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A Short Biography of Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a writer and historian who formerly taught World History and Islamic Civilization at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, where she was also Executive Director of the San Francisco United Nations Association and was a frequent speaker for the World Affairs Council and the Commonwealth Club.

She has been a more than a three decade observer of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and has been charting the growth of fanatical radicalized Islam around the world. Both as a columnist for local newspapers and in scholarly papers given at academic conferences and published in the Comparative Civilizations Review, she has warned of the danger to democratic societies from a rising tide of fundamentalist/political religions.

The September 11, 2001 attack on America has increased the demand for her columns and as a lecturer. A book completed just before the attack, God's Law or Man's Law: The Fundamentalist Challenge to Secular Rule, has been published, and is going into its second edition.

Dr. Farhat-Holzman has lived in Iran twice: the first time when married to an Iranian student who was doing his graduate research in his home country. She was witness to Iran's accelerated attempt at modernizing during the reign of the last Pahlavi shah.

Her second residence there was fifteen years later, during the period leading up to the Islamic Revolution. She was the cross-cultural expert on a project that involved a number of US defense firms, US intelligence agencies, and the Iranian Air Force. Her perspective on radicalized Islam is a combination of domestic experience, professional experience, and her background as a historian.

As a columnist, well before September 11, she wrote about:

  • Religion: Religion: The Newest Battleground (November 26 and December 01, 2000); God's Word or Man's Vote (August 26, 2001) and Tradition! Blessing or Curse? (January 07, 2001).
  • The selling of democracy to unprepared societies: The Selling of Democracy (August 01, 2001) and How Goes Democracy Around the World? (August 26, 2001).
  • Population Explosion underlying unrest: Sex, Lies, and Statistics (June 24 and July 01, 2001).
  • Demonizing the West: Short-Sighted Protests: IMF, WTO and World Bank (June 18, 2000), The Lost Art of Thinking (May 10, 2001), and The Challenge to Modern Society by Luddites (September 11, 2001).
    Since September 11, she has written about:
  • Nation Building: Afghanistan and the Human Condition (February 07, 2002), Afghanistan and the Good Old Days (January 27, 2002), and Are Failed States Our Business (March 17, 2002).
  • Religion Gone Amok: Poisoned Pen (November 25, 2001), Recipe for Making an American Taliban (January 03, 2002), Married to the Mob--Or al-Qaeda (March 07, 2002), Culture Wars in our Public Schools: Religion Again (March 21, 2002) and February was a Banner Month for Religious Folly (March 03, 2002).

Laina Farhat-Holzman was born in Rochester, New York; received her BA from UCLA and her MA and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. She was married to an Iranian student for 15 years, lived on and off in Iran, and had two children in that marriage. She is now married to E. H. Holzman, an American businessman, ostrich rancher, and a former Baseball Coach at Stanford University. They live in Aptos, California.