Mustafa Akyol has been called one of the top thinkers in the world today. He’ll show why in an upcoming talk at Wofford College.

Akyol will bring his talk, “An Islamic Case for Freedom and Tolerance,” to Leonard Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 11. The talk is open to the public.

Akyol has been a senior fellow at the Cato Institute since 2018, focusing on the intersection of public policy, Islam and modernity. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times since 2013, covering politics and religion in the Muslim world. Earlier this year, Prospect Magazine of the United Kingdom listed him among the world’s top 50 thinkers.

“Mustafa Akyol is one of the most famous public intellectuals in the world,” says Dr. Philip Dorroll, associate professor of religion and the author of “Islamic Theology in the Turkish Republic.” “He’s had a long career as a journalist and researcher. The basic issues he works on and talks about are how to understand and promote human rights and the values of liberty within the Islamic tradition.”

Akyol is the author of several books, including “Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance,” “The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims,” and “Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.”

Before joining the Cato Institute, Akyol was an opinion columnist for two Turkish newspapers for more than a decade before they became pro-government propaganda outlets. His work also has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Newsweek and the Financial Times, among others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on CNN, NPR and the BBC.

Dorroll says Akyol’s talk is an “exercise in understanding.”

“This is a topic that is talked about a lot and every couple of years it becomes a big deal, although it’s always a big deal if you’re a Muslim living in the United States or living somewhere where the United States has political interests,” Dorroll says. “This is a chance for us as a college to provide to our students, and to anyone else who wants to come, some insight and understanding we might not otherwise be exposed to. That’s the only goal.”