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Will the Middle East Ever Be Secular?

Jul 16, 2016 | 72 videos
Video by The Atlantic

In this era of ISIS, many debates in the West center on how followers of Islam will eventually, through a series of steps and growing pains, arrive at liberal democracy. Shadi Hamid, the author of the new book Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World, believes that Muslims don’t want that path. In this animated interview by The Atlantic, Hamid explains how not only was the Prophet Mohammed a religious figure, he was a politician. In fact, for much of the Middle East’s existence, there hasn’t been a separation of religion and governance. "Islam has proven to be resistant to secularization," he says. “We don't have to like it or agree with it...but the goal shouldn't be to push [Islam] away or exclude people, it has to be to find ways to accommodate Islam in a legal, peaceful, democratic process.”

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Authors: Shadi Hamid, Daniel Lombroso, Caitlin Cadieux

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