Announcements and Reminders
Scott Turnbull spoke to us about the being the new Superintendent of Schools at the Soquel school district.  He has been in education for 27 years. He comes to us from the Santa Barbara area. He spoke about the passing of Measure C and how they will now be able to replace the portable classrooms. They are actively recruiting for the citizen’s oversight committee. Sandra will have the paperwork for anyone interested.
Michelle announced Feb 3rd is a luncheon for Meals on Wheels at 11:30 at Chaminade. Called Food From the Heart, Mark Stone will be the speaker. Tickets are $60. She also announced that Sat March 4th is the crab feed fundraiser for the fair grounds. Tickets for this are also $60.
Friday May 5th is our fundraiser for Leo’s Haven. It is a roast of Zach Friend. The committee meets the first and third Thursdays before our regular meeting. Silent and live auction items needed as well as bottles of wine.
Rotary night at the warriors is $25. Al has tickets. Deadline is next Thursday.
Sandra will be putting out application soon for RYLA. Sophomore and juniors are welcome to apply. Sandra will have the applications.
Doug Deaver reminded us of the speech contest. He also announced the Stop Hunger Now package wrapping will be on Sat Feb 25th 8:00 to 11:30.
Dr. Art introduced our speaker, Robert Strayer, who is a professor of world history. He has written a number of textbooks and is teaching at local colleges and writing another textbook. He spoke to us today about Islamic fundamentalism.
Islamic fundamentalism is characterized by the Iranian revolution of 1979 as well as Al Kaida, The Taliban and the Islamic state. It is seeking to retaliate against western violence and intrusion into their countries. But ironically, most victims are in what we term ‘the Arab world’. They wish to renew and reform the practice of Islam.
 He suggested three possible contexts to understand this phenomenon.
(1) Global fundamentalism is a religious response to modern life which has been hard on religion.  The changing role of women has been part of this as well as other modern ideas and a scientific approach to life.  For instance it has shaped Indian politics (Hindu fundamentalism). Thus Islamic fundamentalism is part of a larger movement. It is a Muslim phenomenon but there are other expressions of Islam. Three others are mainstream Islam which is very tolerant, such as in the Ottoman empire and Muslim Spain. A second dimension is Sufism the mystics of Islam. They do not reject the law but to them the law is beside the point. To them the main thing is experience Allah. Rumi, their spokesperson said ‘love is my religion.’ The third strand that contrasts with fundamentalism is Islamic modernism. Developed in the 19th century, it was interested to borrow ideas from the west. It argues that Islam is not opposed to modernity.
(2)  Even among Islamic fundamentalists, those who espouse violence are a small group. We need to recognize the non-violent aspects of this group. They set up social services and take part in elections when possible.
(3)  In the 20th century Islamic world was under colonial control after 600 years of being the center of learning, art and culture. Between 1940 and the 1960’s these colonial governments were overthrown and Islamic societies received political independence. But the aftermath generated a great deal of disappointment. They had not got rid of the imperialists eg Israel represented the continuation of European intrusion into the Islamic world. In addition other items  - such as Barbie dolls and alcohol and women’s fashions – have polluted their culture and are offensive to them. Even governments have followed the western path but it has not been successful. There is a growing gap between rich and poor. For many people this was seen as a result of the departure from the straight path of Islam. So the answer is to return to the days of the prophets and the ancestors. This has led to violence against the western world and overthrowing modern governments.
There was a lively discussion following the presentation and Professor Strayer clarified many of our preconceived beliefs.