At Bookforum, David Wallace-Wells reviews Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents by Ian Buruma:

“If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant,” Karl Popper warned, just after World War II and the apparent triumph of liberalism over fascism, “if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” Buruma is not convinced of the “paradox of tolerance,” however, and in Taming the Gods he answers Popper with a contrary history, which depicts the long struggle between faith and liberty issuing finally into a shared civic religion more elevated and esteemed than those based on terrestrial convictions alone. (The book purports to explore religion and democracy on three continents, but its clear focus is on Europe and the collision there of Islam and the secular state.) A Dutch journalist and Orientalist raised in the postwar years who has become, in middle age, a vital leftish critic of the multicultural model those years produced, Buruma acknowledges the charge, leveled most responsibly by the American conservative Christopher Caldwell, that Europe, wracked with colonial guilt and cultural self-doubt, “became a multiethnic society in a fit of absence of mind.” But he offers in the place of that familiar nativist alarm only a wistful invocation of the rule of law.

Read more at Bookforum.