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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Louis Esposito (born 19 May 1940, Brooklyn, New York City) is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown University. [1]


Early life

Esposito was raised a Roman Catholic in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City, and spent a decade in a Catholic monastery. After taking his first degree he worked as a management consultant and high-school teacher. He then studied and received a masters in theology at St. John's University. He earned a PhD at Temple University, Pennsylvania in 1974, studying Islam and held post doc appointments at Harvard and Oxford. He is well-known as a promoter of strong ties between Muslims and Christians and has even challenged the Vatican to make greater efforts to encourage such ties[3].

Academic career

For nearly twenty years after completing his PhD, Esposito had taught religious studies (including Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam) at the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit college in Massachusetts. At Holy Cross, Esposito held the Loyola Professor of Middle East Studies position, was the chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and the director of college's Center for International Studies.[2] At Georgetown University, Esposito holds the position of University Professor and teaches as both a Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Professor of Islamic Studies.[3] Esposito also works as a Senior Scientist at the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where he co-authored Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, which was published in March 2008.

He published "Islam and Politics" in 1984, and "Islam: The Straight Path" in 1988; both books sold well, going through many editions. In addition to more than 35 books, he is editor-in-chief of a number of Oxford reference works including "The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World", "The Oxford History of Islam", "The Oxford Dictionary of Islam" The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (5vols. forthcoming 2008) and Oxford Islamic Studies Online.[2]

In 1988, he was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA). He has also served as president of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies. He served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy from 1999 to 2004 and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and the High Level Group of the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations. A recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s 2005 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion and of Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam Award for Outstanding Contributions in Islamic Studies, in 2003 he received the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Award for Outstanding Teaching. [2]

Esposito founded the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and is its current director. The center has received a $20 million endowment from Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal "to advance education in the fields of Islamic civilization and Muslim-Christian understanding and strengthen its presence as a world leader in facilitating cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue."[4]

Selected bibliography

  • "Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think", coauthored with Dalia Mogahed (2008) ISBN 9781595620170
  • "The Oxford History of Islam", as editor (2004) ISBN 0195107993
  • "The Islamic World: Past and Present", as editor (2004, 3 volume set) ISBN 0195165209
  • "The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World", as editor (1995, 4 volume set) ISBN 0195066138
  • "The Oxford Dictionary of Islam", as editor (1994) ISBN 0195125592
Nonfiction books
  • "The Future of Islam" (2010) will be available in February 2010. ISBN10: 0-19-516521-7
  • "Islam: The Straight Path" (1st edition: 1988, 3rd edition: 2004) ISBN 0195182669
  • "Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam" (2002) ISBN 0195154355
  • "What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam" (2002) ISBN 0195157133
  • "Women in Muslim Family Law", coauthored with Natana J. Delong-Bas (2nd edition: 2002) ISBN 0815629087
  • "Makers of Contemporary Islam", coauthored John Voll (2001) ISBN 0195141288
  • "The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?" (3rd edition: 1999) ISBN 0195130766
  • "Political Islam: Radicalism, Revolution or Reform" (1997) ISBN 1555871682
Academic collections
  • "Islam in Asia: Religion, Politics, & Society", as editor (2006) ISBN 0195040821
  • "Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gulen Movement", as coeditor with M. Hakan Yavuz (2003) ISBN 0815630409
  • "Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and Europe", as coeditor with Francois Burgat (2003) ISBN 0813531985
  • "Iran at the Crossroads", as coeditor with R.K. Ramazani (2000) ISBN 0312238169
  • "Islam, Gender and Social Change", as coeditor with Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad (1997) ISBN 0195113578
  • "Islam and Politics", as editor (1st edition: 1984, 4th edition: 1998) ISBN 0815627742
  • "Islam and Democracy", as coeditor with John Voll (1996) ISBN 0195108167


  1. ^ [1][2]
  2. ^ a b c Bio of John Esposito, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy. Accessed February 23 2007
  3. ^ Esposito, John. Academic Biography,Georgetown University. Accessed February 23 2007
  4. ^ Press Release: Georgetown University Receives $20 Million Gift From HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal To Expand Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, December 12 2005. Accessed February 23 2007

External links




Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

John Louis Esposito (born 19 May 1940) is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University.


Speech at the UN seminar on Islamophobia in 2004

  • We find statements by religious, polital leaders and the media that incite Islamophobia. I'm going to give you some, otherwise we wind up talking in very true but gerneral statements. And I think we need to hear the actual words, because these are the words that people, who are in churches, people who are watching the media, hear. And if they don't have a context within which to place them, they will draw us out of conclusions. While George Bush and Tony Blair may distinguish between Islam and extremism, Franklin Graham tells us that "Islam is a very evil religion. All the values that we as a nation hold dear, they don't share those same values at all ... these countries that have the majority of Muslims." You might think of Franklin Graham as an individual, but if you are in the Muslim world, you know that Franklin Graham gave the invocation at the first inauguration of president Bush, that Franklin Graham a year and a half later was asked to speak on Good Friday at the Pentagon. That sends a signal. Pat Robertson: "This man [Muhammad] was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic, he was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam ... they are carrying out Islam. I mean: This man [Muhammed] was a killer and to think that this is a peaceful religion is fraudulent." Benny Hinn at a pro-Israel rally: "This not a war between Arabs and the Jews, this is between God and the devil." And there are many others.
  • While Islamophobia like anti-Semitism is centuries old, it too will not be eradicated easily or soon. Therefore we all have a critical role to play: Government policy makers, educational institutions and the media, religious and political leaders, educators, media people, believers and unbelievers, the private and public sectors and international organisations like the UN are charged today to address and promote inter-religious and inter-cultural dialog to build a world based upon a modern notion of tolerance, that is grounded in mutual understanding and respect for others. For the end of the day Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance know no religious, racial, tribal or national bounderies or limits. The message at the end of the day is simple and clear: Islam is not the enemy, religious extremism is.
    • Speech at the UN seminar "Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding" in December 2004 [1]


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