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Sirico Parables book

In the past few decades, grim news from the Muslim world has raised an important question in the West: Is Islam a religion compatible with the idea of individual freedom? Does Islam allow, for example, Muslims to change their religion, or critics of the faith to express their thoughts? Does it treat non-Muslims or women as equal human beings? Does it merely propose itself, or rather impose itself?

These are legitimate questions, as Islam’s legal tradition includes many elements of religious coercion, supremacism and even violence. However, reformist trends in Islam reinterpret religious law by referring to the moral teachings at its core. The result is an intellectual battle going on in the Muslim world, where some of the faithful condemn freedom as a Western invention while others praise it as Allah’s blessing. Come join us for a lecture and conversation on this fascinating topic.

Group discounts for schools and other organizations available.
Register and pre-pay for 4 lectures and get the 5th free. Call 616.454.3080 to order.


This lecture will be livestreamed @ 12 noon on April 25 for those who cannot join in person.

Mustafa Akyol
Mustafa Akyol
The Cato Institute

Senior Fellow

Mustafa Akyol is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, where he focuses on the intersection of public policy, Islam, and modernity. A Turkish journalist and author, he is a regular contributing opinion writer for the New York Timessince 2013, and has been a regular opinion columnist for Turkish publications such as Hurriyet Daily News, and for the Middle-East focused

Akyol is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom.” The book was longlisted for the 2012 Lioner Gelber Prize, and has been published in Turkish, Malay and Indonesian. (It was subsequently banned in Malaysia in 2017 after Akyol’s short arrest by the country’s “religious police” merely because Akyol delivered a public lecture defending religious freedom.) He is also the author of The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims and of six books in Turkish, including Rethinking the Kurdish Question.

Over the past two decades, Akyol’s articles have also appeared in a wide range of other publications such as The Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalThe AtlanticForeign AffairsForeign Policy,NewsweekFirst ThingsThe Weekly StandardThe Financial TimesThe London TimesThe GuardianThe Washington Times, and The Forward. He has appeared frequently on CNN, BBC, NPR, and Al-Jazeera English, and on prominent TV shows such at Fareed Zakaria GPS and HARDtalk. His TED talk on “Faith versus Tradition in Islam” has been watched by more than a million viewers.

Before joining the Cato Institute, between January 2017 and June 2018, Akyol was a senior visiting fellow at the Freedom Project at Wellesley College. He studied political science and history at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Event Details

Start Date


Acton Institute | Mark Murray Auditorium
98 E. Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
United States


11:30 a.m. Doors open
12:00 p.m. Lecture begins
12:30 p.m. Q&A
1:00 p.m. Lecture ends


$15 General | $10 Student
Includes box lunch and beverage

(Please RSVP at least 48 hours in advance to guarantee a box lunch.)

Group discounts for schools and other organizations available.
Register and pre-pay for 4 lectures and get the 5th free. Call 616.454.3080 to order.


Directions to the Acton Institute

Metered street parking is available. Please bring sufficient change with you for meters or pay for parking with the Motu Parking app on your smartphone (iOS and Android). 

Paid parking lots are also available nearby. Please enter building off of Sheldon Blvd.

Map showing nearby parking.pdf

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