Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Brookings India conducted a lecture and discussion on “Islamic Exceptionalism in West Asia and the West” that featured Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and contributing editor at The Atlantic. Dr. Hamid’s 2017 book Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle over Islam is Reshaping the World, was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize best book on foreign affairs. It offers a provocative argument on how Islam is “exceptional” in how it relates to politics, with profound implications for how we understand the future of not just West Asia but also Western democracy. In the process, Hamid examines different models of reckoning with the problem of religion and state.
This discussion was open to the public and press and was on-the-record.
Hamid also spoke on May 9 at an event in Mumbai co-organised by Brookings India and Gateway House.
Also watch him discuss the role and influence of Islamist parties with Brookings Institution non-resident Fellow Madiha Afzal and Brookings India Fellow Dhruva Jaishankar.
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At an even broader level, Islamic exceptionalism means questioning the conventional technocratic approach that sees problems both at home and abroad as products of material factors that can be addressed through targeted policy interventions. Things like poverty, underdevelopment, rural-urban migration, and so on all matter, but so do the things that can’t be measured.