Over the past decade I have had the opportunity to speak to thousands of people about Islam across five continents. At question time, the same issues keep coming up. The questions which have stayed in my mind are all about world view assumptions. These are key ideas which control the thinking of Western people when they are engaging with Islam.
Over time I have come to recognize some of these beliefs as clichés. These ideas were once original and even controversial, but over time they have become like mental wallpaper: ever-present, overlooked, comfortingly familiar, and increasingly anachronistic, yet setting the tone. People so readily process matters of the utmost importance through the grid of trite ‘truisms’ that are in fact easily falsifiable yet comforting falsehoods.