As the incoming president of the American Academy of Religion, it is my great privilege to introduce John L. Esposito.

“It is my conviction that if we are neutral in situations of injustice we have chosen the side of the oppressor. The world must learn respect, listening, and forgiveness.” This quiet quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu is under the signature of every e-mail from John Esposito. It tells you a great deal about this scholar, your AAR President, and, I'm very happy to say, my friend. Now this was not always the case—the friend part—because when I was elected to the AAR Board and knew that I had to meet John, all that I knew of him was his wildly successful persona, the person on...

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