My academic work explores issues in religion, state and society relationships, with special emphasis on matters of religion or belief, discrimination and equality, human rights and freedom of religion or belief, especially in the UK and Europe. My other key areas of interest are religions and statistics, inter-religious and inter-convictional dialogue, the teaching of the Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen, and the development and practice of the Hizmet movement inspired by his teaching. Much of my professional work in these areas has been within a broadly ‘Religious Studies’ approach, utilising a range of social scientific methods. I also work more theologically on the contemporary interpretation and application of Baptist Christian theological traditions of freedom and witness.
As an undergraduate, I read Theology (BA, 1997; MA, 1981) at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, followed by postgraduate studies in Social and Pastoral Theology at the University of Manchester (MPhil, 1988), and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds (PhD, 1996). I also hold a Certificate in Education, Further and Higher Education (1992) from the Council for National Academic Awards/Derbyshire College of Higher Education, and a Managing Safely Certificate (2006) from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
In 2009, I received a DLitt from the University of Derby for ‘distinguished contribution to inter-religious dialogue and pluralism in the changing religious landscape of the United Kingdom’. Alongside my part-time College post, I am Emeritus Professor of the University of Derby, and part-time Professor in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University.
“Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
- Ed. with O. Sener and F. Sleap, Dialogue Theories 2 (London: The Dialogue Society, 2016)
- With K. Purdam, N. Ghanea and S. Cheruvallil-Contractor, Religion or Belief, Discrimination and Equality: Britain in Global Contexts (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)
- With G. Barton and I. Yilmaz, The Muslim World and Politics in Transition: Creative Contributions of the Gülen Movement (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)
- With T. Hooley and N. Moore, Religion and Belief in Higher Education: The Experiences of Staff and Students (London: Equality Challenge Unit, London, 2011)
- Religious Discrimination in Britain: A Review of Research Evidence, 2000-2010, Equality and Human Rights Research Report No. 73 (Manchester: Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2011)
- A Mirror for our Times: ‘The Rushdie Affair’ and the Future of Multiculturalism (London: Continuum, 2009)
- Religious Diversity in the UK: Contours and Issues (London: Continuum, 2008)
- Ed., Religions in the UK: A Directory, 2007-10 (Derby: University of Derby in association with the Multi-Faith Centre, 2007)
- Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (London, T. & T. Clark, 2005)
- With A. Feldman and K. Purdam, Religious Discrimination in England and Wales, Home Office Research Study 220 (London: Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, The Home Office, 2001)