93 Martha Nussbaum: For Shining a Light on the West's Dark Corners of Intolerance

Article excerpt

Law and ethics professor | Chicago

In a year when an anti-Islam video sparked deadly protests across the Arab world and a spate of violent incidents targeted minority groups in the United States, Martha Nussbaum's new book offered a thoughtful, timely corrective to the divisive dangers of religious intolerance, particularly Islamophobia. Charting its rise and evolution in Europe and the United States since the 9/11 attacks--from European laws prohibiting burqas in public to the uproar over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York--Nussbaum's The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Pofitics of Fear in an Anxious Age forcefully defends those whose religious freedoms have recently been circumscribed or attacked.

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An author and editor of dozens of books ranging over the big ideas of everything from the Greek classics to feminism, Nussbaum brings a philosopher's mind to an explosive political topic, pinpointing the roots of religious fear as a fundamentally "narcissistic" emotion that dovetails with a "visceral reaction against strangeness. …