Islam and Liberty Network Fellows

Mustafa Akyol, Global Fellow

Mustafa Akyol has been an early supporter of our network and a featured speaker in our conferences. Akyol is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, where he focuses on the intersection of public policy, Islam, and modernity. A Turkish journalist and author, he is a regular contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and has been a regular opinion columnist for Turkish publications such as Hurriyet Daily News, and for the Middle-East focused

Akyol is the author of Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom.” The book has been published in Turkish, Malay and Indonesian. He is also the author of The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims and of six books in Turkish, including Rethinking the Kurdish Question.

Between January 2017 and June 2018, Akyol was a senior visiting fellow at the Freedom Project at Wellesley College. He studied political science and history at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Mohamad M. Chian, Iran Fellow

Fellow Mohamad M. Chian (Iran) is a writer and journalist. He writes and edits for a number of publications. In 2013, he co-founded Bourgeois, an online platform, initially intended to gather his writings and translations in one place but eventually flourished to become the go to source for libertarian thinking. He is the translator of The System of Liberty, The Libertarian Reader, Early Islam and the birth of Capitalism, Capitalism and Freedom, Natural law and Natural rights, Common Sense Economics, and others. Starting at early-teens, he began helping the family business and later continued to work in the Bazar which arguably constituted the foundation of his education and eventually led to a life-long passion for markets, and mechanisms and ethics of voluntary co-operation. He is also the co-founder and serving as co-governor of a charity fund leading in interest-free Islamic micro loans.

Muhammad Ikhsan, Indonesia Fellow

Muhamad Ikhsan (Ikhsan) is the Co-founder Suarakebebasan.Org a website for freedom dedicated to disseminate and promote ideas of market economy and individual liberty. The Website had launched on March 2015 and gathered tremendous exposure from Indonesian’s youth. Beside in website, he is a faculty member of Paramadina University and senior researcher at the Paramadina Public Policy Institute (PPPI), Jakarta. He was graduated from Paramadina Graduate School major Finance and University of Indonesia, has written a book and various articles regarding public policy issues. He has the passion to promote market economy, civil society engagement and good governance to improve the quality of Indonesian public policy.

Dženan Smajić, Bosnia and Herzegovina Fellow

Dženan Smajić holds a master degree in Arabic language and literature from University of Sarajevo with one year experiance of abroad studying in Egypt. Having said that his main focus is on medieval islamic manuscripts and semitic languages in general. He is a freelance journalist in Bosnia and Herzegovina and author. He is a blog editor with aim to introduce audience in Bosnia and Herzegovina and region with traditional islamic manuscripts and heritage that is suitable for modern understanding of islamic religion.

He is an active member of a CPA, market-economy based think-thank from B&H, and as a member he co-authored the book Islam and Free Market  published in Bosnian language and an editor and translator of Socialism, Economic Calculation and Entrepreneurship written by Jesus Huerta de Soto.

Bican Sahin, Turkey Fellow

Bican Sahin is a professor of political science in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University, Ankara. He is the President of Freedom Research Association. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2003. Among his research topics are classical liberal and libertarian philosophy, the relation between liberal democracy and Islam, and the relationships between state and civil society in Turkey. Some of his publications are:

Toleration: The Liberal Virtue, Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2010.

“Cultural Diversity and Toleration in the Nation-State”, Co-authored with Peter Mentzel,

Hacettepe University Journal of Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences. Vol. 35, Issue 3, 103-124, 2017.

“Two Understandings of Law: Hayek vs Schmitt in the Context of Turkey”, Turkish Studies, Vol. 18, Issue 3, 2017

“Between Enlightened Exclusion and Conscientious Inclusion: Tolerating the Muslims in Germany,” coauthored with Dr. Nezahat Altuntaş, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs Vol. 29 no. 1, pp. 27-41.

“Toleration, Political Liberalism, and Peaceful Coexistence in the Muslim World,” The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, vol. 24, no.1, Winter 2007, pp-1-24;

Dr. Husnul Amin, Pakistan Fellow

Dr Husnul Amin is currently a Fulbright Research fellow at the Stockton University New Jersey US. He is working on recent civic rights social mobilizations in the north-west of Pakistan. He is on sabbatical from his permanent position of Associate Professor of Politics and Executive Director of the Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue, International Islamic University Islamabad.

Husnul Amin obtained his Ph.D. in Development Studies (with further specialization in Political Sociology) in 2010 from the International Institute of Social Studies (The Hague). His dissertation concerned the genesis and proliferation of post-Islamist intellectual and social-political trajectories in Pakistan. He has been awarded Fulbright Research Fellowship, 2019-2020 at Stockton University, Galloway, N.J, USA. He was awarded post-doc fellowship supported by the DRS-COFUND Fellowship Program of Freie Universität Berlin and the European Commission, hosted by the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures & Societies (BGSMCS) during his research stay, March 2013 – July 2014; availed fellowship at William and Mary, Virginia, USA (January 2014), and research stay at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA (October 2015). Under his supervision, 8 Ph.D. and 30 M.Phil. scholars have successfully defended their dissertations, others are in submission stage. His main areas of research and teaching include: religion and politics in the Muslim world; Islamic social movements and post-Islamist trends; conflict, peace and development; neoliberal globalization and contemporary Islam, and International Political Economy. A select list of his articles published in journals of repute such as Romanian Journal of Political ScienceJournal of Islamic StudiesHamdard IslamicusPakistan Perspectives; Pakistan Journal of History and Culture; Pakistan Journal of CriminologyHistoricus etc. His recent book titles: Observing Variants of Post-Islamism: Intellectual Discourses and Social Movements. He is co-editor of Building an Islamic Case for Open Markets (2019) a volume based on a jointly organized conference with Islam & Liberty Network.

Irfan Engineer, India Fellow

Irfan Engineer has been director for the Center for Study of Society and Secularism since 1995 and
editor at the Indian Journal of Secularism since 1996. He was awarded the Peace Ambassador Award
by Universal Peace Foundation and has several project reports and different publications like Surat
Riots, Centre for Study of Society and secularism (1997). He is also part of many Indian and
international organizations like being the Managing Trustee for the Institute of Islamic Studies.

HJ Shad Saleem Farouqui, Malaysia Fellow

HJ. Shad Saleem Farouqui is the Holder of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Chair in Constitutional Law at
the Faculty of Law, University of Malaysia and many academic posts like Emeritus Professor at
Universiti Teknologi MARA. He is also the author of ten books including Islam, International Law and
the War Against Terrorism (2006, and has done many international consultancies including drafting
an NGO proposal for a UN law on Protection of Places of Worship.

Dr. Mohsin Naqvi, Pakistan Fellow

Dr. Mohsin Naqvi is an independent academic and scholar of Islamic Studies based in Pakistan. He holds a doctorate in Biblical Studies from NC State University, Chapel Hill (2003) where his main research was on Synoptic Gospel. Prior to this, he completed formal religious education from local seminaries and got higher education in Iraq from 1991-1997. Dr. Naqvi holds command in many languages including Arabic, Persian, English, and Urdu. Author of 12 books, he has served on board of Council of Islamic Ideology, an advisory body to the Government of Pakistan.

Aymen Boughanmi, Tunisia Fellow

Dr. Aymen Boughanmi is a researcher in political affairs and economic history. He has a PhD in British and American civilization. He teaches at the English Department of Kairouan College, Tunisia. Among his most notable books are: The Post-Revolution State (2012), The Arab Autumn: In the Contradiction between Revolution and Democracy (2015).

Leena El-Ali

Leena is a Lebanese-British-American strategic thinker who has worked for more than 30 years with a number of international, non-profit organizations across South and South-East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa in several areas, including: conflict mitigation, governance and peace-building, Islam and democracy, human rights and women’s rights. She is the founder and managing member of Bona Smarts LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based company providing advisory and consulting services in international affairs, development and investment. Her book on gender equality entitled “No Truth Without Beauty: God, the Qur’an, and Women’s Rights” (free on on Kindle) has been widely endorsed by experts and scholars around the globe. It was released as part of the Sustainable Development Goals Series co-branded by the United Nations, Palgrave Macmillan and Springer NatureIt.

Dr. Azeemah Saleem, India Fellow

Dr. Azeemah Saleem is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Communication and Critical Thinking, JK Lakshmipat University, India. She is a Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and worked on ‘Syrian Refugees in Germany from the prism of Global Justice.’ She has also worked on “Tribal Factionalism and Nation-State Building in Post Qadhafi Libya” during her M.Phil Dissertation. She is involved with the Ledby Foundation (incubated by Harvard Kennedy School), Centre for Study of Plural Societies, New Delhi, and a core member of Ambedkar Grant for Advancing Poverty Eradication (Agape), Yale University USA. Her area of interest includes understanding minority and gender rights in South Asia, Global Justice in the context of refugees, social and societal fragmentation in North Africa, conflict analysis in West Asia along with identity politics, and critically analyzing human rights issues and International and regional organizations, Rawls’ theory of justice, humanitarian crisis, and global refugee issues.

Pradana Boy Zulian, Indonesia Fellow

Pradana Boy Zulian is an associate professor in Islamic Legal Studies at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM), Indonesia. He is trained as an Islamic legal scholar at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Muhammadiyah Malang and completed his degree in Islamic Law in 2000. In 2005, he won Australian Government scholarship named Australian Development Scholarship (ADS) which enabled him to his study at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. Under the supervision of leading Indonesianist, Greg Fealy, he completed his master thesis on the contestation of progressive and conservative group within Muhammadiyah, a modern Islamic organization in Indonesia. This thesis has been published both in English and Indonesian languages. His Master of Arts (MA) in contemporary Islamic thought and movements in Southeast Asia is gained in 2007. From 2010-2015 he pursued doctoral studies at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS). His Doctor of Philosophy in sociology of Islamic law is awarded in 2015. His Ph.D thesis is published by Amsterdam University Press (2018) under the title Fatwa in Indonesia: An Analysis of Dominant Legal Ideas and Mode of Thought of Fatwa-Making Agencies and Their Implications in the Post-New Order Period. Pradana is actively engaged in many academic forums. In 2017 he was awarded Study of US Institute (SUSI) scholarship for the study of American Political Thought at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, United States of America in 2017. His interest in Islamic Philosophy and Thought has led to his participation in a short course at al-Mustafa International University, Qom, Iran where he studied Islamic Philosophy and Thought in 2020. From 2018-2022, he participated in a research consortium on religion, secularization and radicalization lead by European University Institute, Italy. In this research consortium, he contributed a policy brief, country report, articles and book chapters on radicalization and the governance of religious diversity in Indonesia. As an interfaith activist, he also engaged in many forums on interreligious dialogue and the role of religion in society. In 2016, he was an international fellow at King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) based in Lisbon, Portugal. He is also member of Global Exchanges on Religion in Society (GERIS). Although his main expertise is in Islamic Legal Studies, he also has interests in topic such as contemporary Islamic thought, Islamic history in Southeast Asia, and Quranic Studies. As an open-minded scholar and activist, he set up a foundation named Bait al-Hikmah Foundation in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, to spread and implement his thought and visions on Islam.

Kazeem Olajide Olaniyan, Nigeria Fellow

Kazeem olajide OLANIYAN, Ph.D Of the department of Jurisprudence and International law, faculty of law University of Ibadan.
He is the past Head of Department and has also served as the Sub-Dean of the faculty. He was the Resource person/lead consultant on Justice Sector and The Rule of Law for the preparation of the 20 year 2021-2041 Development Goal for the Government of Oyo State, Nigeria. He served as the Technical Expert for the African Center for the Shared Development Capacity Bulding on justice and Rule of Law. His area of Research interest extends to Religious freedom, Human Rights Law, Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, Islamic Jurisprudence, Criminology and Criminal Justice System. He has several publications in these Reseach areas. Presently he is the National President of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN). He is currently a Visiting Professor and Dean of the College of Law, Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria.