Go back

Two APSU profs teach Islam, Muslim culture to members of 1st Brigade

As a service to the community, especially Fort Campbell, APSU professors are teaching an orientation course on The History and Religion of Iraq for select members of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Dr. Albert Randall, professor of philosophy and religion, and Dr. Dewey Browder, professor of history and chair of the history and philosophy department, agreed to teach the course at the request of Col. David Gray, commander of the 3,000 soldiers of the 1st Brigade.
As a service to the community, especially Fort Campbell, APSU professors are teaching an orientation course on “The History and Religion of Iraq” for select members of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Dr. Albert Randall, professor of philosophy and religion, and Dr. Dewey Browder, professor of history and chair of the history and philosophy department, agreed to teach the course at the request of Col. David Gray, commander of the 3,000 soldiers of the 1st Brigade.

In January 2005, Gray told Browder he was preparing to take his brigade back to Iraq and asked if Browder would put together an “educational package” that would enable his soldiers to better understand the Iraqi people.

Browder, who knew Gray from the early 1990s when both were on the faculty of the United States Military Academy at West Point, agreed to do so and immediately invited Randall, who has extensive expertise in the Islam religion and the Muslim culture.

Col. Jim D. Scudieri, incoming commander of the 101st Sustainment Brigade and a well-known military historian with a Ph.D., will assist in teaching the course.

Randall says, “When the word ‘Islam' is mentioned, most Americans think of a religion centered in the Middle East that is characterized by fundamentalism, extremism and violence. Most Americans believe Muslims are Arab terrorists who worship Muhammed and that the Qur'an is an unholy book dedicated to war and the destruction of Christianity.

“All of these stereotypes could not be further from the truth. This course should shed light on the distortions of these stereotypes and also explore the fact that Islam is more than a religion.”

Beginning in mid-March and offered free of charge, each class will begin with a presentation by Randall and conclude with a 30-minute discussion on how to apply class material to the Iraqi environment. Gray, who also has a Ph.D. in military history, will lead the post-lecture discussions.

Browder will open the series with an historical overview.

According to Browder, this course also will serve as a pilot course for APSU's newly approved Institute for Global Security Studies.

Browder came to APSU in 1992 from the United States Military Academy, West Point, where he was on the history faculty four years. A Vietnam War veteran, Browder rose from private to lieutenant colonel, holding a variety of administrative positions, including adjutant general for the U.S. Army in Italy, Greece and Turkey. He also served as assistant political adviser and speechwriter for the commander in chief of the U.S. Army in Europe.

A renowned military scholar, historian and author, Browder earned a bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University, master's from the University of Arkansas and Ph.D. in history from Louisiana State University.

Randall, who has taught 33 years at APSU, earned a bachelor's degree from Maryville (Tenn.) College, a Master of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma. The author of two books, including “Theologies of War and Peace Among Jews, Christians, and Muslims,” Randall gives dozens of talks each year to educational, civic, religious and community groups.

For several years, he wrote a weekly column on religion for The Leaf-Chronicle and, since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, has given training sessions on Islam to more than 200 members of the Clarksville Police, the Hostage Negotiation Team of the Clarksville Police and groups of soldiers at Fort Campbell.

For more information regarding the class being taught by the two professors to members of the 1st Brigade, telephone Browder or Randall at (931) 221-7919 or contact them by e-mail at browderd@apsu.edu or randallb@apsu.edu.
—Dennie Burke