Middle East studies in the News
University of Toledo Religion Professor: ISIS is Saddam Hussein Reaching Out of His Grave [on Ovamir Anjum]
by Danielle Dwyer
With the recent attacks in Paris, some people are talking about religion, but one University of Toledo professor says that shouldn't be the focus.
"This is a political fight. ISIS (Islamic State) is Saddam Hussein reaching out of his grave for revenge," said Ovamir Anjum, associate professor, Imam Khattab and chair of Islamic studies.
Anjum says Islamic State is made up of Hussein's dismantled army generals, and when he was killed, this elite group viewed him as a hero and wanted to continue his efforts. That solution was Islamic State and the biggest misconception is with regard to religion.
"ISIS is not Islamic, but they have found a way to manipulate two greatest sources of power that exist today: religious motivation and the power of the media," Anjum said.
He says this group is not a product of Al-Qaeda.
"ISIS is a marriage of predominately Saddam's army with a new, radical ideology of revenge," he said.
Anjum also says it's hard to control a group when they've only known one way of life.
"For them, every day is 9/11," Anjum said. "ISIS promises people that promise of, not a comfortable life, but a glory, you know, glorified death...That can be very hard to contain people who do not fear death."
While the professor studies religion and says he's a fan of Pope Francis, he disagrees with the Pope's statement about this turning into a third world war.
"ISIS is isolated completely - both in the Muslim world and worldwide. Nobody is supporting ISIS," he said.
He added that a third world war could exist psychologically if Islamic State keeps using social media to instill fear and conflict. He says it's important to remember 9/11 for two reasons: stereotypes and security. He says even though people are more educated now than they were in 2001, there will still be similarities in the aftermath of these recent terrorist attacks, just not to the degree they were back then.
"Now we live in a world that was created by 9/11," he said. "So I don't see that it's going to be as drastic because a security state has already emerged.
While Anjum has his educational views, he also has a personal connection to the recent events.
"It's been very, very disturbing," he said. "My 6-year-old son has been very scared, feeling that he didn't want to go to school, thinking that somebody might come and shoot him."
So as he and his wife work to comfort their five children and put their minds at rest with what's happening overseas, Anjum is also preparing a lecture that he started working on months ago and has since tweaked to fit in with the Paris attacks.
He will be giving a speech at UT Tuesday, Nov. 17.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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