The Muslim World: What Executives Must Know

Posted on February 7, 2007

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Source: Gallup Management Journal

August 10, 2006

An expert on Islam tackles the role of women, Iran’s quest for nukes, the stability of Iraq — and much moreA GMJ Q&A with John L. Esposito, Ph.D., a world-renowned scholar on Islam, political Islam, and the impact of Islamic movements in Africa and Asia

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The Middle East used to be mysterious to the West, but lately, many Western businesspeople are beginning to feel it’s completely inexplicable. How can anyone even think of doing business there now, as Israel and Hezbollah are engaged in a bloody battle that could precipitate a wider war? Should companies invest in a region that may be on the cusp of nuclear proliferation? Will Iraq ever be stable? And while we’re at it, why would some seemingly innocuous Danish cartoons inspire such a violent reaction?

These questions are the fulcrum on which billions of Western dollars teeter, and reliable answers are hard to find. That’s why American and European businesspeople so often turn to John L. Esposito, Ph.D. Dr. Esposito is a university professor and a professor of religion and international affairs and of Islamic studies at Georgetown University and the founding director of Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

A different view

In Part One of this interview, Dr. Esposito dismissed the notion that there’s an unbridgeable divide between the West and the Muslim world. (See “Looking For Business in the Muslim World” in the “See Also” area on this page.) In fact, Western business leaders have developed solid and productive relationships in the Middle East for many years — and Dr. Esposito explained how others can do it too. In this interview, Part Two of the series, Dr. Esposito discusses why profound cultural misunderstandings — like the Danish cartoon controversy of earlier this year — are bad for East/West business relations; what businesswomen should do in sexually segregated countries; whether or not it’s a good idea to invest in Muslim countries right now; and why the worst response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions is violence. [More]

  1. To read the whole interview of Dr. John Esposito, please click here.
  2. To read a follow-up interview with Dr. John Esposito titled “Looking for Business in the Muslim World”, please click here.
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Posted in: Islam