Islam has become the new spectre haunting Europe. All too often, even well-meaning liberals portray the modern resurgence of Islam as the new “Green Menace”—intolerant, medieval and barbaric—which has replaced Communism as the main threat to Western civilization and values. For Aziz Al-Azmeh, this Orientalist and racist view of Islam is nothing but the mirror-image of the myths propagated by Islamic fundamentalists and radicals. Both views share an erroneous and ahistorical conception of Islam as an unchanging and monolithic entity. Surveying both its social origins and its intellectual genealogy, Al-Azmeh rethinks the relationship between Islam and the West, uncovering a rich actual history of interaction.
In this expanded new edition, the author examines the discourse surrounding Islamism and irrationalism after 9/11.