Olivier Roy (professor)

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Olivier Roy (born 1949) is a French professor. He works at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.


Roy received an "Agrégation" in Philosophy and a Master's in Persian language and civilization in 1972 from the French Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales. In 1996, he received his PhD in Political Science from the IEP.


He was previously a research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a lecturer for both the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (IEP).

From 1984 to 2008, he consulted with the French Foreign Ministry. In 1988, Roy served as a United Nations Office for Coordinating Relief in Afghanistan (UNOCA) consultant. Beginning in August 1993, Roy served as special Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) representative to Tajikistan until February 1994, at which time he was selected as head of the OSCE mission to Tajikistan, a position he held until October 1994.

Roy is the author of books on Iran, Islam and Asian politics. These works include Globalized Islam: The search for a new ummah, Today's Turkey: A European State? and The Illusions of September 11. He also serves on the editorial board of the academic journal Central Asian Survey.

His best-known book, L'Echec de l'Islam politique (1992) (The Failure of Political Islam) (1994), is a standard text for students of political Islam.

Roy wrote widely on the 2005 civil unrest in France, rebutting the suggestion that the violence was religiously inspired.

His book Secularism Confronts Islam (Columbia, 2007) offers a perspective on the place of Islam in secular society and looks at the diverse experiences of Muslim immigrants in the West. Roy examines how Muslim intellectuals have made it possible for Muslims to live in a secularized world while maintaining the identity of a "true believer."

In 2010 he published "Holy Ignorance, When Religion and Culture Part Ways" an analysis of religion, ethnicity and culture and the results when these part ways.




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