Twentieth century writers, intellectuals and ideologues in the Arab world were obliged to traverse the nationalist promises of freedom and independence from colonialism.

Ibn Khaldun, the illustrious fourteenth century Arab historian on the rise and fall of royal dynasties, provides a pointed observation that echoes from the past into the present and is not restricted to any one place.

Knowledge is not a fragile glass lamp wherein its flame can be snuffed out in a single breath. Centuries of the interweaving of various insights and scholarships in the case of the Islamic tradition simultaneously demonstrate the durability and malleability of the production, transmission and reception of knowledge.

Provocative to say the least, the forward thrust of Soroush’s ideas have acquired a robust quality of deconstruction of the Islamic tradition. However, pulling the figurative rug under the feet of his critics has also consisted of proposing an alternative space for faith, knowledge and politics.

Slightly inebriated, a portly Christopher Hitchens armed with a plastic cup of scotch whisky joins a motley cast of celebrities on the Real Time with Bill Maher show.