Georgetown's John Esposito a Panelist in "Muslims Speak Out"
by Cinnamon Stillwell • July 20, 2007
Yesterday, it was announced via press release that the joint Washington Post and Newsweek blog On Faith will be hosting an "online dialogue" from July 22-27 during which Muslim clerics, thinkers, and related figures will discuss "religion, terrorism and human rights."
Titled "Muslims Speak Out," the event is being held in conjunction with Georgetown University and perhaps not coincidentally, religion, international affairs, and Islamic studies professor John Esposito will be one of the panelists.
Esposito, along with being a regular contributor to the On Faith blog, is the founding director of Georgetown's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. It is so named after its Saudi patron, Prince Alwaleed bin Talel, who is not known for his moderate views. Neither, by the way, is Esposito who has consistently taken an apologetic stance towards Islamism, not to mention demonstrating a marked hostility towards the efforts of the United States and Israel to combat such forces.
Esposito's commentary to this effect has garnered him several entries in the Campus Watch "Quote of the Month" feature, including the following gems:
"I have the world's greatest job because I've been saying the same thing for 30 years. Can anybody else make that claim?"
Esposito has indeed been saying the same thing for some time and his words offer no more illumination to students of Middle East studies today than they did 30 years ago. His inclusion in "Muslims Speak Out" hardly bodes well for a well-rounded and objective look at a crucial topic. But considering some of the unsavory characters on the panel, Esposito will be in good company.
The entire event is emblematic of the continuing blindness in this country as to who constitutes true allies among the Muslim community, as well experts in Middle East studies on related issues. The fact that Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, who's in charge of "building bridges" between America and the Muslim world, is a devoted acolyte of Esposito's work says it all.
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