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Akbar Ahmed

Ambassador, anthropologist and author

Akbar S. Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C.

Born in Allahabad, a small town on the Ganges River in what was then British India, Mr. Ahmed is a distinguished anthropologist, writer and filmmaker. He has been actively involved in encouraging interfaith dialogue, and his work to bring understanding between Islam and the West has included three appearances on Oprah and a BBC news series called “Living Islam.”

Mr. Ahmed first became interested in Muslim leadership and its impact on Muslim society in the 1980s, when he was Pakistani Commissioner in Baluchistan. The study of global Islam and its impact on contemporary society has been the major focus of his work since.

From 1999 to 2000, Mr. Ahmed was the Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He has also held many other senior positions in Pakistan.

Mr. Ahmed recently launched the “Journey into Europe” research project, which will be published as a book titled “Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Empire” by Brookings Institution Press.

In addition, Journey into Europe will result in a documentary film based upon the fieldwork, as was done previously for the Journey into America project. The critically acclaimed documentary film Journey into America (2009), directed by Craig Considine and produced by Mr. Ahmed, has been shown at film festivals around the world.

His many award-winning books include: The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings, 2013), Journey into Islam: the Crisis of Globalization (Brookings, 2008), Islam Under Siege: Living Dangerously in a Post-Honor World (Polity, 2003), Postmodernism and Islam: Predicament and Promise (Routledge, 2004), Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World (Tauris, 1999) and Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin (Routledge, 1997).

Mr. Ahmed is a member of The Globalist’s Advisory Board.

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Articles by Akbar Ahmed

Did Obama Love Drones Too Much?

Does the United States fully understand what it has wrought through the use of armed drones?

May 24, 2013

Islamic Tribes: Testimonies of Genocide

Are countless acts of genocide the destiny of the human race?

April 8, 2013

How U.S. Drones Miss Their Target

Just as the drone is an appropriate metaphor for the current age of globalization, the thistle captures the essence of tribal societies.

March 14, 2013

Darwin Versus Jesus

How would U.S. society benefit from more true Christianity and less Darwinian thinking?

December 4, 2010

The U.S. in Waziristan: Learning from the Past

Why have U.S. policies in the Muslim world failed — and what should the United States do in the future?

January 25, 2008

Dealing With Pakistan’s Wild West

As the United States contemplates taking covert action in Waziristan, what should it know about the region's culture?

January 24, 2008

U.S. Covert Action in Waziristan (Part I)

What can the United States expect if it conducts more aggressive operations against Al Qaeda in Waziristan?

January 23, 2008

Pakistan and Globalization

Why is the verdict on globalization decidedly mixed from the standpoint of Pakistan?

June 15, 2007

Musharraf’s Rape Cover-Up

How did notions of tribal loyalty and Pakistan's military might come into conflict over the rape of Shazia Khalid?

June 14, 2007

Pakistan: Back to the Dark Ages?

How does the plight of Mukhtaran Mai illustrate the tensions between Islam and globalization?

June 13, 2007

Women and the Birth of Islam

How were women instrumental to Islam's development into a major world religion?

June 12, 2007

South Asia: A Battleground Between Muslims and Hindus?

How can Muslims and Hindus in South Asia achieve a dependable peace?

February 12, 2004

Islam and War — The Real Story

What are the Islamic rules for war?

February 22, 2003