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
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,
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.