Malise Ruthven

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Malise Walter Maitland Knox Hore-Ruthven [1] (born 14 May 1942) [2] is an Anglo-Irish academic and writer.


Born in Dublin in 1942, he earned an MA in English Literature at Cambridge University, before working as a scriptwriter with the BBC Arabic and World Service, and a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs. [3]

BBC World Service The BBCs international radio station

The BBC World Service, the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasts radio and television news, speech and discussions in more than 40 languages to many parts of the world on analogue and digital shortwave platforms, Internet streaming, podcasting, satellite, DAB, FM and MW relays. In November 2016 the BBC announced again that it would start broadcasting in additional languages including Amharic and Igbo, in its biggest expansion since the 1940s. In 2015 World Service reached an average of 210 million people a week. The English-language service broadcasts 24 hours a day.

He earned his PhD in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. Having pursued a career as a writer, journalist and teacher, he focuses his work on religion, fundamentalism, and especially Islamic affairs.[ citation needed ]

Fundamentalism usually has a religious connotation that indicates unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs. However, fundamentalism has come to be applied to a tendency among certain groups–mainly, although not exclusively, in religion–that is characterized by a markedly strict literalism as it is applied to certain specific scriptures, dogmas, or ideologies, and a strong sense of the importance of maintaining ingroup and outgroup distinctions, leading to an emphasis on purity and the desire to return to a previous ideal from which advocates believe members have strayed. Rejection of diversity of opinion as applied to these established "fundamentals" and their accepted interpretation within the group often results from this tendency.

Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.


As a writer, he wrote:

Freya Stark British explorer and writer

Dame Freya Madeline Stark, was an Anglo-Italian explorer and travel writer. She wrote more than two dozen books on her travels in the Middle East and Afghanistan as well as several autobiographical works and essays. She was one of the first non-Arabs to travel through the southern Arabian Desert.

Salman Rushdie British Indian writer

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was deemed to be "the best novel of all winners" on two separate occasions, marking the 25th and the 40th anniversary of the prize. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He combines magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations.

Professor Azim Nanji is a Kenyan-born professor of Islamic studies. From 1998 until 2008, he served as Director of The Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, England. At present, he is the Senior Associate Director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism a joint partnership between His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada.

Ruthven contributed an afterword to the most recent edition of Albert Hourani's History of the Arab Peoples , bringing that work up to date following Hourani's death. Dr Ruthven is internationally recognised for his work on Muslim thought and theology, fundamentalism, Mormonism, the social impact of religion and migration and the nexus between contemporary politics and belief. [ citation needed ]

Albert Habib Hourani was a British historian, specialising in the Middle East. He was of Lebanese descent.

Mormonism religious tradition of Mormons

Mormonism is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 30s. After Smith was killed in 1844, most Mormons followed Brigham Young on his westward journey to the area that became the Utah Territory, calling themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other sects include Mormon fundamentalism, which seeks to maintain practices and doctrines such as polygamy, and other small independent denominations. The second-largest Latter Day Saint denomination, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, since 2001 called the Community of Christ, does not describe itself as "Mormon", but follows a Trinitarian Christian restorationist theology, and considers itself Restorationist in terms of Latter Day Saint doctrine.


Malise Ruthven's book reviews have appeared in The Sunday Times , The Guardian , The Observer , The Times Literary Supplement , Prospect Magazine and The New York Review of Books (NYR). His blog for the NYR, Revolution by Latrine, won an award from the Overseas Press Club of America in April 2011.[ citation needed ]

<i>The Sunday Times</i> British weekly newspaper

The Sunday Times is the largest-selling British national newspaper in the "quality press" market category. It is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News UK, which is in turn owned by News Corp. Times Newspapers also publishes The Times. The two papers were founded independently and have been under common ownership only since 1966. They were bought by News International in 1981.

<i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.

<i>The Observer</i> weekly British newspaper, published on Sundays

The Observer is a British newspaper published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its sister papers The Guardian and The Guardian Weekly, whose parent company Guardian Media Group Limited acquired it in 1993, it takes a social liberal or social democratic line on most issues. First published in 1791, it is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.

He is a regular contributor to the NYR, where he has written articles and reviews on such topics as Al Qaeda, Islam in Europe, unanswered questions in the Lockerbie crash and the repression of gay people in Iran. He also contributes occasionally to the BBC. He used the term "Islamofascism" as early as 8 September 1990 in The Independent . In 2004, London's Prospect Magazine ranked Ruthven among the 100 top public intellectuals in the UK.[ citation needed ]


He has taught Islamic studies, cultural history and comparative religion at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, Birkbeck College, University of London, UC-San Diego, Dartmouth College (New Hampshire, USA) and Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA) [4]

He has given numerous lectures as an expert on the Middle East. He has been described by the Guardian as "one of today's most perceptive observers and historians of religion". [ citation needed ]


Malise Ruthven is the younger son of Patrick Hore-Ruthven and Pamela Margaret Fletcher. His elder brother is Grey Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie. Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, was his grandfather. He is the godson of the late Dame Freya Stark, whom his parents knew in Cairo in 1942; Ruthven published several collections of Stark's photographs. [ citation needed ]


Recorded lectures

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  1. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage 2003, vol 2, pg 1615
  2. "Birthdays", The Guardian , p. 39, 14 May 2014
  3. Oxford University Press: Islam in the World: Malise Ruthven,; accessed 23 July 2017.
  4. Malise Ruthven's profile at Oxford University Press website Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine .