Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Islam and the West: Conversation 
    with John L. Esposito, University Professor of Religion and International 
    Affairs, Georgetown University, March 13, 2003, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is John L. Esposito, who is University Professor of Religion and International Affairs, and Founding Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. A past president of the Middle East Studies Association, he is editor-in-chief of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, editor of the Oxford History of Islam, and the author of numerous books, including Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality, and most recently, the Oxford Dictionary of Islam.

  1. Background ... influence of parents ... education ... discovering the Islamic world
  2. Mutual Misperceptions ... Muslim ambivalence ... the West's double standard ... West doesn't see diversity ... ignorance ... what Americans should know ... roots of misunderstanding
  3. "Clash of Civilizations" ... looking for the next threat ... monolithic view of civilizations ... danger of self-fulfilling prophecy
  4. Islam and Modernity ... separation of church and state ... political/historical transitions left no room for debate ... reformists and revivalists ... global jihad : West defends Islam in Afghanistan ... global versus local ... stereotypes ... many forms of democracy ... Western support of authoritarian regimes ... Islamic moderates ... messy democracy
  5. U.S. Foreign Policy ... the lure of bin Laden ... war on terrorism expands to imperialism ... anti-Americanism ... subtle approach needed ... more focus and open-mindedness needed ... extremists exploit real issues
  6. Conclusion ... fundamentalism vs. extremism ... hopes for Muslim - Christian understanding ... importance of political education

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