Quotation by Doris Lessing

The centuries-long wars with the Saracen, when everything of the East was the enemy, and the subsequent, now over, era of Western imperialism, when Eastern cultures were despised by us, have caused a block in European thinking, making it hard for us to acknowledge what we all owe to the East. Two great religions have influenced Europe, we say: Christianity and Judaism, but we scarcely mention Islam, which has been the third. We are the heirs, we claim proudly, of Greece and Rome, but seldom think of the Arabs, the Persians, the Moors, who, through Spain, fed culture into a Europe that was considered a poor and backward place, with a culture far below the dazzling civilizations of the cities of North Africa, Spain, the Middle East, India.
Doris Lessing (b. 1919), British novelist. The Doris Lessing Reader, preface to the French edition of Seekers After Truth, pp. 628-9. Knopf (1988).
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