The Christian West and the Muslim Middle East have been neighbours at love and war for more than a thousand years. In the process both civilizations have armed themselves with prejudice, ignorance, suspicion, and sometimes insight.
The vicious cycle of Crusade and Jihad has been a millennial struggle for control of the Mediterranean and then of the world. At the start of the race, a handicapper looking at the technological achievement and intellectual self confidence of Cairo and Damascus would surely have bet on the East.
What the eminent historian Bernard Lewis sees over the long pull is not just the contention, but the interpenetration of two cultures: the sharing of the patriarch Abraham, the philosophical systems of Aristotle, and oil in the modern day. Behind their slogans about great Satan and ours about Saddam Hussein as Hitler, Bernard Lewis discusses the real history.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Bernard Lewis, Middle Eastern historian.