Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said in one of his talks that many of the apparent problems in the Middle East between Christians and Muslims were caused by colonialism. He said that when he was working as a nurse, one of his patients was a very elderly Iraqi Christian lady, who was alive when the British first came to colonise Iraq.
When she told him she was Iraq, he started speaking to her in Arabic, which she was very surprised by. And he asked her 'What was the situation in Iraq like before the British came?'
She said to him 'I swear we had no problems. Muslims and Christians lived happily and harmoniously together. The problems started when the British came and they started telling us "You are Christians, you are like us" and "They are Muslims, they are different from you."'