For many Middle Eastern Muslims the “West” came to personify the ultimate “Other,” which was simultaneously appealing, intimidating and often revolting. The multi-layered interaction between Middle Eastern societies and the West has been a major theme in the history of this region for the past two centuries, as well as of its scholarly and popular study. The al-Qa‘ida terrorist attack against the US on 11 September 2001, the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and Israel’s war against Hizballah in the summer of 2006 have made the study of this interaction more pertinent than ever before. Taking the concepts of the “Middle East” and the “West” into account as useful analytical categories, the various articles in this volume examine and analyze a broad spectrum of Middle Eastern encounters and attitudes toward the “West.” They demonstrate a much more multi-faceted and multi-dimensional picture than the one presented by Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis. Whether the reference point is the state, ideological trends and perceptions or the arts, this collection provides a fuller understanding of the complexities involved.