On the focus on the state in Islamic Exceptionalism

In my last post, I mentioned that Hamid’s discussion of the interaction between Islam, politics and governance in Islamic Exceptionalism focuses particularly on the nation-state. This isn’t particularly surprising: the sovereign state has been the dominant model for political communities for a little while now (given that the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648) and the […]

On Christianity in ‘Islamic Exceptionalism’

Building on my overview thoughts on this book…  In the second chapter of Islamic Exceptionalism, Hamid looks at whether and how Islam is ‘exceptional’, through a discussion of it in contrast to Judaism and Christianity. This is Exhibit A in ‘This Book is Written for a Western Audience’ because there are actually more than three religions […]

In which I read Islamic Exceptionalism

I spent some time this summer reading Islamic Exceptionalism by Shadi Hamid, and I’ve been doing some thinking about it. The short review is as follows: this book is good and will make you more informed and make you think, so go read. At the same time, it’s not flawless (what book is?) and there’s some things […]

In which Hannah watches Hail, Caesar!

Diversity can be found in unity Unity can be found in diversity. So say a Rabbi, a Priest, a Pastor, and a Patriarch, advising Eddie Mannix, Capitol Pictures’ honcho and fixer, on whether the script of his new movie, Hail, Caesar, is theologically solid enough to pass American muster. And so, in this movie containing […]

visiting the very recent past: the 9/11 memorial and museum

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” Virgil, Aeneid IX, 447 When the 9/11 Memorial Museum opened, the fact that it has this quote from the Aeneid on its wall as an epitaph created a kerfuffle because of the original context of the the line, immortalising young men who entered an enemy […]

Have a very blessed election

Having been pretty rude on twitter last night about David Cameron’s Easter Message to Christians, I though it would be fair to have a look at what some other politicians are saying about faith, including Miliband, Clegg, and Gove. They’re not all about Easter – some are more straightforwardly faith-and-politics-y. I will happily take a […]

early days (of a better future)

Sometimes I get emails forwarded to me with a note that just says, “Interested?” Often they’re pretty fun and interesting things, especially as my job is quite wide ranging. Shortly before Christmas my boss sent me one such email, containing the following: “This is an invitation to Early Days (of a better nation) which explores […]

Do people get used to protesting and rebelling?

It’s important to be honest here, I know very little about the current situation in Egypt and very little about Morsi’s year as President, and I absolutely don’t want to diminish any of the factors involved in the protestors being out on the street – individually or as a body – or the dangers of […]