Georgetown academic John Espositio has reported on a conference held at Georgetown on October 7 titled “A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change.” Billed as a followup to the Common Word initiative, discussed in previous posts, Dr. Esposito described the conference as follows:
“A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change” was call to action. Sponsored by the Office of the President of Georgetown University, the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, it was the next step in the ongoing process of this groundbreaking initiative. Conferences at Yale and Cambridge universities and the Vatican had brought together global religious leaders and academic experts who explored the theological and scriptural bases and implications of the foundation of A Common Word, the two great commandments, Love of God and Love of Neighbor, based directly Christian, Muslim and Jewish Scriptures. At Georgetown we addressed the “So what factor?” How do we respond to and put “Love of Neighbor” into action to address the many shared challenges and threats we face in our world? How do we transform a common word into common works? Critical to realizing the purpose and goal of A Common Word is applied theology, transforming belief and dialogue into action. Conference encounters and their final reports alone, however good and important are too easily archived and do not in themselves change minds and hearts and transform societies. Words must be accompanied by action and deeds; visions must be implemented by concrete and, where possible, joint-efforts and projects. Although convinced of the importance of this initiative, we were astonished at the incredible response. The acceptance rate from the global leaders invited ranged between 90-95%! Our opening session drew a capacity audience in Gaston Hall of 750; subsequent sessions averaged 500 to 600 participants. Media coverage included the Washington Post-Newsweek’s On Faith, Al-Jazeera English, Al-Arabiyya, BBC, and many others.
Numerous individuals tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood were in attendance including:
- Mustafa Ceric (Grand Mufti of Bosnia)
- Ingrid Mattson (President Islamic Society of North America)
- Anwar Ibrahim (Malaysian opposition politician and trustee International Institute of Islamic Thought)
- Amina Rasul-Bernardo (Philippine Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy)
Also attending were various luminaries including Egyptian tele-preacher Amr Khaled and former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair who address to the conference can be found here.
Dr. Esposito has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990’s was known for his claims that Islamic fundamentalism was, in fact, democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory board of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the U.K. headed by Azzam Tamimi, a leader in the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood and often described as a Hamas spokesman. Dr. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress and enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and part of the Hamas support infrastructure. . In 2005, Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal, a financial supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito.
Dalia Mogahed, a protege of Dr. Esposito and recently appointed an Obama “faith adviser”, was also in attendance. Previous posts have discussed Ms. Mogahed’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.