Melani McAlister: “Islam is Going to Have a Real Role”

Watch excerpts from an interview about religion’s role in the spreading unrest across the Middle East with Melani McAlister, associate professor of American studies, international affairs, and media and public affairs at George Washington University.


  • F.X. Charet

    Prof. McAlister offers a thoughtful and informed perspective on the current changes in the Middle East with respect to the role of Islam. I especially appreciated her emphasis on the range and complexity of interpretations of what constitutes the potential Islamic response to what is happening and what the possible outcomes will be. Clearly, she is right to encourage us and the media to broaden our understanding of what constitutes Islam and to avoid the simplistic notion that Islam needs reform as though it were made up of one constituted conservative religious body with a unified magisterium that made pronouncements on behalf of the entirety of the faithful. We in the West all to often forget that Islam was and is a rich, diverse, and profound religion that has long played a role on the world stage and, no doubt, will continue to do so.