Trying to understand Osama bin Laden

Vanderbilt professors discuss writings and threats
Some reading groups choose great fiction or fast-moving mysteries. At Vanderbilt University in Nashville, one group of professors chose the writings and threats of Osama bin Laden as their discussion material.

For nearly a year, these professors of religion, politics, history and law have gathered as a critical audience to analyze bin Laden, a man who looms large in world terrorism yet who remains a mystery to many Americans.

They emphasize that they do not sympathize with the al-Qaeda leader, nor do they want to add academic weight to his teachings or beliefs. They merely want to understand the man, his purpose and the source of his influence and hatred.


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