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Flagler religion professor to discuss Bhutto at lecture

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James Rowell

James Rowell, assistant professor of religion, will speak on “Benazir Bhutto: Her Message and the Message” on Nov. 27.

Nov. 20, 2012

Dr. James Rowell, assistant professor of religion at Flagler College, will speak at the college on “Benazir Bhutto: Her Message and the Message” on Nov. 27.

According to Rowell, Bhutto, the first woman to serve as prime minister of Pakistan and spokeswoman for Islamic Democracy, was an incredibly controversial figure who spoke of a positive, tolerant, democratic Islam as an alternative to radical Islam.

“In the midst of so much controversy and negative attention about Islam, it is important to hear a hopeful message of reconciliation and democracy, which is what she had to give,” said Rowell of Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007. “She offered great promise to Pakistan.”

Rowell’s lecture will discuss topics such as whether or not Bhutto was the right person to bring reform to Islam as well as the controversy surrounding her family.

Dr. Rowell holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire Massachusetts, and two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts: one in Political Science and one in Anthropology. Rowell’s primary areas of research include the religion and politics of Mohandas Gandhi, Reinhold Nieburhr, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abdul Gahffar Khan. He published the book “Gandhi and Bin Laden: Religion at the Extremes” in 2009 and is published in journals including “Theology Today” and the “Journal of Conflict Studies.”

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Flagler Room, 74 King St., St. Augustine. The event is free and open to the public. For more info, call 904-819-6282.