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Mohammed Dajani, Maverick Palestinian Scholar and Campaigner against Extremism, Rejoins Washington Institute

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, a Palestinian scholar and founder of the Wasatia movement of moderate Islam, has rejoined The Washington Institute, the organization announced today.

Dr. Dajani will be the Institute’s new Weston Fellow, named in honor of Institute benefactors Josh and Judy Weston of Montclair, New Jersey. He had previously been a visiting scholar from May to August 2012. His research will focus on building moderate Muslim alternatives to radical religious-based politics. 

“Mohammed is a rare, courageous voice willing to speak out boldly in support of a culture of moderation in both religion and politics,” said Executive Director Robert Satloff, who is also the Howard P. Berkowitz Chair in U.S. Middle East Policy. "We are deeply honored to have him back at The Washington Institute and to give him a platform from which to express his much-needed ideas.”

The former head of the American Studies Program at al-Quds University in Jerusalem, he became the target of controversy last year when he led a group of Palestinian students on a historic visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, ultimately leading to protests by faculty and his resignation from the school. Just last month, Dr. Dajani’s personal car was torched by unknown assailants in Jerusalem.

A Jerusalem-born scholar from one of the city’s most distinguished families, Dr. Dajani holds doctorate degrees from the University of Texas and University of South Carolina. He was the founding director of the Jerusalem Studies and Research Institute, chair of the board of directors of the House of Water and Environment in Ramallah, and a member of the board of directors of the YMCA, Jerusalem. He has written extensively on Arab culture and politics, including an International Herald Tribune op-ed he co-authored with Dr. Satloff titled “Why Palestinians Should Learn about the Holocaust.”

“Amid the struggle against radical Islamist extremism, finding new ways to promote empathy and moderation in the Middle East has never been more crucial," said Dajani. “I look forward to continuing my life’s work with The Washington Institute's remarkable group of scholars.”

About the Institute: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is an independent, nonpartisan research institution that advances a balanced and realistic understanding of U.S. interests in the broader Middle East. Drawing on the expertise of its fellows, the Institute promotes informed debate and scholarly research on U.S. policy in the region.

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