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What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam What is This? A guide to a wide variety of general questions asked by those looking to learn more about Muslim culture and the Islamic world.

Acknowledgments

There are so many people to whom I am indebted for assistance with the first and now second edition. John Voll and Tamara Sonn are colleagues with whom I have collaborated closely on many projects and who can always be counted on for information, review, and feedback. Dalia Mogahed is executive director of Gallup's Muslims Studies Program and Gallup World Polls, which provide the most comprehensive and systematic polling of the Muslim world and have enabled us to listen to the voices of Muslims globally on critical issues. Much of that data is discussed in our co-authored book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.

I have been fortunate to have a wonderful group of Georgetown graduate students as researchers at different stages of this project. Melanie Trexler was invaluable in research and proofing, always ready and quick to respond. Hadia Mubarak provided help at the end of the project.

Oxford University Press has long been my main publisher, and with good reason. I have been privileged to work with many first-class professionals. None has been more important than Cynthia Read, a gifted and remarkable editor as well as a good friend, with whom I have worked for almost thirty years. She has never ceased to be a source of encouragement and critical feedback and is a major reason why I have been an Oxford author all these years. I am fortunate to again have the pleasure of working with India Cooper as copy editor and Joellyn Ausanka as production editor, both consummate professionals.

Georgetown University and the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (now the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding), which I helped create and direct, have been my academic home since 1993. The passing of Hasib Sabbagh, the man who envisioned the creation of the center and was our first major donor, was a great loss. Our current and future existence and work are now assured by a generous endowment from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Foundation. I am especially indebted to the ongoing friendship and support of Georgetown's president, John J. Degioia. I am truly fortunate to have an extraordinary administrative team that enables the center and me “to run often and on time”! Alexa Poletto, associate director and our key administrative officer; Denisse Bonilla-Chaoui, executive assistant; Adam Holmes, program coordinator; and Mona Mogahed are outstanding professionals and friends. They are a seamless team without whom my colleagues and I could not function, let alone be as active, visible, and effective.

Whatever I may have accomplished or achieved in life is due in large part to the presence and influence of my family. My parents, John and Mary Esposito, provided the most loving and supportive environment, in which they motivated and inspired “their boys” to care about family, society, and education and to value values. My brothers, Lou and Rick, have carried on their legacy. Jean Esposito, wife, life partner, and best friend, during our forty-five years of marriage has always managed to balance her life, career, projects, and me and made all our life's experiences far richer than I could ever have imagined. She is my best editor and critic; without her encouragement, persistence, and research assistance I would never have finished my dissertation, let alone the many writing projects since that time. My journey in Islamic studies and religion and international affairs has been both my profession and vocation; my experiences with so many Muslims across the world have enriched my life immeasurably.

Washington, D.C.

September 2010

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