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Israeli Scholar to Speak at Belmont on Islamic Fundamentalism

Dr. Meir Litvak, senior lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University in Israel, will speak at Belmont University in Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 19. His topic: Why do Muslim Fundamentalists Have Such a Strong Dislike for the US and Israel?


Dr. Litvak, a Fulbright scholar and a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle and African Eastern Studies, is considered an expert on Palestinian factions such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PLO. He is currently on sabbatical from Tel Aviv University and is a visiting professor in the history department at Emory University in Atlanta.
Professor Litvak is an expert on modern Shia Islamic history and Palestinian politics and has participated in numerous international conferences and seminars.
Dr. Litvak’s doctoral dissertation at Harvard University became the foundation of a book, Shi’i Scholars of Nineteenth Century Iraq: The ‘Ulama’ of Najaf and Karbala, published by Cambridge University Press. It examines the shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala in nineteenth-century Ottoman Iraq, which were important centers of learning for Shia Islam. Litvak’s work. considered the first in-depth study of the period, explores the social and political dynamics of those cities and the development of Shia Islamic leadership.
Today, of course, the cities of Najaf and Karbala are in the news again as the United States attempts to plant democracy in Iraq. Dr. Litvak also served as editor of the book Islam and Democracy in the Arab World, published in 1997.
He has published articles in Journal of Israeli History, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and The Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review, among other publications. He recieved a Fulbright Fellowship from the American-Israeli Education Foundation and the Landau Prize for Research from the Israeli Ministry of Education. Litwak earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tel Aviv University and his doctoral degree from Harvard University.
Dr. Litvak will speak at 7 p.m., Nov. 19, in Beaman Meeting Room A in the new Beaman Student Life Center. His appearance is sponsored by the university’s Division of Student Affairs. Belmont students can get convocation credit by attending.
The event is free and open to the public and news media.