VIENNA – The year 2020 demonstrated, once again, that the relationship between the
Western and the Arab and Muslim worlds remains muddled, complicated by
lingering memories of colonization, wars, and atrocities that date back to the
Crusades and, in modern times, to Algeria’s war for independence from France and
the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a relationship marred by suspicion,
distrust, and resentment on the part of many (if not most) Muslims, as well as many
in the West. The thin knowledge that both sides of the relationship have of other
cultures doesn’t lend itself to mutual understanding – a grim fact that radicals (again,
on both sides) cynically exploit.

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