Dr. Akbar Ahmed is a man of many parts. Civil servant, diplomat, author, filmmaker (creator of biopic Jinnah) and teacher, he has also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the UK. Currently Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and Professor of International Relations at the American University in Washington, it is his extraordinary insight into Muslim societies around the world and contribution as a scholar of Islam that truly sets him apart from his tribe.
Distinguished author of such groundbreaking books as Postmodernism and Islam, Predicament and Promise (1992), Living Islam, From Samarkand to Stornoway (1993), Discovering Islam, Making Sense of Muslim History and Society (2002), and Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World (2002), he is perhaps the best living and walking encyclopedia of Islam around.
Given the unprecedented challenge of extremism and terrorism facing Islam and contemporary Muslim societies, it’s only natural that Prof Ahmed has constantly written and talked about it, analyzing often for the benefit of Western audiences the underlying causes and historical drivers of violence and radicalization, as he most recently did in The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (2013).
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