Upcoming Lecture: Religious Violence

Throughout our world religious violence is a common topic in our media as well as our daily lives. On Thursday, May 12, a free lecture will be sponsored by the Santa Monica Associates, which is a private organization that produces special programs and lectures on campus.

The speaker will be Dr. Mark Jergensmeyer, director of Global and International Studies and professor of sociology and religious studies at UC Santa Barbara.

Deemed an expert in religious violence occurring across the globe, Jergensmeyer will be attempting to spread knowledge of current events to the students and general public in the Los Angeles area.

"No one who watched in horror as the twin towers of the World Trade Center crumbled into dust on September 11, 2001, could doubt that the real target of such terrorist assaults was the global power of the United States," said Jergensmeyer in his article entitled "Religious Terror and Secular State."

With more than 200 articles published as well as more than a dozen novels on the bookshelves of stores across the country, he hopes to take a different look at the events occurring not only in the Middle East, but also in our own country.

Jergensmeyer's most recently acclaimed book, "Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence," contains numerous interviews with convicted felons connected with such events as the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the abortion clinic bombers in years past.

He has been attempting to try and truly understand why these tragedies are occurring as opposed to simply finding a person, race or group to blame.

"'Those involved have said as much," said Jergensmeyer. "Mahmood Abouhalima, one of the al-Qaeda related activists who was convicted for his role in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. He told me in a prison interview that buildings such as these were chosen in order to dramatically demonstrate that 'the government is the enemy,'" said Jergensmeyer.

Jergensmeyer has held numerous positions in the past including chair of the Pacific Rim Research Program, dean of the Asian and Pacific Studies, and finally coordinator of the Religious Studies Program at the UC Berkeley.

Trained in multiple languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, German, and Latin, he has throughout his career always strived to better understand our world.

The lecture, "Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence," will be held at 5:30 p.m. in SMC's Business Building, room 111, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. This event is free, and open to students and the public. For more information, please call (310) 434-4003. The event is on a first-arrival basis.