NotreDame Resources

September 11: Numerous Notre Dame faculty have offered their observations and analysis on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Among them:p. p. ? Asma Afsaruddin , assistant professor in Arabic and Islamic studies and an expert in the religious and political thought of Islam: “Terrorist groups that cite scripture to justify their actions are misinterpreting Islamic law and should be denounced in the strongest possible terms.” (219) 631-7222; p. p. ? R. Scott Appleby, professor of history, Regan Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and one of the world’s leading experts on religious fundamentalism: There are three things driving Muslim terrorists. First of all, the state of Israel and the perception that Israel is a surrogate of the United States ? a kind of beach head in the Middle East ? so that the United States interests can be served though Israel. ? The second issue is a perceived hypocrisy on the part of the United States and its foreign policy. We are the great advocate of democratization, freedom, liberalism and yet, the Islamists see us popping up with regimes like that in Egypt ? and even worse, in Algeria. Finally, the underlying cultural problem in both of these situations, is what one Iranian intellectual called “Westoxication” ? being intoxicated by Western lifestyle, both drunk by it and also poisoned by it. So the pervasiveness of Western culture is a threat to Islamic ways of life and traditional ways of life around the world." (219) 631-5665 p. ? Rev. Michael J. Baxter, C.S.C., an assistant professor of theology and fellow in the Kroc Institute: Baxter fears that the nation’s preparation for a “war on terrorism” lethally blurs the distinction between the imperatives of citizenship and those of discipleship. “My resistance to the usage ‘we Americans’ comes from my conviction that in times like these it is important for Christians to identify themselves first and foremost as Christians; all too often, in times such as these, Christians fail to do so. The rejection of Christian identity on the part of Christians rarely occurs overtly or explicitly. Rather, Christian identity is simply merged into American identity, as if they are perfectly harmonious and as if there is absolutely no conflict between them. And thus, Christianity gets subordinated to the aims and purposes of the state. We should note a certain kind of extremism that has emerged among Christians, an extremism that is willing to kill — not for God, but for the nation-state.” (219) 631-7811; p. p. ?Lionel M. Jensen, associate professor and chair of East Asian languages and literatures: “While time has not stopped, it has slowed, first as an aftereffect of shock but now as an apparent effort by the living to ratchet down the fury of what is normally expected of them, to make the little time we do have for others more significant. One can only hope that this particular consequence of the disaster will be the most enduring, that a more authentic civility and common concern will become the foundation of our emergent post-traumatic United States and the basis of discussion with the many others beyond our borders who, all-too-often, we do not understand. Furthermore, this hope must, by dint of national courage, become our willful resolve, because we ? and the larger, complex, untidy world with which we are inextricably bound by economy, politics, and religion ? must achieve reconciliation not seek retribution. The country needs time to heal, but this cannot occur if we succumb to the fever of war.” (219) 631-8874; p. p. ? George A. Lopez, professor of government and director of policy studies in the Kroc Institute: “This is the time when the rule of law matters most. How can we expect the rest of the world to agree with us that Sept. 11 was an unconscionable attack on innocent civilians and the rule of law ? and thus a crime against humanity ? and then fail to uphold every aspect of that same law in our military response to the attack?” (219) 631-6972; p. ? Cynthia Mahmood, associate professor of anthropology, senior fellow in the Kroc Institute who has met with and studied radical Islamic groups in Central Asia : "We now bemoan the lack of ‘human intelligence,’ but if our government had been interested in really learning about these groups rather than engaging in counter-terrorism posturing and pursuing high-tech solutions to the terrorism threat, it could have been in a much better position right now. My experience shows that if we had wanted to understand these people we actually could have. We still can. We should not rule out a good try for security through dialogue first. If the language of ‘monumental struggle of good versus evil’ were replaced by the language of ‘how can you and I avoid the further slaughter of our peoples?’ we might have a starting point. (219) 631-7604; p. International court: A Notre Dame political scientist believes U.S. need not fear the creation of a permanent international criminal court. “Although nearly all of the world’s democracies support the court, the United States opposes it because of unwarranted fears that U.S. officials might be wrongly prosecuted,” says Robert C. Johansen , professor of government and international studies, in a policy brief published by the University’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. “Opposition also rests on a mistaken belief that the United States can protect legitimate national sovereignty only by rejecting international legal constraints on criminal abuses of sovereignty. However, the proposed court would serve U.S. interests by investigating the world’s worst international crimes and assigning individual responsibility for them, reducing collective blame for the criminal acts of individuals, discouraging atrocities, and upholding international law while protecting against politically motivated prosecutions.” Professor Johansen can be reached for further comment at 219-631-6971 or p. p. Native Americans: Notre Dame anthropologist Mark Schurr is attempting to pinpoint Potawatomi Indian village sites from the early 1800s to learn more about the lifestyles of Native Americans of that era. The period 1800-1840 marked the removal era, during which many Indians were forced to give up their land and move West. Schurr’s goal is to locate where Indians were living in those years and the characteristics of those sites: housing styles, diet and household possessions. He is eager to move ahead because urban sprawl is consuming farm land that may contain evidence of former Indian villages. “This is a real race,” he says. “This may be our last opportunity to investigate some sites.” Professor Schurr can be reached at (219) 631-7638, or

TopicID: 2219