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Power’s world: can Obama marry the history of Islam with the politics of today?

By Jonathan Power  

Obama's Cairo speech was a chance to harness history

Dante’s portrayal of Muhammed in hell is one of western literature’s most egregiously racist, not to mention  blasphemous, offerings—one that still leaves Salman Rushdie’s  Satanic Verses in the shade. But until  9/11 and the block on Turkey’s accession to the European Union, there might have been good reason to think that the west was slowly but surely getting over its deep-rooted prejudices against Islam.

Under presidents George…

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