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Release: Oct. 1, 2001

UI hosts Oct. 8 discussion on connections between religion, politics, violence

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America raise questions about the connections between religion, politics, and violence. To explore these issues, the School of Religion at the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is hosting a discussion, "Religion, Politics, and Violence: Toward Understanding September 11," on Monday, Oct. 8 from 7-9 p.m. in the Terrace Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Brief presentations by faculty will be followed by an hour of questions and discussion. Panelists and their topics include: Reza Aslan, visiting professor of religion, speaking about Islam and the Middle East; Thomas A. Lewis, assistant professor of religion, establishing a framework for understanding relationships between religion, politics, and violence; Fred Smith, associate professor of religion and Asian languages and literatures, speaking about religion and politics in India and Pakistan; and Richard B. Turner, associate professor of religion and African-American world studies, speaking about Islam in the U.S., and in particular among African-Americans.

David Klemm, director of the School of Religion, said the forum seeks to provide a broad context for understanding Sept. 11 by examining the diverse interactions among religion, politics, and violence in the Middle East, as well as elsewhere around the world in South Asia, Latin America, and the United States. He said questions to be raised at the discussion include: How are religion and politics connected? Can and should they be separated? And how do religion and politics give rise both to violence and to movements of non-violence?