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God and War

Does Religion Cause Violence?

When: Saturday, April 19, 9 a.m.- 11:45 a.m.

Where: Fe Bland Forum, Santa Barbara City College West Campus

The Lowdown:

“God and War: Does Religion Cause Violence” is a provocative title for the upcoming lecture on Saturday at SBCC’s Fe Bland Forum, but it’s a question each of us may have asked quietly and privately to ourselves in recent years. And for good reason; it seems like almost every day we hear another story in the news about how religious extremism-in both East and West-has led to some form of cruelty, violence, terrorism or war.

To help us make sense of this, SBCC Adult Ed and the Santa Barbara Coalition for Global Dialogue in conjunction with the SBCC Middle East Studies Program International Conference are hosting a program that will explore some of the following questions: How do we explain the escalating belief that religious difference is the problem when the majority of Muslim leadership condemn the violence following 9/11? Why does there seem to be a rise in religious activism? How have secular politics, history and economics contributed to the misuse of religious doctrine for violent acts? What will help lay the groundwork for future trust and dialogue in order to foster hope amidst the bleak realities of current conflicts?

Not an easy set of questions to tackle, but the guest speakers who are scheduled to present are definitely up to the task:

Mark Juergensmeyer, director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies is a professor of sociology, and affiliate professor of religious studies at UCSB. He has published more than 200 articles and 20 books, including the forthcoming Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State.

Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni is a Shiite Islamic Priest, Director of the Abrahamic Initiative at the St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, and an Iraqi dissident who was imprisoned repeatedly under Saddam Hussein. He now resides in Denver, Colorado where he functions as Imam for the Islamic Center while traveling to many countries on lecture tours.

Nader Hashemi, is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the UCLA International Institute in Los Angeles and author of the forthcoming book The Great Problem of Our Time: Rethinking the Relationship between Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy.

What better way to get your weekend off to a good start, than to enrich your mind with a discussion about fostering hope, trust and dialogue in the world?

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