Inquisitive Minds Podcast Critical Thinking on History, Religion, Politics and Culture

In the next two podcasts, we discuss some aspects of a recent conference entitled: Assaulting Cultural Heritage: ISIS's Fight to Destroy Diversity in Iraq and Syria. The event was organized by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) and was held at Concordia University on September 25-26, 2016. These episodes will focus on a paper given during the first panel of the conference on ISIS and the Intellectual Roots of Assaulting Cultural Heritage.

00:0000:00
On May 3rd, 2015, a group of people gathered for a cartoon exhibit depicting the prophet Mohammad was attacked by two jihadists in Garland, Texas. Some have decried the event as a purposeful provocation of Muslims, while others see it as a fundamental right to freedom of speech. Are the organizers of the event anti-Muslim bigots or should their actions be understood as a fight against the Islamization of America? Is organizing a cartoon competition of Mohammad irresponsible behavior and are such actions "Islamophobic"? What exactly is "Islamophobia"? Are the Garland drawings of Mohammad similar to the Charlie Hebdo caricatures? In this week's podcast, we discuss the Garland attack and the questions that transpired from this event.

00:0000:00
For our first podcast of 2015, we decided to have a special episode on the Paris shootings which happened on Wednesday, January 7th. The offices of the satirical newspaper "Le Charlie Hebdo" was attacked by terrorists who managed to kill 12 people and injure 11 more. In solidarity with the people of France, this podcast is entitled "I am Charlie"; the slogan and symbol of freedom of expression and of the press. As we start this new year, we also welcome Costa Babalis as a third co-host. Please note that this podcast is an early special edition. Our second episode (#40) will run on January 19th.

00:0000:00
It has been quite an exciting journey into Hector Avalos' important book, Fighting Words. The Origins of Religious Violence. In this last episode dedicated to this topic, we briefly review Avalos' last few chapters where he provides a synthesis and some solutions to the issue of religion and violence. We end this series with a quote found at the end of the book on the scholar's responsibility toward the topic at hand: "Most academic scholars are not so frank in acknowledging that their scholarship is an apologetic enterprise. Given the violence in the scriptures we have examined, I would suggest that the opposite should be our mission. Our job as biblical scholars is to undermine the value of any scripture that endorses violence. [...] We become complicit in violence when we attempt to maintain the value of a book whose main truth claims can never be verified. [...] Our final mission, as scholars of these scriptures, must be to help humanity close the book on a long chapter of human misery."

00:0000:00
In this week's episode, we continue our exploration of Hector Avalos', Fighting Words, and discuss the issue of violence in Islam and the Qur'an. As with Judaism and Christianity, Islam also creates scarce resources which could also somtimes result in acts of violence. Some defenders of the Islamic faith insist that today's violent actions perpetrated by groups such as ISIS are not representative of "true" Islam. Can one really know which types of interpretations of Islam are more authentic than others, since every Islamic sect believes that it faithfully adheres to the teachings of the Qur'an. Avalos argues that even scholars of religion have sometimes fallen into the trap of essentialism, thinking that Islam can be defined by a specific set of attributes, and that all other radical forms do not truly reflect the faith.
 
00:0000:00