Posted on April 19, 2015

Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) in collaboration with Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID) and WOOLF Institute, is set to host a lecture by Professor Karen Armstrong  (pictured) on Compassion and Violence. The lecture is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at Georgetown auditorium and will be open to public.

The lecture will examine the complex relationship between faith and warfare and religion and politics. Besides examining the Crusades, the notion of jihad, and the so-called “Wars of Religion” in early modern Europe, it will discuss such modern explosions of religiously-articulated violence as suicide bombing and the atrocities of ISIS to discover just how central the role of religion really is in such atrocities. In doing so, the talk will explore the inherent violence of the state against which the compassionate alternative preached by prophets, sages, mystics and even emperors could never wholly prevail. The lecture will also show that secularism and nationalism have not been wholly irenic alternatives to the religiously organized state but have inspired some of the worst atrocities of modern times.

Prof. Armstrong is a British author and commentator known for her books on religion and interfaith relations. A former Roman Catholic religious sister, she attended St Anne's College, Oxford and majored in English. She first rose to prominence in 1993 with her book A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Her work focuses on commonalities of the major religions, such as the importance of compassion and the Golden Rule. Most recently she has published Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence (2014), which deals with tackling religious violence and extremism. Among her awards are the Muslim Public Affairs Council's Media Award in 1999 and the 2008 TED Prize when she called for the creation of a joint Charter for Compassion.

Translation to Arabic language will be provided throughout the event.