In 2012 we launched a Transcultural Islam Project to deepen understanding of and inform public discourse and policy about Islam and Muslim communities — from a variety of perspectives. It also furthers Islamic studies (broadly defined) scholarship and research through individual and institutional partnerships between these founding partners, their faculty, and other scholars and partners across the globe.

This multi-year initiative is managed out of the Duke Islamic Studies Center in partnership with the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (UNC-Chapel Hill), and supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

ISLAMiCommentary, a key component of the initiative, is a public scholarship forum that engages scholars, journalists, policymakers, advocates and artists in their fields of expertise.

ISLAMiCommentary publishes original content under the i-Comment umbrella, and also aggregates and promotes content from other sources.

Find the subscribe button on the home page to receive e-mailed updates from  ISLAMiCommentary when new content is posted.

You can also follow ISLAMiCommentary on Twitter @ISLAMiComment , Facebook, and Google Plus.

The Transcultural Islam Research network (TIRN) — the other component of the Project — connects international scholars of Islamic studies (broadly defined) who are interested in exchanging research findings with each other and sharing their research with the public as well. Click here to view the TIRN site.

We recently launched a Database of Scholars and Experts on Islam and Muslim communities. Interested scholars and experts can enter their own information into this database and to search it for others who share their interests. The database is accessible to the public.  The primary purpose of this database is to provide a way to locate university- based scholars and researchers. We recognize that not all experts have university affiliations, and therefore we do consider applications from experts outside the academy. Search the site by area of expertise or name or keyword, and/or create your own entry.


The Transcultural Islam Project is funded by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author (s). 


Terms of Use

Original content published by ISLAMiCommentary (i-Comment) may be republished and/or redistributed, provided that the use is non-commercial and that the author and ISLAMiCommentary are properly attributed. Those interested in redistributing ISLAMiCommentary content online are encouraged to do so by publishing an excerpt and link to the full content at ISLAMiCommentary.


We welcome and accept on a rolling basis original contributions (analyses, thought pieces, op-eds) from scholars and experts.  Inquiries regarding contributions, and questions regarding editorial policy and terms of use should be directed to the editor. Submissions should typically be between 700 and 1200 words, but this is negotiable.

For tips, see this helpful advice to academics on op-ed writing from David Jarmul, associate vice president for news and communications at Duke University.


Transcultural Islam Project Staff

Omid Safi, Duke Islamic Studies Center Director and PI,  Transcultural Islam Project

Safi is Director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center and professor, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at Duke. A specialist in classical Islam and contemporary Islamic thought, Safi’s research on American Muslims; Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an; debates in contemporary Islam; and Sufism and Persian literature has been published in academic publications.  Safi is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. In 2009, he was recognized by the University of North Carolina for mentoring minority students in 2009, and won the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010. Omid is the editor of the volume “Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism,” which offered an understanding of Islam rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious and ethnic pluralism. His works “Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam,” dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, and “Voices of Islam: Voices of Change” were published 2006. His last book, “Memories of Muhammad,” deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has forthcoming volumes on the famed mystic Rumi, contemporary Islamic debates in Iran, and American Islam. Safi is a regular columnist for On Being.


Julie Poucher Harbin, Project Manager & Communications Specialist for the Duke Islamic Studies Center’s Transcultural Islam Project; Editor and Writer (ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN)

Julie Poucher Harbin has worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, including positions with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (Sarajevo and Kabul), The San Diego Business Journal, National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”, and NBC News bureaus in Russia and Washington, D.C. She also worked in Tyre, Lebanon (2007) where she worked as a communications consultant for International Medical Corps and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Prior to joining the DISC staff in 2012, she was assistant editor for The Washington Diplomat (Washington, D.C.). She is also a regular contributor to Religion News Service. 



Welcome to our forum!  (2012 ISLAMiCommentary launch press release)

Interview with Julie Poucher Harbin, Editor, ISLAMiCommentary, on “State of Belief Radio” about ISLAMiCommentary

It’s Not Just Academic—Writing Public Scholarship in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (by UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies Professor Carl Ernst)

Why Professors Should Disseminate their Knowledge and Share Opinions to Public Audiences (interview with African American Studies Professor at Duke, Mark Anthony Neal)