This review of Tariq Ramadan’s The Arab Awakening: Islam and the new Middle East was published in the Times Literary Supplement, 12 October 2012 – at a time when there were still hopes that the “Arab Awakening” would lead to a new era of progress in the Middle East. It attempts to elucidate Professor Ramadan’s complex intellectual position – where his loyalty to Islamic orthodoxy clashes with the humanities as they are understood in the West – and in particular his relationship to the Muslim Brothers, which is more critical than is often assumed. At the same time it defends Ramadan against unjust criticisms and salutes his personal courage. A prefatory note adds up-to-date information about some of Ramadan’s political interventions since 2012.
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