Mehdi Khalaji in 2009
September 21, 1973
|Occupation||Writer, Islamic scholar, translator|
Mehdi Khalaji (Persian: مهدی خلجی, (born 21 September 1973) is an Iranian-American writer, scholar of Islamic studies and political analyst. He has been researching at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy since 2005, and is now a senior research fellow focusing on the politics of Iran and Shiite groups in the Middle East. He has frequently contributed to major media outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. He became an American citizen in 2011.
Education and career
A native from Qom, the center for Shi'a scholarship in Iran, Khalaji studied Islamic theology in Qom seminary, and Philosophy in Tarbiat Modarres University, which is one of the country's leading Teacher Training Institutes.
From 1986 to 2000, Khalaji trained in the seminaries of Qom, the traditional center of Iran's clerical establishment. There he studied theology and jurisprudence, earning a doctorate and thoroughly researched on modern intellectual and philosophical-political developments in Iran and the wider Islamic and Western worlds. In Qom, and later in Tehran, Khalaji launched a career in journalism, first serving on the editorial board of a theological journal, Naqd va Nazar, and then the daily Entekhab. In addition to his own writing, he has translated the works of the Islamic humanist scholar Muhammad Arkoun and other modernist Muslim intellectuals.
In 1993, Khalaji became a contributor to Kiyan monthly magazine, which at the time was the main voice of religious intellectuals in Iran.
In 2000, Khalaji moved to Paris where he studied Shiite theology and exegesis in the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He also worked for BBC Persian as a political analyst on Iranian affairs, eventually becoming a broadcaster for the Prague-based Radio Farda, the Persian-language service of the U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. At Radio Farda, he produced news, features, and analysis on a range of Middle Eastern, Iranian, and Islamic issues.
In 2005, Mehdi Khalaji became a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on the politics of Iran and Shiite groups in the Middle East. A Shiite theologian by training, Khalaji has also served on the editorial boards of two prominent Iranian periodicals and produced for the BBC as well as the U.S. government's Persian news service. He is a frequent contributor in PolicyWatch and PeaceWatch segments submitted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has participated in many panels including one in November 2006 when he appeared on a panel run by American Foreign Policy Council, titled "Understanding the Iranian Threat", along with James Woolsey, Ilan Berman, and Patrick Clawson. He is a writer and contributor for numerous English-language and Persian-language media entities. He also teaches Persian-language webinars on Quran'ic interpretation for Tavaana: E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society.
Arrest of father
In January 2010, Mehdi Khalaji’s father, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji, was arrested in Iran.
- Apocalyptic Politics: On the Rationality of Iranian Politics
- Through the Veil: The Role of Broadcasting in U.S. Public Diplomacy toward Iranians
- The Last Marja: Sistani and the End of Traditional Religious Authority in Shiism
- Natani (novel in Persian, published in Berlin by Nashr-e Gardoon)
- The New Order of the Clerical Establishment in Iran: Nazm-e Novin-e Rohaniat Dar Iran (Persian Edition)(Amazon link)
- The Islamic Propagation Office of the Islamic Seminary of Qom
- Experts. Mehdi Khalaji, Senior Fellow
- "Mehdi Khalaji". Tavaana. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
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