Educated at the Universities of London, King's College, Nottingham, and Derby Dr Williams, who is a priest in the Church of England, has previously taught Religious and Islamic Studies at the universities of Chester, Derby, and Birmingham City University. His doctoral research focused upon contemporary perceptions of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib amongst Sunni and Twelver Shi'a traditions in the UK. He has published and given papers at international academic conferences on his second doctoral research into the work of a modern Turkish Religio-Social Movement associated with Hojaeffendi Fethullah Gulen [b. 1937] with a global network of schools and universities, media, relief agency and inter-religious dialogue activities.
Currently, Dr Williams is completing a book entitled Ali ibn Abu Talib: A Study in Meanings and Semiotics in British Islam for publication this year.
Recent publications and papers include amongst others:
- "Relics and Reliquaries: Signs and Semiotics in contemporary UK Islam.", in Peter Collins & Elizabeth Arweck, eds Texts and Religious Contexts, London, Ashgate. 2006.
- "The Vision of Education within pluralistic societies in the thought of Fethullah Gulen: A study of contrasts between faith sector and non-denominational education in the UK, Turkey and the USA" in Yilmaz & Williams [ed's] Peace and Coexistence. Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University Press 2008
- "A Resort out of Radicalism in the World the Gülen Movement's Way of Resolution" in Sekiniz, A & Erol, M. Qasim The Gülen Movement in Contemporary Perspectives, Vilnius Pedagogical University Press. 2010.
- The influence and presence of the Turkish Sunni Nurcu Movement of Hojaeffendi Fethullah Gülen in the UK’ in Gabriel, Theodore [ed] British Sufism, London, Continuum Press 2012.
- “Now we see through a glass darkly”: the Theologies of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’s Art and Stained Glass 1848 – 1899. Pre-Raphaelite Review Summer 2012
- “Ours is not a caravan of despair”: the influence and presence of the Turkish Sunni Nurcu Movement of Hojaeffendi Fethullah Gülen in the UK’ in Jackson, Roy & Geaves, Ron [eds] British Sufism London, Bloomsbury Press 2014
Alongside his research and writing, Dr Williams' enthusiasms include inter-faith dialogue, theatre, choral music, hill walking, Turkish cuisine, and hazardous travel!
• Historical and Contemporary expressions of Sufism
• Faith Sector Education in the UK and Europe
• Research Methodologies in the study of Religio-Social movements
• Material Religion
• Contemporary Turkish Islam and its implications for a European Muslim Identity
• Christian-Muslim Inter-Religious Dialogue