Hans Bertil Mattias Gardell (born 10 August 1959) is a Swedish scholar of comparative religion. He is the current holder of the Nathan Söderblom Chair of Comparative Religion at Uppsala University, Sweden. He is also the first award winner of Jan Myrdals big prize in 2009, and received The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities Award for Distinguished Research in the Humanities, the Royal Gold Medal, in 2003.
Mattias Gardell was born in Solna, Stockholm County, Sweden. He is the son of Bertil Gardell, a professor in social psychology, and the brother of writer and comedian Jonas Gardell. He earned a Ph.D. in the history of religions at Stockholm University in 1995 and became a docent in 1999. He has been working at the Department of Comparative Religion and the Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Stockholm University. He has also lived and studied in Cairo, Egypt. In March 2006 he was appointed the first holder (from 1 July 2006) of the Nathan Söderblom Chair of Comparative Religion at Uppsala University.
Gardell specializes in the study of religious extremism and religious racism in the United States, studying groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Nation of Islam, and folkish movements in Neopaganism (Odinism). Ron McVan, who collaborated with Gardell for Gods of the Blood, states that he had "once sworn an oath of brotherhood to me in my Viking hof." Gardell is partly blamed by McVan for accusations of plagiarism.
His 1995 dissertation on Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam was published in both British and American editions.
As an expert on Islamophobia, he testified as an expert witness in the Trial of Anders Behring Breivik.
Gardell is married to Edda Manga. He has nine children, Linus, Emma, Moa, Ida, Sofia, Stefan, Kim, Amanda, and Ina.
Gardell is a libertarian socialist and a known Human Rights defender. In the past he considered himself pagan and has called himself a "spiritual anarchist".
Gardell was one of eleven Swedish activists from Ship to Gaza participating in the flotilla that tried to break the Israeli embargo of the Gaza strip. Along with his wife, Gardell was aboard MV Mavi Marmara during the Israeli armed forces raid on the flotilla on the morning of 31 May 2010. He was deported from Israel and landed in Sweden on 3 June along with his wife and other Swedish participants. He told Swedish journalists "We were victims of a massive military assault ... It can not be described as anything but piracy." He also stated that the soldiers came on board with fully loaded weapons equipped with laser sights and at least four people were killed execution style.