“I think all of us remember exactly where we were the morning of September 11,” Global Studies Dept. Chair Mark Juergensmeyer said to a Corwin Pavilion crowd Tuesday night.
Juergensmeyer was one of four professors participating in the panel discussion “Thinking Through the Catastrophe,” part of a series designed to help students and the local community work through the recent terrorist attacks.
The discussion focused on reactions to the attacks on a domestic and international level. Law and Society Professor Lisa Hajjar said Americans should be careful to avoid violating civil rights in the name of national security.
“Racial profiling leads to racial strife and ultimately decreases security, not adds to it,” she said.
Israel has used racial profiling as a tactic against terrorist attacks, but Hajjar said it has not produced the desired results.
“A lot of people look to Israel as a model for dealing with terrorism,” she said. “If they had the answer, Israel would be a very safe and secure place, which it’s not.”
Hajjar also said she was personally affected by the attacks when her phone was tapped.
“Who are [Arab-Americans]? Am I one of us, one of them, or a little of both?” she said.
Juergensmeyer, who has appeared on news networks across the country as an expert on international terrorism, said war is exactly what Osama bin Laden is hoping will be the result of the recent events.
“Are we using war as a metaphor to weed out causes and networks of terrorism, or will it increase desire for a military fight and prove bin Laden right?” he said.
“Using the term war can be problematic. Conventional war is straightforward. Our enemies were states or groups of states who have something to lose. I’m not sure the terrorists have anything to lose,” he said. “All military action is wrought with danger. The more indiscriminate the killing, the more blow back there will be.”
“In order to win worldwide support, we’re going to have to address the historical gap between policies and beliefs and values. If we support democracy we must also support the idea of self-determination,” Hajjar said. “We need the law to aid us and guide us through this crisis, and we must be willing to submit to it ourselves.”
The panel discussion, which was sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, will be aired Wednesday night on channel 21 at 7 p.m. The next panel will be held on October 9 in Campbell Hall at 5 p.m.