On Sacred Grounds: Religion and Counterinsurgency in Iraq Today with Ron Hassner.
Insurgents in Iraq have turned mosques into fortified strongholds, forcing US troops to weigh the public relations costs of desecrating sacred space against the benefits of operational failure. Why are Muslim insurgents willing to desecrate their own mosques? Should US Marines who are not Muslim pursue insurgents into mosques? If so, should they be required to remove their shoes and weapons first?
Professor Hassner argues that US decision makers, at all levels, are reluctant to engage with the religious implications of the war in Iraq, and they remain ill-equipped to answer such questions. Furthermore, a nuanced understanding of Islam in its multiple traditions, their respective attitudes towards the laws of war and their interpretations of the rules governing sacred space, are critical to solving problems in Iraq- World Affairs Council of Northern California
Ron E. Hassner
Ron E. Hassner is a graduate of Stanford University with degrees in political science and religious studies. His research revolves around symbolic and emotive aspects of international security with particular attention to religious violence, Middle Eastern politics and territorial disputes. His publications have focused on the role of perceptions in entrenching international disputes, the causes and characteristics of conflicts over sacred places, the characteristics of political-religious leadership and political-religious mobilization and the role of national symbols in conflict.
Professor Hassner was a fellow of the MacArthur Consortium on Peace and Security in 2000-2003. In 2003-2004 he was a post-doctoral scholar at the Olin Institute for International Security, Harvard University.