David Lepeska’s New York Times article “Farrakhan Using Libyan Crisis to Bolster His Nation of Islam” brought the once prominent Nation of Islam (NOI) leader back, however briefly, into the limelight. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Louis Farrakhan was a master at attracting a disproportionate amount of attention, particularly media coverage. A bright, talented, and charismatic, but provocative and controversial speaker, Farrakhan denounced the many causes of racism and poverty, and gave voice to the grievances of African Americans and other minorities, enhancing his stature even among those who chose not to join his organization.Read the rest of Farrakhan’s fading limelight.
John L. Esposito
John L. Esposito is University Professor, Professor of Religion and International Affairs, Professor of Islamic Studies and Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. His many publications include The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World and The Future of Islam (forthcoming), Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam and (with Dalia Mogahed) Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. He is a member of the SSRC working group on religion, secularism, and international affairs. Read John Esposito's contribution to Reversal in the case of Tariq Ramadan and The naked public sphere?
Posts by John L. Esposito:
President Barack Obama has moved quickly to follow up on his inaugural statement: “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” He appointed and sent his special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to the region on an eight day trip. Then on January 28, on Al Arabiya, the prominent Arab satellite TV network, Obama addressed the Arab and Muslim worlds in his first televised interview from the White House.Read the rest of Obama reaches out.
In the Muslim world, as in Europe and much of the world, Obama is welcomed as an internationalist president.Read the rest of An internationalist president.
Abdullahi An-Na‘im’s Islam and the Secular State has rightfully received a great deal of attention and commentary. A prominent Muslim scholar and human rights activist, he brings to bear an impressive scholarship and candor in addressing a pivotal and hotly contested issue in contemporary Islam. Although An-Na‘im wishes to present his views from within the Islamic tradition, he also states early on that his arguments are not exegetical in nature and therefore do not aim to interpret traditional Islamic sources such as Qur’an, hadith, tafsir, or legal theory (usul al-fiqh). Rather, An-Na‘im desires to provide an “interpretative framework” upon which more substantive arguments and analysis can be built in the future. This reliance on theory rather than on textual sources or theology is flawed if one expects to foster broad-based reform rather than be read and celebrated by a small elite Muslim and non-Muslim readership. [...]Read the rest of The challenge of creating change.
The politicization of scholars, experts and media commentators post 9/11 has created a minefield for policymakers and the general public. Many are caught between the contending positions of seemingly qualified experts as well as a new cadre of Islamophobic authors and their revisionist readings of Islam and Islamic history. Today, we now have a new empirically grounded tool that enables us to go beyond the limited interpretations and opinions of experts when asking: What do Muslims think, what do they care about, and what do they want? [...]Read the rest of Who speaks for Islam?.
The world will long remember Benazir Bhutto as a modern Muslim woman who served two terms as Pakistan’s first woman Prime Minister: bright, attractive, articulate, talented, courageous, charismatic, an astute politician and political leader who called for a secular democratic Pakistan. Benazir was all of these but – like her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and a number of other Pakistani political leaders – she also left a flawed political track record that both reflected and contributed to many of Pakistan’s problems. [...]Read the rest of After Bhutto.