Published on Jul 6, 2012
Speech by Dr. John Esposito after the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in which he discusses the growth of anti-Muslim bigotry in America, and contrasts it with the generally positive polling data with respect to American Muslims, which was collected in his seminal book, ‘Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think’.
Today the world faces the prospect of an endless war and intensifying global polarization. While extremist forms of Islam have gotten great attention, the media and academic scholarship have been much slower in addressing the varieties and vibrancy of Islamic mobilization that are leading to a global Islamist resurgence. How does one explain the paradox represented by the simultaneous duality of the efflorescence of U.S.-led neoliberal globalization and militarization and Islamist mobilization on a global scale? Exploring this central question, the author concludes that until the present day selective discourse on Islamophobia is replaced with a nuanced understanding of Islam and the sources of Muslim rage and resentment, based on the best understanding and social scientific evidence–thereby hopefully helping to force real changes in U.S., Israeli and Western policy–the likelihood is that the so-called global war on terrorism will escalate, providing a new generation of recruits for militant Islam and leading to an ever escalating cycle of revenge from which few may escape unscathed. Islamophobia and a lack of understanding of Muslim majority countries and why there is substantial antipathy towards the U.S., Israel and allied states, provides a strong undercurrent of public support for aggressive U.S. policies towards the Muslim world. Thus, it is urgent for scholars and activists to expose Islamophobic illusions and lies and reveal instead the realities of the historical and contemporary relationship between Islamic and Western religions, civilizations, states and social groups, as part of offering and pushing for new paths towards more equitable, peaceful, socially just and sustainable futures.