Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University

Wednesday, 23 December, 2015

One of the most high profile initiatives being undertaken by the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown is the Bridge Initiative, which is a multi-year research project that connects "the academic study of Islamophobia with the public square." This initiative “brings together celebrated faculty, subject-matter experts, and seasoned researchers to examine attitudes and behaviors towards Muslims; dissect public discourses on Islam; and uncover the operational mechanisms of engineered Islamophobia in an effort to raise public awareness and enrich public discourse on this pernicious form of prejudice.” John Esposito is the Bridge Project Director.


Recent events sponsored by the Bridge Initiative at the Alwaleed Center at Georgetown, which have dealt with the perception of Muslims in the West and the interpretation of Islam and women's rights, have included:

  • November 19, 2015 — Bridge Initiative Program: “American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction” Film Premiere and Panel Discussion with Dalia Mogahed, John Esposito, Tarek El-Messidi, Linda Sarsour & Alex Kronemer. Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), in partnership with the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, hosted a panel and film screening that looked at the growing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US election season and beyond. From Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s statement that American Muslims should take loyalty oaths, to the planned anti-Muslim rallies in over twenty cities, Islamophobic statements and sentiment have managed to capture attention and cause alarm on nearly a weekly basis.
  • October 30, 2015 — Book talk: "Interpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women's Rights in Pakistan" with Dr. Anita Weiss. In Pakistan, myriad constituencies are grappling with reinterpreting women's rights. This book analyzes the Government of Pakistan's construction of an understanding of what constitutes women's rights, moves on to address traditional views and contemporary popular opinion on women's rights, and then focuses on three very different groups' perceptions of women's rights: progressive women's organizations as represented by the Aurat Foundation and Shirkat Gah; orthodox Islamist views as represented by the Jama'at-i-Islami, the MMA government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (2002-08) and al-Huda; and the Swat Taliban.