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Lifelong Learning

Religion and Identity in the Middle East: the Rise of Islamic Radicalism – Course starts Thursday Online or On Campus! Register Today!

Five consecutive Thursdays, March 31-April 28, 2016 | 7:00 pm-9:00 pm

The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton

Live on the LTSP campus OR online webinar
$70/individual | $125/congregation (up to 8 congregation members per $125 registration are welcome to attend on campus) – register online using the form below

Presenter: The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, LTSP

About the course:

The “Middle East,” as it is commonly known by Americans, has been a land of fascination, frustration, and fear. Many Americans find the tapestry of its peoples, languages, cultures, and religions to be confusing, and yet the Middle East is so prominent in our news and media. These five sessions will look at the cultural perspectives of the people of the Middle East, the Arab Spring, and the rise of Islamic Radicalism as protest movements, including al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS). The purpose of this course is to help North American Christians move beyond fear to become creatively engaged as peacemakers and responsible citizens in our own communities.

  1. What is the Middle East?: geography and its effect on identity (Thursday, 31 March)
    This session will review the geography and political arrangement of the modern Middle East and how this has impacted political identities.
  2. Communal Identity: the religious communities of the Middle East (Thursday, 7 April)
    In this session we will provide an overview of the numerous indigenous religious communities of the region. We will also look at general cultural values and the importance of religion on traditional family and communal identity.
  3. The Arab Spring: causes and aspirations (Thursday, 14 April)
    This session will uncover the sources of general discontent of the last twenty years, and the hopes of the “soft revolutions.”
  4. Sources of Islamic Radicalism in the Middle East, part I (Thursday, 21 April)
    The final two sessions will look at the responses to Arab Nationalism, the 1967 war, and the “failed states” of the Middle East. Islamic Radicalism will be defined and placed within the broader category of other Muslim pieties.
  5. Sources of Islamic Radicalism in the Middle East, part II (Thursday, 28 April)
    Viewed from the historical and cultural framework of the last four sessions, the final session will look at the rise of al-Qaeda and DAESH (ISIS), and Muslim responses to these organizations.

If you have questions about the LTSP Institute of Lifelong Learning, please contact Kathie Afflerbach, AIM, Director, Donor Services; Coordinator, Non-Credit Education at or 215.248.6324.

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"Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world."