Aug 22, 2006

On Muslims, Calls to War, and the Demonization Process

Share
Cartoon by John Trever, © 2006 Albuquerque Journal
Cartoon by John Trever, © 2006 Albuquerque Journal

(Toledo, OH) I have become increasingly disturbed by what I see as an increase in the negative manner in which Muslims are being depicted in American media. Certainly the right-leaning talk show hosts lead the way, but I see evidence that a subtle shift in media coverage is occurring that may become a historical parallel with the wartime propaganda that demonized individuals belonging to groups such as the Germans and the Japanese.

Glenn Beck today was railing on his show about "Dearbornistan," his not-so-subtle way of claiming that large numbers of Muslim extremists lie in wait in Middle America in cities such as Dearborn, itching to bring harm to the United States.

I once lived in Detroit, and could toss a stone across the street and have it land in Dearborn. I grew up with children of Arab-American descent, and the idea that Dearborn is some haven for extremism is one borne of utter ignorance. People come to the United States and live in cities like Dearborn to sek a better life for themselves.

Is it possible that would-be terrorists live in Dearborn? Certainly, just as they might hide out in New York, Boston, Toledo, or South Beach. Dearborn, however, gets singled out because there are many people of Middle Eastern heritage who happen to live there.

The city of Dearborn is clean, well-managed, and safe. As an ex-Detroiter, living in Dearborn seemed like a dream, and crossing the border from Detroit to Dearborn in some areas was like entering another world.

Rush Limbaugh today was tossing around the nonsense term "Islamo-fascists" in his defense of the Bush Administration's Middle Eastern policy, and also described Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a "lunatic" and " a man who has but one goal: to take over the world." Limbaugh, of course, is one of the loudest beaters of the war drums in the run-up to a possible military conflcit between the United States and Iran, and he described those who push diplomacy in the current climate as "worse than Neville Chamberlain" (Chamberlain, reasoned Limbaugh, eventually "came to his senses" and supported the war).

Limbaugh, of course, has never been one to let facts get in the way of a good rant, but it is clear that by repeating this baseless, insipid drivel that Ahmadinejad is some sort of madman, El Rushbo thinks he can help sway public opinion.

1942 cartoon by Theodor Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss Left: 1942 cartoon by Theodor Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss

By demonizing groups of people, it is much easier to influence public sentiment; after all, who wants to go to war with other human beings? But if our "enemies" are madmen and terrorists, why, even people who are normally level-headed want to grab a shotgun or pitchfork and start kicking ass.

Whoever you are, don't be a sucker. Think for yourself, and do not buy into the war propaganda that is being fed to us by an all-too-willing mainstream media.

And I pray that we do not, as some commentators have begun to preach about Muslim Americans, head down the road toward internment camps once again.

32 comments:

Dariush said...

Great post, Mike.

I have family and friends who get all bent out of shape every time they hear some jingoistic stupidity pass from the lips of Tony Blankley, Ann Coulter or the like.

I just shrug my shoulders and tell them to tune 'em out. No matter how much they think so, Blankley, Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes, etc. don't represent America in its totality. Far, far from it.

And as bad as it is for Muslims right now, it's nothing compared to what German-Americans went through during WW I or Japanese-Americans went through in WW II. Just to keep things in their proper, historical perspective.

American Footprints has run a bunch of great stuff recently that ties in with some of your recent posts here, starting with this one about "Islamo-fascism":

I spent the last week in Dearborn, Michigan, home of the largest and oldest Muslim community in the United States, and I have a news flash: President Bush's recent formulation of the enemy in the war on terrorism as "Islamic Fascism," or, as it's more often known, "Islamofascism," is extremely offensive here. [...]

Last week in the Weekly Standard, the apparent inventor of the phrase, Stephen Schwartz, dismissed those who'd be offended by "Islamofascism" as "primitive Muslims". That should tell you all you need to know about those who use the term....The people it infuriates aren't primitive. They're the moderate, pro-American, well-integrated Muslims who form one of the greatest bulwarks against Al Qaeda that the U.S. possesses, and they see the term as draining their Americanness away.

And for what? For a dubious linkage to a much different historical phenomenon? It doesn't diminish the crimes of the Taliban to observe that a Nazi would find Taliban-ruled Afghanistan unrecognizable. "Islamofascism" merely strokes an erogenous zone of the right wing, which gains pleasure from a juvenile reductio ad Hitlerum with the enemies of the U.S.

SSR said...

We're still a long way off internemt camps; they're all in bowler hats.

microdot said...

Very interesting to read your post. I lived in Detroit for 18 years, then moved to Toledo. In Detroit, Ilived in a very mixed neighborhood and had many friends who were Turkish, Armenian and Lebanese.
I knew some Iraqi kids and they were Orthodox Catholics.
I now live in France and every year I work with Algerians and Moroccans. On a personal level, once you get past the stereotype...I am always first, l'Americain or if you want to be more crude L'Amerloque....once we get past the stereotypes and start to relate as co workers and friends, I have always found that the Islamic people are the warmest. Once you get past the foyer, and into the kitchen, so to speak, you are friends for life.
That is the trouble in America, the lines are drawn, you live your lives defined by paranoia and gossip. Your president who has his very narrowly defined priorities makes bizarre blanket acuasations without having any idea of what he is talking about ( a good example: he didn't know that the Shiites and Sunnnis were 2 different branches of Islam until after he had invaded Iraq!..he could have asked his father!) and good Americans like a lot of my family believe that their presdent would never lead them wrong.
I get so frustrated when I talk to my sister and she tells me that she has heard from her friend "Debbie" that "They" are all plotting to destroy America and Debbie told her that Saddam definitely plotted 9/11 with Al Qaeda.
I want to believe in the inherent goodness of Americans, but that inherent goodness is taken advantage of and abused by this government which uses fear as a manipilative tool.
Thank you for the Dr. Suess Jap Paranoia cartoon!

undercover black man said...

I don't want to be a "sucker"... but neither do I want to close my eyes to reality in order to appear sufficiently liberal. I find the arguments of Robert Spencer (jihadwatch.org) persuasive regarding the bellicosity and religious intolerance rooted deeply in Islam.

I, for one, think these things should be discussed more widely, and that the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin shouldn't be shouted down with invocations of the interment camps.

Billy Pilgrim said...

Thanks for another intelligent article, Mike. I'd like to respond to the previous poster--the 'undercover black man'--if I may. I understand the hesitancy to embrace Islam given its reputation as a backward, violent faith in the Western press, but I hope that most thinking Americans would agree that Rush Limbaugh should, in fact, be "shouted down." I'm a journalist, and try to avoid personal attacks, but if I wanted blow-hard political rhetoric from a Southen Missouri State University dropout and chronic drug addict, I'd ask Subcomandante Bob. Hate addicts and snake-oil salesmen are the first to demonize any demographic for their own personal benefit.

kooz said...

All I know is all the suspects involved in the last several terrorists attacks have been Arab Muslim.

There is nothing wrong with profiling in some cases...
If I were going swimming in the ocean and there were 50 great white shark attacks...I'd be looking for great white sharks...not jellyfish or dolphins.

Those of you who question what Islam teaches on how to view "westerners" or christians...just read the Koran.

Dariush said...

"I find the arguments of Robert Spencer (jihadwatch.org) persuasive regarding the bellicosity and religious intolerance rooted deeply in Islam."

That would be the same Robert Spencer who predicted that Iran would trigger a nuclear apocalypse on Aug 22.

Booga booga!

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

"All I know is all the suspects involved in the last several terrorists attacks have been Arab Muslim."

But remember, the second-deadliest terrorist attack ever on American soil was done by self-described Christians.

Put people of any race, religion, or creed into the right circumstances and people become violent--whether they justify it to themselves using the Quran, Old/New Testaments, or the Book of Mormon hardly matters.

microdot said...

I was wondering if the name of Robert Spencer and his jihadwatch group was going to crop up here.
Obviously, he interprets the Koran the way Fundamentalist Christians interpret the bible. If the facts don't fit your agenda, make up some new ones....That seems to be what I get from the PNAC neocons clamoring about the intelligence about Iran today as well!!

undercover black man said...

“name withheld” wrote: “Put people of any race, religion, or creed into the right circumstances and people become violent…”

Dude… what part of “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them” don’t you understand? Is there any holy book among world religions, EXCEPT the Koran, which advocates the spread of its beliefs through force of arms?

The prevalent Islamic terror tactic of suicide bombing should be enough, in itself, to make you question your notion that all religions and creeds are morally equivalent and have nothing to do with their followers’ violent deeds.

microdot said...

Undercover black man wrote earlier,
"Dude… what part of “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them” don’t you understand? Is there any holy book among world religions, EXCEPT the Koran, which advocates the spread of its beliefs through force of arms?"

These are obviously the words of a person who doesn't know what he is talking about. Who told you that the Koran says this? You obviously have never read it.
You are inventing facts and quoting hearsay to promote your mistaken view of reality.

Dariush said...

Craig Unger - "American 'Rapture' ":


For miles around in all directions the fertile Jezreel Valley, known as the breadbasket of Israel, is spread out before us, an endless vista of lush vineyards and orchards growing grapes, oranges, kumquats, peaches, and pears. It is difficult to imagine a more beautiful pastoral panorama.

The sight LaHaye's followers hope to see here in the near future, however, is anything but bucolic. Their vision is fueled by the book of Revelation, the dark and foreboding messianic prophecy that foresees a gruesome and bloody confrontation between Christ and the armies of the Antichrist at Armageddon.

Addressing the group from the very spot where the conflict is to take place, Frazier turns to Revelation 19, which describes Christ going into battle. "It thrills my heart every time that I read these words," he says, then begins to read: "'And I saw heaven standing open.… And there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire.'"

Frazier pauses to explain the text. "This doesn't sound like compassionate Jesus," he says. "This doesn't sound like the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. This is the Warrior King. He judges and makes war."

Frazier returns to the Scripture: "He has a name written on him that no one but he himself knows. He is dressed in a robe that is dipped in blood and his name is the word of God."

This is the moment the Rapturists eagerly await. The magnitude of death and destruction will make the Holocaust seem trivial. The battle finally begins.

Those who remain on earth are the unsaved, the left behind—many of them dissolute followers of the Antichrist, who is massing his army against Christ. Accompanying Christ into battle are the armies of heaven, riding white horses and dressed in fine linen.

"This is all of us," Frazier says.

Frazier points out that Christ does not need high-tech weaponry for this conflict. "'Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword,' not a bunch of missiles and rockets," he says.

Once Christ joins the battle, both the Antichrist and the False Prophet are quickly captured and cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Huge numbers of the Antichrist's supporters are slain.

Meanwhile, an angel exhorts Christ, "Thrust in thy sickle, and reap." And so, Christ, sickle in hand, gathers "the vine of the earth."

Then, according to Revelation, "the earth was reaped." These four simple words signify the end of the world as we know it.

Grapes that are "fully ripe"—billions of people who have reached maturity but still reject the grace of God—are now cast "into the great winepress of the wrath of God." Here we have the origin of the phrase "the grapes of wrath." In an extraordinarily merciless and brutal act of justice, Christ crushes the so-called grapes of wrath, killing them. Then, Revelation says, blood flows out "of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."

undercover black man said...

Microdot wrote: “Who told you that the Koran says this? You obviously have never read it. You are inventing facts and quoting hearsay to promote your mistaken view of reality.”

Well, it seems I’m busted. The wording I quoted earlier – “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them” – comes not from a scholarly translation of the Koran, but from a polemical anti-Islam website: prophetofdoom.net. And, yes, this customized phrasing has been picked up and spread about the Internet by right-wing bloggers.

Fortunately, the entire text of the Koran is available online. A University of Southern California website even provides verse-by-verse comparisons of English translations by Mohammad Habib Shakir, Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Marmaduke Pickthall – the most widely cited translations in the English-speaking world.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/009.qmt.html#009.001

Available online, also, is an English translation by Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian-born chemist who became a U.S. citizen and founded his own Islamic offshoot, United Submitters International, in Arizona a few decades ago.

Now… the ninth sura (or chapter) of the Koran, Surat at-Tawba (which I’ve seen translated as “the Repentance,” “the Immunity,” “the Dispensation” and “the Ultimatum”), concerns how Muslims are to deal with pagans (or “idolaters”), as well as Jews and Christians, under their jurisdiction.

Basically, this chapter gives the pagans three options. Either they “repent” and convert to Islam, or formally submit to Muslim governance and do nothing to oppose Islam. Or, as is written in the third verse, “if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve.” [Pickthall]

Here we come to verse 5 (all parenthetical portions within quotes are from the original text):

“So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” [Shakir]

“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Yusuf Ali]

“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” [Pickthall]

“Once the Sacred Months are past, (and they refuse to make peace) you may kill the idol worshipers when you encounter them, punish them, and resist every move they make. If they repent and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), you shall let them go. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.” [Khalifa]

Okay, so what about Jews and Christians? Here’s verse 29:

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” [Yusuf Ali]

“Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.” [Pickthall]

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.” [Shakir]

The Christians and Jews have this coming to them, because they are blasphemers on a par with the idol-worshippers, at least according to chapter 9, verse 30, of the Koran:

“The Jews said, ‘Ezra is the son of GOD,’ while the Christians said, ‘Jesus is the son of GOD!’ These are blasphemies uttered by their mouths. They thus match the blasphemies of those who have disbelieved in the past. GOD condemns them. They have surely deviated.” [Khalifa]

“And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!” [Pickthall]

“And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!” [Shakir]

I am no Koranic scholar. But based on these verses alone, I can see why some people characterize Islam as a bellicose and intolerant religion, devoted to slaying or subduing all non-believers.

I ask again: What other holy book among world religions preaches the spread of faith by force of arms?

-Sepp said...

I can understand easily that muslims would be angered by a term like "islamofacism" and feel offense to it and, that they get some of the overspray from terrorism. Is it fair? No. If the majority of muslims that are here in America resent the picture portrayed, a good start in countering it would be to start policing their own. When we see UT students on TV cheering Osama bin Laden on 9-11 and there is no, none, zero, nada, keine condemnation of the students acts by the muslim community it appears to be silent condonement. Muslims who are condeming terrorism publicly seem non-existent. 99.9% of all muslims are not intollerant terrorists but, 99.9% of all terrorists are muslim. I'll put it in another perspective. If the NSM or, the KKK came to Toledo and, NO white people showed up to protest against them what kind of messege would that put out to our community? How would Toledoans be portrayed if we didn't speak up? We be called "passive supporters" of hate and intollerance. If I can watch 2000 protestors find the time in Dearborn to protest Isreal, I'm sure those same 2000 can find the time to protest terror in the name of Islam...unless they agree with it.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

-sepp,

Agreed that Muslims are often hurting their own image; they need a better understanding of PR.

undercover black man,

As for other religious books that command the killing of unbelievers, how about the Old Testament? To wit:

God commands the Israelites to drive out the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, warning, "You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. They shall not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me" (Exodus 23:32-33).

Later Moses emphasizes that "you must doom them to destruction: grant them no terms and give them no quarter. You shall not intermarry with them...You shall tear down their altars, smash their pillars, cut down their sacred posts, and consign their images to the fire" (Deuteronomy 7:1-5). The Israelites are also commanded to "blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven" (Deuteronomy 25:19).

When Israelite men start consorting with Midianite women, God orders Moses to "assail the Midianites and defeat them," lest the temptation to pagan practices continue (Numbers 25:16-18). Moses later chastises the commanders of his army for sparing the Midianite women and children (Numbers 31:13-18).

That sounds pretty damn violent to me. Should American Christians fear Jews as well?

Point is, what the book says matters less than most other factors--after all, the Soviets denied religion, so there was no book commanding them--did that make them any less murderous? Or have a few guys with box cutters taken away everyone's memory of having 10,000 nukes pointed at us?

Terrahawk said...

That sounds pretty damn violent to me. Should American Christians fear Jews as well?

You're missing the point. The commands about war in the OT are limited in time and scope. The Jews aren't commanded to fight until either everyone is a Jew or living according to Jewish law. In Islam, the command is open-ended.

At best you are saying that you can't refute what UBM has clearly pointed out. Since Islam does command those actions, what should we do with that knowledge?

-sepp

Maybe the majority do condone the actions.

Anonymous said...

Two propositions seem to be being confused in this thread: 1) that not all self-described Mohammedans can be classed as prone to violence; and 2) that the Koran cannot legitimately be interpreted as encouraging violence. The former proposition is correct, or at least the contrary would be extremely difficult to prove, while the latter is open to debate, whether or not an analogy with the Old Testament can be upheld. One point that I think would be worth discussing is whether, in addition to the Koran, there is a source of Mohammedan instruction comparable to the Catholic Catechism. The latter document comprises the authoritative moral doctrine of the Catholic Church, regardless of what individual passages of Scripture may contain, and I am quite confident that no reference to slaughtering women and children may be found therein. Is there an equivalent source of instruction for Mohammedans, or does the Koran fulfil that role? If the latter is the case then I think it is reasonable to be concerned that the passages quoted by UBM should form the basis of anyone's moral education.

Squidley said...

Many of the posters here show that they have little understanding of Islam. (Undercover Black Man is not one of them.) Some have made moral equivalency arguments between Islam and Christianity. Such arguments are utterly baseless, because Islam--as expressed in the Koran, the hadiths, the example of Mohammed, and the behavior of Moslems for the past 1400 years--calls for violent expansion of the religion. On the other hand, Christianity specifically eschews such violence.

Dr. Mark A. Gabriel, who was raised Moslem but converted to Christianity, has a Master's in Islamic History and a Ph.D. in Christian Education. Here are his conclusions:

Does Islam teach terrorism? The answer based on the evidence of the Quran and the life of Muhammad is unequivocally yes. Muslims can justify fighting and killing in the name of Allah by the Quran and by the example of Muhammad.

Does Christianity teach terrorism? The answer based on the Bible and the life of Jesus is no. Christians cannot justify fighting and killing in the name of God either by the Bible or by the example of Jesus.


I don't see any equivalency at all.

Dariush said...

The term "Mohammedan" is considered a pejorative because it implies (ala Christian) that Muslims worship Muhammed, which is not the case.

Sepp,

This article, along with some of the responses to it, provide some answers to your query.


As for this:

"Islam -- as expressed in the Koran, the hadiths, the example of Mohammed, and the behavior of Moslems for the past 1400 years--calls for violent expansion of the religion. On the other hand, Christianity specifically eschews such violence."

One hardly knows how to respond to such self-congratulatory ahistorical drivel. Except perhaps by taking a look at history itself:

While Islam is seen by many as a violent religion because of its origins and the popularization of the term 'jihad,' they have never had far-reaching imperialistic goals, nor have they preceded their soldiers with missionaries. Christians, however, as we have studied, were instrumental in the undoing of Africa, and in fact the seeds that the pious missionaries of Europe planted into African society eventually lead to the destabilization of centuries of culture and hierarchy. The missionaries poured into
Africa, only to be followed by soldiers and company men - it was the foothold of the missionaries that allowed Europeans to eventually dominate the continent. All of which was done in the name of "saving and enlightening the heathens." Christianity is certainly not without its bloody conquests, the most blatant example being that of the Crusades, which were, to Christians of the middle ages, the very symbol of their faith. The Christians ventured towards the holy land with the sole purpose of killing the 'infidels' and ridding the holy land of all Islamic influence, bringing it back into the light of Christianity... Christianity was spread to Latin America in a most brutal fashion. The Spaniards murdered millions of Indians, and wiped out civilizations of peoples not only for the purpose of religion, but also gold! The primary reason that Christianity remains the ubiquitous religion in Latin America is because the Spaniards forced conversion of their Indian slaves - something that Islamic conquerors rarely did. In fact they charged a tax on their non-Muslim subjects, which eventually lead to conversion by choice rather than by force. Christians in the Americas came to dominate the continent by using their superior technology to forcefully overwhelm, enslave, or force conversion on inhabitants, in contrast to the Islamic peoples, who attracted converts from an economic standpoint, but also came to absorb many conquered peoples, as evident in the cultural blending of South Asia, which eventually fell apart for secular reasons. Spaniards burned books, temples, and sculptures, and quelled all rebellion by the once mighty Americans. The Spanish enslaved the Indians of Central and South America, while the British, Dutch, and French enslaved the Africans.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike,

My apologies for interrupting such scholarly posts, but my personal choice in waging war in the middle-east would be by keeping our energy dollars at home.

Ethanol, bio-diesel, and coal gasification would be my weapons of choice.

The rest will resolve itself, in time...

Terrahawk said...

While Islam is seen by many as a violent religion because of its origins and the popularization of the term 'jihad,' they have never had far-reaching imperialistic goals,

No, just make the whole world Islamic. Is this supposed to be serious? The first statement is an outright fabrication. How many soldiers did Christ have? Zero. How many soldiers did Mohammed have and how many battles did he fight? It was a lot more than zero.

...nor have they preceded their soldiers with missionaries.

Islam is so much better because they used violence to spread their influence? If they had no imperial designs, why were they conquering others? This is off to a bad start.

Christians, however, as we have studied, were instrumental in the undoing of Africa,...

The next few sentences are a complete mess. Christianity had a firm foothold in Africa before Islam ever existed. Of course, once Islam showed up it lead to the destabilization of centuries of culture and hierarchy, not Christianity.

Christianity is certainly not without its bloody conquests, the most blatant example being that of the Crusades, which were, to Christians of the middle ages, the very symbol of their faith.

The First Crusade didn't start until Islam had overrun Africa, part of Spain, and most of the Middle East. Of course, one Muslims started killing Christian pilgrims heading to Jerusalem, something had to be done. Some of the later Crusades where questionable. But, overall, the goal was to protect Christainity from the Islam. Who wrote this propaganda piece?

Christianity was spread to Latin America in a most brutal fashion.

Wow, they get something somewhat correct. The Spanish weren't Boy Scouts. However, they seemed to have learned something from their Muslim overlords who they had just recently overthrown. There are a lot of similarities between the two. Plus, a lot of the Indians were very happy to get rid of the brutal Aztecs. None of this though excuses the Spaniards' behavior.

Spaniards forced conversion of their Indian slaves - something that Islamic conquerors rarely did. In fact they charged a tax on their non-Muslim subjects, which eventually lead to conversion by choice rather than by force.

It didn't take long to get back to the falsehoods. No, they typically didn't force conversions. They just charged an excessive tax, forced infidels to wear distinctive clothing (maybe the Nazis got some of their ideas from Islam), severely inhibited the worship of Christians and Jews, and sundry other things to make life miserable. Most people will convert under those conditions. For a modern day example, look at Egypt where a Coptic church has to get a permit to fix a toilet in the church building.

Don't forget, if you leave Islam, you're marked for death.

...but also came to absorb many conquered peoples, as evident in the cultural blending of South Asia, which eventually fell apart for secular reasons.

The tens of millions of Hindus killed by Muslims might disagree with this great cultural blending.

This piece is pure propaganda.

Dariush said...

Ancient history you say? Perhaps a closer look at the campaign to "Christianize" the Philippines might be in order.

Then again, all this might be considered as being too "whiney" and "PC", dealing as it does with inconsequential Third World peoples.

So perhaps a closer look at how Europe itself was "Christianized" is in order:

Charlemagne did not confine himself to resuming his father's work; he before long changed its character and its scope. In 772, being left sole master of France after the death of his brother Carloman, he convoked at Worms the general assembly of the Franks, "and took," says Eginhard, "the resolution of going and carrying war into Saxony. He invaded it without delay, laid it waste with fire and sword, made himself master of the fort of Ehresburg, and threw down the idol that the Saxons called Irminsul." And in what place was this first victory of Charlemagne won? Near the sources of the Lippe, just where, more than seven centuries before, the German Arminius(Herman) had destroyed the legions of Varus, and whither Germanicus had come to avenge the disaster of Varus. This ground belonged to Saxon territory; and this idol, called Irminsul, which was thrown down by Charlemagne, was probably a monument raised in honor of Arminius (Hermann-Seule, or Herman's pillar), whose name it called to mind. The patriotic and hereditary pride of the Saxons was passionately roused by this blow; and, the following year, "thinking to find in the absence of the King the most favorable opportunity," says Eginhard, they entered the lands of the Franks, laid them waste in their turn, and, paying back outrage for outrage, set fire to the church not long since built at Fritzlar, by Boniface, martyr. From that time the question changed its aspect; it was no longer the repression of Saxon invasions of France, but the conquest of Saxony by the Franks that was to be dealt with; it was between the Christianity of the Franks and the national paganism of the Saxons that the struggle was to take place.

For thirty years such was its character. Charlemagne regarded the conquest of Saxony as indispensable for putting a stop to the incursions of the Saxons, and the conversion of the Saxons to Christianity as indispensable for assuring the conquest of Saxony. The Saxons were defending at one and the same time the independence of their country and the gods of their fathers. Here was wherewithal to stir up and foment, on both sides, the profoundest passions; and they burst forth, on both sides, with equal fury. Whithersoever Charlemagne penetrated he built strong castles and churches; and, at his departure, left garrisons and missionaries. When he was gone the Saxons returned, attacked the forts, and massacred the garrisons and the missionaries. At the commencement of the struggle, a priest of Anglo-Saxon origin, whom St. Willibrod, bishop of Utrecht, had but lately consecrated - St. Liebwin, in fact - undertook to go and preach the Christian religion in the very heart of Saxony, on the banks of the Weser, amid the general assembly of the Saxons. "What do ye?" said he, cross in hand; "the idols ye worship live not, neither do they perceive: they are the work of men's hands; they can do naught either for themselves or for others. Wherefore the one God, good and just, having compassion on your errors, hath sent me unto you. If ye put not away your iniquity, I foretell unto you a trouble that ye do not expect, and that the King of Heaven hath ordained aforetime: there shall come a prince, strong and wise and indefatigable, not from afar, but from nigh at hand, to fall upon you like a torrent, in order to soften your hard hearts and bow down your proud heads. At one rush he shall invade the country; he shall lay it waste with fire and sword, and carry away your wives and children into captivity." A thrill of rage ran through the assembly; and already many of those present had begun to cut, in the neighboring woods, stakes sharpened to a point to pierce the priest, ...


[snip]

Charlemagne, knowing how to profit by this want of cohesion and unity among his foes, attacked now one and now another of the large Saxon peoplets or the small Saxon tribes, and dealt separately with each of them, according as he found them inclined to submission or resistance. After having, in four or five successive expeditions, gained victories and sustained checks, he thought himself sufficiently advanced in his conquest to put his relations with the Saxons to a grand trial. In 777, he resolved, says Eginhard, "to go and hold, at the place called Paderborn (close to Saxony), the general assembly of this people. On his arrival he found there assembled the senate and people of this perfidious nation, who, conformably to his orders, had repaired thither, seeking to deceive him by a false show of submission and devotion. ... They earned their pardon, but on this condition, however, that, if hereafter they broke their engagements, they would be deprived of country and liberty. A great number among them had themselves baptized on this occasion; but it was with far from sincere intentions that they had testified a desire to become Christians."

[snip]

But the vengeance did not put an end to the war. For three years Charlemagne had to redouble his efforts to accomplish in Saxony, at the cost of Frankish as well as Saxon blood, his work of conquest and conversion: "Saxony," he often repeated, "must be Christianized or wiped out." At last, in 785, after several victories which seemed decisive, he went and settled down in his strong castle of Ehresburg, "whither he made his wife and children come, being resolved to remain there all the bad season," says Eginhard, and applying himself without cessation to scouring the country of the Saxons and wearing them out by his strong and indomitable determination.

[snip]

...after making peace with Wittikind, Charlemagne had still, for several years, many insurrections to repress and much rigor to exercise in Saxony, including the removal of certain Saxon peoplets out of their country, and the establishment of foreign colonists in the territories thus become vacant;...

Dariush said...

"Christianity had a firm foothold in Africa before Islam ever existed."

In North Africa and Ethiopia yes. Of course, the kind of Christianity practiced there wasn't exactly acceptable to either the Crusaders or the "Christianizers", as the men, women and children of Constantinople found out the hard way.


"The Spanish weren't Boy Scouts. However, they seemed to have learned something from their Muslim overlords who they had just recently overthrown. There are a lot of similarities between the two."

You would think that at some point in those 700 years of occupation the Moors would've been successful in either one of their "goals" of forcibly converting or else murdering those Celt-Iberian infidels, wouldn't you? Strange how they failed so miserably on both counts.


"...severely inhibited the worship of Christians and Jews, and sundry other things to make life miserable."

Strange also how in the wake of the Inquisition which followed the Reconquista the majority of Sephardic Jews fled to the Balkans, North Africa and the Levant (the lands of the Ottoman Empire), where they knew that their lives would be "made miserable."


"The tens of millions of Hindus killed by Muslims might disagree with this great cultural blending."

Hmmm. I wonder what the total population of the Indian subcontinent was 600 years ago. Another puzzler that just occurred to me; exactly how long would it take for several hundred swordsmen to murder "tens of millions" of people?

Michael Cohen said...

Darius H, I will debate facts once I have made clear that you appear to me to be grasping at straws. Liberals hate to be caught on the wrong end of the facts like that because their ideolgy are beliefs are total beliefs that may not be challengeable even though they are all too often, wrong.
You have become desperate and have proceeded to "thrash about" like a creature caught in some trap. This is what you post appears like to me. I am sure others would agree with me and I apologise if it seems unkind.

Undercover black man has raised the issue that there is a perfectly valid basis in the Koran for terrorism. While it is apparent that a fair majority of muslims are nice people, human enough not to desire to fill me with shrapnel, it is hardly relevant. His point has the following implications. While the fact temains that the majority of them do not wish to kill jews and christians, that does not stop the minority who do. Secondly That minority is dangerous and its existence is inherent due to their religion. The former is due to the totalitarian nature of Jihad in Islam as the objectives of Jihad are much wider and deeper in scope than any other major group in existence and the powerful motivations posessed by the Jihadists. This makes comparisons to Mr. Mcveigh irrelevant. The latter point, that the existence inherent of jihadists amongst muslims, is predicated upon the content of their holy text, and the fact is that no muslim, no matter how well meaning is able to use their key holy scripture to attack the actions of the terrorists. To seek to redefine the jihad is heretical, to oppose it is apostasy and there are people living under the threat of death for doing so. Hirsi Ali being the prime example.

This is the Nature of the threat we as the west are faced with.

Returning to my earlier comment on Mr Darius H's comments, having been peresented with the evidence that the Koran preaches a never ending and comprehensive jihad against the non believer, rather than face up to this fact, Mr Darius H's response it not to ask "what one should do about this information?". Instead, he decides that it is much better to blow smoke, by saying that the Christian past of the west doesn't look good. That is mere distraction from the problem. An patently false at that. What does the fact tht we had slaves have to do with the Jihad against us? What does the fact that Charlemagne's response to the Saxon raids upon his territory was to crush them then convert them Christianity have to do with Jihad, which has manifested in 1400 years of attacks, ranging from Piracy to all out invasion? the answer to all this is none at all. The source of all this is the complete arrogance that only liberal Truth exists.

Anonymous said...

The term "Mohammedan" is considered a pejorative because it implies (ala Christian) that Muslims worship Muhammed, which is not the case.

A "Christian" is an adherent of Christ's teaching. It happens that Christians do worship Christ because He is also God. The word "Mohammedan" no more implies worship than "Darwinian", "Marxian" or "Confucian". Why would followers find any shame in a normal adjective derived from the name of the founder of their religion?

"Islam", to which the word "Muslim" is related, means "submission to God". A non-believer does not accept the truth of this term any more than I would expect a non-Christian to accept the insistence that Jesus must always be referred to as the Son of God or Truth, anything else being interpreted as pejorative.

I still have not read any authoritative Mohammedan explanation of the passages quoted by UBM.

Dariush said...

Anonymous: "I still have not read any authoritative Mohammedan explanation of the passages quoted by UBM."

Let's say that a thorough, scholarly explanation, authored by a Muslim scholar, was posted here. What would the reaction here be to such a thing?


Michael Cohen: "Liberals hate to be caught on the wrong end of the facts like that because their ideolgy are beliefs are total beliefs that may not be challengeable even though they are all too often, wrong."

Oh, for the love of G-d. Has this post been linked to at Little Green Footballs, the Belmont Club, Gates of Vienna, Winds of Change or some other corner of the Pajamaverse? :)


"What does the fact that Charlemagne's response to the Saxon raids upon his territory was to crush them then convert them Christianity have to do with Jihad, which has manifested in 1400 years of attacks, ranging from Piracy to all out invasion? the answer to all this is none at all. The source of all this is the complete arrogance that only liberal Truth exists."

My arrogant liberal worldview demands that I respond to, you know, points that are actually made by others. Three straight posters made the claim that Islam is the only faith that has ever practiced conquest in the name of God.

This was the specific quote that I was responding to:

"Islam -- as expressed in the Koran, the hadiths, the example of Mohammed, and the behavior of Moslems for the past 1400 years--calls for violent expansion of the religion. On the other hand, Christianity specifically eschews such violence."

So what's the confusion?

Anonymous said...

dariush, don't worry about illogical responses. My question is still a valid one that I think is worth considering. As I mentioned in my first posting, Catholic moral instruction comes from an authoritative document called the Catechism. Others in this thread have attempted to explain away violence in the Old Testament as relating to history rather than moral catechesis. What I have yet to read is any attempt by a Mohammedan, or an apologist for Mohammedanism, to account for the violent passages in the Koran. Are they also specific to a particular time and place? Is there a non-violent source of ethical instruction that limits the literal impact of these passages and, if so, on what basis? These questions are not meant to be rhetorical. If they were answered I think it could be a starting point for attacking the presumed righteousness of jihadist terrorists.

le marteau said...

Darius H, I agree, Christianity does not eschew violence. While the sermon on the mount commanded followers to turn the other cheek, Christianity as a religious institution, does not totally eschew violence. I apologise if I did not address this. I apologise for making it seem that I had single you out in particular. Your long post was the most obvious evidence for prevarication however. UBM basically indicated that Muslims are bon by religion to fight us. there has not been one peep in this discussion subsequently about how this information is to be used. So thus I put it to all. Whether we have a nice past of pacifism or have a past consisting of one generation of devil dog after the other, is anyone here going to say that the west has nothing of value and deserves to perish to the fate that is happening here, right now in Sweden? Would anyone here trade the values of the west for Sharia. The muslims are entitled to their law. Is anyone going to say that we are not entitled to ours. This is a look at the consequences of successful islamic conquest, as seem by the Spaniards, and most who have been conquered. The Jihad against the west is non-negotiable and contrary to what the right wing politicians here and the right wing politicain in the Us think, it cannot be assimilated or democratised into non existence as shown by the Muslim Neigbour hood down the road me and by the Iraqi and Palestinian people voting in Jihadists. Does any one here have any idea of what to do about it? Is any one willing to think about it? Are any Liberals willing to do anything to defend their values? In Stockholm, 6 Km from where I am currantly posting from, in one of the most liberal countries in Europe, there is no western Liberalism. I think this is a marvellous paradox.

Oh by the way, I think Islamo-Fascist is the most absurd term ever to enter our lexicon. What does a 1400 year old holy war against the West and a nearly dead western European Ideology have in common. If Fascist is a term used to describe a hard-liner or extremist, well it would have to apply to a whole lot of muslim people, who are in now way different in belief from the muslims without the bomb-belt. What does 1/3 of this Planet have as a religion. Islam. What does Osama or Mullah Omar or the local imam here who is more fiery than both of them put together preach and practice? Judging from what UBM has shown us, Islam. And this is Islam from the same and most imporant source of Islamic beliefs, that the the Aforementioned third of this planet subscribe to. One either believe in this thing called jihad and is a muslim or doesn't believe in it and is not a muslim. Islamofascism is an insult to the core tenet of their belief. It trivialises Jihad and creates a pretention that there truly is some room for turning the Muslim religion and people as a whole into an institution that will serve our peace where there is none.

Terrahawk said...

Of course, the kind of Christianity practiced there wasn't exactly acceptable to either the Crusaders or the "Christianizers", as the men, women and children of Constantinople found out the hard way.

Oh yes, and the Muslims who led with their armies were so much better. What is your point with this. I stated that some of the Crusades were not correct. However, especially the first one, the Crusades were in response to a rampaging Islam.

You would think that at some point in those 700 years of occupation the Moors would've been successful in either one of their "goals"...

Maybe you forgot that the Muslims, after conquering Spain, proceeded to invade France and were only stopped by Charles Martel. Of course, they were only leading with their armies. Also, they book you link to is more myth than fact. There was no "Golden Age." Is was standard Islamic subjugation with increasingly harsh laws on the infidels.

For example, from 1100 CE:

“No…Jew or Christian may be allowed to wear the dress of an aristocrat, nor of a jurist, nor of a wealthy individual; on the contrary they must be detested and avoided. It is forbidden to accost them with the greeting, ‘Peace be upon you’. In effect, ‘Satan has gained possession of them, and caused them to forget God’s warning. They are the confederates of Satan’s party; Satan’s confederates will surely be the losers!’ A distinctive sign must be imposed upon them in order that they may be recognized and this will be for them a form of disgrace.”

That's probably one of the lighter things they had to endure.

The Golden Age of equal rights was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam.

Bernard Lewis. "The Pro-Islamic Jews," Judaism, (Fall 1968)



Strange also how in the wake of the Inquisition which followed the Reconquista...

As I said, the Spaniards weren't Boy Scouts. And they definitely were not in an ecumenical mood after suffering with Islam. Should we go into the massacres of Jews by the Moors? Perhaps the 3,000 in Seville?

Hmmm. I wonder what the total population of the Indian subcontinent was 600 years ago...

K.S. Lal estimated that approximately 80 million Hindus were killed from 1000 to 1500 CE. If he is only 50% right, that's still 40 million people. The population was estimated in 1000 CE at 200 million.

Terrahawk said...

Perhaps a closer look at the campaign to "Christianize" the Philippines might be in order.

BTW, that supposed qoute about Christianizing the Phillipines is considered highly unlikely by historians. The term is anachronistic with the time frame it was supposedly said. Also, does it make sense to talk about Christianizing the Phillipines when the Phillipines had been ruled by Spain, a Catholic nation?

Terrahawk said...

anonymous:
What I have yet to read is any attempt by a Mohammedan, or an apologist for Mohammedanism, to account for the violent passages in the Koran. Are they also specific to a particular time and place? Is there a non-violent source of ethical instruction that limits the literal impact of these passages and, if so, on what basis?

First, while Islam does not have a Catechism like Catholicism, it does have Hadiths. These are the sayings and deeds of Mohammed which were compiled after his death. The Hadiths are ranked according to reliability with some Islamic sects placing more trust in certain Hadiths than others. There are also a few Koran only Muslims, but they are only a very small group.

There have been attempts to explain away the calls for violence and subjugation of non-believers. In general, they suffer from some of the following problems:

1. Historically, the passages have been interpreted as meaning exactly what they say with some minor differences (like do we fight the unbelievers no matter what the odds or can we wait until the odds are for us). Anyone trying to dismiss the violence is really the radical. The jihadists have history on their side.

2. The Hadiths don't really show Mohammed as being too peaceful or consistent. At one point he let's someone insult him and he says nice things. The next person who does it gets their head chopped off.

3. While some Muslims claim the call to arms was for a specific instance, historically the call has been interpreted as open-ended.

4. Finally, abrogation (i.e. what comes later replaces what comes before) means that the violent verses in the Koran take precedence over the earlier more peaceful ones. FYI, the Koran is in order of chapter size not chronology. So, chronologically, which is what abrogation applies to, the verses in chapter 9 are the last ones in the Koran and thus take precedence.

I hope this helps. Islam isn't monolithic, but most of the differences are based on things we would consider minor disputes. The core concepts are pretty universal.

yog hurt said...

Hmmm. The outcome of the discussion is clear, I think: Islam is bloody dangerous, and liberalism has no answer to it.