The credulity of some people never ceases to amaze me. There are armed Islamic groups all over the world committing violence that they themselves explain and justify by referring to Islamic texts and teachings — in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Nigeria, and elsewhere — and still John Esposito tours all over the country explaining that it is all about how Americans “misunderstand” Islam, and people lap it up. His agenda here is identical to that of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which routinely ignores how Islamic jihadists quote the Qur’an and invoke Muhammad to justify violence and terrorism, but cries “Islamophobia” when non-Muslims quote those jihadis quoting the Qur’an and invoking Muhammad. They want to fool people into thinking that non-Muslim “Islamophobes” are responsible for “linking Islam with terrorism,” when actually the ones doing that linking are the jihadis. The objective is to intimidate non-Muslims into thinking that it is “bigoted” and “hateful” to discuss the Islamic motives and goals of jihadis, much less to resist them — so that those jihadis can do their work unopposed and unimpeded.
John Esposito is the director of Georgetown University’sÂ Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU), a professor of religion and international affairs, and one of the most prominent scholars of Islam and the Middle East in the nation. He has called Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who advocates jihad-martyrdom suicide bombings and has praised Hitler’s genocide of the Jews, a champion of a “reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and human rights.” Esposito has called the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) “phenomenal organization” and has spoken at CAIR fundraisers in order, he explained, to “show solidarity not only with the Holy Land Fund [that is, the Holy Land Foundation], but also with CAIR.”
The Holy Land Foundation was shut down and prosecuted for funneling money to the jihad terror group Hamas, which once boasted on its website about its murders of civilians in pizza parlors and on buses; the Justice Department named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Esposito himself refuses to condemn Hamas, as the Investigative Project notes: “In a 2000 interview in The United Association for Studies and Research’s (UASR) Middle East Affairs Journal, Esposito refused to condemn Hamas, which at the time was already designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department.”
Esposito has also co-edited a book, Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, with Azzam Tamimi. Palestinian political scientist Muhammad Muslih calls Tamimi “a Hamas member.” Tamimi has said: “I admire the Taliban; they are courageous,” and “I support Hamas.” When University of South Florida computer science professor Sami al-Arian was accused of involvement with the leadership of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which has claimed responsibility for the murders of several civilians, he became a cause cÃ©lÃ¨bre, with his defenders ascribing his prosecution to “Islamophobia.” Esposito rushed to his defense, avowing: “Sami Al-Arian’s a very good friend of mine.” In 2008, Esposito advocated for al-Arian’s release, saying:
Sami Al-Arian is a proud, dedicated and committed American as well as a proud and committed Palestinian. He is an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice.
Al-Arian later pled guilty to “conspiring to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a specially designated terrorist organization, in violation of U.S. law.” Al-Arian also, according to Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), has “longstanding connections to associates of al Qaeda.” Wolf quotes a federal affidavit noting that –˜Sheik Rahman (the “˜Blind Sheik”) visited Al-Arian at his residence in Tampa and spoke at his mosque.” Rahman is currently serving a life sentence in U.S. prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center attack and additional terror plots.”
Also associated with the Blind Sheikh is the man Esposito calls “my old friend Siraj”: the popular Muslim speaker Siraj Wahhaj. Wahhaj was designated a “potential unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing for taking the Blind Sheik to speak at mosques in New York and New Jersey in the early 1990s. Wahhaj has warned that the United States will fall unless it “accepts the Islamic agenda.” He has also asserted that “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”
This is the “expert” whom the Washington Post calls upon to clear up Tony Blair’s “misconceptions” about Islam.
“Speaker seeks clarity on Islam,” by Bill Sherman for the Tulsa World, November 9:
John Esposito has loggedÂ 3 million miles over the pastÂ four decades traveling to andÂ from Islamic nations of theÂ Middle East and Asia.
He speaks and reads Arabic.Â And he thinks AmericansÂ misunderstand the religionÂ embraced by a quarter ofÂ mankind.
Esposito, whoÂ will speakÂ ThursdayÂ in Tulsa, isÂ author ofÂ 45 books,Â professorÂ of religionÂ and internationalÂ affairs andÂ of Islamic studies at GeorgetownÂ University, presidentelectÂ of the American AcademyÂ of Religion, and foundingÂ director of the Prince AlwaleedÂ Bin Talal CenterÂ for Muslim-Christian UnderstandingÂ in the WalshÂ School of Foreign Service atÂ Georgetown.
America’s exposure to IslamÂ began with the IranianÂ revolution, he said, whenÂ they saw daily televised reportsÂ of people chantingÂ death to America and burningÂ the U.S. flag.
“The tendency is to generalizeÂ from a narrow experience,”Â he said.
“And there’s a deeper rootedÂ issue,” he said. IslamÂ has always been viewed asÂ “over there,” grouped withÂ Far East religions like HinduismÂ and Buddhism, insteadÂ of as a monotheisticÂ Abrahamic faith that seesÂ itself connected to the greatÂ prophets of Judaism andÂ Christianity.
He said that after the 9/11Â terrorist attacks, Americans”Â interest in Islam spiked.
But a wave of oppositionÂ to mosque construction andÂ Shariah law began with theÂ controversy over building aÂ mosque near ground zero inÂ New York City.
He said Islamophobia, anÂ irrational fear of Islam, is aÂ social cancer that has sweptÂ the nation in the last 10Â years, spurred by anti-IslamicÂ authors on speaking toursÂ and anti-Muslim web sites.
No mention, of course, of jihad terror attacks. Fort Hood? Boston? The dizzying number of failed jihad plots, from the Portland Christmas tree jihadi to the Times Square car bomber jihadi? Pah! It’s all an “irrational fear of Islam” caused by “anti-IslamicÂ authors on speaking toursÂ and anti-Muslim web sites.”
Major politicians are usingÂ language about Islam thatÂ they would never use aboutÂ other religions, calling it aÂ threat to the West, he said.
Not just “major politicians”! A captured internal Muslim Brotherhood document, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America,” explains that the Brotherhood’s agenda in the U.S. is subversive: the Muslim Brothers “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “˜sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” But for some reason John Esposito pretends this document does not exist.
He called that viewpointÂ naive and a frustration.Â
Democracy has never developedÂ in the Middle East,Â he said, not because of IslamÂ but because when modernÂ states emerged, they wereÂ authoritarian regimes ruledÂ by kings and their military.
Residents of the MiddleÂ East have functioned underÂ that type of government forÂ decades, but polling showsÂ that most Muslims admireÂ Americans and want whatÂ Americans have “” politicalÂ freedom and economic opportunity,Â Esposito said.
Authoritarian governmentsÂ are concerned withÂ staying in power. They useÂ religion for their own strategicÂ purposes, but their underlyingÂ motive is power, heÂ said.
Even Osama bin Laden appealedÂ to religion to mobilizeÂ people, but his primaryÂ driver was political, notÂ theological, he said.
Esposito will speak at theÂ 2013 Dialogue and FriendshipÂ Dinner and awardsÂ ceremony of the DialogueÂ Institute of the Southwest,Â formerly the Institute of InterfaithÂ Dialog.
The dinner will be at 6:30Â p.m. Thursday at the DowntownÂ Doubletree Hotel, 616Â W. Seventh St.Â
Honorees will be:
Tulsa County Sheriff StanleyÂ Glanz: leadership award
City Councilor G.T. Bynum: publicÂ service award
Lutheran Bishop Emeritus FloydÂ M. Schoenhals: Fethullah GulenÂ Peace AwardÂ
Fethullah Gulen: the “Turkish Khomeini.“
KWGS Public Radio Tulsa: mediaÂ award
Ozark Christian College studentÂ Ashley Weece: dialogue award
Tickets for the dinner areÂ $50 and can be purchased atÂ bit.ly/dialoguedinner.
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
2013 Dialogue and Friendship Dinner
When:Â 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where:Â Downtown Doubletree Hotel, 616 W. 7th St.
Tickets: $50, available atÂ bit.ly/dialoguedinner