Dr. Louay Safi | Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


Dr. Louay Safi

Dr. Louay Safi (PhD)

Professor of Political Science and Islamic Thought
Islamic Studies
Islam and Global Affairs
College of Islamic Studies

  • Phone+974 44541517
  • Office locationC.01.027


Dr. Louay Safi is Professor of Political Science and Islamic Thought at CIS and Senior Fellow with the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) and Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). 

Dr. Safi has been active in defending human rights and promoting democracy for over two decades. He is a founding member of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Syrian National Coalition (2011–2014). He is also co-founder and first chair of the Syrian American Council (2005–2011), and co-founder and former board member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (1999–2007). 

He is a prolific author and frequent speaker on issues of human rights, the Middle East, peace, leadership, and Islam and the West, and an advocate of human rights and civil liberties. He has authored 20 books, including “The Qur’anic Narrative” (Praeger 2008), “Tensions and Transitions in the Muslim World” (University Press of America, 2003), “Peace and the Limits of War” (IIIT 2001), and “The Challenge of Modernity” (University Press of America, 1994).

Dr. Safi has considerable experience in developing communications strategy as the Communications Director of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the official spokesperson of the main Syrian Opposition. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs, including CNN, BBC, Monte Carlo, Fox News, Sky News, Voice of America, PBS, Middle East TV (MBC), Aljazeera News and Aljazeera English, Al Arabiya News, Russia Today, Alhurra, Malaysian TV, Turkish TV, Syrian TV, Canada TV (CTV), Future TV, and others.


Research Interests

  • Political Theory and Comparative Politics
  • Ethics and Public Policy
  • Islamic Philosophy and Ethics
  • Political Participation and Human Rights
  • Islam and Globalization


Adjunct Professor

College of Public Policy (CPP), HBKU

2019 – Present
  • Professor of Political Science and Islamic Thought


    2011 – Present
  • Visiting Professor

    Georgetown University

    2010 – 2011
  • Adjunct Professor

    Indiana University and Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

    2009 – 2010
  • Senior Fellow

    Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU), Georgetown University

    2007 – Present
  • Senior Fellow

    Institute of Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)

    2007 – Present
  • Director

    Center for Leadership Development, Indianapolis

    2004 – 2010
  • Visiting Professor

    George Washington University

    2001 – 2002
  • Director of Research

    International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Washington, DC

    1999 – 2003
  • President

    Association of Muslim Social Scientists

    1999 – 2003
  • Editor

    American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

    1999 – 2003
  • Dean of Research and Member of University Senate

    International Islamic University of Malaysia

    1997 – 1999
  • Executive Director

    International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Washington, DC

    1995 – 1997
  • Director

    International Islamic University of Malaysia

    1994 – 1997
  • Lecturer

    Wayne State University (WSU), Michigan

    1988 – 1992


PhD in Political Science

Wayne State University

  • MA in Political Science

    Wayne State University

  • BSc in Civil Engineering

    Wayne State University


Selected Publications


  • Safi, L. (2018). الفكر والنهوض [Thought and Renewal].

    Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al Fikr al Muasir.

  • Safi, L. (2017). الشريعة والمجتمع [Shari’ah and Society].

    Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al Fikr al Muasir.

  • Safi, L. (2016). الإنسان وجدلية الوجود والوجدان [The Human and the dialectics of Being and Consciousness].

    Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al Fikr al Muasir.

  • Safi, L. (2015). الرشد السياسي[Political Prudence].

    Beirut, Lebanon: Al Shabakah al Arabiya lil abhath wa al nashr.

  • Safi, L. (2014). The Foundation of Knowledge: A Comparative Study in Islamic and Western Methods of Inquiry.

    Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought Press.

  • Safi, L., Nahar, H. (2014). Al Mu’arada al Suriyyah (Syrian Opposition).

    Dar al Mutawasitiyyah.

  • Safi, L. (2008). The Qur’anic Narrative: The Journey of Life as Told in the Qur’an.

    San Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers.

  • Safi, L. (2008). Leading with Compassion.

    Denver, CO: Outskirts Press.

  • Safi, L. (2008). Palestine: Prophetic Principles over Prophecies.

    Denver, CO: Outskirts Press.

  • Safi, L. (2003). Tensions and Transitions in the Muslim World.

    Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America.


  • Safi, L. (2018). The Maqasid Approach: Rethinking Political Rights in Modern Society.

    In Maqasid al-Shari'ah: Conceptualizations and Implications. Kuala Lumper, Malaysia: Trust Books.

  • Safi, L. (2013). Quranic Leadership Bases: Prophets as Visionary Leaders in Challenging Times.

    In Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook. SAGE Publications.

  • Safi, L. (2008). Islamic Law Promotes Human Rights.

    In Langwith, J. (Ed.), Human Rights (Opposing Viewpoints). Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press.

  • Safi, L. (2007). Truth and Vanity Shape Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism.

    In Nimer, M. (Ed.), Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Responses. Beltsville, Maryland: Amana Publications.

  • Safi, L. (2005). Pathways to Peace in Islamic Traditions.

    In Coppola, D. (Ed.), Religion, Violence and Peace: Continuing Conversations and Study Guide. Hartford, CT: Sacred Heart University.

  • Safi, L. (2005). Overcoming the Religious-Secular Divide: Islam’s Contribution to Civilization.

    In Ahmed, B. (Ed.), Muslim Contribution to Civilization. London, England: IIIT and AMSS.


  • Safi, L. (2019). Scholarship and Social Engagement.

    American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 36(1).

  • Safi, L. (2017). State and Citizenship in Modern Arab Islamic Thought.

    Oxford Research Encyclopedia.

  • Safi, L. (2011). Religious Freedom, Interfaith Dialogue, and Common Word.

    The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 9(1).

  • Safi, L. (2010). The Maqasid Approach and Rethinking Political Rights in Modern Society.

    Intellectual Discourse, 18(2). 211-233.

  • Safi, L. (2009). Interfaith Dialogue: A Moral Duty to Finding Common Ground.

    American Baptist Quarterly, 28(1). 92-97.

  • Safi, L., & Tiso, F. (2008). The Future of Muslim Catholic Dialogue in America.

    Chicago Studies, 14(1). 83-98.

  • Safi, L. (2006). Apostasy and Religious Freedom.

    The Ecumenist, 43(4). 7-10.

  • Safi, L. (2006). Cultural Challenge to Democratic Reform in Syria.

    Muslim Public Affairs Journal. 43-49.

  • المثقف بين دواعي السلطة وضرورات الإصلاح

    مجلة الديمقراطية (صادرة عن مؤسسة الأهرام)، العدد 18

  • العولمة والمشروع الحضاري الإسلامي.

    مجلة الكلمة، السنة 7، العدد 28 (صيف 2000)، ص 37-45.


  • Safi, L. (2015). Modern Islamic Thought.

    Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam. Oxford University Press.

  • Safi, L. (2015). Bosnian Scenario and its Relevance to Syria Conflict.

    Al-Jazeera Forum. St Regis, Doha. 5 May 2015.

  • Safi, L. (2015). Conflict Management: The Case of Syria.

    Al Jazeera Center for Research. Ritz Carlton, Doha. 9 April 2014.

  • Safi, L. (2012). Muslim Political Thought.

    Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics. Oxford University Press.

  • Safi, L. (2012). From Sultanic Rule to Democracy: Political Culture after the Arab Spring.

    CIS, Doha. 22 February 2012.

  • Safi, L. (2012). The Christian-Muslim Encounter: Cultural Exchange and Theological Convergence.

    Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC. 23 January 2012.

  • Safi, L. (2010). Peace and Just War in Islam.

    Good Faith Seminar. Bernardin Center, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. 12 March 2010.

  • Safi, L. (2010). Canadian Muslim Leadership Institute.

    Canada Visionary Leadership Institute, Winnipeg. 22-24 January 2010.

  • University, Terra Haute.

    19 March 2009.

  • Safi, L. (2006). Blaming Islam: Examining the Religion Building Enterprise.

    Washington, DC: Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. https://www.ispu.org/blaming-islam-examining-the-religion-building-enter...