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Entente Islamique

Turkey has its first Islamic government since the end of Ottoman rule. Yet the wave of fundamentalism released by the Iranian revolution in 1979 is receding. Alan Munro, Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf war, argues that the failure of fundamentalism in power provides the basis for a new accord between moderate Islam and the west

The familiar image of a zealous and militant Islamic faith has been reinforced by the recent act of terror in eastern Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 Americans. There evidently are powerful xenophobic trends within Islam which are anta-gonistic to western culture and which threaten international security. But this image is a travesty of the truth for most of the 1.3 billion adherents to the faith. Moreover, there are small but promising signs that the politicisation of Islam is in retreat. Whether this is the case depends, in part, on an appropriate reaction from the west. For this the historical antecedents…

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