Author John Kiser
John Kiser, author of The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith, Love and Terror in Algeria,
will present “Monks and Muslims: Dimensions of Identity and Otherness” at Randolph-Macon
College on Wednesday, March 9, 2011. The event, which is free and open to the
public, will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Topping Room (Room 212)
of Old Chapel.
The Monks of Tibhirine (St. Martin’s Press, 2002) is the true story of
Christians willing to die serving a Muslim flock during the political nightmare
that unfolds in Algeria during the 1990s. The decapitation of seven French Trappists
kidnapped from their monastery in the village of Tibhirine provides the thread for
this real-life drama of Christians who put their lives at risk for their Muslim
friends, and Muslims who risk death for Christians.
Kiser’s appearance is sponsored by R-MC’s First-Year Experience
course “The Stranger: Conceptions of the Self and the Other,” which is taught by
Professors Aouicha Hilliard (modern languages)
and Scott London (sociology).
“Each of our courses explores from a particular disciplinary perspective the reasons
for mistrust, hostility, and conflict between one culture, or between one ethnic
or racial group, and another, but each course also focuses on circumstances that
can lead to reconciliation or mutual respect and acceptance,” explains Hilliard.
“John Kiser’s profoundly moving book examines these issues in the context of recent
events in Algeria, which in the 1990s was involved in a violent civil war that pitted
the government and its supporters against a well-organized group of Islamist terrorists.
The book focuses on a small group of Christian monks who lived in a monastery in
Algeria at that time, and who sought, through thoughtful, ongoing dialogue with
native Algerians, to explore how the people, despite their different cultures and
religions, could live together in mutual understanding and peace.”
The 2010 film “Of Gods and Men” draws on the research and drama of the monks’ kidnapping
and death told in Kiser’s prize-winning book. Richmond’s Westhampton Theatre (5706
Grove Avenue) will show the film beginning on April 1, 2011.
For more information about Kiser’s appearance at R-MC, contact Scott London at (804)
752-4705 or Aouicha Hilliard at (804) 752-7277.