Dr. Muhamad Ali is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and of SEATRIP at the University of California at Riverside. Ali received his B.A. in Islamic Studies from the State Islamic University (Indonesia), a M.Sc. from the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, the University of Edinburgh, in Islam and politics in Indonesia and Egypt. He obtained his Ph.D. in History (Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the World) from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa (2007). His dissertation examines the varying impacts of Dutch, British, and Japanese colonial powers on the production and transmission of knowledge in Islamic sermons, edicts, and curricula in colonial Indonesia and Malaysia. He was also a fellow at the East-West Center focusing on ethnic conflict in Southeast Asia and took courses on International Cultural Studies.
He attended global education workshop at the National University of Singapore in 2005, spoke on interfaith dialogue in various countries, and became a trainer on Islam in Southeast Asia for high school teachers in the U.S. His recent publications include two books Multicultural-Pluralist Theology (Kompas, 2003) and Bridging Islam and the West: An Indonesia View (Ushul Press, 2009), articles on women and jihad at the Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Culture (Brill, 2004), the fatwas on interfaith marriage in Indonesia at Studia Islamika: Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies, on the Liberal Islam Network in Indonesia in the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (2005), on the Transmission of Islamic knowledge in The Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (2006), on Categorizing Muslims in Postcolonial Indonesia in Moussons (Paris, 2007), review essays in the Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asia, and a book chapter on Islam in Southeast Asia in a Danish publication (2008), among others. He has taught the Qur’an exegesis, Islam and International Relations, Orientalism, and Muslim Politics, and is now teaching Asian religions, Islam in Southeast Asia, and Understanding the Qur’an.
Among his teaching interests are Religions in Southeast Asia, religion and politics, and Modern Thought in Islam. His research interests include Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic social movements and politics, comparative Muslim societies, religious pluralism, and Islam in Southeast Asia. He knows Arabic, English, French, and Dutch, apart from his native Indonesian/Malay.
He has received a number of awards, including Distinguished Service Award for commitment and contributions to the East-West Center Community, East-West Center, Walter Vella Prize for Original Research in Primary Sources, Walter Vella Prize for the Best Paper in Southeast Asian Studies, Taraknath Das Prize for the Best Graduate Paper in Asian History, and Moscotti Award for the Best Paper in Southeast Asian Studies. He also received fellowships from the Department of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, British Chevening Awards, East-West Center Graduate Fellowship, Ford Foundation Fellowship, and The Toyota Foundation Southeast Asian National Research Grant Program (SEANRP).