I still find this quote one of the best explanations as to why the West is scrambling to understand the actions of Jihad.
(Writing before Sept. 11, 2001) The Jihad, the Islamic so-called Holy War, has been a fact of life in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Near and Middle East for more than 1,300 years, but this is the first history of the Muslim wars in Europe ever to be published. Hundreds of books, however, have appeared on its Christian counterpart, the Crusades, to which the Jihad is often compared, although they lasted less than two hundred years and unlike the Jihad, which is universal, were largely but not completely confined to the Holy Land. Moreover, the Crusades have been over for more than 700 years, while the Jihad is still going on in the world. The Jihad has been the most unrecorded and disregarded major event of history. It has, in fact, been largely ignored. For instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica gives the Crusades eighty times more space than the Jihad. In the New South Wales State Library, where I did part of my research while in Australia, there were 108 entries listed in their catalogue cards for the Crusades, but only two for Jihad! The Jihad has been largely bypassed by Western historians, and this book is an attempt to right the situation, for the Jihad has affected the lives – and continues to do so – of far, far more people and regions in the world than the long-extinct Crusades ever did. (Paul Fregosi, Jihad in the West, New York: Prometheus Books, 1998, p.19)