In our midst

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Joel Mowbray publishes in the Washington Times a shocking account of the ties of a powerful professor/institute head at Georgetown University, Professor John Esposito.

Headline—grabbing stories about a British—based Muslim academic's public support for "martyrdom" last weekend missed a key detail: His mentor and frequent collaborator is a high—profile scholar who has been consulted repeatedly by the FBI, Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University.

Mr. Esposito has long courted controversy — most recently when the Georgetown—based center he founded in 1993 accepted $20 million last year from (and took the name of) a notorious Saudi prince. Yet, the professor has somehow been able to maintain a relatively high reputation in academic and government circles alike.

That Mr. Esposito is still largely respected owes to the subtlety of his apologism. He acknowledges that there is radicalism in Islam, and he generally avoids defending the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Even as he argues for engaging Islamists, he does so without overtly endorsing their worldview. But Mr. Esposito skillfully downplays the threat posed by radical Islam, and as demonstrated by his close affiliation with Azzam Tamimi, who told a massive crowd in the UK on Sunday that "dying for your beliefs is just," he willingly associates with avowed cheerleaders of Islamic terrorism.

Mowbray demoinstrates the professor's ties to various radicals, but focuses in on the case of the Muslim academic Azzam Tamimi and his close ties to Esposito.

What's most disconcerting about the case of Mr. Tamimi is not that someone who studied under and later worked with Mr. Esposito could turn out to be so noxious. It's that someone like Mr. Tamimi almost certainly could not have kept hidden his real and deeply held beliefs from his mentor and collaborator. [....]

Mr. Tamimi's only testy moment during the interview came when asked if it was morally acceptable to kill Americans who are only in Iraq to rebuild things like roads and schools. He snapped, "It is not my responsibility to tell the Iraqi people who they can kill or not."

To put it gently, Mr. Tamimi is not afraid to express radical views to a stranger, or for that matter, to 8,000 people in Manchester. It raises the question: What kind of venom has he spewed privately to Mr. Esposito?

Better yet, what has Mr. Esposito said back?

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   8 25 06   4:18 AM PDT

Joel Mowbray publishes in the Washington Times a shocking account of the ties of a powerful professor/institute head at Georgetown University, Professor John Esposito.

Headline—grabbing stories about a British—based Muslim academic's public support for "martyrdom" last weekend missed a key detail: His mentor and frequent collaborator is a high—profile scholar who has been consulted repeatedly by the FBI, Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University.

Mr. Esposito has long courted controversy — most recently when the Georgetown—based center he founded in 1993 accepted $20 million last year from (and took the name of) a notorious Saudi prince. Yet, the professor has somehow been able to maintain a relatively high reputation in academic and government circles alike.

That Mr. Esposito is still largely respected owes to the subtlety of his apologism. He acknowledges that there is radicalism in Islam, and he generally avoids defending the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Even as he argues for engaging Islamists, he does so without overtly endorsing their worldview. But Mr. Esposito skillfully downplays the threat posed by radical Islam, and as demonstrated by his close affiliation with Azzam Tamimi, who told a massive crowd in the UK on Sunday that "dying for your beliefs is just," he willingly associates with avowed cheerleaders of Islamic terrorism.

Mowbray demoinstrates the professor's ties to various radicals, but focuses in on the case of the Muslim academic Azzam Tamimi and his close ties to Esposito.

What's most disconcerting about the case of Mr. Tamimi is not that someone who studied under and later worked with Mr. Esposito could turn out to be so noxious. It's that someone like Mr. Tamimi almost certainly could not have kept hidden his real and deeply held beliefs from his mentor and collaborator. [....]

Mr. Tamimi's only testy moment during the interview came when asked if it was morally acceptable to kill Americans who are only in Iraq to rebuild things like roads and schools. He snapped, "It is not my responsibility to tell the Iraqi people who they can kill or not."

To put it gently, Mr. Tamimi is not afraid to express radical views to a stranger, or for that matter, to 8,000 people in Manchester. It raises the question: What kind of venom has he spewed privately to Mr. Esposito?

Better yet, what has Mr. Esposito said back?

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   8 25 06   4:18 AM PDT