhD in 1997 from Department of Sociology at Middle East Technical University at Ankara. In 1999 he became an Associate Professor in the field of Applied Sociology and in 2005 a Professor in the field of Sociology of Institutions. He spent 20 years as an academician at Selçuk University (Konya). He is now affiliated with Yıldırım Bayazıt University, Ankara. Aktay was teaching and doing researches at Utah University and University of Maine at Farmington between 2001-2004. He has been editing the Tezkire Journal of Social Science Thought and Politics founded in 1991, and the Sivil Toplum Journal founded in 2002. He is also an editorial member of the Journals Milel and Nihal and ReOrient: Critical Muslim Studies. Aktay managed the Institute for Strategic Thinking based in Ankara for four years. After joining the AK Party in 2012, Aktay has served since 2014 as deputy chairman of foreign relations, then in charge of human rights and Official spokesman of the Party. He has appeared in many TV programs including, TV Net, Al Jazeera, Channel 24 and TRT Arabic. Dr. Aktay has published many books and articles in Turkish, English and Arabic, and his books were translated into Arabic and Kurdish. He is member of Turkish Academy of Science (TÜBA). He currently writes regular columns for Yeni Şafak Newspaper and serves as ae Chief Adviser for the president of the AK Party.



Chafika Attalai graduated from Aix-Marseille University in France (BA in Law, Economics and Languages) and Granada University in Spain (BA in Translation and Interpretation) before graduating from Brussels University in Belgium with a degree in Multilingual Communication and International Relations (MA). Her research focuses on migrants’ rights, stateless persons, and she is an expert in Islamophobia. She was a member of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) before it was dissolved by the French government.



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 Union of Florida. For the past seven years Bedier has co-hosted TrueTalk a global affairs live radio show on Tampa Bay affiliate and community radio station WMNF 88.5 fm. 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.



Moazzam Begg is a British-born Muslim and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee. He is also the Outreach Director for CAGE. After his release, he became one of the most prominent public-speakers and Muslim advocates for justice and dialogue.



Marie Breen-Smyth is Visiting Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA, Professor Emerita at the University of Surrey, UK, Research Fellow, at the National Peace Centre, University of Otago, in New Zealand. She has taught and researched at universities in the US, the UK and mainland Europe. She was also the Randolph Jennings Senior Fellow at the US Institute of Peace 2002-3. Dr. Breen-Smyth is the founder of the Institute for Conflict Research in Belfast and joint founder of the Taylor and Francis journal “Critical Studies on Terrorism.” She has published books and articles and made films about political violence, the impact of war on populations, victim politics, suspect communities and race, and research ethics and methods.


Mehmet Bulut is the Rector of İstanbul 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 Eylul University in Economics. He taught at Baskent University and served as Chair of the Economics Department. He became Dean of College of Political Sciences and Vice-President at Yildirim Beyazit 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. He is currently working on long-term economic changes and development, economic performance comparisons between countries, the economic reasons for the differences, the international political economy, the Ottoman-European-Atlantic Economic Relations, Economic History, History of Economic Thought, economic and financial Institutions. 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.



Tarek Cherkaoui is Manager at the TRT World Research Centre, Istanbul, Turkey. He is an executive with a career that spans a range of industries, including the creative industries, higher education, and the think tank industry. Dr. Cherkaoui holds a PhD in media and communication studies from Auckland University of Technology. He contributed to dozens of articles and chapters, authored and co-edited several books and publications, including ‘The News Media at War: The Clash of Western and Arab Networks in the Middle East’ (I.B. Tauris, 2017). His research interests include the international broadcasting media, public diplomacy, media framing, and media-military relations—specifically within a Middle Eastern context.



James G. Connell III, is an attorney specializing in human rights and death penalty issues.  He graduated from William & Mary Law School in 1996, and his former clients include John Allen Muhammad, the man executed in 2009 for the “D.C. Sniper” attacks in Washington, D.C.  Since 2011, Mr. Connell has represented Ammar al Baluchi in the United States Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  This representation has included advocacy before the Committee against Torture, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review mechanism.  Mr. Connell has appeared in each of the 41 sessions in Mr. al Baluchi’s case at Guantanamo Bay since 2012.  The case is tentatively scheduled for trial in January 2021.



Stephen Downs, Esq., graduated from Amherst College (1964) and Cornell Law School (1969). after serving in the US Peace Corps in India (1964-66). He was Chief Attorney of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct from 1974-2003 disciplining and removing bad judges. He was part of the defense team in US v. Yassin Aref (2006-2007), and a founder of Project SALAM (2008) which analyzed hundreds of post-9/11 terrorism cases, and prepared a report on these cases entitled “Inventing Terrorists.” He was Executive Director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedom/ NCPCF (2012-2013, 2015), and is currently the Chair of the Board to the Coalition for Civil Freedoms. (CCF), the renamed successor organization to NCPCF.



Heba Raouf Ezzat is currently on the faculty of the political science department at Ibn Haldoun University in Istanbul. She was an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Deputy Director of the Center for Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies at Cairo University, and Adjunct Professor at the American University in Cairo. She was also a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University, University of Westminster, University of California at Berkeley, Georgetown University, and Oxford's Centre for Islamic Studies. Dr. Ezzat received her BA, MA, and PhD degrees from the University of Cairo in political science in 1987, 1995, and 2007 respectively. She has researched and written on many topics including global civil society, building global democracy, women and politics in Islam, faith and citizenship, and political and social movements in Islam.  Some of her publications include Women, Ethics and Religion (Co-authored with Nawal Saadawi in the form of a debate, 2000), On the Future of Women and Politics in the Arab World, a chapter in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives (edited by John J. Donodue and John L. Esposito, Oxford University Press, 2006), and The Political Imagination of Islamists: A Conceptual Analysis” (in Arabic, 2nd ed. 2015). She has served as a member of the C-100 initiative for Islamic-Western understanding set up by the World Economic Forum, by which she was named a Young Global Leader in 2005.       



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 MS 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 received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Vienna in 2009 and is currently Senior Researcher at University of Salzburg and Senior Research Fellow 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, Hafez has been editor of the Islamophobia Studies Yearbook, and since 2015 co-editor of the annual European Islamophobia Report. He 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 80 books and articles, including in high-ranking academic journals. Moreover, Hafez regularly publishes op-ed’s and is frequently interviewed by media outlets. Dr. Hafiz is currently Senior Researcher at University of Salzburg and Senior Research Fellow 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, Hafez has been editor of the Islamophobia Studies Yearbook, and since 2015 co-editor of the annual European Islamophobia Report. He 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 80 books and articles, including in high-ranking academic journals. Moreover, Hafez regularly publishes op-ed’s and is frequently interviewed by media outlets.




Nagihan Haliloğlu is a lecturer in Comparative Literature at Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul.  She holds an MSt in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford and a PhD in English from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Her book on Jean Rhys, Narrating from the Margins: Self-Representation of Female and Colonial Subjectivities in Jean Rhys’s Novels came out from Rodopi in 2011. She has published articles on multiculturalism, modernism, travel writing and contemporary Turkish literature. She is currently working on a project on narratives of melancholy. Her articles have appeared in The Millions, Full Stop, and the Royal Society for Asian Affairs blog. She also writes regularly for Daily Sabah.



Üveys Han is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University and a PhD Candidate in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. He served as a lecturer at Fatih Sultan Mehmet University’s Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul between 2010-2012, a member of its inaugural faculty, and helped found its graduate program. At Syracuse University, his dissertation explores the theological foundations of modern sovereignty and the ways Islamic political theory and practice can help to resolve perennial problems in modern political theory. 



Linda Hyökki graduated in 2011 from the M.A. program “Language, Culture, and Translation” at  the University of Mainz/Germersheim, Germany.  She was (2019-2020) a professional officer at the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum and a Senior Research Associate at the Center for  Islam and Global Affairs, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (2017-2019), where she is now a non-Resident Senior Research Associate. The focus of her research is on Islamophobia and Muslim minorities. She is also pursuing her Ph.D. at the Ibn Haldun University (Istanbul, Turkey) with a thesis on Finnish Muslim converts’ experiences on Islamophobia. As a fellow at the Center for Postnormal Policy and Future Studies (CPPFS) she teaches in workshops on Futures Studies for the Muslim youth. Recently, she has been selected as a Board Member of European Forum of Muslim Women. Linda’s research interests include Islamophobia Studies, Conversion to Islam, Identity formation, Critical Theory, and Qualitative Research. 



Na'eem Jeenah is a well-known academic and leader in the Muslim community and among anti-capitalist and anti-war movements in South Africa. He is currently the Executive Director of the Afro-Middle East Centre, a research institute dedicated to studying the Middle East and North Africa and relations between that region and the rest of Africa. Jeenah has also taught political studies courses at the University of the Witwatersrand and holds various Islamic qualifications through international courses completed at different universities in the Muslim world. He has organized and addressed numerous meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences, and training programs on various issues related to Islam, South Africa, the Middle East, youth development, journalism, and information technology – in South Africa and internationally.



Mehmet Ömer Kanat is a Uyghur human rights activist and director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, (UHRP) a research-based Uyghur human rights advocacy organization. Mr. Kanat was born in the city of Ghulja in East Turkestan; his family escaped from China to Afghanistan in 1971. He moved from Afghanistan to Turkey in 1979 and came to the US in 1999. He helped found UHRP in 2003, as well as the World Uyghur Youth Congress, where he served for two terms as President from 1996 to 2000. Mr. Kanat is one of the founders of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and served as the Vice- President of the WUC from 2006- to 2017. He was elected as the Chairman of the executive committee of World Uyghur Congress in November 2017. Prior becoming Director of UHRP in 2017, From 1999 to 2009 Mr. Kanat was the Senior Editor of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, where he covered the War in Afghanistan and Iraq, edited Uyghur-language news, conducted exclusive interviews with prominent figures in Inner Asia, and reported on breaking news from around the world. In addition, from 1988 to 1996 he served as the Editor and later Senior Editor of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service. He holds a B.A. in History from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Science and Literature with a focus on political history, and studied at the Munich Institute of Economics and Trade. He holds several certificates in human rights, advocacy and journalism from several institutions including the American University.



Charlotte Kates is the international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, an international network of activists and organizations that campaigns for justice and freedom for Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli and international jails. A graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law, she is the coordinator of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (U.S.) and works with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. She is also a member of the Organizing Collective of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. Her writing on political repression, imperialism and Palestine has been published in a number of media outlets.



Denise LeBoeuf has been the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s John Adams Project since 2008, participating in the defense of the capitally charged Guantanamo detainees in military commissions.   She provides direct assistance in the defense of the lead defendant in the 9/11 case, working with a multi-national and multi-disciplinary team.  She supervises all aspects of the ACLU’s work with national security-related death penalty cases.   In 2011-2013 she was Director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project, heading the organization’s integrated advocacy to achieve abolition by litigation, legislation, communications and policy change.   She has been a capital defender for over 30 years, representing persons facing the death penalty at trial and in state and federal post-conviction proceedings.  She teaches and consults th capital defense teams nationally, and is particularly interested in the litigation of mental health and the ways in which race and poverty increase the traumatic burden carried by many clients.   She has a strong interest in international human rights law as well, and has taught law students and foreign nationals in Amsterdam, Pakistan, Malawi and the U.K., and participates in the Cornell University Makwanyane Institute, collaborating with leading defense lawyers in a number of African countries.   



Kathy Manley, Esq., is a criminal defense attorney specializing in criminal appeals, and was one of the attorneys for Yassin Aref. She was a founding member of Project SALAM and co-authored the report “Inventing Terrorists.” She was the legal director for NCPCF, and is currently the legal director for the Coalition for Civil Freedoms. In this capacity she has participated in numerous cases involving Muslims and others wrongfully convicted of terrorism. She is also the current President of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.



Narzanin Massoumi is a Lecturer and British Academy and Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on racism, social movements and counter terrorism, with a current focus on researching the impact of counter terrorism policy and practice on UK higher education. Dr. Massoumi is the Co-editor of what is Islamophobia? Racism, Social Movements and the State (Pluto Press, 2017) and the author of Muslim Women, Social Movements and the ‘War on Terror’ (Palgrave Macmillan).



David Miller is an investigative researcher interested in concentrations of power in society and how they might be democratized and made accountable. He works on corporate and state power and how they are (re)produced in particular through policy and expert processes and via social movements from both above and below.  Recent work has focused on terrorism and counter terrorism, the sociology of expertise, lobbying, public relations and propaganda - especially of the British government, think tanks, Islamophobia, the Zionist movement, corporate influences on health and science, conflict of interest and the financing of the conservative movement.  David is a director of Public Interest Investigations a nonprofit company of which Spin watch and Powerbase are projects; a director of the non-profit Organization for Propaganda Studies; and a member of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and the Media



Abdulfatah S. Mohamed, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Conflict and

Humanitarian Studies, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and visiting Assistant Professor, The College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar. He is also a former Senior Advisor for Qatar’s foreign minister and served as an Independent Consultant for the United Nations and OIC in the fields of international development and cooperation, foreign aid assistance, humanitarian policy, SDGs and financing for development, South-South Cooperation, and post conflict reconstruction transition financing. He has been shaped by adopting inter-disciplinary approaches, combining theory and policy, and utilizing strong practical hands on expertise in providing solutions to socioeconomic and sociopolitical issues related to recent regional and global challenges, such as conflict, poverty reduction and disasters. He has worked with major corporations in the Middle East as a total quality management consultant and coordinated best practices knowledge management.   







Yassir Morsi completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in Political Science and Islamic studies. He looked at contemporary liberal thought and its dealing of the ‘Muslim Question’. His research engaged with a broad range of critical race theorists. Dr. Morsi is a columnist for the Guardian Australia and author of Radical Skin, Moderate Masks; a book on the racializing of Islam by looking at the political problem Muslims pose as citizens of a liberal state during the War on Terror. He is lecturer in politics and philosophy at La Trobe University, and a community activist winning the AMAA's award for Muslim Man of the Year, 2015.



Matshidiso Motsoeneng is currently a researcher at the Afro-Middle East Centre, a research institute based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She previously worked as a researcher at the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, working on Local Economic Development and the advancement of socio-economic rights. Her interests include political thought, gender and Middle East politics - with a focus on Turkey, Palestine and the Levant more generally. Matshidiso holds a BA Politics and International Relations (Honours) from the University of Johannesburg, and is currently completing her MA at the same university, focusing on the representation of women fighters during war. 



Hamed Mousavi is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran. His research interests include Israeli foreign policy, US foreign policy, and Middle East politics. Dr. Mousavi is currently writing a book on the role of ideology in Israeli foreign policy. Dr. Mousavi regularly appears as a political analyst on various news channels including CNN, BBC, Aljazeera and RT.



Frank Peter is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar. He has studied modern history, Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and Arabic in Hamburg, Aix-en-Provence and Damascus. Before joining HBKU, Dr.  Peter was Assistant Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Bern (2010-2015) where he received his Habilitation in Islamic Studies with a forthcoming monograph entitled “Islam and the Governing of Muslims in France: Secularism without ‘Religion’.” He held postdoctoral positions at Leiden University and European University Viadrina in Frankfurt-Oder. He has authored and co-edited a number of volumes including Secularism without Religion: Islam and the Governing of Muslims in France” (forthcoming), Impérialisme et industrialisation à Damas, 1908-1939 (2010) and Islamic Movements of Europe: Public Religion and Islamophobia in the Modern World (2014 – with Rafael Ortega).




Fahid Qurashi is a Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at Staffordshire University. He graduated with a PhD in Sociology from the University of Kent and before this he graduated with an MSc in Criminology & Criminal Justice (Research Methods) from the University of Oxford and a BSc (Hons) in Criminology and Forensic Science from the University of Northumbria. He lectures and conducts research in areas of Islamophobia, racism and crime, counter-terrorism, political Islam, and radicalisation. His recent work has focussed on the UK's Prevent counter-terrorism strategy with a specific interest in the institutionalisation of Islamophobia.



Asim Qureshi graduated in Law (LLB Hons, LLM), specialising in International Law and Islamic Law. He completed his PhD in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent. He is the Research Director at the advocacy group CAGE, and since 2003 has specialised in investigating the impact of counterterrorism practices worldwide. He has published a wide range of NGO reports, academic journals and articles. He has written the book Rules of the Game: Detention, Deportation, Disappearance (Hurst, Columbia UP, 2009); a chapter in What is Islamophobia? (Pluto Press, Chicago UP, 2017); and A Virtue of Disobedience (Unbound, 2019). He the editor of the forthcoming book I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting Racism in Times of National Security. Since 2010, he has been advising legal teams involved in defending terrorism trials in the US and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.



Ubeid Ruff, Esq., CFE, CIFE, is a Research Fellow and editor at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and assistant to the rector at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. He is an Attorney by profession, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and Certified Islamic Finance Executive. Obeid is a policy advisor for the Islamic Reporting Initiative. As an Islamic Finance practitioner, he adapted an Islamic Finance platform to be compliant with USA accounting standards, and was recipient of the 2017 Cambridge IFLP Islamic Finance Leadership Award. He was the first program director to successfully develop a CDL program for a 4-year University in the US. He structured and implemented the commercial driver training program for Amazon Prime. He was a Chief Analyst for a Fortune 500 Financial Services company during the Global Financial Crisis. He co-founded an academic journal focused on Islamic management and business. In addition to holding a doctorate degree in law (Creighton University, USA), he has completed leadership training in Islamic Banking and Finance at Clare College, University of Cambridge (UK), religious studies and Aramaic Law (Al Quds, Palestine), has certifications in English as a Foreign Language (UK and China), Policymaking (British Council), and British Empire studies (Exeter University, UK). While in law school, he was research assistant to world-renowned economist Edward Morse, and mentored in Constitutional Law by US Supreme Court Justice Mr. JUSTICE Clarence Thomas. During his studies in Al Quds, he was mentored by Nobel Prize laureate Robert Aumann (2005, Economics, Game Theory).


Rizwaan Sabir is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Criminology at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. Dr. Sabir’s research focuses on critically assessing the intersections between UK counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency policy and practice that is targeted at political and armed Muslim groups.



Emad Shahin is the Dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Shahin was the Hasib Sabbagh Distinguished Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies (2015-2016) and a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University (2014). He was also Professor of Public Policy, at the American University in Cairo (2012-2013). His areas of interests include Comparative Politics, Islam and Politics, Political Economy of the Middle East, and Democracy and Political Reform in Muslim societies. In 2014 he was also a public policy scholar at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Dr. Shahin was an Associate Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame (2009-2012), Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Harvard University (2006-2009), and visiting scholar in the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School (2006-2007). Professor Shahin holds a Ph.D. (1989) from Johns Hopkins, and M.A. (1983) and B.A. (1980) from the American University in Cairo. A prolific author, Shahin authored, co-authored and co-edited six books and has more than 50 scholarly publications including journal articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries. His publications include Political Ascent: Contemporary Islamic Movements in North Africa (1998), co-editor (with Nathan Brown) of The Struggle over Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa (2010), and co-author of Islam and Democracy (2005 in Arabic). He is the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics (2014) and co-editor (with John L. Esposito) of The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics (2013).



Fowzia Siddiqui is a medical doctor and a Harvard Trained Neurologist and epileptologist and served as director of Epilepsy at John'S Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD in the USA.  After her sister Aafia Siddiqui"s abduction in 2003 she returned to Pakistan and is currently working at Aga Khan University. Dr. Fowzia is also the founder of Global Aafia Movement an umbrella organisation which includes everyone and every organisation that desires peace, justice, and freedom through solidarity. The Aafia movement is founded on principles not politics. Its goal is to unify humanity behind a simple cause, which is to bring Aafia and other unjustly held victims home.








Gary Sowards is a lawyer in private practice providing direct representation to clients in capital habeas corpus cases in state and federal court.  A graduate of UCLA Law School, Gary began his career as a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California before joining the California State Public Defender's Office in San Francisco.  For the past four decades, he has litigated capital cases at the trial, appellate and post-conviction level in both state and federal courts, beginning as an Assistant Public Defender in Alameda County, and then as a staff attorney at the California Appellate Project, a partner at the firm of Sternberg, Sowards and Lawrence, a founding Deputy Director of the California Habeas Corpus Resource Center, and currently of counsel at the firm of McBreen & Senior.  He has lectured on substantive topics at a variety of seminars, including the Legal Defense Fund Capital Case Seminar in Warrenton, VA; the CACJ/CPDA Seminar in Monterey; NACDL Life in the Balance seminars; and programs of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  Since 2008, he has served as a defense attorney in capital Military Commissions at the United States Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.     



Paula Thompson’s research interests center on the imbrication of religion, culture, and power and challenging oppressive systems and social structures. Her specific focus has been the War on Terror, Islam, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), with an emphasis on de-colonial studies, civil rights, and advocacy. She has served the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley for seven years, where she is currently Director of Research. Recently she co-authored a first of its kind report titled Islamophobia in India: Stoking Bigotry. She is also currently working on Islamophobia in the videogame industry. Thompson obtained her B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.A in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. She is currently a doctoral student in Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion with a focus on Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.



Tarek Younis is a critical clinical psychologist, and currently a Lecturer in Psychology at Middlesex University. His previous research explored the racialisation of Muslims as a result of statutory counter-terrorism policies in British mental health settings. Dr. Younis has written on Western Muslim identities; Islamophobia; the securitatisation and racism of healthcare settings; and the marginilisation of Muslims through colorblind policies. He teaches on the significance of culture, race, religion, globalisation and security policies in mental health.






Maung Zarni is a Fellow of the (Genocide) Documentation Center - Cambodia, co-founder of FORSEA.co, a Southeast Asian activist organization, and Burmese coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition, with 30-years of engagement in activism, scholarship, politics and media.  Dr. Zarni blew the whistle on Myanmar’s genocide with a 3-year study (with Natalie Brinham) of “The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya” (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, 2014) and “Reworking The Colonial-Era Indian Peril: Myanmar's State-directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims" (Brown Journal of World Affairs, 2017). His most recent monographs are “The Enemy of the State” speaks: Irreverent Essays and Interviews” (2019) and “Essays on Myanmar's Genocide of Rohingyas” (2019). In 1998 Zarni completed his PhD at Wisconsin on the politics of knowledge and control in Burma under the military rule under the leading American sociologist of education Michael W. Apple and the late historian Robert L. Koehl. He has taught and/or held research fellowships in USA, Europe and Southeast Asia.  He is a commentator on human rights, genocide and Myanmar current affairs in the mass media.  His writings have appeared in the Times, New York Times, the Guardian, and the Washington Post, among others and he regularly writes for Anadolu News Agency. For his integration of scholarship and activism, Dr. Zarni was recognized with the Cultivation of Harmony Award by the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 2015 and shortlisted for Sweden’s Right Livelihoods Award in 2018.  He blogs at www.maungzarni.net



Fadi Zatari is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and a lecturer in political science at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. He received his bachelors’ degree in political science from Al-Quds University. Fadi also holds a masters’ degree in international studies from Birzeit University, and a masters’ degree in political theory from the University of Frankfurt. He is fluent in Arabic, German, English and Turkish, and is currently pursuing his PhD at Ibn Haldun University.



Jasmin Zine is a Professor of Sociology & Muslim Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario Canada. She has completed a six year long national study (2009-2015) on the impact of 9/11, the ‘war on terror’ and domestic security discourses and policies on Canadian Muslim youth and is currently finishing a book manuscript based on this study tentatively titled: Under Siege: Islamophobia and the 9/11 Generation. She has given numerous invited talks at conferences and forums in Istanbul, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Madrid, Cordoba as well as in Pakistan and across the U.S. She is a faculty member in Critical Muslim Studies Institute on Decolonial Struggles and Liberation Theologies in Granada, Spain. Dr. Zine is also an affiliated faculty member with the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) at the University of California, Berkeley and serves on the editorial board of the Critical Muslim Studies journal Re-Orient.  She has worked as a consultant with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (ODHIR/OSCE), the Council of Europe (COE), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on guidelines for educators and policy-makers on combating Islamophobia. She is currently working on a study funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on mapping the Canadian Islamophobia Industry with the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).