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Islamic Center at Edinburge University

The Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre in Edinburge University is committed to encouraging a kind understanding of Islam and Islamic Culture through ground-breaking research and innovative outreach projects.

The Edinburgh Centre is part of a unique network of Centres at prestigious universities around the world; four in the UK and the USA (Edinburgh, Cambridge, Harvard, Georgetown) and two in the Middle East (Cairo and Beirut).

The Center’s Objectives

The Alwaleed Centre was set up with a number of key objectives in mind.

The six key objectives of the Center:

  1. To improve radically knowledge and understanding of Islamic civilisation and of Muslims in Britain among policy-makers, the general public, and students of all ages in the UK through a comprehensive educational outreach programme, and by helping to integrate the study of Islamic civilisation into the school curriculum
  2. To advance tolerance, mutual understanding and cross-cultural dialogue between Islam and the West by building new partnerships with institutions in the Muslim world, and with mosques and madrasas within the UK
  3. To foster intellectual curiosity and build educational excellence among young Diaspora Muslims in the United Kingdom
  4. To create the UK’s leading resource for expertise on Islam in the modern world, based on the integration of the study of Islamic civilisation and issues relating to Islam in modern Britain
  5. To produce, on a self-sustaining basis, a world-class cadre of researchers at the postgraduate and post-doctoral levels by providing studentships and fellowships designed to feed into the next generation of academics as well as the public and private sectors

      6.To establish a model partnership network with Muslim and other universities around the world, both within and outside the Arab world, that creates new opportunities for knowledge transfer and fosters collaborative research.

Academic and administrative staff at the Alwaleed Centre

Director: Professor Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila

Jaako Hämeen-Anttila is Proffessor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and Director of the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre.

He earned his PhD from the University of Helsinki (Finland) in 1994. Before coming to Edinburgh in June 2016, he worked as a Senior Researcher of the Finnish Academy 1997-2000 and Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Helsinki 2000-2016.

Prof. Hämeen-Anttila is interested in Classical Arabic and Persian literature, Umayyad and Abbasid cultural history, the influence of Late Antiquity on the Arab-Islamic culture, the Qur’an, and translation and transmission of literature and culture.

Contact Professor Hämeen-Anttila:

Dr Khadijah Elshayyal, Postdoctoral Fellow (Muslims in Britain)

Dr. Elshayyal completed her PhD in History at Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2013.

She studied History at King’s College London, followed by an MA in Legal and Political Theory from UCL. Khadijah has experience working in the Muslim media sector, and has also conducted research on various aspects of ethnic minority political engagement.

Her PhD thesis looked at the development of identity politics among UK Muslims between the years 1960-2010, with a specific focus on issues relating to freedom of expression. She has particular interests in the ongoing development of identity and political expression among British Muslim groups and networks that are less often in the public spotlight, such as those working with women and young people.

Additionally, she is interested in how the discourse around, and practise of representation is developing within and between Muslim communities, as well as externally.

Contact Dr Elshayyal:

Dr Alistair Hunter, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alistair Hunter joined the Alwaleed Centre in January 2015.

Dr. Hunter holds a Bachelors degree in Middle Eastern Studies (Leeds), and a Masters degree in Politics (Edinburgh). He received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2012, for a thesis on the late-in-life migration of North and West African labour migrants working in France. His thesis won the 2013 IMISCOE Maria Baganha Dissertation Award for best PhD in the field of migration studies in Europe.

Dr. Hunter’s new research project links to the Alwaleed Centre’s key thematic area of ‘Muslims in Britain’. His study, funded by a prestigious British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, is entitled ‘Burying our Differences? Negotiating faith and space in contexts of death and diversity’. The project aims to understand conflicts and negotiations over burial space and funeral practices among Muslim communities in six areas of the UK and France with different patterns of ethnic diversity.

Contact Dr Hunter:

Dr Giulia Liberatore, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Giulia Liberatore joined the Alwaleed Centre in 2017 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow.

She is currently working on a project on female Islamic scholarship and guidance in the UK, and is developing an Honours and MSc course on Muslims in Europe for the 2018/19 academic year.

Giulia has a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE). Her forthcoming monograph, which is based on her doctoral research, is entitled Somali, Muslim, British: Striving in Securitized Britain and was awarded the LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology/ Bloomsbury First Book Competition Prize 2016. The book chronicles the aspirations of different generations of Somali women as they respond to publicly charged questions of what it means to be Muslim, Somali, and British.

Between 2014-16 Giulia worked at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford first as a Research Officer on the Diaspora engagement in war-torn societies project, as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme (2014), and subsequently as a Leverhulme Fellow (2015-16). During this time she also taught courses in anthropology, migration, and gender. Giulia is currently a COMPAS Research Affiliate, editor of the COMPAS Working Papers, and a Bryan Warren Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College.

Contact Dr. Liberatore:

Dr David H. Warren, Postdoctoral Fellow (Islamic Studies)

Dr. Warren was awarded his Ph.D in Arab World Studies by the University of Manchester in 2015. He joined the Alwaleed Centre after a year in the United States as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University and as a Visiting Lecturer at Brandeis University. Dr. Warren received his Arabic training at the University of Damascus, and studied Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in Mauritania.

Dr. Warren’s current research project is a study of the role of the Muslim scholarly-establishment (the ulama) in the Arab (counter)revolutions. He analyzes how Muslim scholars speak to the Arab public in the name of Islam as they negotiate the Islamic legal tradition, the interests of the state and foreign powers, and what is just in the sight of God.

His current outreach activities with the Alwaleed Centre include the design and implementation of a new Massive Open-Access Online Course (MOOC) on the subject of the Sharia.

Contact Dr. Warren:

Tom Lea, Outreach and Projects Manager

Tom is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, holding both an MA in Religious Studies and an MSc in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

After a period living and working in France, Tom returned to Edinburgh in 2007 to take up the post of Outreach and Development Officer for the Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association. He also assumed responsibility for coordinating Edinburgh’s Just Festival. This background in faith-based community work, events and project management has proved invaluable in Tom’s role at the Alwaleed Centre, which he took up in September 2010.

Tom oversees the Alwaleed Centre’s projects across Scotland and the UK, working closely with Muslim communities, schools, local authorities, the police and the Scottish Government to encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of Islam and Islamic culture. He also plays a key role in developing the Alwaleed Centre’s relationships with other universities, both in the UK and across the world.

Tom is a member of the BBC’s Scottish Religious Advisory Committee, the Scottish Joint Committee for Religious and Moral Education and is Chair of the Edinburgh Just Festival Board of Directors. He is also Office Manager for the British Associaiton for Islamic Studies – the UK’s only learned society and professional organisation focused on enhancing research and teaching about Islam and Muslim cultures and societies in UK higher education.

Contact Tom:

Lilly Jenkins, Admin and Outreach Coordinator

Lilly graduated from the University of Stirling, in Film & Media and Sociology, in 2007 and later went on to do a Master’s degree in International development, at the University of Manchester.

Since finishing her Master’s degree in Manchester, Lilly has worked primarily in customer service/administrative support roles – both within the private and charitable sectors in both Edinburgh and Glasgow – before starting her career with the University of Edinburgh. After a brief period in Human Resources, she has now taken up the post of Administrative & Outreach Co-ordinator and will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administration and finances of the Centre – as well as supporting Tom in the delivery of outreach projects.

Contact Lilly:

Professor Hugh Goddard, Honorary Professorial Fellow

Professor Hugh Goddard was the Founder-Director of the Alwaleed Centre from 2009 – 2017.

He was an undergraduate in Oxford, where he studied Islamic History under Albert Hourani, and then took his doctorate from the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Birmingham, where his supervisor was David Kerr. He has worked and studied in the Middle East, in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, and has also undertaken a number of research visits to other regions of the Islamic World, including Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia and Central Asia.

Prior to moving to Edinburgh he worked in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in the University of Nottingham, where he served as Professor of Christian-Muslim Relations from 2004.

Contact Professor Goddard:


The Alwaleed Network

The Alwaleed Centre in Edinburgh is part of a wider network across the world

The HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World in the University of Edinburgh is part of an international network of centres devoted to the promotion of better mutual understanding between the World of Islam and the West. The other centres are:

The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington DC

The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies program at Harvard University

The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research, American University of Beirut

The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research, American University in Cairo

The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies,University of Cambridge


Contact the Alwaleed Centre

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World

The University of Edinburgh

16 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD
Tel: +44(0)131 650-4165
Fax: +44(0)131 650-6804

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