An eye-opening history of Britain and the Islamic world—a thousand-year relationship that is closer, deeper, and more mutually beneficial than is often recognized
In this broad yet sympathetic survey—ranging from the Crusades to the modern day—Martin Pugh explores the social, political, and cultural encounters between Britain and Islam. He looks, for instance, at how reactions against the Crusades led to Anglo-Muslim collaboration under the Tudors, at how Britain posed as defender of Islam in the Victorian period, and at her role in rearranging the Muslim world after 1918.
Pugh argues that, contrary to current assumptions, Islamic groups have often embraced Western ideas, including modernization and liberal democracy. He shows how the difficulties and Islamophobia that Muslims have experienced in Britain since the 1970s are largely caused by an acute crisis in British national identity. In truth, Muslims have become increasingly key participants in mainstream British society—in culture, sport, politics, and the economy.
Martin Pugh is a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain, and was formerly professor of modern British history at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His publications include State and Society and The Pankhursts.
“A provocative survey for the general reader.”—James Gilham, Journal of Church and State
“Sweeping and humane ... Pugh's survey of Britain's encounters with Islam undermines the fallacy that the Muslim experience and the Western experience must inevitably stand in opposition to each other; on the contrary, Britain and Islam helps us to see them as complementary parts of the same human story.”—Christopher de Bellaigue, author of The Islamic Enlightenment
“Offers compelling arguments that need to be made especially in the times in which we live where prejudice raises its ugly head within the highest political circles. Pugh is clearly an experienced political historian and handles the politics of West/Muslim encounters within the era of colonial and post-colonial periods in a masterly fashion. ”— Ron Geaves, author of Islam and Britain
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