The lecture given by Dr. John Esposito was incredible. I guess I haven’t been to many lectures as this was my second but the first one that I actually paid attention to. For starters, I am going to make a comment that I have to get off my chest. Dr. John Esposito seemed to be a tanner version of Michael Douglas. The voice and the mannerism seemed exactly the same. Ok, now onto more important things, the lecture.
Dr. John Esposito made this point very clear, Muslims are humans. They are people. They are people who want and deserve the same rights that we as American’s have. They want freedom, respect, democracy and equal rights in their countries. All in all they desire freedom which is life, especially for countries that have had dictators reigning for over 30 years. Through the peaceful prodemocracy movements, Muslims are claiming, “We want respect for Islam and respect for Muslims.” Dr. Esposito made reference to the Danish Cartoons and Fox News, as different ways through the media that Muslims and Islam are not being respected.
Another common misconception by Americans is that Muslims are anti-American. Dr. Esposito is the Senior Scientists for the Gallop polls and in 2007 Americans and Muslims (In the Middle East) were asked, “What are things that you admire about America?” They both had the same responses; freedom, democracy, etc. When Americans were asked, “What are things that you admire about Islam?” 54% of Americans said either, “I don’t know or nothing.” I will admit that I have been or are in that 54%. Not that I don’t admire anything about Islam I just don’t know anything about it. The media demonstrates that Islam and Muslims are “the outsider/the unknown” which portrays them a threat. So honestly I don’t know much about Islam, besides that it is the fastest growing religion in the world, which scares me because it is not my own.
The little part about respect which I shared was only a small part of the lecture. I do in fact feel that it was an important theme that was demonstrated throughout. I mean, really, isn’t respect the common thread that connects us as humans?