In October 1997, amidst gloomy prophesies of an imminent clash between Islamic and Western civilization, some forty scholars, thinkers, and opinion-makers from different parts of the world came together in a seminar in the idyllic surroundings of Islamabad, to thrash out the problems pertaining to the relations between Muslims and the West. This seminar, held under the joint auspices of the Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad and the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. focused itself on exploring the Western perceptions of Muslims and Muslim perception of the West. The subject was not only academically challenging, but also a necessary step towards building bridges of understanding and friendship across two civilizations.
Muslims and the West: Encounter and Dialogue is a collection of twelve select papers of that seminar. These papers represent a serious attempt to understand the complex relationship of the Muslims and the West spanning over fourteen centuries. In these papers, twelve highly distinguished scholars from across the globe address the subject with depth of understanding and sharpness of perception, in a style strikingly candid yet sober and balanced.