My Wellesley
Mustafa  Akyol

Mustafa Akyol

Senior Visiting Fellow

Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish journalist and author with acclaimed books such as "Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty" (2011) and "The Islamic Jesus" (2017). He is a monthly contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, a TED speaker, and a frequent voice in global live and print media.

For more than a decade, he has been writing regular opinion columns for Turkish publications like Hurriyet Daily News, and recently for the Middle-East focused Since fall 2013, he is also a regular contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.

He has published six books in Turkish, including “Rethinking the Kurdish Question: What Went Wrong, What Next?” (2005). His 2011 book, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” an argument for Islamic liberalism, was published in the W.W. Norton. The book was long-listed for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary prize awarded by the University of Toronto for the best nonfiction book in English that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues, and praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom.” The book has been published also in TurkishMalay and Indonesian.

In Feb 2017, another book by Mr. Akyol, "The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims" was published by St. Martins Press. The book has received praise from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The National Catholic Reporter, and more.

Mr. Akyol is also a public speaker who has given hundreds of lectures and talks on numerous platforms, including TED, where he spoke on “Faith vs. Tradition in Islam.” He has also been a commentator on public affairs programs, including the BBC’s “Hardtalk” and CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

Recent press

Interview: Mustafa Akyol on Turkey's Referendum (Fareed Zakaria's GPS on CNN) 

Interview: Why is Turkey Headed After Its Referendum? (Al Jazeera)

Is Free Speech Good for Muslims? (New York Times)

What Islam Can Learn from Jesus (National Review)

How Conflict with the West Empowers Erdogan (Al-Monitor)

›› Akyol's column in the New York Times

›› Akyol's personal website