I began my career in public policy in 2005 when I was asked to serve as deputy convenor of the government’s working group on radicalization and extremism in the aftermath of the July 7 bombings in the UK. I’d just completed the study that became my book Muslims of Europe: The “Other” Europeans when, as a nonpartisan specialist, I entered the public arena. More than fourteen years later, I’ve published other works that look not only at Europe but at far-right extremism in the West, Arab politics, and how religion and modernity interact in the twenty-first century, including A Revolution Undone: Egypt’s Road Beyond Revolt and The Islamic Tradition, the Human Rights Discourse and Muslim Communities.
Having worked in the UK, the Arab world, and the United States (where I’ve served at the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, and the Atlantic Council), I’m very pleased to be joining the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a nonresident scholar. I intend to build on my portfolio of work in politics, international relations, and religious studies, and to deepen the research I’ve done already on Europe and the Arab world. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue that work at Carnegie, which has not only a Middle East Program and a Europe Program in Washington, DC, but also has centers in Beirut and Brussels.
I’ll be splitting my time between Washington, Europe, and the wider Arab world region. I look forward to working with colleagues in each of those places and to deepening my relations there with the support of Carnegie’s global community. I’ve long respected my colleagues at Carnegie for the work that they do, and it’s a pleasure to be able to collaborate with them.
This work in politics, international relations, and religious studies is especially important right now. The factors that led to the 2011 Arab uprisings continue to be relevant to understanding that region—a region that, as a Briton of mixed English and Arab heritages, I am particularly attached to. Within the West—including the United States and my native UK—the mainstreaming of far-right politics remains a critical issue.
It’s a particularly challenging moment. But speaking truth to power, from both within and without systems of authority, is a fundamental part of that age-old ethos of scholarship that I subscribe to. We must seek to do so, if only for those who do not have a say in stopping calamities, nor have a voice in our discussions, and yet pay the ultimate price for our failures. That remains true in the United States, in Europe, and in the Arab world. I hope my work goes even a little way in the effort to do, as Andrew Carnegie said, “real and permanent good in the world.”