Mohamed Mohamed

Student Visitor

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University. In 2016, I received an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the George Washington University as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2017, I received a second M.A in Middle Eastern Studies from King’s College London (with distinction) as a Chevening scholar. In 2015, I joined the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UNCTED) as a political researcher (a six-month internship). My current research is focusing on the global political role of the official religious institution, al-Azhar, in Egypt.

Planned research at ODID 

The intersection of religion and state in Egypt and the central role played in politics by the official religious establishment, Al-Azhar, has been the focus of many scholarly works over the last few decades. Ever since its incorporation into the state apparatus in the 1960s, Al-Azhar has been largely explored within what I call the “instrumentalization thesis” where the function of the religious institution is merely to work as religious guardians of Egypt’s successive regimes. While this might have been true since the “nationalization” of the religious institution in 1961, the Egyptian uprising of 2011, undeniably reshaped the state-al-Azhar relationship, freeing the latter relatively from a long-standing tradition of state appropriation. My research focuses on the factors that have been conducive to reshaping this relationship and the failure of the state to return al-Azhar to the pre-2011 mode when the latter was entirely submissive.

Research interests:

Sociology of religion, political sociology, religious institutions, intersection of religion and politics in Egypt, religion and global politics