BBC - 23 February 2016
The Islamic world is wide and various, its points of view almost as numerous as its people. And Islam in China, with its long tradition of women-only mosques, provides a good illustration, says Michael Wood.
In the middle of the plain of the Yellow River in Henan province is the city of Kaifeng. The old capital of the Song Dynasty, 1,000 years ago, it was one of the greatest cities anywhere in the world before the 19th Century - and a meeting place of peoples and faiths.
In the narrow alleys of the old town are Buddhist and Daoist temples, a shrine to the Goddess of Mercy, always teeming with people. There are Christian churches, and Muslim mosques - both religions came in the 7th Century (China has some of the oldest Muslim communities outside the Near East).