Debunking the “Clash of Civilizations:” two-day event on understanding Islam, Islamophobia, and the Middle East

Southern Oregon University’s United Nations Club, in coordination with the Ashland Peace House and many other campus organizations, will be hosting a two-day event next week discussing Islam, Islamophobia, and the current state of affairs in the Middle East.

The event, co-sponsored by Amnesty International, will take place on Feb. 13 and 14 in the Meese Room of the Hannon Library.

The first day will feature a number of lectures discussing the religion of Islam and how to address Islamophobia in modern society:

  • At 9 a.m. Robert Harrison, a professor of History and Political Science at SOU, will open the day’s events at with a welcome address.
  • At 9:15 a.m. Maqsood Chaudhary will give attendees an overview of the religion of Islam.
  • At 10:15 a.m. Harrison will take the stage again to discuss the Arab Spring.
  • At 10:45 a.m. Flamur Vehapi, an SOU alumnus and survivor of the War in the Balkans, will talk about Islamophobia.
  • At 11:15 a.m. there will be a showing of “Hawo’s Dinner Party,” a film that follows the experience of several Somali residents in Shelbyville, Tenn.
  • At 12:30 p.m. Shamsul Alam, a professor of Social Sciences, Policy, and Culture at SOU, will give the closing address.

The second day of the event focuses on understanding the contemporary Middle East:

  • At 9 a.m. Harrison will give an opening address.
  • At 9:15 a.m. Jon Mandaville, a history professor at Portland State University, will give a lecture entitled the “Colonial Background to the Arab Spring.”
  • At 10:15 a.m. Harrison will speak again about the Arab Spring
  • At 11 a.m. Herbert Rothschild, chair of the Board of Directors at Peace House, and Michael Niemann, a local Ashland author, will be speaking about nuclear tensions between Iran and Israel.
  • There will be an hour-long intermission between noon and 1 p.m. for lunch, catered by SOU Dining Services. Non-students are requested to donate $10 toward lunch costs.
  • At 1 p.m. Reza Mohajerinejad will be speaking about the importance of Iran in the Middle East and the Green Revolution.
  • At 1:50 p.m. Mandaville will be presenting again about the Arab Spring
  • At 2:45 p.m. Ashour Abdulaziz will present a lecture entitled “Libya and the Arab Spring.”
  • At 3:30 p.m. Kanaan Kanaan will be presenting
  • At 5 p.m. there will be a panel discussion

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Kathleen Gamer at


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