Possibly no other group poses a more dangerous threat to the United States and certainly the Middle East than ISIS, a brutal group of terrorists, that has seized large parts of the Middle East, and committed atrocities against women and children. Their actions leave many confused about what could be the root cause of such evil. Those and other related topics will be a focus of an expert slated to give an upcoming lecture and panel discussion at Cal State Long Beach.
Mark Juergensmeyer, professor of sociology and global studies, and affiliate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), will visit CSULB on Thursday, Feb. 26, to give a talk, “Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State.” Open to the public, the talk begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Anatol Center and will cover the wide range of extremist movements in all religions up to and including ISIS.
Juergensmeyer’s visit will also include a faculty panel from 2:30-3:15 p.m. and a student panel from 3:30-5 p.m.
“While religion can be a force for peace, unfortunately it also has fueled conflicts locally and globally,” said Sophia Pandya, associate professor of religious studies at CSULB. “For example, 2014 has witnessed the worsening of the Syrian civil war and the resulting formation of the brutal movement known as the Islamic State (IS). These events alone—which are both directly tied to religion—have reshaped the geopolitical situation in the region. Too many people dismiss terrorism as “incomprehensible.”
Juergensmeyer’s work sheds light on religiously-fueled violence, to help understand what “motivates extremists to spill blood in the name of God.”
Juergensmeyer is a pioneer in the field of global studies and writes on global religion, religious violence, conflict resolution, South Asian religion and politics. He has published more than 300 articles and 20 books—many of which treat confrontations between new religious movements and the “secular,” “modern,” west—including the recent Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State.
“The defense of religion provides a cover for violence,” wrote Juergensmeyer in one of his recent online posts. “It gives moral license to something horrible that the perpetrators may have longed to do, to show the world how powerful they and their community really could be, and to demonstrate their importance in one terminal moment of violent glory. Religion doesn’t cause the violence, it is the excuse for it.”
His best-selling book, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, explains the roots of religiously-fueled violence, which is used in many courses at CSULB. That book is based on interviews with religious activists around the world—including individuals convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, leaders of Hamas and abortion clinic bombers in the United States—and was listed by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as one of the best nonfiction books of the year.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, he has been a frequent commentator in the news media, including CNN, NBC, CBS, BBC, NPR, Fox News, ABC’s Politically Incorrect and CNBC’s Dennis Miller Show.
For more information, contact Sophia Pandya by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 562-985-7982.