Constitution Week: Saudis, Americans discuss definition of terrorism

Michael McKay

Terrorism is a word that has been around since well before 9/11, but the definition of the word is something that can be very different from person to person.

The political terrorism class taught by Soleiman Kiasatpour, associate professor of political science, was joined by a group of WKU Saudi Arabian students on Thursday to discuss the many definitions of terrorism.

Saundra Ardrey, political science department head, sat in on the discussion and gave her own definition of terrorism.

“The Arab definition is to bring fear. I think that’s an accurate definition of terror. Because the whole purpose — I thought — was to scare Americans, to bring fear.

“That’s exactly what they’ve done. I think that all of the political things that have happened since that is because we’re acting out of fear,” Ardrey said.

The discussion also included how the world has changed since Sept. 11.

Dima Badghaish, business manager of the English as a Second Language Institute, said that right after 9/11 the media showed celebrations in the Middle East that were not accurate.

“If you are in the Middle East, no one heard your side of the story,” Badghaish said.

Badghaish and other Saudis said they had experienced racism after 9/11.

“I’ve been called Bin Laden’s wife here on campus. I don’t respond. I’m highly educated — I don’t sink to their level. I’ve got my (Master of Business Administration) from Western,” Badhaish said.

Another topic in the discussion was the changes in airport security.

Many of the Saudis discussed having to go through extra security screenings at airports.

“I understand where they’re coming from. If it happened in our country we would check everyone who fits the profile,” Badghaish said. “We’re always randomly picked in airports to do double checking. Just don’t say randomly — its insulting our intelligence.”

Ardrey said she wrestles with profiling passengers.

“We live in a racist society. They are going to profile folks. I know how bad profiling is, and I know it perpetuates racism, but I don’t want to die,” Audrey said.