Whereas the West views many Middle Eastern countries as medieval, Akyol said, Middle Eastern countries view the West as exploitative and hypocritical. He said the best way for Western countries to promote secularization in Middle Eastern countries is to remain principled and set an example through their actions.
The West does not think of Middle Eastern countries as “medieval,” for that would imply some progress from the beginning of Islam to a “medieval” period, when all further progress then stopped. From its beginnings, Islam’s texts have remained immutable, though Muslim societies and individuals have sometimes more, and sometimes less, hewed to the beliefs the Qur’an and hadith inculcate. The people in these countries are in thrall to an ideology that is both a religion and a politics, that attempts to regulate every area of life. The word “medieval” is used by some in the West to describe Islam not literally but rather, and accurately, to mean “backward,” “stuck in the past,” “incapable of change.”