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Review Essay

Mosque and State

The Future of Political Islam

In This Review

Islamic Exceptionalism
Islamic Exceptionalism
By Shadi Hamid
St. Martin's Press, 2016, 320 pp. Purchase
Islamism: What It Means for the Middle East and the World
Islamism: What It Means for the Middle East and the World
By Tarek Osman
Yale University Press, 2016, 328 pp. Purchase

In January 2015, after jihadists attacked the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people, European leaders linked arms to lead a procession of millions through the French capital, chanting “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) in an expression of solidarity with the victims and contempt for their killers. Muslims all over the world also condemned the attacks, as did a number of Islamist organizations, including perhaps the most influential one—the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, which posted a statement on its English-language website denouncing the “criminal attack” and stating that “true Islam does not encourage violence.”

Not all of the group’s adherents approved of that message, however. A month after the killings, a Muslim Brother­hood activist in Turkey told Shadi Hamid, an expert on political Islam, that she disagreed with the organi­zation’s decision to issue the statement. Like many other mainstream Islamists, she opposed the

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