Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts How We Misunderstand Islam


How We Misunderstand Islam

| Middle East Program

About the Event

Samuel HelfontSam Helfont, an FPRI Robert A. Fox Fellow, has written a series of essays that explore the differences betweenIslam and Islamism, between Sunni and Shi’a Islam, and between the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and the theology of Wahhabism. Together these essays go far to correct widespread misperceptions about Islam.  In this session, Ron Granieri will explore with Sam Helfont what Americans think they know about Islam and what they should know. 

In May 2015, Helfont completed a PhD in Princeton University’s Near Eastern Studies Department, where he wrote his dissertation on Saddam Hussein’s use of religion to entrench his authoritarian regime, based on captured Ba'th Party and Iraqi state records. Helfont is the author of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi: Islam and Modernity  (The Moshe Dayan Center/Tel Aviv University Press, 2009) and the FPRI monograph, The Sunni Divide: Understanding Politics and Terrorism in the Arab Middle East. He has written widely in publications such as Foreign AffairsThe Middle East JournalOrbisThe New Republic, and The American Interest.

Suggested Readings in Advance of the Program

Islam and Islamism: A Primer for Teachers and Students

The Geopolitics of the Sunni-Shi’i Divide

Politics, Terrorism and the Sunni Divide

Important Program Note: The February session of Geopolitics with Granieri will take place at FPRI in the usual format.  We will not move the program to BNY Mellon until March, contrary to our printed calendar that you should have just received by snail mail. 



123 S. Broad St, Suite 1920
Philadelphia. PA. US. 19109


  • Live attendance is open to FPRI Members at the $100 Level;
  • Luncheon immediately following the program is open to FPRI Members at the $500 level.

Reservations are required. RSVP:
For more information contact 215 732 3774, ext 200 or

Attendance via the Web open to all FPRI Members.
For more information about becoming a member of FPRI, click here.


Samuel Helfont

Samuel Helfont - Samuel Helfont is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Middle East Program, and an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy at the Naval War College's program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.