Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies


In Memoriam: Prof. Dr. Ruud Peters

With sadness did the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Islam (NISIS) receive the message about the passing away of our esteemed colleague, Prof. Dr. Ruud Peters.

With him we lose one of the founders in the Netherlands of the study of Islam, in particular Islamic law. His knowledge and sharp analyses made him a world-class scholar in his field.

Ruud was not only an expert in Islamic law, but he also had an eye for the social dimensions of Islam at a time when this was far from commonplace. He already drew attention to Muslim communities in the Netherlands when their presence was still hardly noticed. He was frequently asked as an expert witness in controversial court cases in the Netherlands where Muslims were tried and where his broad take on the case was extremely important.

Ruud regularly took part in the heated public debate about Islam in the Netherlands. His sharp but nuanced comments, without big words, often led Islam critics to accuse him of being biased. A judgment that makes little sense, precisely because his commentary was always based on thorough knowledge.

In the early eighties, Ruud was director of the Dutch Institute in Cairo, where he managed to develop a productive but above all pleasant working atmosphere. The RIMO that he led from 1992 to 2011 also remembers him as a connector.

Despite his name and fame far beyond the borders of the Netherlands, Ruud was an amiable and warm person who was averse to academic conventions, hierarchy, and presumptuousness. The many colleagues who devoted themselves to the study of Islam under his supervision or who attended his lectures know that he was always willing to think along. As a teacher he was able to convey tough and complex matters in an appealing way. He has made many of us enthusiastic about the versatility of the study of Islam. Until the last moment, Ruud could be found at conferences and seminars, because he too remained always enthusiastic and productive.

From its foundation in 2010, Ruud was a board member of NISIS on behalf of the University of Amsterdam for some time, and he contributed to the establishment of the institute. We are grateful to him for that.

We will certainly miss him as a colleague and as a person and wish his loved ones a lot of strength with this loss.

Staff and board of NISIS