Acclaimed Muslim Scholar and Author Mustafa Akyol to Speak at UTEP

By on November 5, 2013

The University of Texas at El Paso will host a talk by acclaimed Muslim scholar and author Mustafa Akyol at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the Undergraduate Learning Center, room 128.Akyol is a columnist for two prominent Turkish newspapers and has articles published in TheNew York Times, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, and The Washington Post. He holds a master’s in history from the internationally ranked and regarded Boğaziçi University, located in Istanbul, Turkey.

His March 2011 TEDX talk, “Faith Versus Tradition in Islam,” where he discusses the difference between cultural traditions and practices of Islam and the actual religious beliefs and tenets, has received more than 470,000 views.

“The Religious Studies program is pleased to bring Mustafa Akyol to campus,” said Ann Horak, Ph.D., director of religious studies. “The West often has a distorted image of Islam. Mr. Akyol’s writings and lectures provide an important perspective on the history of Islam and the diverse people who practice it.”

Akyol will highlight his book, Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, which made the 2012 Lionel Gelber Prize Longlist for how his discussion of foreign affairs has deepened public debate on international issues.

A book signing and reception will follow Akyol’s presentation. Copies of his book will be available for purchase.

The talk is part of a larger lecture series, “Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys,” inspired by the UTEP library’s recent receipt of a Bridging Cultures Bookshelf from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The purpose of the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf is to help public audiences in the United States become more familiar with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the United States.

For more information, please contact Horak at 915-747-5519 or

Veronique J. Masterson is UTEP's public information officer and may be contacted at 915-747-7503 or