On April 26th, 2007, from 5:00-7:00 PM, the Penn Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty (PASEF) and the Penn Middle East Center sponsored a round table discussion on Islam with emphasis on Iraq and Iran. This event took place in the Wu-Chen Auditorium of Levine Hall.
The round table brought together four distinguished specialists:
|Dr. Phebe Marr, the author of "The Modern History Of Iraq", and most recently "Iraq's New Political Map" (United States Institute of Peace, Jan. 2007). Dr. Marr was a consultant to The Iraq Study Group co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton.|
|Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, a Penn graduate and Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion at Temple University, the author of "The Crisis of Muslim History: Religion and Politics in Early Islam" and the continuing series, "The Qur'an and Its Interpreters".|
|Dr. Hamid Dabashi, a Penn graduate and Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Among his best-known books are "Authority in Islam" and "Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran". His most recently published book (2007) is "Iran: A People Interrupted".|
|Dr. Thomas Naff, Professor Emeritus, Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania will moderate the round table. Dr. Naff is the author of "Can there be Confluence? A Comparative Consideration of Western and Islamic Fresh Water Law" (2000) and "Islamic Law and the Politics of Water" (including "An Historical Evolution of Islamic Law)" (2007).|
The program was well attended by about 50 members of the university community and the public, including students from West Philadelphia Catholic High School.
Left to right: Hamid Dabashi, Mahmoud Ayoub, Thomas Naff, Phebe Marr
The roundtable proceeded by means of the moderator asking each panelist a different two-part question on a basic dimension of Islamic religion and politics. When all the panelists had stated their views on the questions, the discussion was opened to the audience in a lively hour-long question and answer period, at the end of which both the audience and panelists were canvassed by means of a show of hands about their assessment of Iraq's chances for achieving a functional level of security and stability within the next three or four years. The speakers and audience were united in their pessimism.
As a aid to those who attended the event with a view to learning about Islam, PASEF arranged to have prepared a series of brief summary introductions to some of the basic themes discussed by the panel. To see these summaries together with a glossary of terms prepared by Dr. Naff, click HERE .
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