AIAS hosted a presentation by Dr. M. Nazif Shahrani on 26 December, 2015.
The presentation explored how and why the anti-colonial nationalist resistance movements which gradually forced the end of European colonialism, led into the rise of new ideologically driven Western Empires of Trust – i.e. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Euro-American Capitalist Great Powers – controlling Muslim societies and cultures. The recent ever escalating violence in the name of Islam in Muslim majority regions against national and post-Soviet governments and their outside patrons will be examined as responses to the oppressive political ecology, policies and practices of the Western and Russian empires of trust in the predominantly Muslim majority societies. It will be argued that the root causes of Muslim politics of rage in these regions is not religious or sectarian, but externally imposed and forcibly maintained inappropriate system of extractive governments. Therefore, addressing persistent violence, poverty, ignorance and oppression in the Muslim world demands not only proper understanding of the military interventions but also the intents of the “liberal wars” (i.e., Western development assistance programs). In addition, instead of pursuing security-centered counter-terrorist/insurgency wars against Islamist extremist during the past decades calls for appropriate, effective and inclusive political reforms.
Dr. Shahrani was born, raised and partly educated in Afghanistan after which he went on to receive his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Washington. Currently, he is Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University where he has also served as Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program. He frequently visits Afghanistan