Who are we?
Dalia Mogahed is a Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, a nonpartisan research center dedicated to providing data-driven analysis on the views of Muslim populations around the world. With John L. Esposito, Ph.D., she is coauthor of the book Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think. Her analysis has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine, the Harvard International Review, the Middle East Policy journal, and many other academic and popular journals. She travels the globe engaging diverse groups on what Muslims around the world really think.
Mogahed leads the analysis of Gallup's unprecedented survey representing the opinions of more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide, including Muslims in the West. She also directs the Muslim-West Facts Initiative, through which Gallup, in collaboration with the Coexist Foundation, is disseminating the findings of the Gallup World Poll to key opinion leaders in the Muslim World and the West. She is a member of Women in International Security, serves on the leadership group of the Project on U.S. Engagement with the Global Muslim Community, and is a member of the Crisis in the Middle East Task Force of the Brookings Institution.
Dalia Mogahed: I would reframe the question, and I would actually talk about the forces within each of us as human beings.
I really believe very strongly in the idea of human agency. I believe in free will and I believe in choices. I don’t think that historical forces cause things to happen. I think human beings create historical forces. And so where we are today is a product of individual choices.
If we agree that where we are today isn’t a very good place, I would blame that – if you can use the word “blame” – on us as a human race falling prey to selfishness, and to going more with the call of quick benefit, rather than long term selfless compassion.
So if there is an answer to that very difficult question, I would place it squarely in the lap of human agency and decisions that people make that might not be true to even their own espoused values.
Recorded on: July 3, 2007.
Religion is often blamed for human action that usually has very little to do with religion.
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