Building Bridges ~ Creating Community
Dr. John Esposito
"The Future of Islam and Muslim-West Relations"
On Wednesday, February 16th, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) is hosting a lecture by Dr. John Esposito at 7 pm in SUB Ballrooms B, C and D at MSU. This event is sponsored by MSU's Diversity Awareness Office, the Office of the President, Lutheran Campus Ministries, the Office of Student Activities, the Office of International Programs, Humanities Montana, Unitarian Universalists Fellowship, Social Justice Team at United Methodist Church, Montana Women For and the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Alliance. The Wall Street Journal once described John Esposito as "America's foremost authority and interpreter of Islam." We are lucky to host him at MSU despite his extremely busy schedule.
John Esposito is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and Vice President and President Elect of the American Academy of Religion. America's foremost non-Muslim expert on Islam, he has devoted much of his career to exploring Islam and promoting greater interfaith relations. His more than 45 books and monographs about Islam (translated into more than 30 languages) include, Islam: The Straight Path, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think (with Dalia Mogahed), and The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? Dr. Esposito's message could not be more appropriate for our Bozeman community. Our screening of the documentary based on his book, "Who Speaks for Islam?" attracted around 300 people last spring.
Recent studies by Pew and Gallup have found that 38% of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Islam, 57% report having nothing to admire about Islam and 43% admit to feeling at least "a little" prejudice toward Muslims -- more than twice the number who say the same about Christians, Jews, and Buddhists. His lecture at MSU will be about the future of Islam and Muslim-West relations, based on his recent book The Future of Islam. Esposito pleads for religious understanding to go beyond the classroom and textbook. He concludes: "All our futures will depend on working together for good governance, for freedom of religion, speech, and assembly, and for economic and educational advancement. Together we can contain and eliminate our preachers of hate and terrorists who threaten the safety, security, and prosperity of our families and societies...The future of Islam and Muslims is inextricably linked to all of humanity."