The Polite Islamophobia of the Intellectual
A Book Review By Bruce B. Lawrence, Religion Dispatches - June 1, 2010
The Flight of the Intellectuals
by Paul Berman (Melville House, May 2010)
Islamophobia/Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend
Andrew Shryock, ed. (Indiana University Press, June 2010)
Lauded by Foreign Affairs as “one of America’s leading public intellectuals,” Paul Berman was recently identified in a flattering New York Times review as “a man who identifies ‘with the liberal left.’” If Berman inhabits and projects the liberal left, then the conservative right has lost its claim to being at the forefront of Islamophobia.
The huge mistake of the Times (and almost every outlet of mainstream media reporting) is to assume that Berman is a public intellectual who can speak about Islam, that his is an authoritative voice to be heeded, his insights accepted and thus, perhaps most importantly, his warnings followed. In fact, the message in Flight of the Intellectuals, Berman’s latest polemic which hit the bookstores last month, is so insidious, his knowledge of Islam so shallow, that it must be addressed through the one major category of public discourse into which it fits: Islamophobia/Islamophilia.
For complete review , click here