[Leiden University] 9/11 has had strong influence on research

[Leiden University] 9/11 has had strong influence on research

The attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington changed the world. But what effect did they have on academic research? Maurits Berger, Professor of Islam in the Contemporary West, looks back on 10 years of 9/11.

According to Berger, "The attacks of 9/11 have "Islamised" the Netherlands. Everything that Muslims and Arabs do is viewed through the prism of Islam. Rightly or wrongly, it has had a strong effect on the research field. Traditionally, the study of Islam was a part of the study of Arabic, but now all universities give more prominence to Islam Studies."

"Islam is "hot." This has serious consequences for academics. They are all too easily identified with their findings, and find themselves drawn into the political sphere, or are even bombarded with hate mail on Internet sites."

Surfing on the crest
"Islam specialists have had a tense time since 9/11. They are surfing on the crest of a highly topical issue. That also has its downside. It costs time to conduct research to answer the many questions that arise about Muslims and Islam. And neither society nor politics has the patience for this."


"In Leiden we try to do something about this by bringing together the strengths of academics who are involved with Islam in LUCIS, the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society. Within LUCIS, researchers look at Islam from different perspectives: present-day and historical, theological and anthropological, in Europe and the Middle East and Indonesia. Journalists can approach LUCIS, organisations such as the Area Health Authorities have sought advice and tailor-made workshops are organised for municipalities and ministries."

Source: Leiden University

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