Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dr. John Esposito Lecture

Dr. John Esposito was a very credible speaker that shed a great amount of light on the American-Muslim culture and how media, journalists, and our government has shaped our view of this specific group of people.

The lecture opened with Dr. Esposito addressing the Obama administration’s efforts to create a new approach to American relations with the Muslim world. He also discussed the promotion of democracy in Iraq, also known as the Pro-Democracy Movement. His view is that American people feel threatened by countries without a democracy and threatened by those that are a democratic people. For example, North Korea is a democracy and has made known that they have nuclear weapons, so American government does not touch them or title them as an ally. Iraq and other North African countries that do not have a democracy are the ones that America has sent troops into.

American Muslims, and the Muslim community, need to be seen as allies. So much of their faith promotes them as a non-violence seeking people. Americans gain from the media that Muslims are all related to terrorist threats when in reality, that is not the case at all. The front cover of Time Magazine titled, “Islamophobia” is a great example of how the media effects Americans perspectives of Muslims. Dr. Esposito reminded the audience about how most of the time, when a researcher, journalist, or publisher goes into another country to find what a population thinks about a specific topic, they seek out the majority leaders (government, educators, elites, etc.). Muslims, speaking from the minority perspective, believe in freedom, technological advancement, and rights to vote, be educated and work for women, the same values that American’s believe so much in.

It is important that Americans “engage in dialogue with mainstream opposition” as well as choose to “lead with diplomacy, rather than the military.” These two statements from Dr. Esposito greatly sum up his lecture as well as his belief of the future for American democracy.

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