Washington, DC — Political disputes and not religion, begat violence, says John Esposito, a widely respected American professor and author on the Islamic world, known for his moderate views on Islam. Esposito was awarded Pakistan’s highest civilhonor, the Hilal-i-Quaid-i-Azam, at the Pakistani embassy in Washington. “Prof. Esposito has done more than any other individual in the last three or four decades to promote a better understanding between the Islamic and Western worlds,” said Pakistan’s ambassador Jehangir Karamat. Esposito used the award ceremony to urge people living in the two worlds to make a better effort towards understanding each other. He argued that: In the West, particularly the United States, when people talk about moderate Muslims, the underlying assumption is that the majority is not moderate. Some people even talk about moderating the religion itself, assuming that there’s something in the religion that promotes violence and extremism.
Similarly, when some Americans ask ‘why they hate us,’ they assume that the majority in the Muslim world hates America. What they fail to see is that those who have disagreements with the U.S. foreign policy do not necessarily hate America. “If you had Palestines and Northern Irelands in other places, you would have violence in those places as well,” said Esposito.