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Maurits Berger

Professor of Islam and the West

Prof.dr.mr. M.S. Berger
+31 71 527 1684

Prof.dr. Maurits S. Berger, LLM (1964) is a lawyer and Arabist. He is professor of Islam and the West and holds the Sultan of Oman Chair for Oriental Studies at Leiden University, 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.

More information about Maurits Berger

Advisory activities

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.

Sultan of Oman Chair for Oriental Studies 

In 2008, the Sultan of Oman gave a one-time donation to Leiden University to establish a chair for 'Oriental Studies.' From this trust fund, Leiden University pays the salary of the chair holder, who is a full employee of the university. The donation does not contain any conditions regarding the topic of study within the domain of 'Oriental Studies', nor the promotion of any such topic. The chair holder is bound only by the academic code of Leiden University, which guarantees him/her full academic freedom and independence.


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. His current research project is called The Future of Islam in Europe. It asks what Muslims in Europe consider important to live as Muslims in Europe, what role Islam plays therein, and how that contributes to shaping a future for both Muslims and the European societies they live in. 

‘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.’

Keynote talk by Maurits Berger on 'online learning', november 2018;


Professor of Islam and the West

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • LUCSoR



  • Commission of the European Union member of ad hoc Advisory Group to EC Coordinator Combating Anti-Muslim Hatred
  • Netherlands Institute of International Relations 'Clingendael' Senior research associate
  • Tijdschift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid(Journal for Religion, Law and Policy) Editor-in-chief
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