Skip to Content

College of Arts and Sciences

Islam and free expression

Turkish journalist to give Barnes Symposium lecture

Free speech and expression are timely topics in the political climate worldwide, and a visiting scholar will explore current issues through the lens of Islam.

Turkish journalist and author Mustafa Akyol will lead a public discussion on free expression in Islam and the importance of interfaith dialogue during a visit to the University of South Carolina on Feb. 8 and 9 as part the annual Rudolph C. Barnes Sr. Symposium on Law and Morality.

“A lot of the questions that critics of Islam raise are the same questions that Mustafa is touching on—freedom of religion and Islam, freedom of speech, various issues about Muslim individuals’ rights to say what they want and to enter and leave the faith as they want,” says Noah Gardiner, visiting professor of Islamic studies in the College of Arts and Sciences’ religious studies department.

Gardiner, who helped organize this year’s Barnes Symposium, said Akyol’s talk will appeal to anyone interested in journalism, political science, religious studies and scholarship about the overall public sphere.

Joining Akyol in the discussion will be Hamid Khan of the University of South Carolina Rule of Law Collaborative, Noah Gardiner and Stephanie Mitchem of the religious studies department, and attorney and community organizer Rudy Barnes, Jr. After taking questions from the panelists, Akyol will take questions from the audience.

On Friday, Feb. 9, Akyol and Barnes will lead a community discussion focused on promoting interfaith dialogue in South Carolina. The event will be at 10 a.m. at the USC Wesley Foundation Methodist Student Network Building and is free and open to the public. There is also a free lunch with Akyol for USC undergraduates only, and and limited spots areavailable. Students interested in attending the lunch should email

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.