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Review Essay

Veiled Truths

The Rise of Political Islam in the West

In This Review

The Flight of the Intellectuals
The Flight of the Intellectuals
By Paul Berman
Melville House, 2010, 224 pp. $26.00 Purchase

This spring, Tariq Ramadan arrived in the United States nearly six years after being denied a visa by the Bush administration. The U.S. government had previously refused Ramadan entry on the grounds that he had donated to a French charity with ties to Hamas. Then, last January, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Ramadan was welcome. His appearance in the United States seemed to manifest the White House's changing rhetoric about the Muslim world. In June 2009, President Barack Obama spoke in Cairo of reaching out to Muslims with "mutual interest and mutual respect." Figures such as Ramadan --  symbols of a nonviolent Islamism long shunned as enablers of extremism -- may now represent a bridge across previously intractable divides.

Paul Berman will have none of this. His book The Flight of the Intellectuals, based on a 28,000-word essay published three years ago in The New Republic, mounts a

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