John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed have done an excellent job of providing a factual basis for understanding the views of Muslims around the world, and of explaining Islam to those who have been misled by its enemies.
A book like this was sorely needed. It comes at a time when right-wing ideologues seek a "long war” with "Islamo-fascism"—an oxymoron to those who have studied Islam.
Esposito is well known for his many books on Islam, and is the founding director of Georgetown's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding. Mogahed is the executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.
"Who Speaks for Islam?" draws upon Gallup's “unprecedented global research initiative,” the Gallup World Poll and the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World, during which Gallup "conducted tens of thousands of interviews with residents of more than 35 nations".
The results of the poll show that Muslims don’t hate us for who we are or for our democracy, but for our policies. And Muslim women’s priorities are very different from those of the non-Muslims (and even some Muslims such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali) who seek to liberate them.
Esposito and Mogahed's findings are consistent with what informed Muslims believe. Hopefully, they will give the news media the foundation for more reasoned reporting, and debunk the “clash of civilizations” hypothesis.
Much as we like the book, we must say a few words about Esposito and Mogahed’s acceptance of the U.S. government's 9/11 theory—a theory that has been widely discredited. Their brief statements about 9/11 on pages 5, 19, and 78 could have been omitted without detracting from their presentation.
Buy the book. Ignore Esposito's and Mogahed's comments on 9/11.
If you’re interested in what’s wrong with the government's 9/11 theory, watch the iTV interview, conducted during my 3-week lecture tour of South Africa, at The Wisdom Fund website, or on Google Video.
Founder, The Wisdom Fund