Campus Watch Research
John Esposito, in His Own Words
1) Esposito explained that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter; and that terrorism, as seen in the case of Israel's or the Tel Aviv regime's treatment of Palestinians, can be-- and has been -- used to legitimize wanton violence and continued acts of oppression. However, surprisingly, Esposito added, "Although I have not read or come across the actual 'fatwa,' as a rule, we must not be too quick to draw upon the 'bid'a' gun against anyone, not least of whom the Sheikh al-Azhar."
-- Responding to the question of whether a fatwa from the Sheikh of Al-Azhar (Cairo) in favor of suicide bombings against Israel was a 'bid'a' [illegitimate legal ruling], September 1997. (link to source)
2) "That's [jihad] defensive warfare, but, like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder. . . . The struggle is, when is it just, when is it defensive, when is it offensive?"
-- Defining jihad at Florida Southern College on October 13, 2006. (link to source)
3) "You have myself and others who think roughly in the same school of thought. And you have a second school of thought represented by people like Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Martin Kramer, and legion. But of course we know that Christ cast out the legion of devils, but I won't go that way."
-- Speaking at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne on Wednesday, September 24, 2008. (link to source)
4) "It's not surprising that a sitting governor in this post-9/11 political climate would overreact. This was a prominent member of society sharing views that would be controversial to some. The difficulty that I see is someone is sharing their perspective that is not supporting Israel and their decision to bomb Lebanon, an opinion shared by many at that time. … This comment is offensive to people who support anything that Israel does but this comment is in no way anti-American."
-- As quoted in the Georgetown Hoya, November 2, 2007, in defense of Esman Omeish, M.D., who was forced to resign from the Virginia Commission on Immigration when his statements encouraging jihad in America and calling Israel "barbaric" came to light. (link to source)
5) "Sami Al-Arian's a very good friend of mine."
"[I am here] to show solidarity not only with the Holy Land Fund [sic, Holy Land Foundation], but also with CAIR."
-- Spoken at an August 18, 2007 fund raising event in Dallas for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), during the Holy Land Foundation trial that connected HLF with Hamas, a terrorist organization. Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 to conspiring to provide goods and services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (link to source)
6) "Sami is dedicated family man....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."
-- In a July 2, 2008 letter to U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in support of granting bond for Sami Al-Arian, who pled guilty in 2006 to conspiring to provide goods and services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (link to source)
7) "While stories on global terrorism and domestic threats are important to us all, at the same time how many stories have gone one step further and focused on the thousands of Muslims indiscriminately arrested, detained, monitored and interviewed and not found guilt or released for lack of evidence; the number of Islamic charities shut down but despite the passage of years not successfully prosecuted; the continued detention of Muslims like Prof. Sami al-Arian…."
-- Blogging on March 28, 2007 at "On Faith" about Sami al-Arian, the former University of South Flordia professor imprisoned for aiding the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (link to source)
8) "This is an initiative that I think has some traction. And I know, there's a desire on the part of a critical mass of Muslims who want to move forward, but to be quite frank, I'm concerned about the Christian leadership, and it's how the Christian leadership responds that will affect how this moves forward."
-- Assessing the Christian response to the letter from Muslim leaders, "A Common Word between Us and You," as reported by the Voice of America, November 23, 2007. (link to source)
9) "Jihad has multiple meanings. The most primary meaning is 'struggle for God.'"
"That kind of global jihad — we have to realize that there's both the good side and the bad side to that term."
-- Speaking at Cubberley Auditorium of Stanford University, February 7, 2008, to kick off the second installment in the Islamic Awareness Series "Jihad to Reform." (link to source)
10) "In the struggle to be a good Muslim, there may be times where one will be called upon to defend one's faith and community. Then [jihad] can take on the meaning of armed struggle."
-- As quoted by Daniel Pipes, "Jihad and the Professors," Commentary, November 2002. (link to source)
11) The 1990s "will be a decade of new alliances and alignments in which the Islamic movements will challenge rather than threaten their societies and the West."
-- John L. Esposito , The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (NY: Oxford University Press, 1992), p.207. (link to source)
12) Hamas is "a community-focused group that engages in "honey, cheese-making, and home-based clothing manufacture."
-- Esposito interview, "Extremist Group, Hamas, Said to be Community Oriented," with Daniel Zwerdling on "All Things Considered," National Public Radio, October 22, 1994 (4:30 pm ET), Transcript # 1643-2. (link to source)
13) "September 11 has made everyone aware of the fact that not addressing the kinds of issues involved here, of tolerance and pluralism, have catastrophic repercussions."
-- "'Jihad' not Necessarily a Call to Religious war," with Robert Siegel on "All Things Considered," National Public Radio, May 18, 1994 (4:30 pm ET), Transcript # 1486-9. (link to source)
The following statements were made by Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian scholar in London who co-authored a book with Esposito, Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, and wrote another book for a series of which Esposito is editor. (link to source)
"I admire the Taliban; they are courageous."
"The Israelis stole our houses, which are today occupied by Jews from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Morocco, Ethiopia, Brooklyn. They should return to their homes, and give ours back to us!...That's non-negotiable. Therefore I support Hamas."
"Do not call them suicide bombers, call them shuhada [martyrs] as they have not escaped the miseries of life. They gave their life. Life is sacred, but some things like truth and justice are more sacred than life. They are not desperate, they are hopefuls…. [The Israelis] have guns, we have the human bomb. We love death, they love life."
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