October 20, 2007
An Islam Dialogue
Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University John Esposito comes onto the PopTech stage to lead a panel and dialogue about Islam. He is also the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown.
He gives us a taste of just how much Islam has grown by giving us some stats to think about......there are 2.3 billion Christians, 12-18 million Jews and while there are 56 countries where Muslims are a minority, it is now the second or third largest religion in the world.
Jokes Esposito, "when I announced I was going to study Islam in the late sixties and early seventies, people told me I'd never get a job. And I didn't. Then along came the Iranian revolution and I was suddenly employable and people were interested in what I had to say."
He continues, "for many of us in this room, certainly most in my generation, christianity was identified with Europe, Islam was invisible on our cognative maps. Schools barely covered Islam and the media didn't cover it at all. How many of us grew up seeing Islam centers? We didn't and still don't have a context in which to understand Islam."
When you ask Americans what they admire, it tends to be our freedoms and our technologies. Not religion.
Says Kuttab, "technology has done a lot to improve freedom of expression in the Arab world. Before, you could pretty much say anything about any other Arab country freely -- any other country except for your own. You had this situation where print and broadcast media was open except for open coverage of what is happening in your own country. The custom agents are the real censors."
Sarah Joseph then enters the dialogue. As an editor of Emel magazine, a Muslim lifestyle magazine and a regular commentator on British Muslims, she has spent the past ten years lecturing on Islam both within the UK and internationally.
There are so many complex issues around Islam. The confusion and anger within both Christians and Muslims. How do we peacefully bridge the two? When things are this complex, people are searching for simple answers and they're not there. Not in general. Not now.
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Tracked on Jun 22, 2009 10:04:11 AM
Thanks for the great blogging on Pop!Tech Rene.
Posted by: Paul | Oct 23, 2007 7:58:51 PM
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