Research Chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue, Deakin University

Professor Ihsan Yilmaz is Research Chair of Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. His research is focused on Islam-state-society relations in Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and Central Asia along with research into political participation and legal pluralism in Muslim minority communities, particularly in the United Kingdom and Australia. Professor Yilmaz is one of the Muslim World’s leading social scientists, especially on Islam, secularism, Muslim minorities in the West and Islamic legal pluralism. He has published 7 books, 40 refereed journal articles, 27 book chapters and has presented 60 international conference papers. Professor Yilmaz has supervised or examined 26 PhD theses on Islam-Law-Society-Politics. His work appeared in international scholarly prestigious journals such as British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Journal, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Muslim World, Journal for Islamic Studies, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs and Third World Quarterly.

Professor Yilmaz’s much-cited book “Muslim Laws, Politics and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic Legal Pluralism in England, Turkey and Pakistan (Routledge 2005, reprinted 2016)” has been a pathbreaker in the study of unofficial Islamic legal pluralism in secular nation-states. He has been invited by several eminent thinks tanks, universities and governmental bodies in many parts of the world as either key note speaker, guest lecturer or expert witness in areas related to his expertise.

He was professor of political science at Istanbul Fatih University (2008-2016), lecturer in law, social sciences and politics at SOAS, University of London (2001-2008) where he taught “Islamic Law and Society”, “Legal Systems of Asia and Africa” and “Turkish Politics” at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Before SOAS, he was a fellow at Center for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford (1999-2001) where he worked on Muslim political participation in the UK and also on neo-ijtihad by young Muslim micro-mujtahids.

Professor Yilmaz is currently working on several journal papers and book chapters on Islamist populism, Turkish Islamism; Islamism and Education, social capital formation of Muslims in Australia, and political participation of young Muslims in Australia.

Professor Yilmaz is currently supervising 7 PhD theses at Deakin on topics such as construction of Ulama authority, Muslim Higher Educational Institutions, Transnational Influences on the Identity Formation, Islamic law of Western Muslim minorities (fiqh al aqalliyat), Turkish state and transnational diaspora politics, and equal citizenship in Islam.
Before coming to Deakin, he served as the Director of the PhD Programme in Political Science and International Relations at the Fatih University. Before Fatih, he was the Deputy Chair of the Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies at SOAS (2003-2008) and the Founding Director of the London Centre for Social Studies (2003-2008). He had also served as the editor of Turkish Journal of Politics (TJP) (2010-2015) and editor in chief of the European Journal of Economic and Political Studies (EJEPS) (2009-2013).

He has acted as a referee for multimillion-dollar competitive grant projects on Islam-Society-State-Politics in the Middle East, and in the West for European Union Framework Programme (FP7) and the Fund for Scientific Research – FNRS, Belgium. He has written referee reports for book manuscripts for prestigious publishers such as the Oxford University Press, Routledge, Palgrave & Macmillan, Ashgate, Lexington and Springer. He has also actively been serving as a referee to influential academic journals such as Journal of Legal Pluralism; British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies; The Middle East Journal; Islamic Studies, Law and Society Review; Democratization, Politics, Religion & Ideology; Asian Journal of Political Science; and Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.

Professor Yilmaz is currently a chief investigator on a successful Victoria Government RIOSC grant (2017), “Women's agency and the building of social capital, cohesion and resilience in the new Afghan communities in Victoria”, led by Dr Siew-Mee Barton.

Professor Yilmaz is also a public intellectual, communicating directly with the general public his ideas, opinions and research findings. He has been interviewed by several international TV and radio news channels and newspapers such as CNN International, Al Jazeera, ABC, China State TV, Russia Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, El Pais, Le Temps, Al Ahram, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. He has also had frequent appearances on Turkish national TV on CNN Turk, Kanal D, Haberturk TV and Bugun TV.

He was a columnist for the English-language daily newspaper Today’s Zaman where he wrote twice a week (2007-2016), wrote three times a week for Meydan Gazetesi (2015-2016), and had his weekly TV political debate programme on Samanyolu TV (2014-2015). Once a vocal supporter of the pro-European democratization reforms of the Erdogan governments, he has become increasingly critical of them since 2008, paving the way for being declared a traitor by Mr. Erdogan and having to flee Turkey in October 2015 upon death threats. The dailies he was writing for and the university he was working for were all shut down by the government in 2016. Nevertheless, Professor Yilmaz continues to share his research and opinions on Islam, Turkish politics, Islamist populism and authoritarianism, the Muslim World and more through op-ed pieces that appear on The Conversation and the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter as well as his blog at He is also very active on social media with more than 200,000 Twitter (@ihsanylmz) followers.


  • –present
    Professor & Research Chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue, Deakin University