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Religious Expert to Speak

Charles Kimball
Charles Kimball, who for 25 years has been a go-to expert on Islam, the Middle East and Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, will present his lecture, “When Religion Becomes Lethal: Finding Hope for the Perilous Journey Ahead through Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011 at Orton Center.

The talk is free and open to the public. Copies of Kimball’s books—“When Religion Becomes Evil,” and “When Religion Becomes Lethal,” will be on sale and a book signing will follow the lecture.

“Few scholars have as extensive a background in the Middle East as Charles Kimball,” said University Chaplain John Walsh. “His experiences in the Middle East can be invaluable in helping us understand the Arab Spring, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the tension between the US and Iran. It is rare to have a person with such a grasp of this region on campus. Having known Charles since we were both graduate students at Harvard, I am so excited that he will be here to share his knowledge with the Redlands community.”

Kimball stands at the intersection of religion and politics and, since 9/11, he has been one of the most frequently interviewed Islam experts in the country. Many people believe that religion is a central factor in the escalation of evil and violence on the global scene. Central to this debate, Kimball insists, is the need to distinguish between "corrupt" forms of religious expression and the "authentic" forms that offer real correctives and solutions to this global threat. He believes that the ways in which people of faith understand and live out their deepest religious commitments will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

Kimball is the presidential professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he is the director of the religious studies program. Kimball's talks and writings are grounded in his experience as a Christian working closely with Muslims and Jews. He has made more than 35 visits to the Middle East and has worked closely with Congress and the White House. In 1979, he was one of seven Americans to travel to Iran and meet with the Ayatollah Khomeini during the hostage crisis.

This lecture is sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office and Campus Diversity and Inclusion. For more information, contact Leela MadhavaRau at 909-748-8285 or leela_madhavarau@redlands.edu.

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