Talk:John Esposito

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Why were these published works chosen as representative? According to, he has at least 69 published books. Also, this article desperately needs expanding.JeremyBicha 01:28, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Wouldn't Robert Spencer and frontpagemag be considered "views of a tiny minority" per WP:BLP. Can some user look into that?Bless sins 17:01, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Most people aware of Esposito likely share those views. Arrow740 06:58, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit] (talk) 02:25, 1 May 2008 (UTC)Pamela McVay206.57.40.102 (talk) 02:25, 1 May 2008 (UTC) While I may agree that Kramer's points should be noted, their current phrasing in the article makes them sound as if they could not possibly stem from personal animus or from jealousy. The article of Kramer's to which this article links makes what I consider to be serious accusations of poor scholarship, and they are based on what I consider poor and poorly reasoned evidence. For example, according to the link Kramer says:

"During the first part of his career, John L. Esposito never studied or taught at a major Middle East center. He completed a doctorate in Islamic studies at Temple University in 1974 and then spent nearly twenty years teaching comparative religion and Islam at the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit college in Massachusetts. His early published work dealt with Pakistan and Muslim family law. Had he continued along this trajectory, he would have remained obscure even by the standards of Middle Eastern studies."

Esposito is a prolific publisher, especially for someone not affiliated with a major research university and therefore responsible for a lot of teaching. (Although I think Temple University is a much better institution than Kramer seems to imply) The first book-length study he was associated with, so far as I know, was _Islam in transition : Muslim perspectives_ which he edited with John J. Donohue. It was from Oxford University Press in 1982, which in terms of publishing means it was basically finished by 1981 at the latest. In other words, within 8 years of finishing his doctorate, Esposito had enough clout and had performed enough service in the field to edit a volume whose scholars' backgrounds and topics covered the entire gamut of the central middle east, from Egypt to Pakistan. In the pre-e-mail era, corresponding with the large number of middle eastern scholars represented here would have been a Herculean labor. Kramer's assertion that Esposito "would have remained obscure" seems highly unreasonable given Esposito's early exposure to so many scholars from different regions, especially while working with such a distinguished press as Oxford. Moreover, very little of Esposito's published work has been on Pakistan. Of his many publications, nearly all are comparative, synthetic, edited compliations attempting to create a synthesis, or, like "Islam: the Straight Path" intended for a wide audience.

As one of the many people who have turned to Esposito's textbook in my preparing my own teaching, I also resent Kramer's apparent assertion that those of us who chose it did so in order to make some point about Edward Said, or out of a reluctance to assign _Orientalism_ to our students, or out of a desperate desire for works that fit a particular political slant. The article attributed to him says:

"The rank-and-file of MESA [whom Kramer seems to imagine were the only people reading Esposito] were drawn increasingly from academics like Esposito, at lesser universities and colleges. Many of them were teaching the most basic courses on Islam, with enrollments driven by bad news from the Middle East. They were on the lookout for sympathetic texts on Islam — pitched lower than Orientalism, uncontaminated by anti-Americanisms, preferably even written by an American — which they could use in their classes and recommend to their departmental colleagues."

I will let aside the barely hidden contempt Kramer heaps on academics "like Esposito," those of us teaching at "lesser universities and colleges", all of us presumably unable to detect unreasonable scholarly bias. However, I point out that if there is a case for selection bias to be made here, it would actually be that many of us would respond well to a point of view forged in a teaching situation similar to our own. The article probably should reflect this; Esposito publishes primarily for scholars and teachers whose duties are like his own, and we teach most of the US's student population. Thus, yes, his ideas have been widely disseminated.

In any case, I can hardly imagine that anyone who has taught American freshmen and sophomores would think _Orientalism_ was any use as an introduction to Islam or to the Middle East. Any historian or comparative religion instructor in the who thought Esposito's text was, at the time of its first publication, their only choice would have to have been incompetent. Indeed, since _Orientalism_ is actually a critique of European intellectual history, the suggestion that we would consider using it to introduce even graduate students to issues in modern Islam is baffling.

_Islam: the Straight Path_, as Kramer surely knows, is an introductory primer to Islam, written for the reader who knows nothing of Islam and little about religion as a scholarly topic. The natural alternative to it was not _Orientalism_ or some more appropriately critical (in Kramer's mind) text, but Huston Smith's _Religions of Man_ (more lately revised into _The World's Religions_, a work which is no less sympathetic to Islam than Esposito's. Moreover, scholars scarcely had search hard to find Huston Smith if they wanted to find a suitable introduction to Islam; Smith's book has been in publication in one edition or another since the late 1950's. Esposito's book won out with most people teaching the middle east because we thought it was better; more detailed, more up to date, and more engaged in issues we thought our students cared about. 

In short, while Kramer may well know a great deal about radical Islam--indeed, he is a leading authority on it--he apparently knows very little about American teachers of history and comparative religion, except that he thinks we're all incompetent. His critique of Esposito has been widely disseminated, and therefore needs to be in here, but it ought not to stand without substantive analysis. (talk) 02:25, 1 May 2008 (UTC)Pamela McVay206.57.40.102 (talk) 02:25, 1 May 2008 (UTC) Why does his criticism section even MENTION obscurity? Since when does Wikipedia care about how "obscure" or even how "American" people/subjects are? Why is this even a valid criticism in the first place? Does it even mean anything? How about - Is it even a criticism? I suggest removing such racist garbage. -- 07:46, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Behemoth101

I added that Campus Watch is an American pro-Israel and pro-Iraq War think tank. This is true even according to Wikipedia. Please do not remove. I removed criticism section for now[1], per concerns raised regarding WP:BLP in [2] --Aminz 02:09, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The criticisms Esposito are more prominent and propounded by more reliable sources, as opposed to one non-notable person. Arrow740 06:57, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
The same argument made there. WP:BLP requires balance between positive and negative views. --Aminz 07:06, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
The issue is undue weight. Please read BLP again. Arrow740 07:08, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I am making the same arguments. A WP:BLP can not conain only criticisms. --Aminz 07:11, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
WP:BLP does not say that a biogrpahy cannot contain any criticism. Beit Or 07:13, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
That's fine with me. We can have criticisms but not "all" criticisms. --Aminz 07:14, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean. Notable and releevant criticism must be included. In addition, yours and Bless sins' edits to this page clearly violate WP:POINT. Beit Or 07:15, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Bless sin's edits? It is not WP:POINT. What point? I am saying we should apply equal standards to WP:BLP articles. --Aminz 07:17, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
You failed to insert criticism that violated WP:NPOV#Undue weight into Martin Gilbert, so you want to remove notable and relevant criticism from this article. This is a violation of WP:POINT. Beit Or 07:21, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Would you please explain the difference between valid criticism and the one that violates WP:NPOV#Undue weight. --Aminz 07:23, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I've done it many times, but I'll do that once again. Beilin's criticism was about a rather obscure book by Martin Gilbert, who is best known for the biogrpahy of Winston Churchill. On the other hand, Martin Kramer's criticism of Esposito is about the latter's rise to fame. This is clearly an important aspect of Esposito's notability and thus not in violation of WP:NPOV#Undue weight. Beit Or 07:34, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Martin Kramer is a Likudnik ideologue and hack. His so-called criticism is nothing but shrill nonsense. There should be a criticism section on this page, but find some true academic criticism to replace this garbage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:33, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Has John Esposito converted to Islam?[edit]

Esposito seems to believe like many Muslims - that Islamophobia (i.e. irrational fear of Islam) is the root cause of terrorism and all that is not right with the Islam and the wider world. If we would just stop fearing Islam in America, Europe and in other parts of the free world, then, Buddhist monks would not be attacked in Southern Thailand - for being Buddhist; the beliefs within Islam that call for world domination - by almost any means - i.e. jihad / which the Prophet Muhammad took part in - to create terror and fear - in order to convert and to subjugate or to kill those who would not convert - so says the Koran. Does he believe that if we would rid ourselves of personally or cleanse society of all fear of Islam or Islamophobia, then the entire reality of jihad would go away - as 93% of the versus dealing with jihad in the Koran, Hadiths and Sira, relate to violent jihad - while only 3% deal with the highly publicized 'inner peace/struggle'. Or perhaps the reality that calls for apostates to be sentenced to death - and non-believers to be attacked - is probably what cleansed the once largely Christian Middle East of those believers - can also be rectified by doing away with the person choice to dislike, somewhat like, or even hate Islam.

Though it puzzles me how it is that - in reaching out to Islam - those who profess to be Christian - like Esposito and the Archbishop could so easily overlook the plight of Christians within the Islamic world. So eager to help – they trample the very thing they claim to believe. Solving the 'Islam problem' is far more exciting and something which they could gain much more prominence than dealing with the old 'Christian persecution problem' in the Islamic world.

While it is not possible for Esposito or the Bishop to bring a personal bible or a cross into Arabia or to worship freely there, due Esposito Saudi sponsored position at GU, his sole aim is to convince us that the problem with Islam is entirely owing to western attitudes towards the religion.

Why is Esposito so keen on getting westerners to accept Islam – or rather to see it in a positive light - over and above what it actually does in today's world? It is a valid question – if John Esposito has converted to Islam – would he put his personal interests above that of the University, society and then nation – in order to fulfil a religious role? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Egyptoo (talkcontribs) 04:18, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Criticisms ARE many[edit]

I have just read the article and the discussion. The facts are that John Esposito IS highly criticized by many, though I don't have the full list ! That we agree or disagree with these criticisms is irrelevant, I think they should be mentionned at any rate, and could be mentionned in all neutrality with regards to Wiki's policy with giving a short summary of them and of which personns/organizations issued them. Unfortunately, I don't think my English is good enough to write a paragraph about that, besides the fact that, although I know in general which criticisms are made towards Esposito's views, I don't have enough precise references. But if anyone would write such a paragraph, with a neutral title such as "Criticisms", I really don't think this would violate the neutrality policy (as long as references are given !), which appears to me as being the motive of the discussion above. I would add that without any mention of a strong opposition in the intellectual and/or activist sphere towards Esposito's points of view and activities, this article is really uncomplete.

Spipou (talk) 00:10, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

One little point more : of all the non-muslim intellectual personnalities who promote the inter-faith dialogue, John Esposito seems to me to be one of the most controversial, at least in the US and from what I can read in the anglophone media/websites. If I am not wrong saying this, this mere FACT should be written in the article !

Spipou (talk) 00:26, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Biased Language[edit]

This section uses obviously biased language and ought to be either deleted or rewritten to have a neutral tone:

Following the September 11 attacks, Daniel Pipes's anti-Islamic organisation Campus Watch[5] initiated accusations that Esposito is an Islamist apologist because he raised attention to grievances that inspired people to conduct suicide bombings in Palestine. Esposito does not condone terrorist violence and has supported the Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings issued by Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. This fatwa, for which Esposito and Joel Hayward wrote the introductory sections, is one of the strongest condemnations of terrorism ever issued by a senior Islamic cleric.[6] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:11, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

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