Questioning Muslim Terrorism

USF’s Citizenship Initiative presents Charles Kurzman on “Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists.”


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2013) – Why so few Islamic terrorists? This provocative question is posed by Charles Kurzman, as he becomes the inaugural speaker headlining USF’s Citizenship Initiative Speaker Series, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. in the USF Tampa Library’s Grace Allen Room.


His lecture, titled “Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists,” will address material covered in his book, “The Missing Martyrs” (Oxford University Press, 2011).


Kurzman wonders, “If terrorist methods are as widely available as automobiles, why are there so few Islamist terrorists?” His research finds that Islamic terrorism has not posed as large a threat as reporters and the public think.


A professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and co-director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, Kurzman has written widely about Islamic reform movements. His research focus is on the Middle East and Islamic studies.


"Professor Kurzman's book on this issue drew widespread interest and engagement, especially as relates to the United States. His visit will be a terrific opportunity for faculty, students and members of the community to partake in that conversation," said Professor David Jacobson, the director of the Citizenship Initiative.


Kurzman is the author of, among others, “Democracy Denied 1905-1915” (Harvard University Press, 2008) and “The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran” (Harvard University Press, 2004).


The lecture is being hosted by the USF Citizenship Initiative and is co-sponsored by the USF Department of Sociology. For more information, contact Samantha Haylock,


“The USF Citizenship Initiative is designed to create partnerships critical to identifying and understanding the links and ties that empower civil society whether in Western Europe, the United States, North Africa or other places in the world,” said Anthropology Professor Linda Whiteford who serves as associate director of the USF Citizenship Initiative.


She added, “After we begin the Citizenship Initiative’s speaker series with Dr. Kurzman, in April Dr. Paul Cloke will speak about the role of Third Sector Organizations – a critical element in civil societies – in the time of neoliberalism. Each of these lectures creates intellectual bridges that expand our understanding of the role of civil society in the turbulent times of today.”


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.