John Esposito, who heads the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University (financed by a $20 million gift from the prince), is on record as defending yet another radical Islamist.
The beneficiary of Esposito's imprimatur this time is Esam Omeish, M.D., who resigned Thursday from the Virginia Commission on Immigration. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine accepted his resignation because in two separate online videos, Omeish delivers agitated lectures defending radical Islam.
In one, from 2000, he calls for jihad:
We, Muslims of the Washington metropolitan area, are here today in subfreezing temperatures to tell our brothers and sisters that you have learned the way, that you have known the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.
In a second video, dated August 12, 2006, Omeish excoriates Israel for its war against Hezbollah:
There are truths that must be self-evident for all Americans. That indeed the invasion of Lebanon, and the destruction of its infrastructure, and the deliberate targeting of civilians, through the barbaric and disproportionate Israeli war machine, is indeed criminal, and must end now.
In an article printed in today's issue of the Georgetown Hoya, Esposito told the student paper that Omeish should have been allowed to remain on the Commission:
'It's not surprising that a sitting governor in this post-9/11 political climate would overreact. This was a prominent member of society sharing views that would be controversial to some,' he said. 'The difficulty that I see is someone is sharing their perspective that is not supporting Israel and their decision to bomb Lebanon, an opinion shared by many at that time. … This comment is offensive to people who support anything that Israel does but this comment is in no way anti-American.'
President of the Muslim American Society, Omeish has acknowledged the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on MAS. Columnist Cal Thomas has more on the MAS on Omeish.
Esposito's admiration and praise for Islamists pre-dates his fondness for Omeish. Earlier this year, Esposito defended imprisoned former University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian:
While stories on global terrorism and domestic threats are important to us all, at the same time how many stories have gone one step further and focused on the thousands of Muslims indiscriminately arrested, detained, monitored and interviewed and not found guilt or released for lack of evidence; the number of Islamic charities shut down but despite the passage of years not successfully prosecuted; the continued detention of Muslims like Prof. Sami al-Arian...
In August of this year, Esposito spoke at a fund-raiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case against the Hamas-founded Holy Land Foundation.
Esposito also filed an affidavit in defense of the Islamic Society of Boston's unsuccessful lawsuit against a host of critics, including the David Project and counter-terrorism expert Steve Emerson.
Skipping back ten years ago to a September, 1997 conference in Malaysia, Esposito issued his most infamous apologia for terrorism when he defended Sheikh al-Azhar, who had declared suicide bombings in Israel to be a legitimate form of self-defense:
Esposito explained that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter; and that terrorism, as seen in the case of Israel's or the Tel Aviv regime's treatment of Palestinians, can and has been used to legitimate wanton violence and continued acts of oppression. However, surprisingly, Esposito added, 'Although I have not read or come across the actual "fatwa", as a rule, we must not be too quick to draw upon the 'bid`a' gun against anyone, not least of whom the Sheikh al-Azhar.'
This list of Esposito's apologias for radical Islamists could go on and on. But this is only a web log.