John O. Voll



  • Associate director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
  • Professor at Georgetown University
  • Defended professor and terrorist Sami Al-Arian
  • Rationalized the 9/11 attacks as an “effective response to overwhelming American power”

John O. Voll is the associate director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU), an organization (run out of Georgetown University by John Esposito) that professes its dedication to “fostering a better understanding of Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations.” But the CMCU website contains a link to a website that recommends Yusuf Ali’s thoroughly anti-Jewish commentary on “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an.”

Voll is also a professor of Islamic History at Georgetown and the author of numerous works. He contends that terrorism cannot be explained away as the product of “ignorance” or of “blind adherence” to the tenets of “an evil cult.” Rather, he says it is a hostile reaction to America’s military might. Just 17 days after the 9/11 attacks, Voll wrote that one of the reasons for terrorism was other nations’ “fear of the immense power of the United States.” “Around the world,” Voll explained, “people know that the United States can focus virtually unimaginable destructive power on any person or place. Among some, this fear becomes hate, and terrorism is seen as the only effective response to overwhelming American power. In this context, an American response to the terrible acts of September 11 that would show that we could destroy a country like Afghanistan would only confirm the convictions of those who hate the United States.”

When the University of South Florida (USF) fired professor Sami Al-Arian after he was charged with aiding the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Voll condemned USF for “caving in to public pressure at the expense of academic integrity,” citing “McCarthyite popular pressures for [Al-Arian’s] dismissal.”

Voll 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 John Esposito and Ali al-Mazrui.

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