Jonas Slaats studied philosophy and anthropology (Comparative Sciences of Cultures) at the University of Ghent and Religious Sciences at the University of Louvain. Ever since, he’s been active in various sorts of local and international peace work—often with a distinct focus on cultural and religious diversity. For example, he’s worked as the coordinator of the Expertise Centre on Islamic Cultures in Flanders, he’s been a board member of the European branch of United Religions Initiative, a worldwide network of interreligious grass roots organisations, and a researcher at Kif Kif, Belgian’s largest grassroots anti-racist movement in Belgium. He currently teaches teaches classes on ethics, spirituality and religion at the KDG University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Antwerp.
Combining his academic background with his experience in social work and journalism, he initiated the Halal Monk project, an interfaith web project that presented various dialogues with influential scholars, artists and activists from the Islamic world. The most important interviews of the project were gathered in the book Soefi’s, punkers en poëten: Een christen op reis door de islam, which won the 2015 Belgian Religious Book of the Year audience award.
Jonas continued to research several topics on the crossroads of religion, mysticism and politics, resulting in op-eds & articles in both mainstream Belgian media (such as De Morgen, Knack and De Standaard) and niche media (such as MO*, Kif Kif, Nieuwwij and Volzin.) His latest book publications include Fast Food Fatwa’s: over islam, moderniteit en geweld (Fast Food Fatwas: about Islam, modernity and violence), Revisioning Sufism and Religie Herzien: voorbij het wij-zij denken van religie van seculier versus religieus. (Revisioning Religion: beyond the us-and-them thinking of secular versus religious). His English writings are often published under the pseudonym ‘Jonas Atlas’.