Ziya Meral is a London based researcher on Middle East minorities, a writer and a PhD candidate in Politics at the University of Cambridge.

He read Russian literature at Ankara University for two years and holds a 1st Class BA Hons from Brunel University in London, MDiv from International School of Theology in the Philippines and MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics. He has travelled widely in Asia and the Middle East.

His writing interests ranges from Turkish-Armenian relations to religion and politics, philosophy, social theory, comparative literature and theology. His first book in Turkish, Ve Tanri Agliyordu (And God was Crying; Essays on Life, Hope and God) was published by GOA publications in 2006 and a shorter book Bir Turk Teolojisine Dogru (Towards a Turkish Theology) was published the same year by Yeni Yasam Publications in Istanbul.

He has commented on various radio programs, including BBC World Service’s Europe Today, World Have Your Say and Reporting Religion, BBC Radio’s Jeremy Vine Show, Today and Asia Network, Vatican Radio, Radio New Zealand and Premier Radio, London. He was also featured on BBC’s TV program, Songs of Praise.

He has delivered talks and lectures in academic institutions and conferences, and spoke at briefings and consultancies at the UK House of Commons and House of Lords and the U.S. Congress.

He continues to publish shorter articles and work on a new book project in Turkish; “Jesus the Idiot: Nietzsche contra Dostoyevsky”.


The Center for Religious Freedom

Invites you to a discussion on

Defection from Islam: The Politics of Belonging & the Cost of Religious Freedom


Ziya Meral

Monday, October 5, 2009

9:30 – 10:30 AM
(Light refreshments will be provided)

Ziya Meral will discuss the often overlooked human rights abuses and violence faced by apostates from Islam at the hands of states, religious extremists, and families. He will argue that these harsh reactions to changing one’s religion are shaped by a mixture of theological, cultural, and socio-political factors, exacerbated by current global political tensions. Mr. Meral will draw from his personal experiences as a Muslim-background Christian as well as his studies of Islamic jurisprudence, of laws regarding religious freedom in Muslim-majority states, and of the treatment of those who leave Islam in Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, and the UK.

Mr. Meral is a writer and researcher, an expert on religious freedom in the Middle East, and a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge.  He has published widely on Middle East politics and human rights, is a regular commentator in the international, British, and Turkish media, and is the author of the widely acclaimed report “No Place to Call Home: Experiences of Apostates from Islam and Failures of the International Community,” published by Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

This lecture is part of the Center for Religious Freedom’s fall series on “Lifting the Theocratic Iron Curtain: Examining the Application of Muslim Blasphemy and Apostasy Rules in the Contemporary World”

Please RSVP to bkerley@hudson.org by 5:00 P.M. on Friday, October 2 if you wish to attend.  Anyone not registered will not be admitted.

Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center
Hudson Institute
1015 15th Street, NW
Sixth Floor

Washington, D.C. 20005