The Summing Up
The Summing Up
This chapter presents a summary of the discussions in the preceding chapters. The image of Islam in the West from the Middle Ages to the present contains four enduring elements: religiously, Muhammad was seen as either the Antichrist or a fallen Lucifer-like figure; personally, he was a flawed human being, unable or unwilling to contain his sexuality; politically, he was either a major leader who united the desert tribes or a greedy despot; he was viewed as an original source of wisdom of the East for some and the last and greatest prophet of divine revelation for others. In recent times, two aspects — violence and reciprocity — have come to characterize the dominant image of Islam in the West: violence in the widespread prevalence of targeted killings, riots, bombings, and warfare that have devastated parts of the world; reciprocity in that Islam is no longer the passive tableau on which Westerners fashion an image. The Western image of Islam has become the subject of constant modification based on sustained, complex, almost instantaneous global contact.
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