Professor of Islam and the West
Prof.dr. Maurits S. Berger, LLM (1964) is a lawyer and Arabist. He holds the chair of Islam and the West at Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion (LUCSoR), and is a senior research associate with the Clingendael Institute for International Relations in The Hague. He has worked as a lawyer in Amsterdam, and as a researcher and journalist in Cairo and Damascus.
Leiden Islam Blog
Professor Berger is frequently invited for consultations and presentations at international forums like the European Parliament and the OVSE, and in the Netherlands by Parliament, various Dutch Ministries and municipality councils, the lawyers union and the public prosecutor’s office. He acts as an expert for media and writes regularly for newspapers.
Professor Berger currently teaches the following courses: BA: Islam: Europe and the Middle East; Politics of the Middle East; Modern Trends and Thinkers in Islam; MA: Sharia in the West. He is also responsible for the education program ‘Islam in the Modern World’ at the Ministry of Foreign affairs.
His fields of research include Islamic law, political Islam and freedom of religion. The relation between law – in the broadest sense of the meaning - and religion is a special interest. He is presently working on two manifestations of Sharia: the role and influence of Sharia in Western countries, and the notion of ‘Green Islam’ in the Muslim world.
‘The dialectic between ‘Islam’ and the ‘West’ has effects both ways: Muslims react to how they feel treated by the societies they live in, and their fellow citizens and societies react to the changes and threats they perceive are being created by Muslims. My interest is how they interact, and create new discourses of Islam.’
- Member of the Human Rights Committee
- Senior research associate