We do not know much about the world around. Let us take Islam. Have you read Koran? Do you know much about the history of the Middle East? Do you have any Muslim friends?

Often, our perceptions of the Eastern culture are formed under the influence of media – bearded men with assault rifles who shout «Allahu Akbar!», or believers who block the road to pray during Kurban Bayram. Sometimes, tourist trips do the job – «Look at them sitting around all day smoking shisha!» Other times, we learn about Islam in street encounters with the products of work of economic migrants – «Those migrants screwed up the flagstone again!»

Ignorance causes constant fear. When another explosion happens, people are quickly united in hatred and the phrase «those aliens again» kickstarts a grandiose chauvinism fair.

Let’s ask ourselves the two Russian perennial questions: «Who’s to blame?» and «What’s to be done?» Yet, let’s address them to a person who dedicated his life to the study of our society. We spoke with Georgi Derluguian, a professor of New York University in Abu Dhabi and a student of Immanuel Wallerstein, one of the founding fathers of the world-system approach.

Никита Петров / Nikita Petrov