Navigating a Post 9/11 World: Challenges to Civil Liberties and Religious Freedom

A panel discussion held to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

line drawing of a person in a chair talking, audience members, and a person with a microphone



Whitaker Auditorium Washington University in St. Louis

One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

A decade has passed since the nation was gripped by the tragedy of September 11th. To mark this milestone, this panel explored the challenges that have surfaced between our quest for greater national security and our political ideals of civil liberty and religious freedom.

This panel discussion addressed ways freedom of religion has faced challenges when it comes to Islam in America, Sharia Law and why some consider it “incompatible” with the U.S. Constitution and democratic government, what recent Congressional hearings reveal about the deep partisan split that exists in lawmakers’ approach to terror investigations and whether the focus on radical Muslims is a form of modern-day McCarthyism or justified concern for homeland security, and the biggest misperceptions about Islam in America since 9/11 and how we generate a greater social understanding.

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics and the Gephardt Institute for Public Service partnered with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding to coordinate this event in commemoration of Constitution Day and the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

A welcome was given by Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Professor of History and Religious Studies at Washington University. The panel was moderated by R. Marie Griffith, Director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics.

About Sahar Aziz

Sahar F. Aziz is a Legal Fellow at ISPU and Associate Professor of Law at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Prior to joining TWU, she was an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where she developed and taught a new course entitled National Security and Race in a Post-9/11 America. She also serves as Senior Counsel to the Charity and Security Network and Counsel to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Ms. Aziz served as Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where she worked on public policy involving the intersection of national security and civil rights. She has been published in the Texas Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties,, Search for Common Ground News Service, the American Constitution Society blog, and altmuslim. Ms. Aziz earned her law degree and a masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas.

About John Bowen

John R. Bowen is the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. His research explores broad social transformations now taking place in the world-wide Muslim community, including special emphasis on Muslim life in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation. His research focuses on the role of cultural forms (religious practices, aesthetic genres, legal discourse) in processes of social change. He has written extensively on the integration of Muslims into Western societies, specifically in Europe. His upcoming book The New Anthropology of Islam will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.

About Gulten Ilhan

Gulten Ilhan is a Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis Community College at Meramec. She has a Master’s degree in Philosophy from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. She teaches courses in World Religions, Introduction to Philosophy, and Logic at the Saint Louis Community College. Before joining the faculty of Saint Louis Community College, she taught at Saint Louis University, Maryville University, Webster University, and Ohio University.

Gulten Ilhan is active in interfaith community organizations. Along with participating in the interfaith efforts, she strives to promote better understanding of Islam in the St. Louis community. She regularly speaks to community organizations, and to area high school and university students about the religion of Islam and what it means to live the life of a Muslim.

Gulten Ilhan came to the United States from Turkey. She has lived in St. Louis since 1990, and has taught at the Community College since 1999.