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Introduction

 For a period of a thousand years Islam and the Christian west were pitted against each other. Today, a not-so-Christian west continues to view the Islamic civilization as a major obstacle, and there remain many points of contention between the two worlds. What has changed in the last hundred years is the expansion of Islam’s presence in the western world, beyond the regions which as a result of Ottoman conquests in eastern Europe remained under Islamic influence for many centuries. Today, a considerable Muslim population resides in western Europe and the USA, one which increases annually. This is a major factor in the relations between Christianity and Islam as well as between the western and the Islamic civilizations, one in which the Muslim population of the west may play a role. In the past few decades, Islam has been the subject of extensive research in Europe and the USA, a great deal of which has been fueled by certain political motives, while there has also been honest and objective work on the subject.

* source: Nasr , Seied Hossein "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp.581

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