The two histories had begun in the same place,
between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers of ancient Iraq, and they had come to
the same place, this global struggle in which the West and the Islamic world
seemed to be the major players.
In between, however, they had passed through
different - and yet strangely parallel - landscapes.
Looking back, for example, from within the
Western world-historical framework, one sees a single big empire towering above
all others back there in ancient times: it is Rome, where the dream of a
universal political state was born.
Looking back from anywhere in the Islamic
world, one also sees a single definitive empire looming back there, embodying
the vision of a universal state, but it isn't Rome. It is the khalifate of early
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