The headline calls this a “debate,” but the only speakers seem to have been Islamic apologist John Esposito and a CAIR official. Kudos to the University of Chicago! That’s a debate? That’s a pillow fight. “Experts debate Islam,” by Nicholas Nardini for the Chicago Maroon, with thanks to PRCS:
Spectators packed Hutchison Commons last Wednesday night to hear renowned Islamic scholar John Esposito’s talk entitled “Understanding Islam in the Modern World,” organized by the Muslim Students Association (MSA).
Esposito, a professor of Religion, International Studies and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, rose to prominence after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, when academics took greater interest in politics of the Islamic world.
Before Esposito spoke, vice president of the MSA and third-year Khalil Qato encouraged those present to think forward to “a cold Autumn night 20 years from now at the U of C” when students will hold our generation responsible for resolving the current situation.
Ahmed Rehab, a software engineer and director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, as well as a frequent commentator on Islamic issues, then took the podium. He said Islam is truly a Western religion and will eventually find its niche in the West, but that a misrepresentation of the religion, ignorance, and an Islamophobic bias in the news media prevents that realization.
Esposito, who spoke next, slammed Americans for their ignorance concerning Islam. “I have the best job in the world, because people have been asking the exact same questions for 30 years,” he said.
He compared today”s situation with that of the eighth century, when the Islamic empire encroached upon Europe. “We think of 14 centuries of jihad, they think of 14 centuries of crusade,” Esposito said.
14 centuries of Crusade? When the first one wasn’t called until 1095? Is John Esposito living in the year 2506?