The contemporary relationship between the Western and the Islamic world is a relationship between the strong and the weak, whose markers have been bloodshed, cultural misunderstanding, and domination. This modern predicament was presaged over millennia of reciprocal (though, for the past two centuries, frequently uneven) warfare, religious rivalry, and the establishment of vast, self-serving colonial empires. Given this long and unpropitious history, projects of reconciliation and understanding – however noble – are often met with suspicion and preconceived ideological baggage.