Religious Nationalism and the American-Israeli-Saudi Alliance
Friday, October 26, 2018 6:30-9:00pm
Can the peoples of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia build movements that support peace, justice and human rights for all of their citizens? Can we adopt more humane foreign policies that do not threaten our neighbors and other peoples around the world? Chris Hedges, author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003) and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2008), will discuss the history of religious nationalism and militarism in the United States and the resurgence of xenophobia in recent years. Dr. Noam Chomsky, author of The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (1983) and, with Illan Pappé, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians (2010), will focus on religious and ethnic nationalism in Israel, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the rights of Palestinians and Arabs living in Israel. Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, author The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists (2005) and The Search for Beauty in Islam (2006), will offer a critique of the government of Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism, the kingdom’s dominant religious ideology, which exports extremism around the world and is currently at war with Yemen. Each speaker will also discuss the American-Israeli-Saudi alliance and the prospects for peace in and beyond the Middle East. Join us for a unique opportunity to hear from three leading public intellectuals about some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Dinner will be served at 6:30pm.
Children ages 2-12 are welcome for storytime, games, and a movie from 6:30-9:00pm. Space is limited. Please RSVP to [email protected].
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, New York Times bestselling author, professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister. He has written 11 books, including the New York Times best-seller Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. His other books include Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt (2015), Death of the Liberal Class (2010), Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009), I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008) and the best- selling American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2008). His book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and has sold over 400,000 copies. He writes a weekly column for the website Truthdig in Los Angeles, run by Robert Scheer, and hosts a show, On Contact, on RT America.
Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries during his work for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Hedges was part of a New York Times team of reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. Hedges speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and studied classics, including ancient Greek and Latin, at Harvard University. Hedges has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches a class through Princeton University at a state prison in New Jersey where half of the students are Princeton undergraduates and half are prisoners.
Hedges began his career reporting on the Falkland War from Argentina for National Public Radio. He went on to cover the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua for five years, first for The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio and later The Dallas Morning News. After six years in Latin America, he took time off to study Arabic. He spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the bureau chief for The New York Times. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and later reported the war in Kosovo. Afterward, he was based in Paris as part of the team covering al-Qaeda and global terrorism. He left the Times after receiving a formal reprimand from the newspaper for publicly denouncing the George W. Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.
In 2012, Hedges successfully sued President Barack Obama over section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which overturned the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, prohibiting the military from acting as a domestic police force. Section 1021 gives the military the authority to indefinitely detain and deny due process to US citizens who are branded by the state as terrorists. The decision was overturned on appeal by the Obama administration. The US Supreme Court declined to review the ruling, known as Hedges v. Obama, in 2014.
Hedges holds a BA in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He spent a year studying classics at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California. In 2014 he was ordained as a minister for social witness at the Second Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, N.J. The theologian James Cone, the father of Black Liberation Theology, preached the sermon along with Cornel West. The ordination was approved for his work in New Jersey prisons where Hedges has taught college credit courses for nearly a decade.
Dr. Noam Chomsky is Laureate Professor of Linguistics at The University of Arizona and Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at MIT. He is also a public intellectual and leading critic of US foreign policy. Dr. Chomsky is the author of numerous works, including The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (1983), Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Deterring Democracy (1991), 9-11 (2001), and, with Illan Pappé, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians (2010).
Considered the founder of modern linguistics, Dr. Chomsky is one of the most cited scholars in modern history. Among his groundbreaking works on linguistics are Syntactic Structures(1957), Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965), Language and Mind (1968) and The Minimalist Program (1995), each of which has made distinct contributions to the development of the field. He has received numerous awards, including the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal and the Ben Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.
Dr. Chomsky introduced the Chomsky hierarchy, generative grammar and the concept of a universal grammar, which underlies all human speech and is based in the innate structure of the mind/brain. Chomsky has not only transformed the field of linguistics, his work has influenced fields such as cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, computer science, mathematics, childhood education, and anthropology.
Born to a middle-class Askenazi Jewish family in Philadelphia, Chomsky vocally opposed US involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1967, Chomsky attracted widespread public attention for his anti-war essay entitled “The Responsibility of Intellectuals.” Associated with the New Left, he was arrested multiple time for his activism. He remains a leading critic of US foreign policy, the mainstream news media, neoliberalism, and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl is one of the world’s leading authorities on Shari‘ah, Islamic law and Islam, and a prominent scholar in the field of human rights. He is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law where he teaches International Human Rights; Islamic Jurisprudence; Political Asylum and Refugee Law; The Trafficking of Human Beings: Law and Policy; Political Crimes and Legal Systems; and Muslims, Race and Law. He was also formerly the Chair of the Islamic Studies Interdepartmental Program at UCLA. He is the founder of the Institute of Advanced Usuli Studies or The Usuli Institute, a new non-profit educational institute dedicated to elevating knowledge, beauty and critical thinking in the Islamic intellectual tradition.
Among his many honors and distinctions, Dr. Abou El Fadl was awarded the University of Oslo Human Rights Award, the Leo and Lisl Eitinger Prize in 2007, and named a Carnegie Scholar in Islamic Law in 2005. He was previously appointed to serve on the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, and also served as a member of the board of directors of Human Rights Watch. He works with human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (Human Rights First) as an expert in a wide variety of cases involving human rights, terrorism, political asylum, and international and commercial law. In 2018, 2017 and 2005, he was also listed as one of LawDragon’s Top 500 Lawyers in the Nation. In 2013, he was recognized among “The 50 Smartest People of Faith” by TheBestSchools.org, and was awarded the “American Muslim Achievement Award” in 2014. He has been ranked among “The Power 500 List of the World’s Most Influential Arabs” and “The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims.”
A prolific scholar and prominent public intellectual, Dr. Abou El Fadl is the author of numerous books and articles on various topics in Islam and Islamic law. He has lectured on and taught Islamic law throughout the United States and Europe in academic and non-academic environments for over twenty years. His works have been translated into numerous languages including Arabic, Persian, French, Spanish, Malay, Ethiopian, Vietnamese and Japanese, among others.
Dr. Abou El Fadl is most noted for his scholarly approach to Islam from a moral point of view. He writes extensively on universal themes of humanity, morality, human rights, justice, and mercy, and is well known for his writings on beauty as a core moral value of Islam. He is one of the foremost critics of puritan and Wahhabi Islam. Dr. Abou El Fadl has appeared on most major national and international media channels, and has published widely in such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Al-Jazeera English, Huffington Post, Boston Review and many others.
His latest book is entitled, Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari‘ah in the Modern Age (2014), considered to be his magnum opus and intellectual autobiography. His other books include: The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists (2005); Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women (2001); Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law (2001); And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses (2001); Islam and the Challenge of Democracy (2004); The Place of Tolerance in Islam (2002); and The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books (2006). His book, The Great Theft, was the first work to delineate the key differences between moderate and extremist Muslims, and was named one of the Top 100 Books of the year by Canada’s Globe and Mail (Canada’s leading national newspaper). His book, The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books, is a landmark work in modern Muslim literature.
Dr. Abou El Fadl holds a BA in Political Science from Yale University, a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and an MA and PhD in Islamic law from Princeton University. Dr. Abou El Fadl is also an Islamic jurist and scholar, having received 13 years of systematic instruction in Islamic jurisprudence, grammar and eloquence in Egypt and Kuwait. After law school, he clerked for Arizona Supreme Court Justice James Moeller, and practiced immigration and investment law in the US and the Middle East. He previously taught Islamic law at the University of Texas at Austin Law School, Yale Law School and Princeton University.
A limited number of tickets will be provided for free for guests who otherwise could not attend. Hub925 members can also receive a discount code. Please contact us at [email protected].