Mills Professor Hosts World Affairs Council Conversation on Islamic Radicalism

Oakland, CA–February 02, 2017

Mills College Government Professor Fred Lawson recently hosted a conversation at the prestigious World Affairs Council of Northern California in San Francisco with Omar Saif Ghobash, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Russia.

Lawson discussed Ghobash’s new book, Letters to a Young Muslim, about Islamic radicalism, militance and youth which he wrote for his two young sons by drawing on the feelings and influences he had as a young 15-year old growing up with a Muslim father and a non-Muslim mother. The book offers guidance on how to avoid the pitfalls of Islamic radicalism.

“I wanted to get the discussion away from the binary of ‘I’m a good Muslim and I follow all the rules’ or ‘I’m a bad Muslim and I’m ashamed of myself and I’m going to hide,’ and I hope that’s what I’ve done here,” Ghobash told Lawson.

The conversation was part of the World Affair’s Council’s “Conversation’s that Matter” series.

Lawson started the conversation with a zinger: “What role do you think reason and critical thinking play in the religion of Islam?” Ghobash answered that Lawson “has really thrown me off the deep end with two very big questions,” before diving into the hour-long talk.

In addition to teaching government at Mills College for 32 years, Lawson is head of the Government Department. His professional interests include international relations, international political economy, politics of the Middle East and North Africa, and comparative foreign policy.