Much of the Middle East was not a desert before the conquest of Islam. It wasn't magic. It was thousands of years of carefully developed irrigation systems. Anatolia (Turkey) was a productive region before the Byzantines were defeated at Manzikert. A thousand years later it is an arid waste. THe same thing happened to Palestine and several other regions. The climate is difficult and may have gotten worse over the last millennium but the major change was in the destructive conduct of Muhammad's followers toward critical infrastructure.
Our respective cultures are to a large degree defined by what we consider to be divine. (For the record, I'm an atheist.)
In the Christian gospel (if I recall correctly) God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ, a carpenter, a member of the building trades, someone who did creative work for a living. And Christians as a rule generally follow that example.
Islam on the other hand is solely the creation of a self appointed spokesman for a recycled pagan deity. The false prophet Mohammad was an essentially parasitic individual who married for money and then proceeded to pursue a career of wanton vandalism, robbery, murder, rape, and pedophilia, all while claiming to pass on messages from a false god. In the course of his career Mohammad also created the practice of modern political terrorism. Muslims, the slaves of the false god Allah, are commanded to follow the example of Mohammad.
I'm usually loathe to agree with any Marxist but one of them made what I now consider a valid point. We imagine our divine authority to be a reflection of ourselves and our values. The Lord God of the Judaic and Christian tradition is the creator of Heaven and Earth, and the creator and protector of Life, and we in our lives work to emulate him. On the other hand the false god Allah is the perfect reflection of the depraved creature who created him, a malignant narcissist who wantonly destroys and murder at a whim, and hardcore Muslims have not the slightest clue as to why this is wrong.
The product of our respective values is plainly obvious. Jews and Christians are builders and protectors. Those who obey the false prophet Mohammad to the letter are destroyers and murderers.
(I really should get paid for writing this.)