Tariq Ramadan’s life as public intellectual and leader among European Muslims has been dramatic. Looming in his personal background is his grandfather, Hasan al-Banna, who was the founder in 1928 of Egypt’s most famous Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Obama phenomenon is hurtling past the best analogies that we have for it. Three years ago Barack Obama shot onto the national political scene with a sensational speech at the Democratic National Convention. Two years ago he joined the U.S. Senate as its only African-American member.
One of my favorite books is Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, a wild, imaginative, vicious satire about Stalinist Russia in particular and the modern world in general. Bulgakov imagines a visit by Satan to Soviet Moscow, where all dutiful members of the intelligentsia are atheist.