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Published: Saturday, 10/2/2010

Religious seminar to look at terrorism

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

"Terrorism in the Name of Religion" will be the topic of talks by representatives of three major world religions Sunday in a seminar at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Perrysburg.

The Rev. Thomas Doyle, vice president of Jesuit identity at St. John's Jesuit High School, will present a Christian perspective; Rabbi Moshe Saks of Congregation B'nai Israel will speak on behalf of Judaism, and Ovamir Anjum of the University of Toledo will present an Islamic perspective.

Dr. Amjad Hussain will serve as moderator.

The educational session is intended to help clarify the different faiths' views on one of the most troubling issues of the day, said Abdel-Wahab Soliman, publicity chairman for the Islamic Center.

"We want people to know that we [Muslims] condemn terrorism and that terrorism is harming Islam. There is nothing to support terrorism in Islam or in any reli-gions," Mr. Soliman said.

Mr. Anjum, holder of the Imam Khattab endowed chair of Islamic studies at UT, said Friday that "terrorism is considered one of the most serious crimes in the Qur'an." It is usually sparked by political conditions and not religious teachings or beliefs, he said.

He plans to focus his talk on the "just-war theory," especially its constraints on the killing of noncombatants, and whether it can be applied to modern warfare.

The just war theory was developed 1,600 years ago by St. Augustine of Hippo, a Christian saint, Mr. Anjum said, "and also goes back to the time of the Prophet [Mohammed]," who founded Islam 1,400 years ago.

"In the past, as a warrior you knew almost exactly who you were dealing with, but in modern warfare I'm not even sure 'just war' is possible with neutron bombs, cluster bombs, and other weapons we have," he said.

Father Doyle plans to take a historical look at Christianity, war, and violence.

"Christianity in its very beginning was a totally pacifist group, and there were multiple reasons for that," he said. "But as it became an increasingly mainstream church, it had to make decisions [such as], is there ever a time when it would be moral to use force? And so I will speak on the just-war theory."

Applying the just-war principles to anti-terrorism efforts is complex because the theory was designed for nations, not for well-organized, nongovernmental terror groups, he said.

He also will mention the Irish Republican Army, which he called a Catholic terrorist group, and the Ku Klux Klan, a Christian terrorist group that arose during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War.

One way to help stem terrorism is by including various religious groups in political agreements, Father Doyle said.

"I think a lot of the major points of religious conflicts have a political aspect to them," he said. "Reaching political agreements that do not exclude religious groups helps people of different religious denominations live peacefully."

Rabbi Saks, who could not be reached for comment Friday, has been the spiritual leader of Congregation B'nai Israel in Sylvania since August, 2007.

Contact David Yonke at:

dyonke@theblade.com

or 419-724-6154.



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