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TMS - Islam and the West


Islam and Christianity share both remarkable similarities and remarkable differences. In the grand scheme, both are relatively recent religions, with Christianity taking hold in Northern Europe at about the same time that Islam took hold in the Persian world (although Christianity appeared on the scene six centuries before Islam).

Through the years, Islam and Christianity and the civilizations they created have influenced each other to greater and lesser extents in terms of arts, sciences, culture, and medicine. The Crusades produced the most violent confrontation of the two worlds, but it is also important to note the effect of Christian missionaries on Islam and that of Islamic science and literature on the West.

In light of the threat of terrorism in the new world order of the twenty-first century, it is imperative that the West and the Islamic world improve their understanding of their respective cultures. This course is conceived to reveal the interaction of these two religions and civilizations throughout their histories, highlight their similarities and differences, and, finally, show that Muslims and Christians share much common ground, especially in terms of morality, life issues, and family.


Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr is University Professor of Islamic Studies at The George Washington University. Professor Nasr is one of the most important and foremost scholars of Islamic, religious, and comparative studies in the world today. He is the author of over fifty books, including Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man, Religion and the Order of Nature, Knowledge and the Sacred, Ideals and Realities of Islam, and The Heart of Islam. Professor Nasr has also authored over five hundred articles that have been translated into several major Islamic, European, and Asian languages. A well-known and highly respected intellectual figure both in the West and the Islamic world, Professor Nasr is an eloquent speaker with a charismatic presence. Nasr is a much sought-after speaker at academic conferences and seminars, university and public lectures, and also radio and television programs in his area of expertise. Possessor of an impressive academic and intellectual record, his career as a teacher and scholar spans over four decades.

Related Links
# - PBS website presents a broad overview of Islam
# - Website of the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
# - Contains information about Islam and its history, science, current affairs
# - An overview of Spain during the time of Islamic rule.
# - Fordham University site with topics about the era of the Crusades
# - On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History by Thomas Carlyle
# - Excerpts from Voltaires "A Treatise on Toleration"
# - Website of Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity

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Tags: Lecture, Islamic, Western, World, Islam