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Christopher de Bellaigue Counters Islamophobia in New History of 'The Islamic Enlightenment'

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Christopher de Bellaigue is the author of "The Islamic Enlightenment." (Photo: Bita Ghezelayagh)

The Trump administration’s focus on fighting ISIS and attempt to block visitors and refugees from some Muslim-majority countries has fortified a narrative about the Muslim world as violent and resistant to modernization. Christopher de Bellaigue, who has reported from the Middle East for 20 years, wants to shift that narrative. His new book “The Islamic Enlightenment” recounts a period of transformation in Turkey, Egypt, and Iran, from Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt to the late 20th century. De Bellaigue joins us to discuss key reformers and thinkers of the Muslim world and their work to bring women out of seclusion, adopt democracy and transform science and the humanities.

Mentioned on Air:

Iran: The Miracle That Wasn’t (New York Review of Books)

Reforms for Material Gains Do Not Make an ‘Enlightenment’ (Swarajya)


Christopher de Bellaigue, author, "The Islamic Enlightenment, the Struggle Between Faith and Reason: 1798 to Modern Times"


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