In early May, the Brookings Institution held a lecture and panel discussion in India on the question of whether Islam is “exceptional” and what it means for the future of Western democracy. A main speaker at the event was Shadi Hamid, author of a 2016 book, Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the World.
Hamid, an American Muslim, repeated the thesis of his book, summarized in an op-ed in Time magazine.
“Because of its outsize role in law and governance, Islam has been — and will continue to be — resistant to secularization,” he wrote. He explained:
“Unlike Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad was a theologian, a preacher, a warrior and a politician, all at once. He was also the leader and builder of a new state, capturing, holding and governing new territory. Religious and political functions, at least for the believer, were no accident. They were meant to be intertwined in the leadership of one man.