Religion and Ideology in the Attacks on New York, Mumbai, and Oslo
A Michigan Avenue Forum on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11
Presented by Michael Sells
Those who carried out the terror attacks in New York, Mumbai, and Oslo shared a worldview: they saw their religion, culture, and way of life as under assault. In their mind, the enemy was subtle, inexorable, and pervasive, made up of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the “Judeo-Christian culture,” and the West, as well as liberals and Marxists.
As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we pause to understand how such ideologies emerge and how they mimic one another, so that by better comprehending the religious and cultural influences that help shape them and by learning about the different political lobbies and governments that have aided them, we can, as responsible citizens, know better how to respond.
Michael Sells will lead us through an exploration of religious ideas of the world’s end, remembrances of martyrs of the past, and militant interpretations of the Qu’'an and the Bible so that we might begin to build a better understanding.
Michael Sells is Professor of Islamic History and Literature in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, where religion and violence is one of his primary areas of study. Dr. Sells works with the Divinity School’s Martin Marty Center, which brings scholarly perspectives to bear on religious questions facing the wider public. His upcoming book The God of War: America in a World of Religion, focuses on questions particularly pertinent to understanding religious violence in general and provides particular context to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Michigan Avenue Forums at Fourth Presbyterian Church promote civic formation within the Chicagoland community by presenting a series of events that feature important thinkers and public leaders in live lecture or debate format, discussing current issues of civic and ethical priority.