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Clerics understand that the Internet is a crucial arena in the fight for the souls and minds of the younger generation, and also that the Internet can be better controlled and screened compared to other media technologies.Using the Internet for Islamic purposes was not only permitted by scholars, even strict Wahhabi ones, but even encouraged.Printing machines entered the Ottoman Empire three centuries after they were first introduced in Europe.Scholars regarded them as bid'a, an unlawful innovation, and it took the Napoleonic conquest of Egypt in 1798 to allow acknowledgment of their merit.Ja'far Sheikh Idris, a Sudanese professor of theology, wrote in 1999 that new technologies allow Muslims to spread da'wa more easily and are, indeed, proof that Islam is the true religion (for only God could have known fourteen centuries ago that the day would come when the world would turn into one global village, needing only one global prophet—Muhammad).
Muslim scholars traditionally reacted to new technologies—especially those developed in the West—with skepticism, fearing that such new innovations could bring more harm than good to Muslims.
While liberalizing forms of interpretation have allowed more flexible approaches for some Muslim scholars since the late nineteenth century, this has not been the case in Saudi Arabia.
During the 1920s, Saudi scholars protested King 'Abd al-'Aziz Ibn Saud's decision to use wireless communication, claiming it was devilish. The introduction of television broadcasts in the 1960s also caused outrage.
In Muslim eyes, Christianity had some truth in it; in Christian eyes, Islam was completely false. Today, the balance of tolerance has dramatically reversed: In the West, freedom of religion allows for people of all faiths to convince others that theirs is the one and only truth; on the other hand, in some Muslim societies, non-Muslims are prosecuted, and promotion of other religions is a punishable offense.
Exact data on the number of converts to Islam in the West is incomplete because conversions are not always recorded.