Our Board of Advisors

ISPU’s board of advisors plays an important role in identifying important areas of study, ensuring that ISPU’s research meets the highest academic standards and enhancing the ability of our scholars to network with other institutions.

Dr. Akbar Ahmed

Professor of Islamic Studies

American University

Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University in Washington DC, the First Distinguished Chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has taught at Princeton, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities and has been called “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam” by the BBC. He is the author of over a dozen award-winning books, including Discovering Islam, which was the basis of the BBC six-part TV series called “Living Islam.” Following up on his critically acclaimed Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, his latest project, based on extensive fieldwork, has resulted in a full length documentary, “Journey into America,” and the book, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam (Brookings Press, July 2010). Dr. Ahmed received a PhD from the University of London and an MA/Diploma in Education from Cambridge University.

Hon. David E. Bonior

Former Congressman

U.S. House of Representatives

David Bonior is an American politician from the US state of Michigan. First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, Bonior served as Democratic Whip in the House from 1991 to 2002. Following his retirement from the House, Bonior became a professor of labor studies at Wayne State University, and founded American Rights at Work, a union advocacy organization of which he currently serves as Chairman. Upon the election of Barack Obama in November 2008, Bonior was a member of the President-Elect’s economic advisory board.

Dr. John Esposito

Professor of Religion, International Affairs, Islamic Studies

Georgetown University

John L. Esposito is University Professor as well as Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. Esposito has served as consultant to the U.S. Department of State and other agencies, European and Asian governments and corporations, universities, and the media worldwide. A former president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, Vice Chair of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders, he is a member of the E. C. European Network of Experts on De-Radicalisation and an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

Dr. Muneer Fareed

Professor of Islamic Law

University of Cape Town

Dr. Muneer Fareed is currently Director for the Centre for Contemporary Islam, and Associate Professor of Islamic law at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.  He is also a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, the highest Islamic legal authority in the United States and Canada. Additionally, Dr. Fareed is a trustee of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM). ALIM is a specialized academic institution where scholars, professionals, activists, artists, writers, and community leaders come together to develop strategies for the future of Islam in the modern world. Previously, Dr. Fareed was Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America and  Associate Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Fareed is a graduate of King Abdul Aziz University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Dar al-`Ulum, Deoband, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Dr. Sherman Jackson

Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity

University of Southern California

Sherman Jackson is Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is the author of a plethora of books, including Islam and the Blackamerican, The Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam, and Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihab al-Din al-Qarafi. He has also written a number of thought-provoking articles, such as “Literalism, Empiricism, and Induction: Apprehending and Concretizing Islamic Law’s Maqasid al-Shariah in the Modern World,” and “Secular vs. Religious Salvation.” In addition, Dr. Jackson is the Co-Founder of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), as well as past president of Shari’ah Scholar Association of North America, among many other board positions in several organizations. He received his bachelor’s cum laude, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Oriental Studies, Islamic Near East.

Dr. Aminah McCloud

Professor & Director of the Islamic World Studies Program

DePaul University

Aminah McCloud is the Director of the Islamic World Studies Program at DePaul University where she teaches Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies. She is the founder of the Islam in America Conference at DePaul University. She is a board member of several organizations including Radio Islam and the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project. She is the current editor for The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. She is the author of African American Islam, Questions of Faith, and Transnational Muslims in American Society and Silks: The Textures of American Muslim Women’s Lives. Her research is primarily based on Muslim faith and practice, cultural diversity, and the history and region of the Muslim world. She has specialized in Islamic mysticism, law, theology, and philosophy. She is interested in topics on human rights, gender, and liberation theology.

James Piscatori

Dr. James Piscatori

Professor of Government and International Affairs

Durham University

James Piscatori is Chair of the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. Before arriving in Durham, he was Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. He was formerly Fellow of Wadham College and of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and member of the Faculties of Social Studies and Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. He has held professorial appointments in the Department of International Politics, the University of Wales, and the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he has been a Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

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