Hazhir Teimourian

Priests And Mullahs

The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation

By

Allen Lane The Penguin Press 183pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

A DECADE OR so ago, I was invited by the Foreign Office to a seminar at Ditchley Park, a grand mansion in the country, to promote understanding between the West and the world of Islam. There were, as expected, the usual senior diplomats (the Foreign Office ‘Arabists’), becoming dewy-eyed whenever they heard the names of the sheikhs who regularly entertain them in the Arabian Desert with tales of falconry and quails in rice served by hosts of servants. But the majority of the participants was made up of Christian theologians, from both sides of the Atlantic, and a large group of amiable mullahs who had lived here for decades – although they still did not dare to drink in public. Soon the pretence emerged that the priests and the mullahs could deliver their two peoples to each other in a grand peace treaty, provided that sufficient cash came their way from (Western) governments.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,
    • 'Readers have no more power to predict where the next story is going to take them than the prisoners had to determi… ,
    • 'Ho was no Soviet or Chinese puppet. He was a nationalist first and foremost. Had the Americans just realised this.… ,