Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University John Esposito comes onto the PopTech stage to lead a panel and dialogue about Islam. He is also the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown.
He gives us a taste of just how much Islam has grown by giving us some stats to think about……there are 2.3 billion Christians, 12-18 million Jews and while there are 56 countries where Muslims are a minority, it is now the second or third largest religion in the world.
Jokes Esposito, "when I announced I was going to study Islam in the late sixties and early seventies, people told me I’d never get a job. And I didn’t. Then along came the Iranian revolution and I was suddenly employable and people were interested in what I had to say."
He continues, "for many of us in this room, certainly most in my generation, christianity was identified with Europe, Islam was invisible on our cognative maps. Schools barely covered Islam and the media didn’t cover it at all. How many of us grew up seeing Islam centers? We didn’t and still don’t have a context in which to understand Islam."
When you ask Americans what they admire, it tends to be our freedoms and our technologies. Not religion.
Says Kuttab, "technology has done a lot to improve freedom of expression in the Arab world. Before, you could pretty much say anything about any other Arab country freely — any other country except for your own. You had this situation where print and broadcast media was open except for open coverage of what is happening in your own country. The custom agents are the real censors."
Sarah Joseph then enters the dialogue. As an editor of Emel magazine, a Muslim lifestyle magazine and a regular commentator on British Muslims, she has spent the past ten years lecturing on Islam both within the UK and internationally.
There are so many complex issues around Islam. The confusion and anger within both Christians and Muslims. How do we peacefully bridge the two? When things are this complex, people are searching for simple answers and they’re not there. Not in general. Not now.
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.
Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.
Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.