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Caer Hallundbaek speaks with Dr. Abbas Barzegar, Assistant Professor of Islam in the Department of Religious Studies at Georgia State University. An Associate of the Middle East Institute, his areas of interest include contemporary Islamic  political movements, Shi’ism, and Islam in America. He is co-editor of ‘Islamism: Contested Perspectives on Political Islam,’ published by Stanford University Press in 2009. Topics in this informative hour include: the person of Mohammed – who he was historically, and in context; whether there is an ‘historical Mohammed’ (as people have sought an ‘historical Jesus’); how Mohammed was propelled by the Messianic movement, as was common in 6th and 7th century Arabia; how he received his prophetic call at age 40; Mecca, and how it was tended by Bedouins as a place where all tribes gathered to worship One God; the development of the different Muslim groups; the difference between the Shiite and Sunni Muslim; the different clerical roles and their function; Barzegar’s latest article ‘The Persistence of Heresy: Paul of Tarsus, Ibn Saba, and Historical Narrative in Sunni Identity Formation,’ and more.

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