Purpose: This article explores the changing attitudes to, and perceptions of Islam that developed over a period in which substantive engagements between Anglo-American strategic interests brought them more and more into contact with Muslim majority governments and cultures.
Methodology: Using historical analysis, the article examines selected primary literature to understand how perceptions of Islam within American and British policymaking circles evolved during the European Colonial period.
Findings: The key finding is the extent to which perceptions of Islam and Muslims were government not just by the nature of the incidents and issues that politicians and officials were dealing with, but also by the shifting cultural shifts taking place in America and Britain.
Originality: The article’s originality lies in the methodological approach of examining US-British policymaker’s perceptions of Islam based upon their experiences. In so doing, the article offers an approach to West-Islam relational debates that avoids critiquing the validity of the observations and instead deepens our understandings of where the perceptions came from as a basis for improved dialogues in the future.