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APSU prof to discuss Middle East countries and values on NewsChannel 5

September 14, 2001

Dr. Bert Randall, professor of philosophy at Austin Peay State University, will be the guest on the NewsChannel 5-Plus program, "MorningLine" on Monday, Sept. 17, from 7:30-9 a.m., which is seen locally on Channel 50.

The sole guest, Randall will answer questions about the Mid-East countries and their beliefs and values.

Last year when the USS Cole was bombed near Yemen, APSU's Public Relations Office notified area media that Randall was willing to serve as a local "expert" on how and why such an attack could occur. There were no takers. The attack, although against an American ship, didn't occur in the United States; Americans have difficulty understanding the cultures of the Mid-East countries; and, in fact, many felt there was little relevance.

That was before Sept 11, 2001, when most likely the same terrorist group leveled the World Trade Center in New York City and destroyed much of the Pentagon. Now Randall is in demand.

Randall, who has traveled to the Mid-East many times and has studied the Muslim doctrines of peace, which are contrary to the beliefs of the militant extremists, has been working this week from the wee hours of morning to late night, trying to provide insight into why the United States was attacked by terrorists that American leaders believe are disciples of the Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden.

"We must guard against our fears and anger condemning millions of Muslims for the actions of extremists who distort the teachings of their holy book, the 'Qur'an'," Randall said.

Randall earned both a master's degree and doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma. He also has a master of divinity degree from the Louisville (Ky.) Presbyterian Theological Seminary. His bachelor's degree is from Maryville College.

One insightful book Randall authored is "Theologies of War and Peace Among Jews, Christians and Muslims," published by The Edwin Mellen Press in 1998. He has had more than 200 articles published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Among their titles are "The Danger of Confusing Religious Fundamentalism with Extremism" and "Fragile Incongruities of the Birthplace of the Prince of Peace," which was written in December 1997 while he was in Bethlehem.

In summer 1995, Randall received an APSU Faculty Development Grant for travel to Yemen with the National Council on US-Arab Relations. Also in 1995, he received a grant from the American Center for Oriental Research and USIAD for two months of study at the Center in Amman, Jordan.

Randall spent summer 1993 traveling in Kuwait and Syria through a grant from the Joseph J. Malone Foundation in Arabic and Islamic Studies and the National Council on US-Arab Relations. In 1999, he received a grant from the Dar al Islam for two weeks of study at the Teacher's Institute on Islam and the Qur'an, Dar al Islam in New Mexico.

According to Randall, one tenet of the "Qur'an" is that, "noncombatants, such as civilians, women, children, the ill and the elderly are not to be harmed" during any violence.

"The terrorists who attacked the United States are violating the teachings of their Holy revelation," Randall said. "At the heart of the 'Qur'an' is the search for peace."

For more information, telephone Randall at 7919.