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A Panel on September 11 and Its Ramifications

On October 17, 2001, faculty from Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) led a panel discussion in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Drawing on a range of academic areas, the panel presented a context for and analysis of the events.

The following video segments offer a sampling of the panelists' topics and their responses to the events of September 11:

The Portrayal of the American in Arabic Literature Length: 1:33
Dr. William Granara
Professor of the Practice of Arabic

Dr. Granara discusses the effect that the U.S. presence has had on the Middle East as portrayed in modern Arabic literature. In this segment, he refers to Cities of Salt, a novel by Abdelrahman Munif, which portrays the epic transformation of a Bedouin society to a modern oil state and the role of America in this new society.

Is Religion a Factor in Recent Events I? Length: 2:47
Dr. Eva Bellin
Associate Professor of Government

Dr. Bellin explores some of the economic, sociological, and political factors behind the terrorist attacks.

Is Religion a Factor in Recent Events II? Length: 2:25
Dr. Eva Bellin
Associate Professor of Government

Dr. Bellin takes issue with Jordanian journalist Rami Khouri's position that religion played no role in the September 11 attacks. While she agrees with many of his points, she outlines her belief that religion was indeed a factor.

Religion in the Government of Pakistan Length: 2:58
Dr. Ali Asani
Professor of the Practice of Indo-Muslim Languages and Culture

Dr. Asani discusses the role religion has played and continues to play in Pakistan's government. In this video segment, he explains how different interpretations of Islam complicate the government's ability to lead.

Palestine - A Unifying Symbol? Length: 4:27
Dr. Laila Parsons
Associate Director for Academic Affairs and Lecturer on Near Eastern Studies

Dr. Parsons describes how Israel is perceived and presented in the political rhetoric of the Middle East. In this video segment, she explains how the use of the "struggle for Palestine" -- used as a unifying symbol for Arab nations and in recent extremist Islamist rhetoric -- ultimately pales in comparison to the importance of their national interests.

To learn more about Harvard's CMES and other panels it has hosted, visit

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