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Zeyneb Sayilgan, Ph.D.

Muslim Scholar


Zeyneb Sayilgan, Ph.D., is the Muslim Scholar at ICJS, where her research centers around Islamic theology and spirituality, Christian-Muslim relations, and the intersection of religion and migration. Her personal experience of growing up in Germany as a child of Kurdish Muslim immigrants from Turkey informs her academic work and engagement in interreligious learning. Sayilgan is an affiliated faculty at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and also a Fellow Emerita in Peace and Reconciliation at its Center for Anglican Communion Studies. She also taught at The Catholic University of America and The Washington Theological Consortium. From 2010-2014, Sayilgan was appointed as a residential chaplain at Georgetown University where she advised students from all and no faith backgrounds. She has a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies from Georgetown University, a Master’s degree from Hartford Seminary in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, and a B.A/M.A. in Islamic Studies and Public Law from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. She co-edited The Companion to Said Nursi Studies (2018) and Faithful Neighbors: Christian-Muslim Vision & Practice (2016). In 2019, Sayilgan was awarded the First Book Grant for Scholars of Color by the Louisville Institute. Her current work is a book, Islam and Immigration: Theological Insights from the Qur’an, which articulates a religious discourse on immigration based on Islam’s Holy Scripture.

  • Islamic Theology and Spirituality
  • Islam in Europe
  • Christian-Muslim Relations
  • Religion and Migration
Work in Progress


Book, Islam and Immigration: Theological Insights from the Qur’an (Under contract with Baylor University Press)



5 Things Lent and Ramadan Have in Common,” in U.S. Catholic magazine, March 2024.


The Muslim Mary: A Symbol of Devotion, Virtue, and Hope,” in Covenant, March 12, 2024.


Ramadan: Drei Gründe, warum wir den Fastenmonat schätzen können, (Ramadan: Three reasons why we can appreciate the month of fasting), MIGAZIN, March 7, 2024.


Islamic Creation Theology and the Human Being as Migrant,” in The Meaning of My Neighbor’s Faith: Interreligious Reflections on Immigration, Alexander Y. Hwang and Laura Alexander, eds. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2019.


The Companion to Said Nursi Studies, co-edited with Ian S.Markham, Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2017.


Faithful Neighbors: Christian-Muslim Vision & Practice, co-edited with Robert S. Heaney and Claire Haymes, New York, NY: Morehouse Publishing, 2016.


Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Ethics of Non-Violence: Implications for Christian – Muslim Relations Today,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 50:3, (Fall 2011): 242- 252.


Meine kosmische Identität: Eine migrantische Lesart des Koran, MIGAZIN, 2013.


Die Hadsch: Sinnbild einer spirituellen Migration,” MIGAZIN, 2013.