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Charles Kurzman Discusses Liberal Versus Radical Islamic Views

September 5, 2005

DELAWARE, OHIO -- Charles Kurzman, author and professor, will visit Ohio Wesleyan University as part of the Sagan National Colloquium series on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. in OWU’s Benes Room in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center (40 Rowland Avenue). Kurzman, the first of many lecturers for the Colloquium, will speak on "Liberal Islam versus Radical Islam, Four Years after 9/11." He will explore critical issues within Islamic societies, which coincide with this year’s Colloquium theme of "The United States and the Islamic World: Challenges and Prospects."

A professor of sociology and Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran (2004), Kurzman will discuss the two sides of Islamic views and their impact not only within Islam, but throughout the globe. The September 11, 2001 attacks have only sharpened an ongoing debate among Muslims about the future of Islamic societies. One side believes in democracy, gender equality and multireligious co-existence while the other side believes these views are un-Islamic and both sides can cite Islamic scholars and sacred sources in support of their positions. Which side is winning this debate?

An editor of anthologies on Liberal Islam (1998) and Modernist Islam (2002), and co-editor of An Islamic Reformation? (2004), Kurzman has served as a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and has received research grants from the National Science Foundation and several private foundations. Kurzman suggests that Muslim liberal ideals are more popular than their radical extremist counterparts, despite the resentful attitude of many Muslims about the role of the United States and Western cultural influences on the Middle East.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sagan National Colloquium at Ohio Wesleyan. All lectures are free of charge and open to the public. For more information, please visit http://snc.owu.edu or call 740-368-3995.