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Feb. 1, 2016

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Feb. 1, 2016
For Immediate Release

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University will host a public lecture titled, “Transforming Violent Radicalization in Islam: A Doctrine Revision Approach,” on Monday, Feb. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The lecture will explore Islamic doctrine, peace, transformation, violence, geo-politics and radicalization and extremism.

“How do we transform the appeal that violent extremism has for some Muslim youth?” said Ali Hassan Zaidi, co-coordinator of the Muslim Studies Option and associate professor in Laurier’s Department of Global Studies. “First, we have to understand that the appeal of violent organizations and networks, such as ISIS or al-Qaeda, is rooted in both geo-political factors and the mis-interpretation of Islamic doctrines. Second, we have to make peace a viable option, an option rooted in Islamic teachings.”

The lecture, hosted by Laurier’s Muslim Studies Option, Faculty of Arts and Ismaili Council for Ontario, will feature speaker Amr Abdalla, the senior advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa University. Abdalla is one of a few scholars who understands the appeal and possible solutions to radical Islam.

Abdalla also has the practical experience – as an attorney he was involved in prosecuting members of a jihadist organization that assassinated Egyptian President Anwer Sadat in 1981 – to speak with authority and provide insight on the possibility for change.

In addition to his law degree, Abdalla holds a master's degree in Sociology and a doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. He is a former vice-president of the SALAM Institute for Peace and Justice in Washington, D.C. and a former professor, dean and vice-rector at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. He has held the position of senior fellow with the Peace Operations Policy Program, School of Public Policy, at George Mason University in Virginia. He was a professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Virginia. He is the founder of Project LIGHT (Learning Islamic Guidance for Human Tolerance). Currently, he is a senior advisor on conflict resolution to KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights). Abdalla teaches regularly at American University in Washington, D.C., University for Peace, University of Addis Ababa and Open University of Catalonia.

The lecture will be held Monday, Feb. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall on Laurier’s Waterloo Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

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Ali Hassan Zaidi, Associate Professor
Department of Global Studies
Co-Coordinator, Muslim Studies Option
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3698


Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070



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