Fresh from addressing the Annual Awards Banquet of the Oklahoma chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, Saudi-funded academic John Esposito makes some Pinocchio-like claims in an interview with NewsOK: “‘Islamophobia’ as I define it is not about people who have a kind of good fact-based criticism of the Islamic religion. There’s nothing negative about that. People are entitled to those types of criticisms. ‘Islamophobia’ is when you have an unfounded irrational fear that tends then to lead to bias, discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes.”
This is, quite simply, a false claim. There is no one who opposes jihad terror who is acceptable to John Esposito and his allies. The reporter, of course, doesn’t press him on this, and that’s a shame. It would have been very interesting to have seen Esposito’s answer if she had asked him to give an example of a “good fact-based criticism of the Islamic religion.” I doubt he would have been able to, if he had answered honestly, as he and his ilk smear any and all critics.
Esposito’s claim is an increasingly common one among Islamic supremacists and their enablers. Apparently they’re trying to provide cover for the fact that they actually target and try to destroy every critic of jihad terror. A report on Islamophobia in the U.S. that CAIR produced in conjunction with the Center for Race & Gender at the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 stated:
“It is not appropriate to label all, or even the majority of those, who question Islam and Muslims as Islamophobes. Equally, it is not Islamophobic to denounce crimes committed by individual Muslims or those claiming Islam as a motivation for their actions. ‘A critical study of Islam or Muslims is not Islamophobic,’ former CAIR Research Director Mohamed Nimer wrote in 2007. ‘Likewise, a disapproving analysis of American history and government is not anti-American… One can disagree with Islam or with what some Muslims do without having to be hateful.’”
Here again, these were empty words. Neither this report nor Esposito offered any examples of what it would consider to be acceptable and legitimate criticism of Islam and jihad, and neither have ever done so anywhere else. Nor has any other Leftist or Muslim group. In reality, anyone and everyone who dares to oppose jihad and Islamic supremacism will become a target for a smear campaign. The real agenda of Islamic supremacist groups in the United States and their faithful servants like John Esposito is clearly not to distinguish legitimate resistance to jihad from bigotry and hatred, but to stigmatize all resistance to jihad as bigotry and hatred. This will clear away all obstacles to the advance of that jihad.
“Q&A with Islamic studies scholar John L. Esposito,” by Carla Hinton for NewsOK, April 12:
Q: What do you think about anti-Muslim attitudes in some communities across the country?
A: “Islamophobia“ as I define it is not about people who have a kind of good fact-based criticism of the Islamic religion. There’s nothing negative about that. People are entitled to those types of criticisms. “Islamophobia“ is when you have an unfounded irrational fear that tends then to lead to bias, discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes. It’s an unfounded fear. What do I mean by that? … It means certainly one should be afraid of Muslim extremism. Most Muslims are afraid of Muslim extremism. The primary victims of Muslim extremists are people who live in the Muslim world in terms of numbers of people. That’s legitimate fear. It’s when you wind up brushstroking a religion and the vast majority of its followers and impose upon them a collective guilt for acts committed by extremists who may have grown up in a Muslim community but who, as I like to put it, “hijack their religion.” And we don’t do that with our other mainstream religions. We recognize that religion has its transcendence and its dark side. All religions have people who abuse and engage in violence.
Q: How do people combat “Islamophobia“?
A: First of all you don’t make the victims primarily responsible. For example, one of the great lines that people would give me, particularly for the first eight years after 9/11, people said Muslims don’t speak out against this (Muslim extremists). I have seen websites speaking out against this but you couldn’t get it into major media. More importantly, not every time there is an attack one should be expecting Muslims to jump out front of it, although they do it. Yes communities have to lift themselves up and fight for themselves, but it takes other communities to weigh in, other communities that represent the establishment or that were the groups that were discriminated against (at another time).
John Esposito is the director of Georgetown University’s 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 célèbre, 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 Sheik 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.”