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Bassam Tibi (Arabic: بسام طيبي‎), born 1944 in Damascus, lives in Germany since 1962 and, since 1976, he is a German citizen. He is a political scientist and Professor of International Relations. He is a Muslim [1], but a staunch critic of Islamism and an advocate of reforming Islam itself[2]. In academia, he is known for his analysis of international relations and the introduction of Islam to the study of international conflict and of civilization. Tibi is perhaps best known for introducing the controversial concept of European Leitkultur as well as the concept of Euroislam for the integration of Muslim immigrants in Europe. He is also the founder of Islamology as a social-scientific study of Islam and conflict in post-bipolar politics. Tibi has done research in Asian and African countries. He publishes in English, German and Arabic.


Academic career

He studied in Frankfurt am Main, obtained his Ph.D. there in 1971 and habilitated in Hamburg, Germany. Between 1973 and 2009 he was Professor for International Relations at Göttingen University. From 1982 to 2000, he was at Harvard University in a variety of affiliations, the latest from 1998 to 2000 as The Bosch Fellow of Harvard. Currently, he is an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. Tibi had eighteen visiting professorships in all continents including fellowships in Princeton University, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan/Ann Arbor, and most recently (2008) at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Washington D.C. Tibi is in the academic year 2008/09 visiting professor at Yale University.


In 1995 he was decorated by the President of Germany, Roman Herzog, with the Bundesverdienstkreuz, cross of merits first class. In 2003, the Swiss Foundation for European Awareness granted him with the annual prize.

Published works



  • The Crisis of Modern Islam: A Preindustrial Culture in the Scientific-Technological Age. Translated by Judith von Sivers. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988.
  • Islam and the Cultural Accommodation of Social Change. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990.
  • Conflict and War in the Middle East: From Interstate War to New Security, new expanded ed. 1998, published in association with WCFIA/Harvard University.
  • Arab Nationalism. Between Islam and the Nation-State, first ed. 1980, second ed. 1990, third expanded and revised ed. 1997, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998; updated edition 2002. ISBN 0-520-23690-4 Author's abstract:
  • Islam between Culture and Politics. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York Cambridge, Mass: Palgrave, in association with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Harvard University, 2001. 2nd edition, 2005. ISBN 1403949905
  • Crusade and Jihad: Islam and the Christian World. Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, München, Random House GmbH, 2001 ISBN 963-13-5238-2
  • Political Islam, World Politics and Europe. Routledge, New York, 2008. ISBN 0415437814
  • Islam’s Predicament with Cultural Modernity. Religious Reform and Cultural Change Routledge, NY and London, 2008, ISBN 978-0-415-48472-5

Articles and book chapters

  • "Islam and Modern European Ideologies." International Journal of Middle East Studies 18, no. 1 (1986): 15-29.
  • "The European Tradition of Human Rights and Culture of Islam." In Human Rights in Africa Cross Cultural Perspectives, ed. Abdullahi Ahmed An Na`im and Francis M. Deng, 104. Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 1990.
  • "The Simultaneity of the Unsimultaneous - Old Tribes and Imposed Nation-States in the Modern Middle East." In Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East, ed. Philip S. Khoury and Joseph Kostiner, 127-152. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.
  • "Islamic Law/Shari'a, Human Rights, Universal Morality and International Relations." Human Rights Quarterly 16, no. 2 (1994): 277.
  • "The Worldview of Sunni Arab Fundamentalists: Attitudes toward Modern Science and Technology." In Fundamentalisms and Society, ed. Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appelby, 73-102. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
  • "War and Peace in Islam." In Ethics of War and Peace, ed. Terry Nardin, 128-145. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.
  • "The Fundamentalist Challenge to the Secular Order in the Middle East." Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 23 (1999): 191-210.
  • "Post-Bipolar Order in Crisis: The Challenge of Politicised Islam." Millennium 29, no. 3 (2000): 843-860.
  • "Eurpeanizing Islam or the Islamization of Europe," in: Peter Katzenstein, ed., Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)
  • "The Totalitarianism of Jihadist Islamism and its Challenge to Europe and to Islam." in: Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Vol. 8, No. 1, March 2007, 35–54.
  • "A Migration Story: From Muslim Immigrants to European “Citizens of the Heart?“" in: Fletcher Forum of World Affairs Vol.31 (Winter 2007) 1: 191-210.
  • "Euro-Islamic Religious Pluralism for Europe. An Alternative to Ethnicity and to "Multiculturalism of Fear"," in: The Current, Vol. 11 (Fall 2007) 1: 89-103.
  • "Islamism and Democracy: The Case of the Arab World," in: Leonard Weinberg, ed., Democratic Responses to Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2008), 41-61.
  • "Religious Extremism or Religionization of Politics? The Ideological Foundations of Political Islam", in: Hillel Frisch and Efraim Inbar, eds, Radical Islam and International Security (New York: Routledge, 2008), Chapter One, pp. 11-37, ISBN 978-0-415-44460-6.
  • "The Return of the Sacred to Politics as a Constitutional Law. The Case of the Shari’atization of Politics in Islamic Civilization", in: Theoria. A Journal of Social and Political Theory, vol. 55 (April 2008), issue 115, pp. 91-119, ISSN: 0040-5817.
  • "Turkey’s Islamist Danger. Islamists Approach Europe", in: Middle East Quarterly, vol. 16,1 (Winter 2009), pp. 47-54.


  1. ^ Antisemitism | Voices on Antisemitism | Transcript
  2. ^ Interview with German Islam Expert Bassam Tibi: "Europeans Have Stopped Defending Their Values" - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

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