Europe is not really even a geographic entity; it is separated from Asia only at one point, the Bosphorus, by a small stretch of water. North of that there is continuity over the russians steppes, a complete terrestrial flow. I suggest that is also true of culture, and indeed of social organization. Indeed Europe has never been purely isolated, purely Christian. Instead of Christian Europe, one has to see the continent as penetrated by the three world religions that originated in the Near East and which indeed had a common mythology or sacred text; in order of arrival these were Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (...) All have equal entitlements to be present, and in this general ('objective') sense none can be considered only as the Other; they are part of Europe, part of our heritage.
Jack Goody, Islam in Europe, Polity, 2004, p.14