Radhika Coomaraswamy, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and High-level Mediation Advisory Group to the UN Secretary-General, will serve as a Bok Visiting International Professor in the Fall of 2019 and will teach a course on Women, Peace, and Security with Associate Dean of International Affairs, Rangita de Silva de Alwis.
Last month, Senators Cruz, Hatch, Inhofe, and Roberts introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act in Congress. Proponents of the bill cite similar decisions in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Russia, and Bahrain to support a designation under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). At first blush, these determinations seem like damning evidence, but a closer look reveals that they are largely politically motivated attempts to chill political speech and dissent.
Transnational terrorist groups, from al Qaeda to the Islamic State, complicate this framework in numerous ways, in no small part by making it difficult to ascertain when and where armed conflict exists such that wartime targeting and detention rules apply.
Increasingly, in the court of public opinion, an attacker’s race and religion is more likely to determine whether a violent attack constitutes terrorism than legal definitions. An attacker’s identity as an Arab, South Asian and/or Muslim, is a marker for terrorism that is emphasized by some news media to the exclusion of other relevant inquiries such as mental illness. The most recent attack in London, however, reminds us that this latter factor - mental health - may be critical to averting future acts of violence.