Of late, dialogue between Muslims and Western Christian academicians has moved from defensive polemics to more constructive discourse that seeks to achieve mutual understanding. Every effort is made to set aside inaccurate stereotypes of Islam so that it is judged in the best possible light. The commitment on both sides to dialogue and to exploring how to live together based on newfound commonality has raised optimism.
Nevertheless, Christians living in Muslim majority countries remain guarded. Optimism comes naturally when one is theorizing within the safe and comfortable confines of Western universities. The fact is, Muslims are more interested in pursuing dialogue with Western Christians because dialogue confers recognition and this is what Islamic scholars want from the West. However, dialogue with local Christians is avoided as Muslims are reluctant to confer recognition to the local Christian community.
Dialogue beneath the Gothic arches of Western universities should be welcomed, but surely genuine dialogue would gain more credence if it took place at the ground level, especially in countries where Islamic authorities do not feel the need to modulate their power so as to present an acceptable face, as they would when dealing with their Western counterparts. If indeed dialogue takes place, the Islamic authorities typically set the terms of engagement, reducing it to social rituals to confirm the dominance of Islam rather than to promote mutual understanding and respect. Naturally, local Christians lose enthusiasm for "dialogue."（全文）