Islam and the West
East and West, Islam and Christianity there are more similarities between these cultures than we think. This program traces the history of Islam in the light of its reception in the West. It reconstructs the multi-cultural world of the 7th century between Mecca, the Mediterranean and the Persian Golf. It conjures up the golden age of Islam in the Middle Ages. And it portrays the decline of Islamic culture in the 13th and 14th centuries, and Christianity's efforts to dominate Islamic nations.
S01:E01 - A Prophet Changes the World
At the heart of this episode is the birth of the Islamic religion in the person and teachings of the prophet Mohammed. Among the major questions examined here are: Why is the Koran Gods word? Why did the new religion spread so rapidly? What is the origin of the concept jihad (holy war) and why did the expansion into Spain prove to be so fruitful? The film was shot on original locations in nine Islamic nations. Among the interviewees is the Aga Khan, the head of the Ismailis.
S01:E02 - War and Wisdom
While Christian Europe receded into darkness during the Middle Ages, a spectacular cultural blossoming took place in the Islamic world. It arose from the swords of the spirit, which is how Muslims called science and art. This episode retraces the golden age of Islam and, once again, we adopt the perspective of what is shared, and how one culture profited from the other. We focus on the Moorish culture in Andalusia, a center of Arabic science, and the medical geniuses in what is now Uzbekistan.
S01:E03 - The Challenge
In modern times, the balance of power between East and West shifted. What caused the rupture between the Islamic and the Christian worlds? This episode covers 400 years of history beginning with the definitive routing of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683. But while Muslim pirates foster the slave trade off Europes coasts, Muslims are not involved in the great voyages of discovery. Scholars from both sides try to understand why the Arabic world is lagging behind. Is the West to be blamed?
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