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JOHN ESPOSITO Printer Friendly Page

John Louis Esposito for the Defense (of an Alleged, Would-be Terrorist)
By Stephen Schwartz
February 17, 2012

John L. Esposito: Apologist for Wahhabi Islam
By Stephen Schwartz
September 18, 2011

John Esposito’s Deceptions on “Islamophobia”
By Hasan Mahmud
August 22, 2011

Georgetown and the Islamist Money Changers
By Stephen Schwartz
June 24, 2011

Who Is Teaching about Islam?

By Jonathan Schanzer
June 2, 2009

Who Speaks for Islam? Not John Esposito
By Jonathan Gelbart
May 27, 2009

The Inroads of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration
By Douglas Farah
April 13, 2009

President Obama, the Alliance of Civilizations and the Return of John Esposito
By The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report
April 1, 2009

John Esposito, in His Own Words
By Compiled by Winfield Myers
February 2009

Georgetown Academic Unaware of Global Muslim Brotherhood Key Facts
By Family Security Matters
November 12, 2008

HLF Defense Expert Offers Alternate Interpretations
By The Investigative Project on Terrorism
November 4, 2008

Esposito Spearheading Interfaith Dialogues
By Raymond Ibrahim
August 5, 2008

John Esposito on 'Moderation' and 'Peace'
By Keith Pavlischek
July 8, 2008

The Esposito School: Islamic Apologists in Action, or Who Is the "Near Enemy"?
By David Bukay
July 1, 2008

John Esposito and His Credentials
By Hugh Fitzgerald
June 11, 2008

With Friends Like Esposito
By Alathea Faraday
May 9, 2008

Dinesh D'Souza: John Esposito "Is One of the Most Respected American Authorities on Islam"
By Robert Spencer
April 28, 2008

Dr. Esposito and the Seven-percent Solution
By Martin Kramer
April 9, 2008

Esposito's Predictions, Right and Wrong
By Martin Kramer
March 20, 2008

Esposito at Stanford
By Cinnamon Stillwell
February 15, 2008

John Esposito Blames the Christians
By Winfield Myers
November 26, 2007

Vatican Thinks Theological Discussion with Islam Impossible, Experts Charge
By John L Allen Jr.
October 29, 2007

Want to Understand Islam? Skip John Esposito's Apologias
By Winfield Myers
July 21, 2007

Georgetown's John Esposito a Panelist in "Muslims Speak Out"
By Cinnamon Stillwell
July 20, 2007

Boston: Islamic Group Sues Scholar for Libeling Muslims [on Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, John Esposito of Georgetown]
By Matt Rand
March 15, 2007

Georgetown Professor Mentors “Martyrdom” Supporter
By Joel Mowbray
September 1, 2006

Mentoring a “Martyrdom” Supporter
By Joel Mowbray
August 31, 2006

Georgetown U Prof [Is] Advisory Board Member of UK Group Whose Director Wants to Be a Suicide Bomber in Israel
By Militant Islam Monitor
August 22, 2006

A Tribute to John Esposito
By Hugh Fitzgerald
March 8, 2006

Lack of Arab, Muslim Lobby in West Blamed on Authoritarian Regimes [Interview with Georgetown's John Esposito]
By Zaigham Ali Mirza
March 7, 2006

Academic Apologist for Jihad
By Cincinnatus
November 8, 2005

The U.S.-Hamas War
By Daniel Pipes
August 4, 2003

A "Nuanced" Look at Middle Eastern Studies
By Peter Wood
July 1, 2003

Jihad Is Over, if Noah Feldman Wants It
By Martin Kramer
May 22, 2003

Embedded Terrorist
By Erick Stakelbeck
May 14, 2003

Exposing Esposito
By Stanley Kurtz
December 3, 2001

Islam Obscured
By Martin Kramer
2001


Click here to view a sample Profile.

Esposito's Visual Map
 

  • Professor at Georgetown University
  • Apologist for radical Islam
  • Contends that the Muslim world is advancing toward democratic reform, regardless of Western help
  • Has called terrorist-supporter Sami al-Arian a “consummate professional”
  • “September 11 has made everyone aware of the fact that not addressing the kinds of issues involved here, of tolerance and pluralism, [can] have catastrophic repercussions.”
 

The Wall Street Journal once described John Esposito as “America’s foremost authority and interpreter of Islam.” The former President of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), he currently teaches at Georgetown University, where his dual titles are "Professor of Religion and International Affairs" and "Professor of Islamic Studies." He also heads Georgetown’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Esposito received his PhD in Islamic Studies from Temple University in 1974. He thereafter became a professor at the College of the Holy Cross, a small Jesuit school in Massachusetts, where he spent the first twenty years of his professional academic career. From there, he moved to Georgetown. He has written more than two-dozen books focusing on Islam’s relation to politics and human rights. He was named editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, and has served as a Muslim affairs consultant to the Department of State, as well as to corporations and universities worldwide.

Averting his scholarly eyes from the study of Islamist violence on grounds that it “reinforces stereotypes,” Esposito contends that the Muslim world is steadily advancing toward democratic reform, toward an “Islamic democracy that might create an effective system of popular participation unlike the Westminster model or American system,” the latter of which he disparages as “ethnocentric.” Forecasting a trend of ever-increasing freedom and democracy in Muslim lands, in 1994 Esposito wrote: “[D]emocratization in the Muslim World proceeds by experimentation and necessarily involves both success and failure. The transformation of Western feudal monarchies to democratic nations states took time—Today we are witnessing a historic transformation of the Muslim world.”

In the decade prior to 9/11, Esposito predicted that fundamentalist Islamic groups and governments in Arab nations would reject violence and thus would present no threat to the United States. “The [very] term ‘fundamentalism,’ he said, “is laden with Christian perceptions and Western stereotypes. More useful terms are Islamic revivalism and Islamic activism, which are less value-laden and have roots within a tradition of political reform and social action.”

Impugning those who equate Islamist movements “with radicalism and terrorism,” Esposito claims that such thinking merely “becomes a convenient pretext for crushing political opposition.” Islamist movements, he explains, “are not necessarily anti-Western, anti-American, or anti-democratic.” Moreover, he minimizes the fact that those nations that have adopted Islamic law are, for the most part, totalitarian states that export terrorism and egregiously violate the human rights of their inhabitants. “Contrary to what some have advised,” he writes, “the United States should not in principle object to implementation of Islamic law or involvement of Islamic activists in government.”

Esposito subscribes to the Edward Said school of thought, which holds that Middle Eastern attitudes toward Israel can never be understood from an “American colonialist perspective.” In other words, they should be viewed from the point of view of Israel’s alleged role as a base of American imperialism. Ignoring Hamas' program of creating an Islamic radical state to replace Israel – a genocidal agenda – Esposito has characterized the Palestinian terror group as a community-focused organization that, in addition to its violence, does a considerable amount of societal good via such productive activities as “honey [production], cheese-making, and home-based clothing manufacture.” He has likened Yasser Arafat’s calls for jihad to social initiatives for the launching of a “literacy campaign” or a “fight against AIDS.” He has called former professor Sami al-Arian, a terrorism-supporter with strong links to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a “consummate professional.”

Esposito serves on the board of advisors for the Institute for Islamic Political Thought, a London-based foundation run by Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian academic who has openly proclaimed his support for Hamas and the Taliban, and who has praised the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Tamimi considers Esposito his “ustadh," or teacher.

In 1999, Esposito was was instrumental in the founding of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and later went on to serve as vice chair of that organization.

With regard to the 9/11 attacks, Esposito traces their root causes not to fanatical Islamic extremism, but directly to the doorstep of the United States and what he deems its exploitation of Muslim nations. He advises Americans “to look at the proximate grievances, not to justify what terrorists do, but to be able to address, when one can, those conditions which foster the growth of radicalism and extremism in societies overseas. There are real grievances; it is not as though we are dealing with a bunch of crazies. ... One needs to ask why ... did someone like Osama bin Laden acquire something of a cult following? He did because some of the things he appealed to were real issues that exist in the Muslim world and real sources of anti-Americanism as well.”

Esposito has authored more than 35 books, including: Islam: The Straight Path (1988); The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (1992); Islam and Democracy (1996); Political Islam: Radicalism, Revolution or Reform? (1997); Islam and Politics (1998); Women in Muslim Family Law (2002); and Who Speaks for Islam (2008).

Esposito is an editorial board member of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a publication of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Among his fellow editorial board members are such notables as Ali al-Mazrui and John Voll.

 

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