Tracing The Ideological Roots of Terrorist Groups | Aga Khan Academies

Tracing The Ideological Roots of Terrorist Groups

31 October 2016

Dr. Dhanani explains the division of the Ottoman Empire into nation statesOn Thursday 27 October 2016, the Academy community had a unique opportunity to learn a wealth of history from Kenyan-American scholar Dr. Alnoor Dhanani - Visiting Fellow at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Harvard University.

Dr. Dhanani specializes in the interaction between science, theology and philosophy in historical and contemporary Islamic civilizations. His lecture at AKA Mombasa traced the development of political Islam as a result of key historical events spanning across the 17th – 21st centuries, and the impact of ideologies promoted by key figures such as Sayyid Qutb on fundamentalist terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Faculty, staff, and DP students attended the hour-long lecture on-campus. The students were keen to hear Dr. Dhanani’s presentation and employed knowledge from their Global Politics and History classes to pose nuanced questions on the relationship between geopolitics and terrorism, and the impact of proxy warfare on lack of development in war-torn states. Dr. Dhanani commended the students for their analytical questions.

AKA Mombasa Humanities Faculty with Dr. DhananiIn addition, faculty from the Humanities Department also benefited greatly from discussions on education with him. The teachers spoke to Dr. Dhanani about the relevance of Humanities education for understanding the complexities of the world, the importance of imagination and creativity, and the idea that students should be encouraged to ask questions rather than answer them.

Dr. Dhanani and the Academy's Humanities Department were pleased to note that the AKA Strands woven into pedagogical practices and the Academy's curriculum all reflect tools that are important for dealing with current global challenges. Dr. Dhanani emphasized the need to accept differences and encourage diversity – an idea advocated strongly at the Academy through the AKA Strand of Pluralism.

By Haifa Badi-Uz-Zaman