In episode 29 of Covert Contact Brookings Institution senior fellow and author of Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East Shadi Hamid joins me to discuss the difficult relationship Islamist movements have with democracy and power at the state level in general. Years of research, and deep contacts, led Shadi to some unexpected findings about how Islamist movements navigate through political systems. We also discuss the state of affairs in the United States – primarily the apparent increase in, and acceptance of, anti-Muslim bigotry in the 2016 presidential campaign. It is a fascinating discussion that reflects the challenges inherent in democracy and serves as a reminder that the tensions balanced by democracy could also destroy it if society rejects or loses the shared value system that makes it all possible.

You can follow Shadi Hamid on Twitter @ShadiHamid.