Geneive Abdo

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Geneive Abdo (2011)

Geneive Abdo (born 1960) is a journalist, scholar and author of several books on the Middle East and the Muslim World. She is currently a nonresident fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution and a fellow in the Middle East program at the Stimson Center think tank.


Abdo previously worked at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, a project created under former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to defuse tension between Western and Islamic societies. From 2001 to 2002, Abdo was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and received the John Simon Guggenheim award.[1] From 1998 to 2001, Abdo was the Iran correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian and a regular contributor to The Economist and the International Herald Tribune. She was the first American journalist to be based in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Abdo is the author of No God But God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam (2000), Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11, (2006), the monograph The New Sectarianism (Saban Center for Middle East Policy, 2013), and co-author of Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-First Century Iran (2003). No God But God documents the social and political transformation of Egypt into an Islamic society and details leading figures and events responsible for giving moderate Islamists in Egypt enormous social and political power. Answering Only to God seeks to explain the theological struggle in Iran among the Shiite clerics and how it has led to political stagnation. Mecca and Main Street explores the changing identity among American Muslims as they struggle to keep true to their faith while deciding to what degree they will integrate into American society. The analysis paper The New Sectarianism, deals with Shia–Sunni relations post-Arab uprisings.[2][3][4]

Abdo’s commentaries and essays on Islam have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Quarterly, The New Republic, Newsweek, The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN, and Middle East Report. She has been a commentator on CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the Oprah Winfrey show, Al Jazeera, PBS, and other radio and television services.[2]

She lecturers frequently at universities and think tanks in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.[2]


Abdo has denounced the "secular Muslim agenda" she believes is promoted by some in America and Europe "because these ideas reflect a Western vision for the future of Islam." While many Westerners are ignorant of the Islamic revival, "in Britain, a growing number of Muslims advocate creating a court system based upon Islamic principles." [5] She has also warned that Islam is "separate but unequal" in American society, which has yet to "make room" for the "potent cultural and religious force" of Islam.[6] Abdo has strongly condemned the assassinations of nuclear scientists in Iran, and when asked about the claim of Iranian leadership that the bombs that damaged Israeli embassies February 13, 2012 had been planted by Israel itself, she replied that this was "entirely possible".[7]

Personal life[edit]

Abdo was born in Texas, USA to a Lebanese Maronite family.[8] She is married to Tilman Bender and lives in Washington, D.C.


  • No God but God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam (Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-First Century Iran (With Jonathan Lyons) (Henry Holt, 2003)
  • Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2006)[9]
  • The New Sectarianism (Brookings Institution. Saban Center for Middle East Policy, 2013)


  1. ^ "Geneive Abdo". Brookings. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Geneive Abdo". Stimson.Org. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Geneive Abdo". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Geneive Abdo". The Globalist.Com. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Abdo, Geneive (March 17, 2007). "A More Islamic Islam". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Abdo, Geneive (Autumn 2005). "Islam in America: Separate but Unequal". The Washington Quarterly. 
  7. ^ HALL, ELEANOR. "Israel-Iran tension level 'most dangerous' in decades". February 14, 2012. Australian Broadcast Corporation. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Moayedian, Ali. "Interview with Geneive Abdo and Jonathan Lyons, authors of Answering only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-First-Century Iran". July 11, 2003. Payvand Iran News. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Geneive Abdo". Good Reads.Com. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 

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