Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami is a Moroccan-American novelist and essayist. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, The New York Times, and in many anthologies. Lalami’s 2014 book, The Moor’s Account, was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her work has been translated into ten languages.

Lalami is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.

Laila Lalami
Author and Associate Professor of Creative Writing, University of California, Riverside

Areas of Expertise: Morocco and North Africa, Women and Islam, Migration, Historical Fiction

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Contact Information:
Email: |

Heard on NPR’s All Things Considered: Fact Meets Fiction In Tale Of A Slave, Explorer and Survivor

Added June 2015

Akbar Ahmed

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. He has served as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and was the First Distinguished Chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

Ahmed belonged to the senior Civil Service of Pakistan and was the Pakistan High Commissioner to the U.K. and Ireland. Previously, Ahmed was the Iqbal Fellow (Chair of Pakistan Studies) and Fellow of Selwyn College at the University of Cambridge, and has also taught at Harvard and Princeton Universities.

He is the author of over a dozen award-winning books including a quartet of studies published by Brookings Press examining relations between the West and the World of Islam after 9/11.

Ahmed is interviewed regularly on CNN, NPR, BBC, and Al-Jazeera. His numerous articles have appeared in, among many others The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Guardian and LA Times.

Akbar Ahmed
Former Ambassador and Chair of Islamic Studies at American University 

Areas of Expertise: Islamic Studies, Foreign Policy, Civil Service, Middle East and North Africa, Politics, Islamist Movements

Location: Washington, DC

Contact Information: To set up an interview with Dr. Ahmed, contact Program Coordinator, Harrison Akins.
Phone: (202) 450-8824

Heard on NPR Morning Edition: How the War On Terror’ Became A War On Tribal Islam”

Added February 2015

Humera Khan

Humera Khan is the Executive Director of Muflehun, a think tank specializing in preventing radicalization and countering violent extremism (CVE). Khan contributes in an advisory capacity to the US government (including FBI, DHS, DOJ, DNI, DOS, NCTC, NSC and TSA) and law enforcement agencies in several European countries.

Khan holds four degrees from MIT: an MS in Technology & Policy, an MS in Nuclear Engineering, a BS in Art & Design and a BS in Nuclear Engineering. She also has an MA in Islamic Studies from the School of Islamic and Social Sciences, an affiliate seminary of the Washington Theological Consortium. Previously, Khan designed and integrated methodologies for threat anticipation and risk assessment for the Singapore government, as well as designed energy security strategies for clients of the U.S. government.

Currently, Khan’s work includes the design and launch of the Viral Peace program for the US Department of State to train youth leaders on the strategies of using social media to build communities and counter extremism. She is a frequent speaker on CVE and the role of social media in fighting extremism around the globe. In 2012 she received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for her work.

Executive Director, Muflehun

Areas of Expertise: Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), Social Media in CVE, Security Strategies, Islamic Studies, Ideology of Violent Extremism, Women in Security, Youth CVE Programs, Online Radicalization, Women CVE Programs

Location: Washington, DC

Contact Information:

Heard on PBS NewsHour: What can be done to prevent youth radicalization?

Added February 2015

Faiza Patel

Faiza Patel is the co-director of the non-partisan public policy institute the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, which seeks to ensure U.S. counterterrorism laws and policies respect human rights norms and fundamental freedoms.

She has testified before Congress opposing police surveillance of Muslims and developed legislation creating an independent Inspector General for the NYPD.

Patel has been a guest on number of television programs, including ABC’s Up Close, Bloomberg TV and Current TV.

Co-Director, Liberty and National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice

Areas of Expertise: Civil Liberties, Islam in America, Counterterrorism Laws, Law, National Security

Location: New York, NY

Contact Info:

Please contact the Brennan Center’s communications manager, Seth Hoy


Phone: (646) 292-8310

Featured on ABC Up Close:

Jason Shelton

Jason E. Shelton is an assistant professor of sociology & anthropology at the University of Texas at Arlington. His primary research interest is the sociology of religion, but he is also well-versed on race, class and political/social attitudes in the post-Civil Rights Era.

Shelton is the author of the award-winning “Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions.” He has been interviewed about communities within African American and LGBT communities by a variety of media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, the BBC and the Houston Chronicle.

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at Arlington

Areas of Expertise: African Americans, Race and Ethnicity, Class, Sociology of Religion, Political and Social Attitudes

Location: Arlington, TX

Contact Information:

Or contact Bridget Lewis, senior media relations officer at UT Arlington
Phone: (817) 272-3317 (o) | (214) 577-9094 (c)

Shelton speaks to NBC 5 in Texas:


Sherine Hafez

Sherine Hafez is an associate professor of women’s studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is the president of the Association for Middle East Anthropologists (AMEA) and is a member of the board of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS).

Hafez received her master’s degree in anthropology from the American University in Cairo and her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Davis. Her work focuses primarily on women in Muslim societies and gender and sexuality in Islam.

She has written two books, An Islam of Her Own: Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements and The Terms of Empowerment: Islamic Women Activists in Egypt, and she is the co-editor of The Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa: Into the New Millennium.

Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Riverside

Areas of Expertise: Islam, Women in Muslim Societies and Cultures, Islamic Movements, Gender, Religion and Secularism in the Middle East, Egypt & Egyptian Culture, Anthropology

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Contact Info:

Phone: (951) 827-6427

Hafez discusses female demonstrators in the Arab Spring:

Luis Lugo

Luis E. Lugo is the director of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life. He served previously as the director of the religion program at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia and was a professor of political science at Calvin College in Michigan.

During his time at Pew, Lugo has overseen research as the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream, and a survey of Latino religious affiliations called Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion. Lugo has also helped expand Pew’s international research with the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project.

Lugo has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. He has written and edited several books, including Religion, Public Life, and the American Polity and Sovereignty at the Crossroads? Morality and International Politics in the Post-Cold War Era.

Director, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life

Areas of Expertise: Global Religious Beliefs and Practices, U.S. Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religious Demography, Latinos, Religion & Politics

Location: Washington, DC

Contact Information:
Phone: (202) 419-4590

Heard on NPR: For a complete list,click here.

All Things Considered: It’s Hard To Tell La Familia You’re Gay

Day To Day: Youth, Latinos React to Pope’s Visit

Anthea Butler

Anthea Butler teaches religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a regular contributor to the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC and to the online magazine Religion Dispatches. You can read her blog posts and view her research on her website.

Butler has a Ph.D. in religion from Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree in religion from Vanderbilt, and another master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. One of her recent books, The Gospel According to Sarah, is about the role of religion in Sarah Palin’s politics.


Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Expertise: Religion, Religion in the U.S., African-American Religion, Catholicism,Pentecostalism, Fundamentalism, Religion in the Media, Religion and Politics, Women and Religion, Religion and Pop Culture

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Contact Info:

Phone: (215) 792-4029


Twitter: @AntheaButler

Heard on NPR: For a complete list, click here.

Peter Chin

Peter Chin is the lead pastor of Rainier Avenue Church in Seattle, Washington, a multi-ethnic congregation located in one of the most diverse zip codes of the United States. Chin is also a columnist for Christianity Today, writing on issues of faith and race from a minority perspective.

Chin spearheaded a social media campaign to remove the Make Me Asian app from Google’s online marketplace, an effort featured on both NPR and CNN. His Christianity Today essay, “Daddy, Why Do People Steal From Us?” was the subject of an interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin. And his ministry work in an African American neighborhood of Washington D.C. was showcased by the Washington Post, as well as CBS Sunday Morning.

Peter Chin
Pastor, Rainier Avenue Church

Areas of Expertise: Race, Ethnicity and Religion

Location: Seattle, Washington

Contact Info:
Phone: (202) 294-3574
Twitter: @peterwchin

Heard on NPR: For a complete list, click here.

Tell Me More: Thefts Make Korean Pastor Tackle Prejudice At Home


Asifa Quraishi-Landes

Asifa Quraishi-Landes (AH-sih-fuh koo-RAY-shee LAHWN-des) is a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She specializes in comparative Islamic and U.S. constitutional law. She has written on Sharia law in America, women’s rights, and Muslim governments.

Quraishi-Landes was a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Her project is a book about a new constitutional framework for Muslim-majority countries that combines both Sharia-based and secular governing principles. It is tentatively titled “Islamic Constitutionalism for the 21st Century: Not Theocratic. Not Secular. Not Impossible.”

She holds a BA from University of California, Berkeley, a JD from the University of California, Davis, an LLM from Columbia University Law School, and an SJD in Islamic law from Harvard Law School.

Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School

Areas of Expertise: Islamic Law, Islam, Constitutional Law, Sharia in America, Women’s Rights in Islamic Law

Location: Madison, WI

Contact Information:
Phone: (608) 358-4173

Heard on Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR):