Here's a second world where Muslim-Western relations are better than OTL. This wasn't originally planned as a two-part, but when I decided to stick in "no israel", instead of the original world for #33 this happened.
This particular scenario is a cover of one written by Tom McMaster when he was in his "Amina Arraf" persona back when people didn't yet know 'she' was a fraud. While 'she' was mostly a troll, she did actually do some legitimate AH discussion.
The divergence, is that during the first world war Britain and France decide that working with the hashemites to create a proxy state in the region works better than trying to get involved in the mess that's the former Ottoman Empire -- if you need a specific POD have a few top leaders in both nations drink some absinthe and have a moment of clarity. Yes, I know this is 5% probability, but it doesn't include Britain magically retaining it's 1914 empire even in 2013 or an invasion by the lizards.
As a result, instead of doing a large invasion they instead send lots of advisors to the hashemites during the war and arm them. Naval units are deployed to the Syrian and Arabian coasts to bombard Turkish coastal position while air raids are done over Turkish cities. The advisors are also sent to help stomp on competing arab tribes like the Saudis and Rashidis who want to take over.
Lawrence of Arabia, of course is sent to help organize this and he's even allowed to offer his services to the hashemites. The legend of Lawrence of Arabia is even greater in this world.
As a result of this help from the entente, the first world war ends with a Hashemite Arab kingdom controlling the former Ottoman arab lands and in the process of dealing with the saudis and Rashidis in the south. In fact, part of this world's treaty of Versailles involves the Ottomans being forced to renounce the title of Caliph and pass it to the Hashemite king.
Between the world wars, the world's development is mostly the same. The most notable shifts are Ataturk's pro-fascist stance and openly declaring "The social republic of Turkey" in 1930, along with Hashemite Arabia's modernization which begins with fits and starts in the 1920s, but becomes more rapid in the 1930s.
Territorial disputes, combined with Damascus's preference of Sunnis over shias manage to make Iran's rules decide to do anti-arab rallying as a propaganda tool to unite the nation. Persia goes openly pro-fascist, even down to renaming itself "The Aryan Kingdom of Iran".
As a result, the second world war begins with both Turkey and Iran supporting the axis, with Hashemite Arabia as a member of the allies. This world's version of the second world war has an even bigger middle eastern front. One notable. The most notable effects on the war are that the soviet union's war effort is behind OTL -- South Sakhalin is secured by the allies, all of Korea is occupied by the US, Albania is allied occupied, Greece is secured and Tito manages to secure full neutrality instead of pretending to have to work with the USSR early on.
Using the ability to both point to its' assistance in the war combined with appeals to the US's anti-colonialism, Arabia manages to convince Britain to turn over Egypt and Britain's arab protectorates along with Italy's former colonies. It also gets changes made in both Turkey and Iran's borders -- splitting Turkey into Kurdistan along with hiving off Iranian azerbaijan. Thanks to Arabia's assistance against Vichy France, the Maghreb states get their independence in 1945. Besides these border shifts, Arabia also secures far better trade terms for arab oil than our world had in the 40s or 50s.
Starting with the postwar economic recovery, there were the 40 glorious years from the late 40s until the mid 1980s. Southern Europe, North Africa and the middle eastern core all modernize to first world levels. While energy prices have a bit of a jump in the early 50s and slowly start rising a tiny bit at a time, there is nothing even resembling an energy crisis to slow down growth.
The cold war followed a path similar to ours in most respects, even if it took a bit longer to get going -- Albania ended up in the western camp, the greek reds were clearly suppressed, the soviets didn't get even a temporary foothold in northern Iran, Yugoslavia was officially neutral and all of Korea was in the western camp. Of course, the loss of China and the Taiwan crisis of 1951, which ended in a two chinas agreement made it kick off.
With the islamic world, led by Hashemite Arabia on the side of the west in the cold war, the expansion of communism was less successful than in OTL. The Indochinese states and several african nations which in OTL fell to communism avoided this fate. Vietnam ended in the early 70s with an American victory.
Colonialism ended like in our world, but with the difference that fewer newly independent countries sided with the soviet union.
Much like in our world, the soviet union implodes in the early 1990s, with the Federated Republics of Eurasia retaining only the slavic and christian bits of the USSR. The central asian republics immediately realigned themselves with the Ummah within a month or two after independence.
Following the end of the cold war in the early 1990s, the world settles into a pattern roughly similar to our world's 1990s in many ways. America's imperial unipolar moment of the 1990s was as strong as OTL, but in the 2000s it's slowly slipped down a bit to the level seen in the mid 2000s. This is a world where the imperial decline has more been 1) much less 2) much more gradual 3) less noticed or concerning to americans than in OTL. The reason for a somewhat more relaxed response by the US is simple -- a more stable third world and no middle eastern trouble.
THE NEW WORLD OF ISLAM
Hashemite Arabia, also known as the Caliphate is the leader of the muslim world. The area from Libya to the borders of Iran is heavily industrialized and the population enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. The government is like a larger version of Jordan's OTL government pre-arab spring. The Caliphate has a visible jewish minority, mostly descended from refugees who left Europe in the 1930s. The rulers of the Caliphate are in the process of restoring ancient and medieval ruins to their former glory. Increased modernity means that the Caliphate's birthrates have dropped to above replacement. As a result, Arabia has been a nation of immigrants for some time. First, it was internal migration of arabs from the country to the cities along with immigration of arabs from the maghreb along with Turks and persians coming in, but now there are people from all over the muslim world coming in. This migration makes progressive or secular-minded residents of the Caliphate a bit concerned since the importation of peasants from Mauritania or Senegal or Indonesia just reinforces already existing conservatism.
Hashemite Arabia leads a supranational union connecting the muslim world -- The Ummah. There are two tiers, though. The inner and outer ummah. The inner one is as integrated as Schengen zone europe minus any attempts at monetary union. You can travel from Tangier to Iran's eastern frontier regions without showing your passport. Then there is the outer ummah, which is economically integrated but does not get free travel -- there is however extensive immigration from the periphery of the ummah to the inner lands. This areas is where outsourcing happens and factories are set up. There are of course, extensive efforts at promoting the economic integration of the ummah nations -- highways span the sahara and communications towers cross the lands.
The Turkish sultanate, under the restored Ottoman dynasty resents the fact that the arabs of all people are the ones leading world Islam and not them. Turkey *still* keeps trying to get into the European Union just to spite the Hashemites. Only massive de facto economic bribery have kept Turkey in the Ummah.
Kurdistan doesn't much like the Turkish sultanate. They also think that Persia, the Arabs and Iran are all worryingly secular.
Persia is islamic, intellectual and wealthy off of oil money. Think of them as the yuppies of Islam. Persians are known for being arrogant and smug tourists when they visit other countries -- they will never shut up about the glorious of ancient and medieval persia.
Azerbaijan's residents think the persians are kind of gay and really, REALLY do not like the Federated Republics of Eurasia. The economy is stumbling back up to developed nation status after two decades of economic chaos following reunification with the former soviet republic of Azerbaijan.
Albania is essentially just another generic south european country, albeit one with a (not all that devout) muslim majority. Albania acts as an observer, if not full member of the European Union along with it's Ummah status.
The maghreb kingdoms are all under their pre-colonial dynasties and are quiet, prosperous lands. Their relatively lax form of islam makes it a bit of a tourist destination for people from more devout lands like Arabia itself. Think the sort of tourism that brings people from utah to new orleans.
Afghanistan is an isolated, backwards monarchy but at least it's not under the taliban. There are rural insurgents who consider the government to be radical and too pro-western, but they're more concerned with getting money off of opium dealing or growing than actually doing anything to get real power.
Malaysia includes Singapore and is low-end first world, albeit with higher inequality and a bit more secular than in our world. Singapore is more chaotic and messy, but unlike in our world is a genuine center of culture instead of being disneyland with the death penalty. Lee Kwan Yew served as Prime Minister for over ten years, and since then has acted as an influential figure behind the scenes.
Pakistan is a corrupt junta, but at least is relatively quiet. Incomes are at OTL Indian levels.
Indonesia has double our world's GDP and is a corrupt one-party state, that evolved from a junta that's relaxed over time. Incidently, a government more interested in public order and less in macho posturing is a little bit less prone to anti-chinese pogroms.
Bengal is a corrupt right-leaning junta with a doubled GDP.
Former french west Africa's borders are somewhat different than in our world, but overall the region is two or three times more developed than in our world. Senegal, the outlier manages to make it to middle income levels.
The Sahel Republic's per capita income is at Haitian levels, but compared to our world's Nigeria it's rather more stable and less corrupt, by virtue of having all of Nigeria's muslims in one state. At least it's got reason to build a real economic base without the oil money to buoy things up.
Zanzibar is sort of a muslim singapore-lite -- it's merely middle income but it's growing rapidly and is projected to be first world by 2025.
The popular view of the muslim world is both less negative(competition instead of an outright enemy of the west) and a bit different -- it's seen as a bit less fundamentalist and a bit more modern and cosmopolitan. Negative stereotypes of people from the muslim world either run to annoying rich tourist who won't stop smoking even in no-smoking areas or the preachy missionary instead of the bearded jihadi.
The Caliphate's main cultural contributions to wider world culture come in the form of 1) epic historical movies/TV series based on Arab history 2) epic big-budget live action fantasy movies 3) annoying pop music.
The "Eurabia" trope doesn't really exist in popular culture, even though there's still issues with digesting (much fewer) muslim immigrants.
Western academia views Islam negatively, much like how they treat Japan and east asia to a lesser extent and for the same reasons along with additional ones relating to the piety of the muslim world. Elite western college's women studies departments regularly sponsor "Draw Mohammed" days. Many leftists, and in particular both the tumblr "social justice activist" type and academic leftists in general display levels of islamophobia that Tom Kratman would consider slightly overdoing it.
America is still world hegemon and quite recognizable, albeit a bit less islamophobic than in our world and significantly less holier than thou, with the fact that the protestant religious right has stayed out of politics -- in response, the left hasn't gone as moralistic as OTL. America is a bit more libertine, freewheeling and less of a nanny state. There are no serious attempts at smoking bans, marijuana is legal in both blue state America(except for Massachusetts and connecticut) along with most of the non-mormon west, the drinking age tends to be 18 nationwide and rather less enforced, the TV less censored, "assault weapons" remain legal. Economic policy remains not all that well thought out, but without a 1970s that was an utter disaster there are still banking laws. Interestingly, culture wars are a bit more complex -- you have veterans of a victorious cuba war in the early 1960s and that war's supporters in addition to our factions of baby boomers with different stances on vietnam. Besides this complexity, they are a bit toned down without watergate with the obvious side effect that there remain more dixiecrats and rockefeller republicans than in our world.
Cuba remains a partying place, since an America with the middle east being secure could pay more attention to Latin America and Castro got squished. Due an even larger number of emigrants to the United States, combined with all the American expats moving there for work/tax reasons/retirement, about half of Cuba's people are either US citizens or dual nationals. There is a Cuban statehood party that gets 20-30% of the vote in local elections.
Without a disasterous 1970s to reduce perceptions of America's status, the US gets away with being even more domineering in Latin America than in our world -- The Americas are all part of a NAFTA-style economic union and the bulk of the region is governed by military juntas or semidemocracies of varying levels of competence This ranges from Haiti which is badly governed as opposed to psychotically governed, to catholic conservative, cyberpunk Chile(the legal code is now less than 50 pages) to the weirdos in Uruguay who has hired on both one C. Yarvin and Nick Land as consultants. Castro, Chavez and Morales all got squished.
Japan still includes South Sakhalin but is mostly like our world's Japan, even down to the economic slowdown. The fact that Japan had an extra large first world market in the form of the developed portions of the Ummah has made that slowdown merely be 1-3% growthrates instead of a lost decade.
The European Union is much like our world, except for a few different borders in it's admitted states. The one visible change would be much fewer muslim immigrants in it's cities, with the muslims being replaced by slavs from the FRE/former warsaw pact and Chinese. Instead of episodes of cars being burned in inner cities, there is an emergent organized crime problem. Unlike our world, South Europe has managed to fully converge with the north due to income from trade with a wealthy middle east and north africa.
Romania has moved away from both communism, as well as the post-communist anticommunist junta government but has not yet moved far enough away from fascism to be acceptable for European Union admission. Romania's leadership is a bit puzzled since they have elections and don't do all that much cheating or bruising up people who vote wrong nowadays. The fact that open persecution of roma gets them bad PR is something that genuinely confuses the junta.
Oil-rich Norway is quite happy re: The Arabs getting the price of oil extremely high and is quietly reinvesting the extra oil money into long-term investments. There are alot of Swedes moving to Norway for work, a fact that Norwegians like to rub into the faces of the same swedes who used to call them country bumpkins having to move to more prosperous norway.
Czechslovakia is in talks to get EU membership and isn't overly happy re: it's neighbors Hungary and Romania making it look bad.
Hungary is much like OTL, except for lacking EU membership and being a bit to the right of OTL's Hungary -- Fidesz has a coalition with Jobbik. There have been occasional border incidents between it and Romania...
Liechtenstien doesn't even fake being a liberal democracy these days. The fact that a strong monarch exists in modern europe is mostly considered a curiosity. There is an emerging reactionary press set up in Liechtenshien.
The Baltic republics are all a decade behind OTL economically and have not yet joined the Europan Union due to Russian legalistic harassment. There are occasional anti-russian protests in their capitals.
Korea is essentially South Korea in the large economy size. One notable difference is that unlike our world's South Korea, the North remained the richest region due to the industry already being there, combined with American bases being there.
The People's Republic of China is of course, much like ours with an economy that's 20% larger due to a bigger world market to sell to.
The Republic of China is pretty much our world's Taiwan but with diplomatic recognition.
India has an economy a third bigger than OTL and as of 2013, birthrates that are cratering along with a visibly smaller population all due to better integration with the world economy. Despite birthrates going negative as of 2012, demographic inertia will keep population growth going for decades...
The bulk of Non-muslim Africa is a little bit richer, further along the demographic transition than in our world but mostly recognizable to OTL visitors. The region's integration into the world economy in a big way happened in the 1990s, instead of in the 2000s. This is having effects as there are more Chinese and Indians in the region than OTL. There were fewer red regimes during the cold war, thanks to a combination of the Ummah's anti-communism and an America with less other concerns to deal with. The one notable shift is that attempts to promote regional integration in West Africa, far southern Africa and East Africa have been taken more seriously, with East Africa managing to form a unified state.
Nigeria is a smaller version of our world's Nigeria, but without the muslim north. Fewer people to pay off, with oil money means it's slightly less badly mismanaged. Emphasis on 'slight', though since this means Nigeria is merely better than average for Africa instead of bad, even by African standards.
Zimbabwe still has black majority rule, but Mugabe's excesses were at least prevented thanks to his death by sniper in 1972 so it manages to stumble along with a per capita income around $1,000 and a population that is at least not outright starving en masse. Unfortunately, this means that jokes about Zimbabwean money don't exist.
South Africa is a bit less corrupt and the white minority was able to negotiate a better deal so things haven't fallen apart quite as badly as OTL post-1994.
Ethiopia is a corrupt monarchy with a real guerilla problem and incomes at low-end Latin American levels. Ethiopians still feel hard done by, even though they don't know what could have happened in OTL.
The middle east being far more quiet than in our world means that certain types of evangelical protestantism are both less apocalyptic and less popular. The return of evangelicals to mainstream politics, in the United States never happened and they remain quietist democrat voters voting on economic lines.
Anti-semitism remained stronger than OTL into the late 20th century due to fewer dying during the second world war, but is a bit less likely than OTL to come back in a big way for the simple reason that there's less possible flashpoints to cause things to go wrong in spectacular ways.
Energy and resources prices are much higher than in OTL, but not because of a more developed muslim world but instead because of deals made with the Hashemites during the second world war and cold war, combined with other nations getting in on it. People in the United States or Canada or Australia are by now used to 6 dollar gasoline. There was no energy shock or even slowdown caused by it on even the level of say OTL's mid-2000s because the price raises were done over the period of several decades and not a few years like OTL. There has of course been adjustment in the form of more efficient cars, somewhat less suburbanization and slowly increasingly densified cities but less than someone from OTL might think.
Higher prices for resources has encouraged alot of investment into efficiency, along with more serious thought put into investing in space. A joint effort between General Electric and US Steel to raise funds for an orbital solar satellite has just failed. These combined efforts mean the world is around 20 years ahead of OTL in terms of alternate energy/sustainability/conservation, which when combined with the fact that the resource depletion clock is behind OTL by a generation means this world will likely avoid resource-related trouble this century.
Overall technology is around 5-10 years ahead of OTL depending on the area, with purely civilian areas like medicine, materials science, synthetics, biotechnology and private space investment being boosted most.
The Civilization franchise has had the arabs as a playable civilization from day one, instead of the babylonians. Civilization 2, in this world has the babylonians as a hidden civilization that can be swapped out for one of the normally playable ones along with the Incas who alas didn't get much love from Sid Meier in the mid 90s.
Alternate history fiction features more scenarios with Islam modernizing earlier with the most common being either Muhammed Ali's Egypt, a modernizing Ottoman Empire or a surviving Muslim Iberia modernizing earlier than the Hashemites did in this world. There is *slightly* less eurocentrism in the online AH community. Emphasis on "slight".
A mix of increased prosperity in the muslim world, combined with a somewhat earlier re-integration of the world economy sped up the demographic transition by somewhere between a decade to a generation. Even though a more prosperous western world didn't see birthrates fall quite as fast or as much as OTL, a more prosperous third world meant that there's a billion fewer people than in our world. The muslim world, India and Africa are the main places impacted. There is slightly less desertification in Africa, compared to our world.
One side effect of there being slightly less desertification is hurricane season in the north Atlantic ocean being slightly worse. Not a radical change, but visible. New Orleans got a direct hit from a category 5 in the early 1990s and had to rebuild.
The fact that the Hashemite Arabian government has banned incest, and ended up with rapid modernization has made eugenics be slightly less unacceptable than in our world. It's still a very risky subject in political discourse, but is less likely to get people's calls for firing. The main side effect of all that has been to make biotechnology rather less controversial than in our world.
Compared to our world, the existence of the clearly royalist but successful Caliphate sped up our world's relatively recent revival of the 'extreme' right in the west in the 1990s and 2000s by a bit. The new right is bigger, more credible and divided enough to not look like a threat despite it's increased relevance. History is not over yet, after all.