M.S. Berger - Islam in the West

  • Full Professor Islam in the West (Sultan of Oman Chair for Oriental Studies)

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 1684
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leids Instituut Godsdienstwetenschappen
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
Matthias de Vrieshof 1
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 1.04a

Prof.dr. Maurits S. Berger, LLM (1964) is a lawyer and Arabist. He holds the chair of Islam in the West at the Institute for Religious Studies at Leiden University, and is a senior research associate with the Clingendael Institute for International Relations in The Hague. He has worked as a lawyer in Amsterdam, and as a researcher and journalist in Cairo and Damascus.

Advisory activities

Professor Berger is frequently invited for consultations and presentations at international forums like the European Parliament and the OVSE, and in the Netherlands by Parliament, various Dutch Ministries and municipality councils, the lawyers union and the public prosecutor’s office. He acts as an expert for media and writes regularly for newspapers.


Professor Berger currently teaches the following courses: BA: History of Islam in the West; Law and Religion of Minorities; Political Islam; MA: European jurisprudence of Islamic minorities.


His fields of research include Islamic law, political Islam and freedom of religion. The relation between law and religion is a special interest. He is presently working on the role and influence of Sharia in Western countries. 

‘The dialectic between ‘Islam’ and the ‘West’ has effects both ways: Muslims react to how they feel treated by the societies they live in, and their fellow citizens and societies react to the changes and threats they perceive are being created by Muslims. My interest is how they interact, and create new discourses of Islam.’

Selection of recent publications

  • De sjeik in de Domkerk. Overeenkomsten en verschillen tussen de Arabische en Europese wereld, Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Contact, 2008;
  • Islam binnen de dijken. Gids voor gemeentebeleid inzake islam, sociale cohesie en de-radicalisering, Utrecht: FORUM, Reeks Religie en Samenleving, 2008;
  • Sharia. Islam tussen recht en politiek, Boom Juridische Uitgeverij, Den Haag, 2006;
  • Sharia and Public Policy in Egyptian Family Law, Uitgeverij Hephausus, Groningen, (thesis), 2005

Last Modified: 14-03-2014