Full Bio

Public Scholarship

Dr Hisham A. Hellyer is a senior associate fellow and scholar at the Royal United Services Institute in London and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC.  Dr Hellyer was also appointed Professorial Fellow at Cambridge Muslim College, adjunct full Professor at the University of Technology’s Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Senior Scholar at the Zawiya Institute in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr Hellyer is currently on the steering committee for a multi-year EU-funded project on “Radicalisation, Secularism and the Governance of Religion”, which brings together European, North African, and Asian perspectives with a consortium of 12 universities and think-tanks. A Briton of mixed English and Arab heritages, and raised between England and Egypt, he lives and works between London, DC and the Arab world.

As a committed thinker in the public arena on issues facing fellow inhabitants of the lands where he is active and beyond, Dr Hellyer is an advocate of principled engagement beyond the ivory tower, internationally, gaining him prominence in various fields internationally. Following the 2005 London bombings, he was appointed as Deputy Convenor of the UK Government’s Taskforce on tackling radicalisation, and served as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s first Economic and Social Research Council Fellow as part of the ‘Islam’ & ‘Counter-Terrorism’ teams, as an independent subject matter expert. Previously a Fellow at the Centre for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in DC, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Research Associate at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, Dr Hellyer’s analysis in the international relations of and with the Arab world, and security issues within Europe have been published in CNN, the BBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian and other outlets internationally.

Dr Hellyer has held academic attachments at noted institutions including the University of Warwick, where he was a Senior Research Fellow, and the American University in Cairo, as a professor of law. He has authored several books and monographs & has contributed more than 25 book chapters and journal articles to various presses. While his main academic home is politics and international studies, Dr Hellyer has published widely in Islamic studies, especially in terms of religion & modernity, and contemporary Islam. His main area focuses remain the West, and the Arab world, and as the first Arab world-based Senior Practice Consultant at the Gallup Organisation, he analysed public opinion data in a variety of countries in the Arab world and the West.

Islamic Studies

Dr Hellyer’s degree in law was read at the University of Sheffield School of Law, with an advanced degree in international political economy at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Politics. Following those degrees, he completed a multidisciplinary PhD at the University of Warwick at 25, and then continued to research Islamic thought in the UK, Egypt, Malaysia and South Africa. An author and scholar focusing on religion and politics, Ustadh Dr Hisham A. Hellyer was born to an English father and to an Egyptian mother of Sudanese & Moroccan heritage and Ḥasanī & ʿAbbāsī lineage. Included in the scholarly section of the annual global ‘Muslim 500’ list of Georgetown University (USA) and RISCC (Jordan). Raised between London, Cairo and Abu Dhabi, before receiving degrees in law and international political economy from the University of Sheffield, and a doctorate from the University of Warwick. He began researching Islamic law, theology and spirituality in his teens, keeping the company of and studying under a number of classically trained-scholars in the UK, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and elsewhere, receiving ijazat from a number of them. Among those he received permission to teach from include the Malaysian polymath, Tan Sri Professor Sayyid M. Naquib al-Attas, and Shaykh Seraj Hendricks (the khalifa (independent representative) of the Makkan sage, Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki), who appointed Dr Hisham as Senior Scholar of the Zawiya Institute in South Africa. Ijaza ‘amma has also been given by Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy of the Madina Institute centres.

Selected Publications

Recent books and monographs include “Muslims of Europe: the ‘Other’ Europeans” for Edinburgh University Press, “Engagement with the Muslim Community & Counter-Terrorism: British Lessons for the West” for Brookings Institution Press and “A Revolution Undone: Egypt’s Road Beyond Revolt” for Oxford University Press and Hurst & Company. His latest book, “A Sublime Path” examines the Sufi order of the Meccan polymath, Sayyid Muhammad bin ‘Alawi al-Maliki, co-written with two of al-Maliki’s most noted students. In 2018, Dr Hellyer also edited the volume, “The Islamic Tradition and the Human Rights Discourse”, published by the Atlantic Council. These books received various reviews and commendations in the Financial Times, the Economist, and elsewhere.


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