Saturday, October 6, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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UW brings Islam home to Seattle

An overflow crowd of nearly 1,000, with many turned away, kicked off an important lecture series Thursday night on the Middle East and Islam at the University of Washington.

This free, open series is an important act of citizenship by the UW at a troubled time in our nation's history. The United States was attacked by an enemy that perversely invokes the teachings of Islam as justification for its actions.

The country's horror at the events of Sept. 11 was quickly followed by deep confusion and alarm about the role of religion in terrorist attacks on civilians.

The UW is helping to fill a huge gap in the community's understanding of the Middle East and a great religion.

The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies is presenting "9/11: Context and Consequences." Jere L. Bacharach, director of the Jackson School, launched the seven-lecture series with an excellent introduction to Islam before a quiet, absorbed audience.

An explanation of the Islamic Way makes Sept. 11 all the more improbable.

Nothing in the revelations of God collected in the Koran would ever justify it. The traditions of the prophet Mohammed and companions, bound into six volumes to complement the Koran, would not explain it. Muslims here and abroad have condemned the attack, denying the terrorists the consensus of the Muslim community, a core religious value.

Osama bin Laden's call to kill is a radical, radical view of a few among a billion Muslims, said panelist Ahmed Souaiaia, of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization.

The series will be rebroadcast on several cable channels. TVW will air the lectures at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. each Tuesday following a presentation. In Seattle, that is channel 68, 23 or 74, depending on the cable provider. Tacoma is channel 23 and Everett is 28.

UWTV will rebroadcast the series on Channel 27 in greater Seattle. Check for details.

The lectures are at 7 p.m. Thursdays at UW's Kane Hall through Nov. 15. The next talk is "Jihad, Terror, War and Justice: Four Words for the 21st Century." Arrive early. The seats go fast.


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