John L. Esposito

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John Louis Esposito (b. Brooklyn, New York City, 1940 - ) is an American of Italian ancestry. University Professor at Georgetown University, he is specialized in International Affairs and Islamic Studies. Esposito is also founding director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown University, and the editor-in-chief of the four-volume The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, The Oxford History of Islam, and The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. He earned a Ph.D. degree from Temple University. Dr. Esposito spent a decade in a Catholic monastery, and received a masters in theology at St. John's University. Esposito also studied at Harvard, and Oxford University. He was the chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit college in Massachusetts.

Professor Esposito has served as consultant to the US Department of State and has been member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders.

A focus on "Islamic fundamentalism" as a global threat has reinforced the tendency to equate violence with Islam, to fail to distinguish between illegitimate use of religion by individuals and the faith and practice of the majority of the world's Muslims who, like adherents of other religious traditions, wish to live in peace. To equate Islam and Islamic fundamentalism uncritically with extremism is to judge Islam only by those who wreak havoc--a standard not applied to Judaism and Christianity. Political Islam: Beyond the Green Menace.


Professor Esposito is the author of over 35 books; some of them are:

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  • Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, coauthored with Dalia Mogahed.
  • Islam and Politics
  • What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam
  • The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?
  • Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam
  • The Islamic World: Past and Present (editor, 3 volume set)
  • Muslims on the Americanization Path and Daughters of Abraham (with Yvonne Haddad)
  • Women in Muslim Family Law
  • Voices of Resurgent Islam
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  • Islam in Transition
  • Muslim Perspectives (with John Donohue)
  • Islam in Asia: Religion, Politics, and Society
  • Islam and Development
  • The Future of Islam

About "The Future of Islam":

"A Georgetown University professor and well-known scholar of Islam, Esposito analyzes the current and future practice of Islam in this short but insightful volume... Esposito's enthusiasm for his topic makes his book an easy and enlightening read." --Publishers Weekly. [1]

Esposito’s articles and books have been translated into more than 28 languages.


  • Pakistan’s Quaid-i-Azzam Award for Outstanding Contributions in Islamic Studies.
  • In 2003, The School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Award for Outstanding Teaching.
  • In 2005, the Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Washington, DC, was founded in 1993. Esposito founded the Center and is its current director. The Center is aimed to advance education in the fields of Islamic civilization, and build an stronger bridge of understanding between the Muslim world and the West as well as between Islam and Christianity.

The Center is part of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. In 2005, it received a $20 million gift from HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. This gift increased the Center ability to advance in facilitating cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

"At this time of world conflict, Georgetown is committed to build upon our role as a Catholic, Jesuit institution in fostering greater understanding among religions around the word." Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia.

The Center is "addressing stereotypes of Islam and Muslims and issues and questions such as the clash of civilizations, and the compatibility of Islam and modern life - from democratization and pluralism to the status of women, minorities and human rights - and American foreign policy in the Muslim world." A Welcome Note from Director John L. Esposito.

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