The crisis in the relationship between western secularism and Islam has been fuelled by Islamic fundamentalism and the rise of islamophobic populist right movements in Europe and America. Yet these movements are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of Islamic thought.
Christopher de Bellaigue is a writer and journalist who has lived in Iran and travelled extensively in the Islamic world. The author of books about Turkey and Iran, he has written for the Guardian and the New York Review of Books about western responses to Islamic fundamentalism and he is currently finishing a book on the Islamic Enlightenment which will be published in the spring of 2017. He will look at the history of relations between Islam and the west, the causes of the current crisis and how the relationship may develop in the future.