Before coming to SFU in 2007, Moustafa completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of Washington, and held an assistant professorship at University of Wisconsin. He’s held fellowships both at Princeton University and in the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School, where he established an “Islamic Law and Society” collaborative research network with Dr. Intisar Rabb.
Moustafa, who holds the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Cultural Change, says his interest in politics came at an early age. Growing up in California, he explains that he became curious about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and found in himself a persistent interest in discussing politics. But it was during his undergraduate years at the University of California, San Diego, when he became deeply engaged in an academic treatment of politics in the Middle East.
While his first book focused on Egyptian politics and law, Moustafa’s current work is focused on the politics of Islamic law in Malaysia. In particular, Moustafa examines the various ways that the Malaysian state has manipulated the Islamic legal tradition to strengthen its grip on power; yet he simultaneously explains that progressive activists engage the same legal tradition to frustrate these efforts and to push for progressive change.