Crowd packs room to learn about ISIS, respond to threat to Hoosier

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By Jill Glavan

FRANKLIN, Ind. (Oct. 6, 2014) -- A packed room gathered at Franklin College on Monday to learn more about ISIS and its recent threat to a fellow Hoosier.

Dr. David Carlson, a Religious Studies professor, offered the free public lecture at a time when ISIS is on the minds of those in central Indiana. It came two days after the Kassig family released a video asking for their son, Abdul-Rahman Kassig, back. Kassig was the latest to be threatened with beheading in an ISIS-released video Friday.

"They have our attention, there’s no doubt about it, this is how they get our attention," Carlson said.

Now that the threat involved a fellow Hoosier and neighbor, Carlson said it struck exactly the point ISIS has been getting at around the world.

"A whole, big movement is hard for us to grasp. When it’s boiled down to the life of a person, someone from our own backyard, our own neighborhood, we go, 'Well that could be,' and then fill in the blank,'" Carlson said.

For attendee Ruth Dorrel, it did hit close to home.

"I think we all sympathize a little more with our own and he’s one of ours," Dorrel said.

In attendee Lara Hunt's case, the message was even more personal.

"I originally was born in Lebanon, in Beirut. I moved here when I was 16," Hunt said.

Given that Kassig was providing aid in Lebanon in 2012, Hunt said she is even more inclined to offer support to his family.

"You really need to be there for them and us as Hoosiers, that’s the first thing that we need to do. Don’t criticize, just support them," Hunt said.

Carlson believed the packed room - though it was far from ISIS and the Middle East - could be the beginning of a way for those at home to make an impact.

"Tonight there will be some Muslims at the gathering and our being...in the room together is a response to ISIL," Carlson said.

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