About the Participants
London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies
Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario
Dr. Mattson was educated in Canada and the United States, earning a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1999. From 1998 to 2012 she was Professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary in CT where she developed and directed the first accredited graduate program for Muslim chaplains in America, and served as Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. From 2001-2010 Dr. Mattson served as vice-president, then as president of the Islamic Society of North America (USA), the first woman to serve in either position. Her writings, both academic and public, focus primarily Qur’an interpretation, Islamic theological ethics and interfaith relations. Her book, The Story of the Qur’an, is an academic best-seller and was chosen by the US National Endowment for the Humanities for inclusion in its “Bridging Cultures” program.
Dr. Mattson is a Senior Fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan. From 2009-2010, Dr. Mattson was a member of the Interfaith Taskforce of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; in 2008 she was on the Council of Global Leaders of the C-100 of the World Economic Forum; from 2007-2008, she was a member of the Leadership Group of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project (USME). Dr. Mattson is the recipient of numerous awards as well as honorary doctorates from Trinity College, Hartford, and the Chicago Theological Seminary. She is frequently consulted by the media and has served as an expert witness.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Arabic and Translation Studies
American University of Sharjah
Joseph E. B. Lumbard is a general editor of “The Study Quran,” and an associate editor for the “Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qurʾān” (in progress). A specialist in Quranic studies, Sufism, Islamic philosophy, comparative theology, and Islamic ecotheology, he is the editor of “Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition” (2nd edition, 2010), and author of “Submission, Faith, and Beauty: The Religion of Islam” (2009) and “Love and Remembrance: The Life and Teachings of Aḥmad al-Ghazālī” (2016).
Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures
Asma Afsaruddin is the author or editor of seven books, including "Contemporary Issues in Islam" (Edinburgh University Press, 2015); "Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought" (Oxford University Press, 2013), which was selected for a World Book Award by the Iranian government and was a runner-up for the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society Book prize; and "The First Muslims: History and Memory" (Oneworld Publications, 2008), which was recently translated into Turkish. Professor Afsaruddin has also written over 50 articles and essays on a broad range of topics within Islamic Studies and she frequently lectures in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Her research has been supported by prestigious grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Mellon Foundation.
Maria Massi Dakake
Associate Professor and Chair of Religious Studies
George Mason University
Maria Massi Dakake specializes in Shiism, Sufism, Islamic philosophy and theology, the Quran, interfaith dialogue, and issues related to women and the feminine in classical Islam. She is one of the general editors of “The Study Quran,” author of “The Charismatic Community: Shīʿite Identity in Early Islam” (2007) and coeditor of “The Routledge Companion to the Quran” (forthcoming).
Dean of Faculty
Having studied in traditional Muslim, interfaith, and secular academic settings, Mahan Mirza engages in the study of Islam from multiple perspectives. He has taught a range of courses over the years, including Arabic, Islamic religious thought, western religious traditions, the life of the Prophet Muhammad, history of science in Islamic societies, Hadith, Qur’anic studies, rhetoric, logic, law, ethics, and politics at Yale University (summer 2005-6), California State University, Chico (2007-2009), the University of Notre Dame (2009-2011), and Zaytuna College (2011-2016). Dr. Mirza’s doctoral work at Yale University was on the texts and ideas of al-Biruni. Among his publications are two special issues of The Muslim World and service as assistant editor of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought.
Associate Professor and Kenan Rifai Scholar of Islamic Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Juliane Hammer specializes in the study of American Muslims, contemporary Muslim thought, women and gender in Islam, and Sufism. She is the author of “Palestinians Born in Exile: Diaspora and the Search for a Homeland” (2005) and “American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism: More Than a Prayer” (2012), and was the co-editor of “A Jihad for Justice” (with Kecia Ali and Laury Silvers, 2012) and the “Cambridge Companion to American Islam” (with Omid Safi, 2013). She is currently working on two book projects, one on American Muslim efforts against domestic violence and another one on American Muslim weddings and matrimonial practices.
Associate Professor of Islamic Religious Traditions and Faculty Chair for Diversity
Martin Nguyen received his Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and PhD from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His current research interests concern the Qur’an and its exegesis, Muslim theology, Sufism, and Islamic intellectual history. He is the author of “Sufi Master and Qur’an Scholar: Abū’l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī and the Laṭāʾif al-ishārāt” (Oxford, 2012). He is presently researching the medieval theologian Ibn Fūrak and is completing a book on modern Muslim theology.
Associate Professor American Studies and Religious Studies
A historical anthropologist and a documentary filmmaker, Zareena Grewal's transnational and interdisciplinary research on the global Islamic revival cuts across the disciplines of anthropology, history, cultural studies, and Islamic studies. Her first book, “Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority” (NYU, 2013), is an award-winning historical ethnography of transnational Muslim intellectual networks that link U.S. mosques to Islamic movements in post-colonial Middle East through debates about the reform of Islam, based archival research and ethnographic fieldwork in Amman, Jordan, Cairo, Egypt, Damascus, Syria, and in the U.S. She was a Fulbright Fellow in Egypt (2002-3), she received the Fulbright's prestigious Islamic Civilization Grant, and she was the first Fulbright scholar hosted by AlAzhar University. Her current book project, "Is the Quran a Good Book? Islam and the Limits of American Tolerance" explores the range of meanings the Quran and has (and has had) for Americans in relation to national debates about religious tolerance. Her study combines methods from history, anthropology, culture studies, and sociology of religion and will be the first of its kind in the subfield of Quranic studies. She is the recipient of a major grant from the Luce Foundation to support comparative research on the intersections of gender and surveillance among Muslims communities in the Middle East, South Asia, and the U.S.
Associate Professor of Religion
University of Toronto
Walid Saleh is an expert in the Quran, Quranic exegesis, and Muslim receptions of the Bible. His publications include “The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qur’ān Commentary of al-Thaʿlabī (d. 427/1035)” (2004), and “In Defense of the Bible: A Critical Edition and an Introduction to al-Biqāʿī’s Bible Treatise” (2008).
Associate Professor, Islamic Studies
Saint Joseph’s University
Isra Yazicioglu's research interests include interpretation of scripture in the contemporary age, Islamic theology, and the relation between faith, reason and science, with a focus on the Quranic Theology of a 20th-century Muslim scholar, Said Nursi. Her book “Understanding Quranic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age” (Penn State University Press, 2013) brings Muslim thinkers, Ghazali, Ibn Rushd and Nursi into conversation with Western thinkers regarding the existential implications of the Quran. Her other works include articles such as “Engaging with Abraham and His Knife: Interpretation of Abraham’s Sacrifice in the Muslim Tradition,” “Perhaps their Harmony is not that Simple: Said Nursi on the Qur’an and Modern Science,” and “Affliction, Patience and Prayer: Reading Prophet Job in the Qur’an.”