The Flight of the Intellectuals

Paul Berman

The Flight of the Intellectuals
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The Flight of the Intellectuals

Paul Berman

It created a worldwide furore when Tariq Ramadan was barred from US entry to accept a prestigious appointment at Notre Dame University. After all, as a major profile in The New York Times Magazine observed, Ramadan is one of the Muslim world’s most charismatic and influential figures, with a long career at prominent European universities advocating peaceful coexistence with the West.

But in a gripping portrait, Paul Berman — ‘one of America’s leading public intellectuals’ (Foreign Affairs) — details Ramadan’s disturbing ties to radical Islam, especially through his grandfather, the founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the founding ideology behind al-Qaeda. And Berman notes a troubling tendency among Western liberals — and many Western journalists — to overlook Ramadan’s questionable tenets in the rush to embrace a moderate.

By comparing Ramadan’s own writing with his coverage in the press, Berman touches on many of today’s most important issues — the debate over the veil in French schools, contemporary anti-Semitism, anti-feminism, and the presence of home-grown Islamic fundamentalism in the West — and presents a stunning commentary about the media’s inability to detect dangerous ideas in contemporary society.

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