Islam, like the other monotheistic religions, was born in the Arab Middle East but unlike Christianity or Judaism, is regarded as an alien and obscure faith. The reason for the stated difference lies in that while both Christianity and Judaism were Westernized and, in more instances than not, informed and shaped Western culture, Islam, with some exceptions, remained fixed in the Middle East. Added to that, Islam was surprisingly resistant to trans-cultural transferences. For centuries, Islam, largely represented by Egypt's Al Azhar, maintained that the religion was fixed in language, culture and tradition, with the implication being that people came to Islam and Islam did not go to them. Hence, translations of the Quran were deemed misrepresentative of the faith because much was lost n translation and it was, consequently, expected that people learn Arabic as a prerequisite to their learning the faith itself, let alone embracing it. It was only upon the relaxation of the aforementioned strictures that understanding Islam became somewhat easier, although not easy.
The West, however, has only recently met Islam and the circumstance of the meeting were fiery, to say the least. ...Show more