This title challenges romantic, a historic and irreconcilable notions of Islamic and Western cultures, highlighting the plurality of both. Frequently portrayed as intolerant, medieval and barbaric, Islam has replaced Communism as the main perceived threat to Western civilization and values. For Aziz al-Azmeh, this Orientalist and racist view of Islam is nothing but a mirror image of the myth propagated by Islamic fundamentalists, with both resting on an ahistorical conception of an unchanging religion. In this expanded new edition, al-Azmeh rethinks the relationship between Muslim and Western societies through to the post-9/11 period, uncovering a rich history of interaction and exchange.
Aziz al-Azmeh is Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Humanities Center, Central European University, Budapest and Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Budapest. His other works include Ibn Khaldun: An Essay in Reinterpretation and The Times of History: Universal Topics in Islamic Historiography.