Middle East studies in the News
University of Florida Students in Paris Safe, Planning to Stay [incl. Terje Ostebo]
by Christopher Curry
All University of Florida students studying abroad in Paris are safe and accounted for, a UF official said Monday.
Leonardo Villalon, the dean of the UF International Center, said early Monday afternoon that none of the 10 UF students currently in Paris plan to come home early in the wake of Friday's terrorist attacks on the city of light.
"To my knowledge, nobody has requested to leave," Villalon said. "If anyone should want to leave we would certainly help facilitate that as soon as possible."
He said UF consistently has strong international studies programs, ranking in the the top 25 nationally for both the number of students studying abroad and the number of international students at UF.
In 2013-14, UF ranked 17 in the country with 2,014 students studying abroad, according to the Institute of International Education.
With that strong presence of students overseas, the UF public safety twitter account sent out a notice the day after the attacks for students abroad to check by email with the Department of State.
In lectures, debates and discussions at UF, the attacks and their aftermath will be a topic that continues to unfold over the next several months.
Terje Ostebo, the director of the UF Center for Global Islamic Studies and an associate professor with the Center for African Studies and the Department of Religion, said France had a responsibility to respond for its security and stability and to "avoid such horrendous attacks." But he added military and law enforcement responses have to be measured and focused.
"One could say why is this happening? Why is ISIS doing this?" Ostebo said. "It is clear they are trying to provoke a strong and unnuanced reaction that could lead to collateral damage, worsen the situation and bolster support for ISIS."
Ostebo, whose research focuses on Islam in contemporary Africa, noted that Muslims are often the targets of terrorist attacks.
"When you see horrendous attacks in Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, I am saddened that such attacks do not get as much attention as Paris does," he said.
"I think it speaks to our selective attention on these issues and I think it also speaks to the fact that, when you look at terror attacks, the largest number of the casualties and those killed are Muslims. That does not diminish the horror of Paris, of course. But I think it is important to have a sober and balanced view."Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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