Mustafa Akyol: History
Please note this is an old version of this entry, which may differ significantly from the current revision.
Subjects: Others
  • islam
  • akyol
  • non-fiction

Basic Information

Mustafa Akyol
Name: Mustafa Akyol
(Feb 1972–)
Titles: Writer Journalist
Affiliation: Unknown
Honor: Unknown

1. Introduction

Mustafa Akyol (born 20 February 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.

2. 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 master's degree 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?)

3. Career

Akyol has written regular columns for Turkish dailies like Hürriyet Daily News.[1] He has criticized both Islamic extremism and Turkish secularism, which he likened to Jacobinism[2] and fundamentalism.[3]

His earlier articles were often friendly to the incumbent Justice and Development Party,[4][5] 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."[6]

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".[7]

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.[8][9]

From 2017 to 2018, he was a senior visiting fellow at Wellesley College, and since 2018 has been senior fellow at the Cato Institute.[10]

4. Intelligent Design Advocacy

Akyol used to be an outspoken promoter of intelligent design[11] and was identified as a former spokesman for Science Research Foundation (Bilim Araştırma Vakfı), an Islamic creationist group, started by Adnan Oktar.[12] Akyol later noted[13] 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[14] 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."[15]

5. Works

  • Akyol, Mustafa (2005). Rethinking The Kurdish Question: What Went Wrong? What Next?. Dogan Publishing. 
  • 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 (2021). Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance. St. Martin's Press. 
  • Akyol, Mustafa (2021). Why, As A Muslim, I Defend Liberty. Cato Institute. 

The content is sourced from:

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions.


  1. The Crisis in Turkey The American 19 June 2008
  2. Akyol, Mustafa (23 February 2008). "The greatest Turkish story ever sold". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 20 July 2008. 
  3. Akyol, Mustafa (4 May 2007). "The threat is secular fundamentalism". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 20 July 2008. 
  4. Bekdil, Burak (10 September 2008). "Hürriyet must be banned for better democracy". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 23 September 2008. "Even in this newspaper there are several fiercely pro-AKP columnists, including my sparring partner, Mustafa Akyol." 
  5. Ellis, Robert (20 March 2008). "Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 23 September 2008. "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." 
  6. Akyol, Mustafa (5 May 2016). "Whatever Happened to the Turkish Model?". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2020. 
  7. Akyol, Mustafa (26 May 2011). "Faith versus tradition in Islam". TED. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  8. "Archived copy". 
  9. Schwartz, Stephen (1 June 2014). "Review of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty" (in en). Middle East Quarterly. 
  10. "Mustafa Akyol". Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  11. Akyol, Mustafa (14 September 2004) Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design, Islam Online. Retrieved on 18 July 2008.
  12. 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." 
  13. "Hang Time | Letters". The Pitch. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  14. "Kansas Evolution Hearings: Warren Nord and Mustafa Akyol". 
  15. "Le monde musulman est le paradis des théories du complot". 5 August 2019. 
This entry is offline, you can click here to edit this entry!