Islam Through Western Eyes: The History of an Idea

Jonathan Lyons

The Religion and Society Research Centre of the University of Western Sydney invites you to attend a Public Lecture: Islam Through Western Eyes: The History of an Idea.

Despite the West’s growing involvement over the centuries in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East–West rapprochement. By exploring Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, we can see the ways in which the underlying ‘idea’ of Islam exerts corrosive effects on both public and scholarly approaches to the subject. Of particular interest are the ways in which this historic idea is reflected in contemporary Western views on such pressing issues as Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women. The net result is an inability on the part of Western societies to respond effectively to some of the most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations.

Author and independent scholar Jonathan Lyons spent twenty years as a foreign correspondent and editor for Reuters, much of it in the Islamic world. His research focuses on the shifting boundaries between East and West, and his publications include Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism, The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization and (with Geneive Abdo) Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-first-Century Iran. He has a doctorate in sociology from Monash University and lives in Washington, D.C.

Details of Jonathan Lyon’s work are available at

‘Islam Through Western Eyes: The History of an Idea’
Speaker: Dr Jonathan Lyons
Date: Thursday 27 September, 2012
Time: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Venue: Bankstown Campus, Building 1 Level 1 Room 117
Please RSVP to by Monday 24 September.