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Feb. 4, 2005
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, (785) 864-7822.

Leading scholar to give lecture on 'Islam Under Siege' at KU's Hall Center Feb. 17

LAWRENCE -- A professor pegged by the British Broadcasting Corp. as the world's best-known scholar on contemporary Islam will give a Hall Center for the Humanities lecture on "Islam Under Siege" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, in Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas.

The lecture by professor and author Akbar Ahmed is part of the center's 2004-05 Humanities Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public.

The next day "A Conversation with Akbar Ahmed," from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 18, will offer an opportunity to explore all of Ahmed's work. The event, in the Hall Center conference hall, also is open to the public.

Ahmed, a professor of international relations at the American University in Washington, D.C., is the former high commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain and has advised Prince Charles and President George W. Bush.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, he has gained a reputation for demystifying Muslim beliefs and deconstructing popular culture and fanaticism. His most recent book, "Islam Under Siege, Living Dangerously in a Post-Honor World," will provide the backdrop for his lecture. His basic idea is to present the concept of "izzat," or honor, an ancient principle of respect between groups of differing cultures and beliefs. He suggests that the West needs to do a better job of listening to other parts of the world that are questioning consumerism, community and globalization.

Other books by Ahmed include "Discovering Islam: Making Sense of Muslim History and Society," "Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin," "Islam, Globalization and Postmodernity" and "Islam: Predicament and Promise."

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated, including author Vladimir Nabokov, painter Thomas Hart Benton and author Aldous Huxley. Recent scholars have included Edward Said, Dava Sobel, Sherman Alexie and E.O. Wilson. Former Sen. Gary Hart opened the 2004-05 series.

The final series lecture this academic year will feature Ted Wilson, professor of history and a former director of the Hall Center, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Kansas Union ballroom. Wilson's lecture, "The GI Generation: Sending American Soldiers into Battle in World War II," will deconstruct the popular image of the U.S. Armed Forces after Pearl Harbor.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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