Christopher de Bellaigue’s most recent book is The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times. (May 2018)

Follow Christopher de Bellaigue on Twitter: @bellaigueC.

IN THE REVIEW

The New Europeans

Visitors at an amusement park in London during an Eid celebration, July 2014

La Fracture [The Fracture]

by Gilles Kepel

Al-Britannia, My Country: A Journey Through Muslim Britain

by James Fergusson
Europe has become more anti-Muslim as it has become more Muslim. Though it is hard to find many cultural affinities between the Pakistanis of Bradford, the Algerians of Marseille, and the Turks of Berlin, Islam remains the main determinant of identity for millions of people. That this is the case in hitherto multicultural Britain and laïque France suggests that, for all the differences between the two countries’ systems and the relative tolerance of the British one, neither has been able to solve the problem of Muslim integration. As long as this remains the case, and as long as the Muslim population continues to increase so quickly, Islam will continue to cause apprehension among very large numbers of Europeans.

Half-Baked Revolt in Iran

Hassan Rouhani
During the months of unrest that culminated in his ejection from the throne of Iran in January 1979, Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi oscillated between repression and leniency, rifle fire and mea culpas. Since coming to power on his departure, the clerical leaders of the Islamic Republic have concentrated on avoiding …

Iran: Still Waiting for Democracy

Hassan Rouhani
“We have immense opportunities and we can use them,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a group of campaign workers a few days after he was reelected to a second term on May 19. “What is it that we want? We are waiting for a cleavage, an opening, but we need …

A Murderous Turning Point in Turkey

Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a rally in Kızılay Square, Ankara, two days after the failed coup, July 2016
The modern state of Turkey has known three coups in which its military forces took power, in 1960, 1971, and 1980. In addition there was the coup of 1997, when the generals sat down with an Islamist prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, and forced him to resign, making way for a …

NYR DAILY

World Cup 2018: English Romance

England player Harry Maguire talking to his fiancée Fern Hawkins after the game against Colombia at Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia, July 3, 2018

Nine months before the UK leaves Europe, the terms of our disengagement have gone from unclear to opaque, and the government is vulnerable to internal revolt. But the good news eclipses the bad, doesn’t it? And all that—and Boris Johnson, and the Brexit question of what is to happen to the Irish border, and the future of our blight-ravaged high streets—is marginalia. As a nation, England has to concentrate on the task at hand and ignore peripheral distractions. Come on, football, you know you want it.

Britain: When Vengeance Spreads

For all the gestures of inter-communal solidarity that have been given much publicity since the June 18 attack outside a London mosque, the more significant and ominous sentiment has been one of vindication. Anecdotal evidence, the prevalence of online Islamophobia, and a spike in cases of anti-Muslim taunting in the street suggest that many Britons, from small towns in southern England to depressed, working-class areas in the north, feel that “they” had it coming.

Iran: The Miracle That Wasn’t

Iran’s presidential election on May 19 will in all likelihood be won by the incumbent, the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani. In 2015, two years after he came to power, Rouhani pulled the country back from the brink of confrontation with the West when he guided Iran toward the historic nuclear deal with the Obama administration. But the economic miracle that was promised by the Rouhani government hasn’t happened, and the sense of anti-climax is palpable—a disillusionment that has broadened into a general contempt for politics, politicians, and promises that aren’t kept.

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