In 1517, few western Christians worried that Muslims might have a more convincing message to offer than Christianity or that Christian youth might start converting to Islam. The Turks were at the gate, it's true, but they weren't in the living room, and they certainly weren't in the bedroom. The Turks posed a threat to the physical health of Christians, but not to the spiritual health of Christianity. Muslims were in a different boat. Almost from the start, as I've discussed, Islam had offered its political and military successes as an argument for its doctrines and a proof of its revelations. The process began with those iconic early battles at Badr and Uhud, when the outcome of battle was shown to have theological meaning. The miracle of expansion and the linkage of victory with truth continued for hundreds of years. Then came the Mongol holocaust, which forced Muslim theologians to reexamine their assumptions. That process spawned such reforms as Ibn Taymiyah. Vis-a-vis the Mongols, however, the weakness of Muslims was concrete and easy to understand. The Mongols had greater killing power, but they came without an ideology. When the bloodshed wound down and the human hunger for meaning bubbled up, as it always does, they had nothing to offer. In fact, they themselves converted. Islam won in the end, absorbing the Mongols as it has absorbed the Turks before them and the Persians before that. ... The same could not be said of the new overlords. The Europeans came wrapped in certainty about their way of life and peddling their own ideas of ultimate truth. They didn't challenge Islam so much as ignore it, unless they were missionaries, in which case they simply tried to convert the Muslims. If they noticed Islam, they didn't bother to debate it (missionaries are not in the debating business) but only smiled at it as one would at the toys of a child or the quaint relics of a more primitive people. How maddening for the Muslim cognoscenti! And yet, what could Muslims do about it?