Last week I participated in a seminar on terrorism at Case School of Law in Cleveland. What attracted me was its catchy and provocative title: “Sacred Violence: Religion and Terrorism.”

I did not think the seminar would be discussing terrorism waged by any other people but Muslims. After all, in the past few years Islam, Muslims, and terrorism have become interchangeable words. Perhaps a group of experts, while discussing approaches to terrorism, would also discuss its root causes and try to separate the good guys from the bad ones. My confidence was misplaced.

I was struck by the inability or unwillingness of the so-called experts in the field of security and terrorism to recognize that out of 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide there is a small number who commit such acts. To give those acts a religious cover has the unintended consequence of throwing away the baby with the bath water. And some of the speakers did throw away the baby.

They had somehow assumed, in a tacit and undeclarative way, that Islam is violent and that the source of this violence is the Qur’an, the sacred text of Muslims. This self-serving and convenient premise is not unlike the cute and tricky question: When did you stop beating your wife?

There were in all 11 speakers from as disparate disciplines as law, political science, philosophy, psychology, and religion. The two Muslims on the program were Pervez Ahmad, a professor of finance from Florida and chairman of the Council on American Islamic Relations, and myself.

The speakers read their papers from their own professional perspectives, but most of them did not address the root cause of terrorism. Instead, the thrust of their argument was to tackle terrorism using legal, financial, and law enforcement tools. They just were not interested in discussing political reasons behind the violence. (MORE)

Dr. S. Amjad Hussain is a Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Blade.


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