Akyol in 2013
|Born||February 20 1972 (age 48–49)|
Mustafa Akyol (born February 20, 1972) is a Turkish writer and journalist. He is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, long-listed in 2012 for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the world's best non-fiction book in English. He became a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times in 2013. He is mainly famous in the western world for his arguments that Islam is highly compatible with classical liberalism and Enlightenment values, and that Islamic practice and the governance of Muslim-majority countries should be reformed along those lines similar to what previously happened in Christian-majority Europe.
Early life and education
Akyol was born to liberal journalist Taha Akyol and received his early education in Ankara. He later graduated from the Istanbul Nişantaşı Anadolu Lisesi and the International Relations Department of Boğaziçi University. He earned his masters in the History Department of the same university with a thesis on Turkey's Kurdish question, which he later extended to a popular book titled Kürt Sorununu Yeniden Düşünmek: Yanlış Giden Neydi, Bundan Sonra Nereye? (Rethinking the Kurdish Issue: What Went Wrong, What Next?)
Akyol has written regular columns for Turkish dailies like Hürriyet Daily News. He has criticized both Islamic extremism and Turkish secularism, which he likened to Jacobinism and fundamentalism.
His earlier articles were often friendly to the incumbent Justice and Development Party, although his later writings criticised the party's governance as having "adopted the very authoritarian habits it used to oppose" and thus having "failed as a model of liberal Islamism."
Over the years, he has given seminars in several universities or think-tanks in the United States and the United Kingdom on issues of Islam, politics, and Turkish affairs. He also spoke at TED, giving a lecture on "Faith versus tradition in Islam".
Akyol is also author of the English-language book Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case For Liberty (W.W. Norton). This, according to the publisher, is "a desperately needed intellectual basis for the reconcilability of Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms." Stephen Schwartz critiques the author’s lack of full disclosure regarding his own family’s Turkish history and involvement in politics. He also faults the author for not carefully laying out the facts surrounding Turkish democracy and rushing to conclusions about the country’s AKP political party that are not fully supported by the evidence.
Intelligent design advocacy
Akyol used to be an outspoken promoter of intelligent design and was identified as a former spokesman for Science Research Foundation (Bilim Araştırma Vakfı), an Islamic creationist group, started by Adnan Oktar. Akyol later noted that he had ended all his "cooperation with [Bilim Araştırma Vakfı]... due to some serious disagreements on issues other than intelligent design." He was also affiliated with the Discovery Institute. He has testified in the Kansas evolution hearings in favor of introducing Intelligent Design and arranged a government-sponsored Intelligent Design conference in Istanbul. In 2019, he said he changed his mind, noting that "the theory of evolution is perfectly compatible with the faith."
- Akyol, Mustafa (2011). Islam Without Extremes (1st ed.). W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-07086-6.
- Akyol, Mustafa (2017). The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims. St. Martin's Press.
- Akyol, Mustafa. Rethinking The Kurdish Question: What Went Wrong? What Next?. Dogan Publishing.
- "Learn more about Mustafa Akyol". Missing or empty
- The Crisis in Turkey The American June 19, 2008
- Akyol, Mustafa (2008-02-23). "The greatest Turkish story ever sold". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Akyol, Mustafa (2007-05-04). "The threat is secular fundamentalism". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Bekdil, Burak (2008-09-10). "Hürriyet must be banned for better democracy". Turkish Daily News. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
Even in this newspaper there are several fiercely pro-AKP columnists, including my sparring partner, Mustafa Akyol.
- Ellis, Robert (2008-03-20). "Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise". Turkish Daily News. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
Mustafa Akyol has left no stone unturned in his efforts to convince the readers of the Turkish Daily News of the benefits of the Islamic revival which has taken place since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government came to power over five years ago.
- Akyol, Mustafa (May 5, 2016). "Whatever Happened to the Turkish Model?". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Akyol, Mustafa (26 May 2011). "Faith versus tradition in Islam". TED. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-15. Retrieved 2014-12-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Schwartz, Stephen (1 June 2014). "Review of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty". Middle East Quarterly. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
- "Mustafa Akyol". Retrieved May 17, 2019.
- Akyol, Mustafa (14 September 2004) Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design, Islam Online. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
- Ortega, Tony (5 May 2005). "Your OFFICIAL program to the Scopes II Kansas Monkey Trial". The Pitch. Kansas. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013.
He also has identified himself as a spokesman for the murky Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, a group with an innocuous-sounding name -- it means "Science Research Foundation" -- but a nasty reputation.
- "Hang Time | Letters". The Pitch. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
- |title=Intelligent Design (and Me) in The Economist|last=Akyol|first=Mustafa}}
- "Kansas Evolution Hearings: Warren Nord and Mustafa Akyol".
- Akyol, Mustafa. "Turkey's First ID Conference—Accomplished".
The conference was sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, which is headed Kadir Topbaş, a member of the incumbent conservative AK Party. (Hence it can be said that the event had official support.)Missing or empty
- "Le monde musulman est le paradis des théories du complot". Le Vif. August 5, 2019.