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This paper is about the epistemological underpinnings of European and American foreign policy toward political Islam. European and American approaches to political Islam rely upon commonly held secular assumptions about religion and politics that have significant effects on foreign policy in Europe and the United States. Secularist epistemology produces an understanding of “normal politics” that lends a particular coloring to the politics of Muslim-majority societies. These secularist understandings affect foreign policy in two ways: first, the appearance of Islam in politics is equated with fundamentalism and intolerance, and second, the forms and degrees of separation between Islam and politics that do exist in contemporary Muslim-majority societies either do not appear at all or appear as ill-fitting imitations of a Western secular ideal. Rather than a backlash against modernity or a return to tradition, political Islam is a modern language of politics that challenges and, at times, overturns fundamental assumptions about religion and politics embedded in Western forms of secularism.