It is difficult to generalize about Islam. To begin with, the word itself is commonly used with two related but distinct meanings, as the equivalents both of Christianity, and Christendom. In the one sense, it denotes a religion, as system of beliefs and worship; in the other, the civilization that grew up and flourished under the aegis of that religion. The word Islam thus denotes more than fourteen centuries of history, a billion and a third people, and a religious and cultural tradition of enormous diversity.
During the first formative centuries of its existence, Christianity was separated from and indeed antagonistic to the state, with which it only later became involved. From the lifetime of its founder, Islam was the state, and the identity of religion and government is indelibly stamped on the memories and awareness of the faithful from their own sacred writings, history, and experience.
The Cold War philosophy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), which prevented the former Soviet Union and the United States from using the nuclear weapons they had targeted at each other, would not apply to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran. For him (Ahmadinejad), Mutual Assured Destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement.
To accept the story of the Arab destruction of the library of Alexandria, one must explain how it is that so dramatic an event was unmentioned and unnoticed not only in the rich historical literature of medieval Islam, but even in the literatures of the Coptic and other Christian churches, of the Byzantines, of the Jews, or anyone else who might have thought the destruction of a great library worthy of comment. That the story still survives, and is repeated, despite all these objections, is testimony to the enduring power of a myth.
The golden age of equal rights in Spain was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam. The myth was invented by Jews in nineteenth-century Europe as a reproach to Christians.