Islamic exceptionalism: How the struggle over Islam is reshaping the world
With the rise of ISIS and a growing terrorist threat in the West, unprecedented attention has focused on Islam, which despite being the world’s fastest growing religion, is also one of the most misunderstood. In his new book “Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle over Islam is Reshaping the World” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid offers a novel and provocative argument on how Islam is, in fact, “exceptional” in how it relates to politics, with profound implications for how we understand the future of the Middle East. Hamid argues for a new understanding of how Islam and Islamism shape politics by examining different modes of reckoning with the problem of religion and state, including the terrifying—and alarmingly successful—example of ISIS.
On June 9, Shadi Hamid and Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy Leon Wieseltier discussed the unresolved questions of religion’s role in public life and whether Islam can—or should—be reformed or secularized.