Islam faces a crisis in relation to the contemporary world which is partly historical. It derives from a contradiction between the collective memory of the triumphal progress of Islam under Muhammad and his successors and the experience of recent political failure and colonial domination by the West. ‘The scandal of difference’ examines how the fundamentalist impulse in Islam is different from that in Protestant Christianity and illustrates the similarities. The resemblance between the two lies in the holistic, perhaps totalitarian, ideal of a political order governed by God. Both hold a belief in a ‘Golden Age’ which predates times of problems and conflicts. The quest for salvation, however, won't be realised by withdrawing into a cultural bubble.