SALT LAKE – The Wall Street journal called Professor John L. Esposito “American’s foremost authority and interpreter of Islam.” With over 40 years devoted to the field of Islamic studies, Esposito is well known as one of the world’s most influential bridge builders of understanding between the East and the West.
In this interview, Professor Esposito talks to OnIslam.net about his new center, appropriately titled Bridges, the media and public perceptions, as well as the latest controversies surrounding Bill Carson’s recent comments.
You are one of the world’s leading experts on Christian-Muslim Relations, so what do you think is the greatest theological misconception that Christians have about Muslims?
Well, it depends on which Christians. Your really hard liners, Franklin Graham, would wind up saying things like, Islam is evil or they might say the God of Christianity is not the God of Islam. But you also get people who do not go out of their way to bring it up, but who, with an almost matter of fact presumption, believe that Islam is a particularly violent religion relative to other religions. It’s ironic because it’s almost as if they never bothered to read the Old Testament or looked at Christian history post Constantine, when Christianity became imperial.