SIMON STAFFELL is a British diplomat currently serving in the British Embassy in Washington DC. He is also Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's Department of Foreign Service. He has a PhD in political science (University of Sheffield), and has specialised in international diplomacy, counter-terrorism, the Middle East, Islamic studies and political Islam. In 2016 he edited and contributed to the book Jihadism Transformed: Al-Qaeda and Islamic State's Global Battle of Ideas (published in US by Oxford University Press and in the UK by Hurst). As well as various senior UK government roles in London and travel throughout the Muslim world he was previously posted to Cairo, where he lived through the tumultuous events between 2012 and 2014.

Prior to joining government Simon was a teacher and founded a college programme in Sheffield for the study of Islam and the philosophy of religion. His life-changing experiences as a non-Muslim teaching Islam to Muslim students form the chapters of his new book, Learning Islam. This book will be essential reading to inform general readers, as well as policy makers, students, teachers, academics, civil servants, politicians and journalists about Islam and Muslim communities, and to provoke debate and debunk common myths and preconceptions. The book argues that so much of popular misunderstanding about Islam is due to a lack of real effort to engage with and understand young Muslims in the West.