Islamic civilisation, especially its Arab core countries, is in a profound crisis. Superior to Christendom in every respect during the Middle Ages, the region of the Middle East has since stagnated and is not participating in the development that the West experienced from the early modern period onwards. Today, after the end of the Cold War, and under the conditions of accelerating globalisation, this is more evident than ever before. Historian Dan Diner identifies the causes of this developmental blockade: the diagnosed standstill is due less to Islam as a religion than to specific social, economic, cultural and political conditions in the Middle East. Arguing historically and drawing from a wealth of little-known sources, Diner opens up a new, illuminating view on current predicaments.