Four professors to discuss Arab Spring tonight

Four professors to discuss Arab Spring tonight

Four professors are scheduled to hold a discussion panel Tuesday to discuss the religious, political, and social implications of the Arab Spring.

The four professors are Manochehr Dorraj of the political science department, Yushau Sodiq and Mark Dennis of the religion department, and Rima Abunasser of the English department. 

The panel moderator will be Nadia Lahutsky of the religion department, who said the idea of the discussion unfolded after the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. The panel will address the significance of the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia in December 2010 with the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi.

Dorraj, whose main topic at the discussion will be politics and its religious roots, said each professor will focus on a different topic.

“We are confining our presentation to ten minutes each so that there will be at least an hour for the audience to interact, ask questions and make comments so we can clarify the issues much more in the process,” Dorraj said.

Dennis said he would focus on perceptions of the Middle East in the media, particularly Arabs in the American media.

“I'll try to problematize these images by examining inspiring cases of individuals who have risked their lives in calling for freedom of speech,” Dennis said.

Abunasser said she would discuss the women’s movement in the Middle East. She said she would place emphasis on women’s participation in the Arab Spring and how women's rights movements have affected the region.

Sodiq, who will focus on leaders of Muslim groups and their perception of the freedom of speech, said she believes it is important for students and faculty to attend because they would learn something new from this conversation.

“The audience would be aware that the process of democratization is going on smoothly in the Arab world,” Sodiq said. “They would learn that Arab democracy does not necessarily have to be like our democracy here.”

The panel discussion on Tuesday is free to all student and faculty.

What: Religion, Politics, and Freedom of Speech: the Case of the Arab Spring
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Moudy North 141