ACMCU book talk: "Iran Divided" with Shireen Hunter
November 5, 2014. Iranian politics has been marked by sharp ideological divisions and infighting. These divides, kept largely out of public view until the 1990s, came to greater light with the contested 2009 presidential elections. To explain the diverse and complex forces that led to this event and that animate Iran’s current fractured society and polity, author Shireen T. Hunter looks beyond the battle between the forces of reform and reaction, democracy and dictatorship, and considers the historic forces that created the conditions faced by Iran since the revolution. Iran Divided: The Historical Roots of Iranian Debates on Identity, Culture, and Governance in the 21st Century explains historical and political factors and their relevance to Iran today, shedding light on the forces behind Iranian politics and society.
"Boko Haram, ISIS and the Caliphate Today" with Shadi Hamid, Emad Shahin, and Alex Thurston
October 14, 2014. ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria continue to use an overlapping language of political Islam and references to the caliphate and the Shariah. This event brought together experts on the Middle East, Islamic political thought and Islam in West Africa to help explain these confusing phenomena.
“Christian-Muslim Relations: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
April 29, 2014. Co-sponsored with Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs. Christian-Muslim (and Jewish) relations have existed for as long as Islam has been on the scene of history. There have been periods of fruitful cooperation and dialogue, as well as times of serious conflict and struggle. There is much to learn from the past as we address contemporary issues and also as we try and identify what the future holds for us. Will those who want division and mutual isolation triumph over those who wish informed conversation and friendship, whilst maintaining the distinctives of each faith? The lecture covered these and other topics.
“Vying for Allah’s Vote: Rising Political Islam, Causes and Consequences” with Haroon Kaleem Ullah
April 23, 2014. Religion, politics, and policy are inextricably linked in Pakistan, and together tied to Pakistan's relationship with the United States. Pakistan embarked on its first democratic transition of power last year. The success of this experiment will hinge on how well Islamic parties-who are showing their strength within the political landscape-can contribute to civilian rule, shun violence, and mobilize support for political reform. However, these parties are diverse in their policy goals and political intentions and cannot be painted with a broad brush, as often occurs in the United States. Dr. Haroon Ullah provided a look at the rise of political Islam in Pakistan and in the Arab Spring and how understanding these internal dynamics can help shape better bilateral relations.
“Understanding American Muslims Using Survey Data” with Dr. Besheer Mohamed.
In recent years there have been a number of efforts to survey the American Muslim population. This presentation highlighted some of the questions that this sort of data can answer and some new questions the existing research raises.
“The Endangered Promise of Pakistan: Democracy and Islam in the first Islamic Republic” with Shahan Mufti
April 2, 2014. In 1956, nine years after it appeared on the world map as a nation state, Pakistan passed its first national constitution that declared the country an “Islamic republic.” It was the first state in the world to take on that title. The constitution described the country as a “democratic state” that would be guided by “principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam.” Six decades later, this Pakistani promise to bridge and reconcile the ideals of Islam and western democracy appears more imperiled than ever, at a time when the United States’ involvement in the country is deeper and more complex than ever before. Shahan Mufti addressed this political autoimmune disorder in the context of his reporting from post-9/11 Pakistan and focused on the period since 2007, when the former President Pervez Musharraf began to lose his grip on power.