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Macron is right about Islamism The political ideology that feeds terrorist violence cannot be explained away by religion or colonial history

Last month's killing of 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty has proved the final straw for France. Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images

Last month's killing of 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty has proved the final straw for France. Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images


November 26, 2020   5 mins

President Macron’s hate affair with the American media continues, if a recent New York Times article is anything to go by. The president is not happy, and thinks the Anglo-Saxon press fails to understand French laĂŻcitĂ© and the universalist model, as opposed to the Anglosphere model of multiculturalism, with its distinct roots in the British Empire. While this is undoubtedly true, the more pressing issue might be the gulf in understanding of Islamism, the target of Macron’s campaign.

France’s introduction of new measures to combat so-called “Islamist separatism” and the decisions to raid Islamist organisations and dissolve others in the aftermath of Samuel Paty’s murder have caused consternation among Western elites. Over the weekend, Twitter was awash with comparisons between France’s policies and the plight of Jews in 1930s Germany. These conspiratorial takes not only demonstrate a deep moral and intellectual confusion, but at this point they are actively endangering French citizens — almost 300 of whom have been slaughtered in the streets by Islamist murderers in the last few years.

Macron’s strategy against Islamism warrants intense scrutiny, but that scrutiny must start with an acceptance that Islamism is a real phenomenon and a serious challenge to France, both in terms of violent radicalisation and social cohesion.

The Anglosphere should know by now that Islamism does not mean the same as Islamic. As was explained by two of France’s leading scholars, Bernard Haykel and Hugo Micheron, failing to make this differentiation only confirms Islamist and far-right presentation of events.

Modern Islamism has its roots as much in political parties founded in Egypt and the subcontinent during the 20th Century as religious scripture, its ideological trajectory shaped by a series of theorists and scholars right up until the present day.

Islamists are not simply religious conservatives — indeed they are opposed to many traditional cultural practices — and the extent of Islamism is not only defined by acts of terror. It is a comprehensive political theory, albeit one with a religious basis: Islamists seek a fundamental reordering of society and the establishment of a state governed in accordance with the shar’ia.

In recent decades, Islamist strains and factions have emerged with competing strategies for achieving this vision: the patient, gradualist approach of the Muslim Brotherhood or the revolutionary approach of Hizb ut-Tahrir, to the more recent emergence of the global jihadist terror of al-Qaeda and the pornographic violence of ISIS.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamist movement, started life with a focus on grassroots proselytising (dawa), but produced figures like Sayyid Qutb — who famously balked at the moral depravity of a church dance in small-town Colorado — and the “father of modern jihad“, Abdullah Azzam, who lay the foundations for a more militant, global iteration of Islamist theory. They have a shared ideological endgame but difference over strategy, and so it is no coincidence that so many of al-Qaeda’s leadership came from Muslim Brotherhood stock, including the recently departed Aymen al-Zawahiri.

Despite this association and the public perception of “extremists” as snarling, hate-filled thugs, most Islamists are not monsters. They are often educated, compassionate, articulate and charismatic individuals who contribute to their communities. Many sincerely recoil at jihadist violence. The problem, though, is that unlike conservative religions, the political order of even non-violent Islamist imagination is incompatible with modern liberal democratic nation-states, which extend rights and protections based on citizenship rather than religion.

Despite the existence of moderate iterations of Islamism, officials in Paris, Brussels, Vienna and a number of other European capitals have arrived at the conclusion that non-violent Islamism and jihadist terror are “inextricably linked,” that jihadists are the armed, militant offshoots of global Islamism. Alain Grignard, a senior Belgian Police Officer and academic, once labelled al-Qaeda “an epiphenomenon” — the most visible aspect of the larger, long-term threat of Islamism.

This lack of visibility is central to the Western dilemma: an openly non-violent Islamist political party could be exposed, debated and its ideas and policies defeated in the public square. But the first generation of Western Islamists, fleeing persecution in the Middle East, established networks of NGOs, think-tanks, charities and religious institutions which vigorously deny connections to Islamist political parties.

Although a minority movement, this archipelago of groups wield disproportionate influence and have successfully spread Islamist thought, while mealy-mouthed condemnations of violence have done almost nothing to counter the negative perceptions of the Muslims they claim to represent. Because of the secrecy of Islamist groups and aggressive legal campaigns against activists, academics and journalists, exposing the true nature of these seemingly innocent and civic-minded organisations is challenging.

This spectre of Muslim Brotherhood clandestine activity is often overplayed in the Right-wing imagination, but the issue is not simply conspiracy. Kamal Helbawy, one of Britain’s most prolific and influential Islamists, left the Muslim Brotherhood precisely because of its secrecy. The satellite organisations’ legal threats against anyone investigating or alleging links to the Brothers were, to Helbawy’s mind, both counterproductive and immoral.

There is a serious debate to be had about the solution to this problem, as their detrimental impact on social cohesion is belied by the fact that many well-meaning supporters and even employees will be none the wiser to the leadership’s Islamist leanings. In France’s case, the state has taken the decision to dissolve some of the most flagrant offenders for threatening the integrity of the Republic.

Even with these non-violent Islamist groups, we are not talking about an equivalent of a continental Christian Democrat party. In France and other European countries there has been a cross-pollination of Islamist and Salafi thought, creating a more animated “separatist” element — hence the emergence of the concept of Frero-Salafiste in French discourse. Powerless in the face of legal threats, ruinous racism accusations and a committed, highly-organised and well-funded movement, civil society has failed to provide an effective opposition, so now the state has stepped in.

Once Western governments engaged with — and even funded — Islamists in the hope of providing a bulwark and moderating influence against “homegrown” jihadist radicalisation. As the Western Islamist movement has evolved, that early gamble’s failure is hard to ignore.

While the individual terrorists understandably catch the state’s attention, terrorism cannot survive without a much wider constituency, from logistical supporters and funders around the inner circle, to enablers, sympathisers and apologists on the edges. While still small, France holds its domestic Islamism problem responsible for the growing size and influence of this broader constituency, believing that tackling it would cut off the oxygen to the most radically violent minority at the core.

Much of the confusion over Paris’s approach stems from the fact that France is dealing with the most entrenched Islamist infrastructure of any Western state, making Macron’s concerns difficult to conceive of for many British, and especially American, observers. Regardless, Anglosphere obscurantism over Islamism as a coherent, intellectual political theory is a much deeper issue.

After the Tsarnaev brothers blew up the Boston Marathon, John Kerry told reporters: “the world has had enough of people who have no belief system, no policy for jobs, no policy for education, no policy for rule of law, but just want to kill people because they don’t like what they see.” The idea that Islamist terrorists not only have “no belief system,” but no vision of the society they seek to usher in is a dangerous delusion, only slightly corrected by the grim arrival of the Islamic State’s “Caliphate” one year later.

Even following this horror show, Anglosphere politicians can still be found stumbling to explain “nihilistic” jihadist violence as “senseless” or “mindless”. While too many commentators can understand it only through the lens of revenge: revenge for colonialism, for secularism, for cartoons, for foreign policy — take your pick.

That there is an ideological programme behind the terror, that it is only a means to a utopian end — an end shared by a wide array of violent and non-violent groups — seems to largely escape Anglosphere discussion. Not so in Europe, where a more realistic analysis now holds: and while we can object to Paris or Vienna’s prescriptions to deal with the problem, we have much to learn from the diagnosis.


Liam Duffy is a researcher, speaker and trainer in counter-terrorism based in London.

LiamSD12

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Teo
Teo
3 years ago

There was no confusion over Paris’s approach it was as clear as day, the multiculturalists of the Anglosphere simply did not want their boats rocked, they obviously could not fully close Macron down with the standard race-hate charge. Almost laughable how the dubious prop of cultural differences (in this case multiculturalism/secularism) between the Anglosphere and France are being portrayed as a greater divide than the cultural differences between the Anglosphere and Islamism by the multiculturalists.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Teo

We in the US have religious groups who edge off into terrorism from time to time and in any case preach and try to practice political domination, usually pretty explicitly. Their ideologies usuall aren’t explicitly racial, but the groups, especially those more fond of violence, do seem to be self-consciously ‘White’. They are rather like the Islamists as described here, although they’re home-grown. Confronting the problem they pose, our ruling classes seem to have adopted multiculturalism and capitalism as an alternative to race and religious war, because they want to keep their stuff and would prefer not to rule over the kind of slums or behavioral sinks the religious and racial fanatics turn their countries into. The French approach — to abandon liberalism — does not seem to have worked out well in practice. Recall that the anti-liberal political groups of France in the 1930s led to an inability to resist Nazi German in 1940, even though France had a larger and better-equipped military and was fighting as the home team.

latchmore
latchmore
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Liberalism or anti liberalism had nothing to do with France not being able to resist the Nazi invasion. It was a strategic military miscalculation.

And comparisons with the US aren’t helpful in this case.

The point here being that islamism often blends socialist economic ideologies with religious ultra-conservatism in a way that wouldn’t be compatible with American or European models of either multiculturalism or capitalist democracy.

David George
David George
3 years ago

The modern iteration of political Islam, of Jihad, may well be linked to 20th century political parties (an OTT reaction to former colonisation?) but it’s scarcely different to the centuries long mission beginning with the prophet himself.
The deaths of untold millions of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Hindus throughout the (formerly) Holy Lands, the Middle East and large parts of Europe, Africa and Asia suggest a rather aggressive approach to religious conversion.

Hamit Kabay
Hamit Kabay
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Millions of Muslims were killed and expelled from their land recently, in the 19-20th century in Europe and Asia after the fall of the last (real) Caliphate (Ottoman Empire). However, you are telling stories from the era of the Crusades to justify and justify the aggression that was recent. Hypocrisy!
Athens, Belgrade, the Northern Black Sea region and the North Caucasus have been Muslim lands for 500 years. Where is their legacy? Everything was destroyed, removed from historical memory. How many mosques, how many Muslims are there in Greece and Serbia? Nothing! Or do you mean that for 500 years there has been no Muslim heritage? But, I repeat, Muslims do not need revenge in Europe. All is lost, the fight is lost. But Jerusalem is a wound that will never heal. As long as there is Israel, as long as you support the occupation of Palestine, the war with the West will not end.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

The Roman occupation of Britain is a wound that will never heal.
Sheesh!!
What a silly argument you make.
Israel is a democracy
Ask the those of Arab heritage if they wish to live in ‘Palastine’
Before 1967 Jerusalem was a closed city. Its now open to all irrespective of belief or culture.
How do minorities fare in. Muslim majority countries?

Iain Scott Shore
Iain Scott Shore
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

Very badly, imho!

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

A little sarcasm: ‘The Roman occupation of Britain is a wound that will never heal….’

Well, actually, the Romans seem to have integrated themselves pretty well with the Britons (Celts) of the time. The invasion and occupation that hasn’t healed yet was the Anglo-Saxon one that destroyed Roman Britain. That conflict comes down just about to the present and has manifested itself in the various wars and troubles in (Celtic) Ireland in the 20th century — still linked religiously with Rome, as it happens — and the movement among the (Celtic) Scots to secede from the United Kingdom. I’ll leave it up to the English here to explain what the problem is. I don’t think we can blame it on Islam.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

That is far too simplistic and binary a history. The Welsh and Irish are Celts, but actually even that is a gross distortion, but they did both in historic times speak mainly Celtic languages. However of course there were pre-Celtic peoples in Britain and Ireland who contributed hugely to modern populations as genetic studies have shown. The Celtic ruling class displaced them and gave their language, which is rather similar to the Anglo Saxon ‘invasions’.

There is a simplistic and in fact almost racist view about the Germanic speaking invaders of the 5th and 6th centuries on the one hand, and the Celtic speaking predecessor populations. They are deemed ‘baddies’ and ‘goodies’ respectively, despite the fact that both peoples were in many ways similar, having about the same level of technological and cultural development etc, and despite many Celtic peoples being equally warlike.

The medieval Scottish kingdom was an amalgam of Gaels, Picts, Angles and Norse elements.

Apart from that it is difficult to understand what the point is here – that England, Scotland and the various other peoples of these Isles fought a long series of conflicts? If so that is pretty much like every other European and indeed worldwide state we know of.

The relevance of this to the conflict between secular Western societies and Islamism, which is a clash of fundamental values, is rather obscure.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Someone above said ‘But Jerusalem is a wound that will never heal.’,and others derided that statement. I was pointing out that the past affects the future, or so it seems, and keeps doing so for a long time. Certainly the conflicts between England and Ireland go back several hundred years, and are felt keenly enough on all sides to call forth people willing to kill and die for their various causes.

I am pretty sure the Protestants and Catholics in England and Ireland thought they were fighting over fundamental values. Indeed, I was carefully told this as a child by my Anglophilic relatives. (Which was funny, because a good many of them were Irish and French if you go back far enough.) The Protestants were supposed to be for freedom and equality, and the Catholics for abject submission to a worldly, corrupt, totalitarian authority, the Pope. Hence Mussolini and Hitler, to say nothing of Lucrezia Borgia and her relatives. What would Cromwell say?

I’m sorry you find my comments too succinct. In the future I shall try to be more prolix.

Iain Hunter
Iain Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

It’s nothing to do with the Anglo-Saxons. It’s the Normans wotdunnit. The Conquest sparked the Great Land Theft.

Tina D
Tina D
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

I think Ron Bo’s point is, ‘ get over it’ cos every land on earth has been conquered at some point. The west seems to move on and learn from their colonial past (and masters..think about roads, infrastructure, art etc..) but, for some reason, other regions of the globe want to mourn and hold grudges. Perhaps that’s what holds them back from becoming progressive. Sadly, the Aboriginal community in Australia suffer from the same doomed mind set and are therefore forever trapped.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

None Muslims don’t get anywhere in Muslim lands unless they sunmit and become one of them and then maybe a lowly dhimmie.

Mark M
Mark M
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Athens, Belgrade, the Northern Black Sea region and the North Caucasus were Christian lands long before Islam came along and conquered them and enslaved or massacred the Christian inhabitants. In the 19th and 20th century, millions of Greeks and Armenians were killed and expelled from lands they had occupied since before Islam was invented. In the 20th Century Jews were eliminated from all Muslim lands and in the 21st Century most Christians have been ethnically cleansed from Muslim lands and that process is still occurring and has extended to areas in Africa like northern Nigeria. Jerusalem is not a Muslim city – Mohammed never visited it (he may have dreamt that he did, of course) and it only came under Muslim control by violent conquest. Muslims do not have the right to continue the slaughter.

Hazel Pethig
Hazel Pethig
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

The Greeks did not spontaneously choose Islam, they were conquered by Turkey and occupied for centuries before restoring their freedom in 1821. Try reading some well documented Greek history to see its contribution to humanity pre-Islam. It’s well documented.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Hazel Pethig

I never expected the comment section to be so funny, you guys are cracking me up. “Well-documented”…

David Lawler
David Lawler
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

The sooner you savages are purged from the civilised world, the better.

Joachim Tangemann
Joachim Tangemann
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

Very well put David Lawler. The hardly suppressed anger and hatred of Hamit Kabay pours from his writin. The flagrant denial of the Muslim world as to its backwardness and brutality against its own people as well let alone others is glaringly obvious. Most people in Europe resent the permanent state of insulted pride most Muslims display They came to live here and many behave as if they were trapped behind enemy lines.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

They came to live here seeking a better life now they want turn our country into the religious dump they came from. Call me a racist, call me an islamist, I really don’t care anymore.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago

I agree. I never bothered much about islam until I researched it and scared me shitless. https://www.youtube.com/wat

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

That is not my experience of the many Muslims I work with and who are my neighbours.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Complete fantasy.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

There is no such country as Palestine. It has never been an independent state. It has been owned through recorded history by the Romans,Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire and British Empire in that order until 1948. Palestine was a word coined by the Romans to describe a geographical entity.
As long as Arabs threaten to drive Jews out of Israel, Israel will defend itself vigorously – and has the right to do so. Jews will not be driven like lambs to the slaughter as happened in Nazi occupied Europe during WW2.
Strangely enough, very few Arab states in the Middle East seem keen to accept Palestinian Arabs as refugees. So no solidarity there between co-religionists.They are just used and trotted out as useful idiots by the likes of Hamas and other organisations when it suits their propaganda purposes.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

This is the myopia of muslims. They have no real interest in what happened before Islam. Their world starts and ends with Islam. There is nothing worth knowing beyond Quran. Quran is the perfect word of God, and God has provided all the necessary knowledge in it.

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Not God, as we Christians know Him, but Allah, a very different being.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

I don’t see that. The Abrahamic religions, at least in their earlier states, seem to postulate a rather cranky old Guy in charge of everything and occasionally blowing his stack and killing off a great many of his helpless, ignorant creatures, or ordering them to kill one another. When did Christians generally stop killing one another over their favorite fables? Doesn’t seem that long ago in historical time. Give Islam time, a few more centuries?

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Problem is it is still stuck in medieval times. https://www.youtube.com/wat

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
3 years ago

Didn’t Yahweh tell the Jews they could have Canaan and to destroy the Canaanites in the process?

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

So how do you explain the high cultural level achieved by Muslims in what the West thinks of as the late Middle Ages?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

I’m not at all anti Islam, and its civilisation did reach some great heights, especially under the Abbasid caliphate in the 9th and 10th centuries, but also those of Islamic Spain.

But at that point there was a real interest in non Islamic thought from Greece, Persian, India and even China. That is what has been lost in more recent Islamic civilisations. The Ottomans were by no means anti Christian fanatics but were much more inward looking, being very suspicious for example of the printing press. Only a tiny fraction of the books printed in Europe were ever translated and printed into Turkish and Arabic.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Here is some info of the ‘golden age ‘ of Islam. https://www.youtube.com/wat

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

The Muslims were avid borrowers and plagiarists, and their invented “religion” a pick-and-mix of various cultural and religious influences in 7th and 8th century Arabia, cherry-picked to suit their purposes as triumphant conquerors. That so-called “high cultural level” is a propaganda myth. What was achieved was on the supine backs of the civilisations they conquered. As Islam became less expansionist and turned more inward, that “high culture” soon fossilised and decayed.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

I think recognizing, adopting, and preserving the good stuff from other people, other places and other times is a sign of civilization and intelligence. The question is why the Islamic world turned inward. The same seems to have happened in China. And now many seem to be recommending this path for the West.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Look up the mongolian invasions circa 13th century and you will get your answer.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

It started before. For example, the Mongols had nothing to do with the Almoravid and Almohade invasions of Spain in the 12th century.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

Vilders, I was responding to the question of what stopped muslim innovation. Muslims themselves say that the Mongol devastations caused muslim civilisation to turn inward and scarred their progress.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

And other Muslims, no doubt, say something different. The historical facts are clear: the invasions of Spain from Morocco put an end to the Golden Age of Muslim Spain, and any “innovation” that might have originated there.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

I recently read an article that said that much of the quran was cribbed from Old Syric Christianity texts.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

The Muslims were avid borrowers and plagiarists, and their invented “religion” a pick-and-mix

In many ways Islam mirrors Christianity, not least in the way the anonymous gospel writers of Matthew and Luke plagiarized from gMark who in turn used the Old Testament to draw inspiration as a number of parallels demonstrate.

When religious adherents are finally able to acknowledge that the foundational tenets of the Jewish/Christian/Muslim holy texts (sic) are based on nothing but geopolitical myth and walk away from such rubbish then there will be three less major reasons for them to behave like arseholes.

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Well put.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

no it’s BS. Assigning negative qualities to your adversaries is one thing; rewriting history to suit today’s narrative is quite another.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

actually it’s your assertions that are propaganda, perpetrated by people who want to pretend that because we are in a war with Islamic extremism now, Islam has always been extreme and never tolerant. Until the 11th century, it was. That’s simply historical fact, authenticated by all serious historians, who I suspect know alot more about this than you do.

Zachary Lerer
Zachary Lerer
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/

You are right. Don’t let pretend “scholars” intimidate you.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

The high culture was achieved in the ancient cities that already were centres of past civilisations, while the actual birthplace of Islam, the Arabian plateau remained mired in obscurity. Mecca and Medina were not the centres of Muslim civilisation. Cairo, Baghdad, Istanbul, even Tabriz took that honour. Also, until fairly recent times, there were loads of Christians and Jews left in the middle east to help the civilisational process along. They worked as translators and midwived the transition of knowledge from the Europe to the middle-east. Imperial projects often have a diversity of populations, plentiful slaves and war loot to build ‘high culture’.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

I was disagreeing with Vijay Kant’s contention that for Muslims ‘Their world starts and ends with Islam. There is nothing worth knowing beyond Quran.’ That evidence-free assertion is contradicted by the high achievements of Muslim civilization, even if it was largely ‘borrowing and plagiarism’, does it not?

You are probably correct about the Mongol invasions. Although some countries managed to resist them they certainly devastated a good part of the Middle East. Still, many of the victims of the khans eventually recovered.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

Both Baghdad and Cairo were essentially founded by Islamic forces. Neither existed as cities before Islam, though there were a some villages in the general area of each. Constantinople had nothing to do with the early development (or tolerance) of Islam as it was Christian until 1453. And the first “capital’ of Islam outside Arabia was Damascus (Ummayad).

Fritz Wunderlich
Fritz Wunderlich
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

‘Some villages’ like Memphis and Heliopolis in the general area?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

True. I had a Muslim student at university who openly told me that. Any history before Islam did not exist and would not attend lectures or study it!!!!! Just as mad as the Christian family Bible we had which said the world began in 4004 BC!! LOL

optocarol
optocarol
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Actually the Bible does not say the world began in 4004BC; you cannot quote me a verse which says that. It was Bishop Ussher’s calculation, making certain assumptions.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Trauma bonded humans under siege in a religion soaked with violence and coercion. The penalty for leaving it is death, prison, lashings, in many countries and that doesn’t count what happens if your family gets ahold of you first. It’s an absolute brain virus replicated by bloodshed both in the domestic sphere and on the battlefield, that’s why they have to threaten death on people who want to leave. In any race, tribe, or geographic location humans will react this way to violence, for example the FLDS in the western US. It happens to be islam, but it could be anyone.

Christin
Christin
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

You seem practiced in the art of lies and deception. Jews have lived in Israel for more than 3000 years. They are not “occupiers”. Moslems are invaders, as they have been since their desert warlord instructed them to start killing in 632. More recently, you allied with Hitler for your “final solution”. We see you for what you are.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Christin

Yes the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem made a brief pact with the Nazis during WW2 as they both hated Jews and saw the UK empire as an enemy!
But the Arab didn’t quiet fit the image of the blue eyed, blond haired Aryan.

Colin Macdonald
Colin Macdonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Although the Mufti himself was blond, blue eyed, something Hitler himself noted. Hitler of course admired Islam, expressed regret that “Aryans” had chosen Christianity over something so obviously war like.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

You’re full of it! I’ve been to Belgrade, the Serbian capital and seen a working mosque there. I agree with everything Mark McCaffrey said in his comments. For Orthodox Christians it is a terrible sorrow that Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, but most of them don’t consider it a wound that will never heal. They live in the real world. Grow up, and start acting like an adult.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Baldwin

Tito was the heavy hand that maintaned order. I remember hitch hiking through the former Yugoslavia in 1968 from north to south and the people seemed very happy.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

I’m not fan of communism but given a choice of a communist dictatorship past or present I’d choose Yugoslavia. I’d keep my head down though, mind you.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

But Jerusalem is a wound that will never heal.

Remind me, how did Jerusalem become Muslim? How did North Africa become Muslim? How come southern Spain was Muslim?

It wouldn’t have been by conquest, would it?

The fact you overlook is that Islam was violently expansionist ever since its inception.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Indeed. We must control the site of the ancient Israelites’ capital and the site of its two temples. Otherwise how will the faithful know we are the successor religion? They say the Jews built the place and made its reputation, but we know that there was nothing before Islam.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Athens, Belgrade the Northern Black sea region and the North Caucasus may have BEEN Muslim lands once, but that was down to Muslim conquest. Then, as the world turns, the native populations in those areas revolted and became independent. Too bad. As for Palestine, the longer this “war with the west” goes, the past 70 years clearly shows that the trajectory for Israel is up, up and away. Good luck with your vicious dreams.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

There was an agreed, if no doubt often brutal exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s. Both populations were expelled. As others have pointed out, all those formerly Christian lands were conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the 14th to 16th centuries. Most mosques fell into disuse with no Muslim population to use them, the same applied to Christian churches in Turkey.

All the other things you say sound pretty fanatical and through not showing any possibility of compromise, unfortunately just confirming everything the article says about political Islam.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay
Martin Harries
Martin Harries
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Not that the Quran is a book of integrity, but if you happen to think it is, there is a passage in the Quran that refers to Jews as ‘the children of Israel’. As such, according to the book, Jews belong in Palestine / Israel, so who do the Muslims think they are disagreeing with their prophet / god?

The Night Journey fable has Mohamed ascending to heaven on a winged steed from Jerusalem, from the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount – allegedly the Quran’s ‘farthest mosque’. But the Quranic passage (17.1) clearly indicates that the Farthest mosque is the destination of the journey, and that was Heaven, where Mohamed saw his signs of heaven – not a stopping point in Jerusalem. Ergo, there are no Quranic grounds for a Muslim claim on Jerusalem.

Further, Muslims have Mecca and Medina the birthplace and burial place of Mohamed – no one else is interested in those places, must they also claim the holiest city for the Jews and the Christian too?

tiffeyekno
tiffeyekno
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

Mehdi Hasan stated on Q Time, as a panel member, that he believed Mohamed actually did ascend to heaven on a winged steed from the Dome (the night journey fable). That an intelligent, ‘moderate’ Muslim can commit to the Quran in this way is a tell as to the reality of the concerns in the west.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

re: Must they also claim the holiest city for the Jews and the Christians too?

I think that was the point originally and why Jerusalem became #3.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Millions of Muslims were killed and expelled from their land recently

I think by “their” land you actually mean the land that they captured in their extensive conquests of Christian and other lands. See youtube v=I_To-cV94Bo

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin P
Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Hamit,
Long Live Israel! And before that little theocracy was born in the obscurity of Arabia there was no such thing as Islam. Was there? Jerusalem had nothing to do with you and your cronies. You were nomads and unfortunately you kept conquering with a combatant ideology to support you based largely on plagiarism. That’s it.

Mick Jackson
Mick Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Hamit Kabay

Athens was under Ottoman rule for about 370 years not 500. It hardly makes it Muslim lands. Is Hebron an Israeli land since Israel controls it?

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

“a rather agressive approach to religious conversion”. Bless your heart.

castlecob
castlecob
3 years ago

bang on the money…The UK’s attachment to stupid and asymmmetrical muticulturalism has to be jettisoned.Be British ,be proud of your country ,institutions and religion…Beware the trojan horse of Islam.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
3 years ago
Reply to  castlecob

Repeat Islam is the religion of peace, there is no compulsion in Islam.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

“Islam is the religion of peace”

Are you therefore disowning the violent terrorists amongst the Muslim faith. In which case, give them up.

Muslim terrorists live amongst Muslim communities. Muslims know who they are, they don’t operate in a social vacuum.

Whether by intimidation, violence or desire, there is a conspiracy of silence. The ‘peaceful’ compulsion would be to rat them out, grass them up, or simply starve them of support.

But that doesn’t happen, does it?

Indeed, you are correct, there is no compulsion in Islam, no moral compulsion to stamp out the disease within the Muslim community.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

it was sarcasm.

tiffeyekno
tiffeyekno
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

I would agree altho the author has not clarified. In any event Im increasingly finding that contributors generally tend not to recognise satire / irony / sarcasm unless it is tattooed on their eyeballs (as someone once said).

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

The religion of peace was abrogated after Md went to Mediina and started violent Jihad. Soon got plenty of folloeres through submission or death. Some choice!

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

and Republican terrorists lived among Irish Catholics. Am I as an Irish Catholic therefore tarred with the same brush?

Phil Jones
Phil Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

That’s as funny as saying Christianity “is the the religion of peace”. All my life I have seen the erosion of Christianity authority impacting on how I live my life in all its forms. Thankfully the job is almost done.
Sadly we now have this Islam crap to deal with. Macron is correct in trying to nip it in the bud.

bocalance
bocalance
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Jones

I’m an atheist, but do not deny a persistent religious impulse in humanity. That said, post-Enlightenment Christianity is preferable to Islam… or socialism, for that matter.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Jones

The founder of Christianity preached peace, and all his early followers exemplified peace in a savage world. Contrast that with the founder of Islam and his early followers.

The practice of peace requires self-discipline, courage, faith, generosity, and adherence to strict moral values – is that what you mean by Christian “authoritarianism”?

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Who, Constantine?

Jem Couture
Jem Couture
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Jones

In his famous novel The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky writes, “For even those who have renounced Christianity, and attack it, still follow the Christian ideal. And neither their subtlety, nor the ardor of their hearts, has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old.”
All human systems of both justice and compassion crave the dignity, beauty, and order of Christ but desire to do so without Christianity, sometimes without religion of any sort. What remains is a soulless counterfeit, a cadaver without a beating heart.
Once God is ousted in favour of a humanist worldview, there is no bottom. When a society divorces itself from God’s laws, there is no limit to the atrocities that are to come ““ all of them, of course, in the name of progress, equality, safety, and even love. Any number of virtuous spins can be applied to wars waged against God’s design for humanity. We are seeing this now.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Jones

I had similar thoughts.

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

There has always been compulsion in Islam to this day. The choice is given – convert or be killed (sometimes reduced to slavery). What about the schoolgirls in Nigeria who have been kidnapped and focibly converted, raped and enslaved? Peace? You need some education.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago

Indeed – and the young Christian girls in Pakistan who are currently being abducted, raped and forcibly married to their rapists and forced to “convert” to Islam?
This behaviour is recommended towards the “infidel” in the Quran, by the way, and illustrated in the hadith accounts of the deeds of Mohammed.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

And simultaneously the muslim grooming gangs that are exploiting vulnerable British girls in parts of England (because of course the muslim girls are to be left with their virginity intact for their husbands. We can skip calling it ‘compulsion’ with regard to females and just call it rape and enslavement, which is being carried on to this day.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

When religious texts give permission for this kind of behavior something has gone far afield…perhaps it’s a hint that is was never a ‘religion’ to begin with, but a form of gov’t imposed on a religious people who couldn’t absorb conquest without the invention of deities to underwrite their enslavement

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  crediniente

Micah, It started as a hoax invented in Petra** by a certain famous merchant later warlord. After his death a “folk-Islam” grew up among people who did not know the warlord and could not read his Qur’an, and so they believed that he must have been a really kind man and his book really peaceful. That latter “folk Islam” could reasonably be considered a religion. The problem is that it is founded on a serious factual untruth such that its members often revert to the genuine hateful original, as seen in endless outbreaks of Sudden Jihad Syndrome. The only cure for the terrorism is to expose the falseness of the originating book and “prophet”. If the useless people like in Downing Street would get out of the way and uphold proper free speech, that would be even easier achieved.
(**Petra was also called Becca, and the difference in Arabic script between Becca and Mecca is just a tiny extra bit. For the first hundred years the mosques were aligned with Petra, not surprising considering Mecca didn’t exist at the time.)

Tad Pringle
Tad Pringle
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

Ever heard of “abrogation”?

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Tad Pringle

Yes, I’ve heard of the abrogation of older passages in the Koran by newer ones, typically more violent and less tolerant than the ones they abrogated. The non-compulsion in religion section, for instance, was replaced by passages calling for the execution of polytheists (which could be interpreted to include most Christians due to the Holy Trinity), by the imposition of the jizya on non-Muslims, and that truly awful chapter prophesying that the rocks would tell Muslims where Jews were hiding so that the Islamic warriors could kill them.

BTW, I think – as does Vilde Chaye – That Ron Bo’s comment was sarcastic, or at least facetious. But I don’t know for sure.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Krehbiel

It was 100% sarcastic.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

Of course there is no compulsion. Islam means submission. Everything it does, and is done in its name, is therefore voluntary. There lies the difficulty.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  castlecob

But liberalism and, one might say, multiculturalism, are very much part of the Anglosphere’s institutions, religions, and culture, especially its North American department. France may have a uniform culture, but the United States and Canada were formed from hundreds of native and immigrating ethnic groups. These states had trouble enough just maintaining political coherence without imposing a uniform culture and religion on their inhabitants. Given the common European national histories of race war and ethnic cleansing, which seems to be the alternative, one might think tolerant liberalism was the better choice. In spite of its difficulties.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Eh? The European histories of race war and ethnic cleansing? Are you confusing Europe with the US.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

I was thinking of the various wars involved in creating more or less single-ethnicity states in England, France, Spain, and many others, going back to the breakup of the Roman Empire, and continuing to almost the present — for example, the destruction of Yugoslavia. If you consider Armenia and Azerbaijan to be part of Europe, as some do, then to the present, period.

Noah Ebtihej Sdiri
Noah Ebtihej Sdiri
3 years ago
Reply to  castlecob

And who brought the “Trojan Horse” Mr Millington? Some people are under the impression that Muslims invaded Europe while in reality they were invited to come in. By whom you may ask? Well by the NEOLIBERAL RIGHT, the industry captains who wanted a cheap labour force with no class awareness. As opposed to Southern Europeans, Muslim migrants would not join unions and would not assert their rights.

Yes, Islam poses immense challenges to Europe but the real fifth column is the Western European elite who sold its people and culture for cheap labour and goods.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago

Yes they will understand what they have done at the time of getting their throiats cut and the Islamist demography outnumbers them. As Dr. Bill Warner says ‘in Islam even the womb is a weapon’!

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

History shows that islam is at odds with multiculturalism. The few “enlightened” islamic rulers who allowed the practice of non muslim faith have always been replaced by fundamentalist and intolerant ones.

History shows that islam spreads its influence via the sword. Convert of be murdered is an effective way of filling the mosques.

A K
A K
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

It is difficult to make a sweeping statement like this. Islam, at least at times, was tolerant to non-muslim faiths. Survival of Large Christian populations in Middle East even to this day is a proof.

In the golden age of Islam this was mainly due to the tax collected from non-muslims. When large scale conversions to Islam happened in the Middle East, the Islamic conquerers were unhappy simply because the tax revenues were reduced.

The same was true also in Ottoman Turkey. In return of paying a tax, non-muslims were exempt from military and were free to organise the domestic issues of their congregation.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

Treating a population as slaves is not being “tolerant”. Your post is a gross corruption of the English language.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

What large Christian populations in the Middle East.

Miro Mitov
Miro Mitov
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

There is a subtle but big difference between being tolerant and tolerating other faiths for selfish financial gains. The latter is the fabled ‘tolerance of islam’ which way too often is withdrawn on the flimsiest of pretexts. Leaving aside history, the recent fates of Druze and Coptic Christian communities in the Middle East are great examples of how ‘tolerant’ moslem societies really are towards those at their mercy.

A K
A K
3 years ago
Reply to  Miro Mitov

We are talking about 8th century here. Within that context Islam was tolerant. Even in Ottoman Turkey many centuries later, the attitude was tolerant. Don’t forget, this was the time of religious wars in Europe.

There are about 15 million Christians in the Middle East. Yes, the number is reduced from about 20% by the beginnkng of 20th century but the dynamics behind the exodus is different and probably more a result of nationalist movements than religous oppression.

Janetta McGuigan
Janetta McGuigan
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

Please, refrain from commenting until you educate yourself A.K.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

“Yes, the number is reduced from about 20% by the beginnkng of 20th century”
And what happened at the beginning of the 20th century? Specifically to Armenians.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Miro Mitov

Thanks for telling the truth, I can’t believe what I’m reading in these comments. The plight of Coptic Christians and others surrounded by islamist populations in modern times speaks to us about how it must have been historically for families of other religious since the dawn of islamofascism; either pay these exhorbitant taxes or be killed. Those are your choices.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

All those Christians in Iraq?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

“Non-Muslims we’re exempt from military”(sic).
Really? What about the notorious Ottoman Devshirme? Where did the Janissaries such as Mimar Sinan come from?

Were they, by chance, forcibly conscripted from Christian male children?

Before you castigate others for making a “sweeping statement”, you must check your facts, if don’t wish to appear to be an idiot.

A K
A K
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

There is no need to call names. If we are going to discuss this on a civilised manner let’s do so.

You are approaching this anachronistically. In 16th century giving a son to become a devshirme was considered differently than 21st century. But that’s not the issue here, we are talking about the overall attitude within the islamic civilisation towards non-muslims which was in general relatively tolerant.

So, the duty is on everybody. Muslims should practice their religion freely while allowing the same freedom to others. Non-muslims should also respect the religous freedoms of muslims. And most importantly both sides should refrain from turning this to a clash of civilisations. Radicalism is fed by this friction.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

I gather from your syntax and composition that English may not be your first language?

So “don’t get your knickers in a twist” as we say.
I was not calling you an idiot, but indicating others might think so, because of your sweeping statement ” in return of paying a tax, non- muslims were exempt from military” (presumably service), which is patently untrue! QED?

However, all three Abrahamic faiths suffer from the concept of exclusiveness, “the chosen people” etc. This breads manic intolerance of others, and is well illustrated by the litany of barbarism that has triumphed since the fall of Ancient Rome.

Fortunately, the concurrent history of China shows that it is not axiomatic that such barbarism needs to be religiously driven. Insatiable greed is the greatest motivator of all, and probably always has been.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

plenty of barbarism before the fall of rome as well.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

Then muslims need to repeal all blasphemy laws and laws against apostasy. All forms of religious compulsive ‘covering’ for females need to be done away with, if we are talking about freedom. Parents need to stop killing their female children over so-called “honor”. Female children need to stop being mutilated in their pubic region. So many traditions of islamofascism are abhorrently brutal by western democratic standards that to not vocally oppose them is immoral.

A K
A K
3 years ago
Reply to  crediniente

Of course. Completely agree. We need to fight against the radical interpretation of islam.

The religion of islam does not mean islamism. This article differentiates between islamism and islam very well.

The moment we turn the fight towards islam it will fuel more and more radicalism. This is a trap and it must be avoided.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  A K

Can the religion really be divorced from its theocratic impulses? Consider me a sceptic.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

I’m not sure that statement is entirely accurate. Muslim armies were comparatively small, between 10,000-20,000 are possible estimates for the numbers in the armies which conquered Syria and Iraq, probably fewer in Egypt and Iran in the 7th century. To be sure, more Arab Muslims emigrated from Arabia to settle in the newly conquered areas but even so the Arab Muslims were a likely small minority, perhaps only 10% of the population of Egypt and perhaps 20% of the most densely settled area, Iraq. In these circumstances, forcing large numbers of unwilling people to convert would be logistically very difficult without modern weaponry and a large bureaucracy.

There were also clear fiscal incentives not to encourage the spread of Islam. The Quran had laid down that the unbelievers should pay taxes, called ‘jizya’, which was originally a generic name for tribute of all sorts. By the period in the late 8th century when the Muslim fiscal system reached its maturity, it had been established that the ‘dhimmis’ should also pay a poll-tax. All landowners were now obliged to pay the land tax but the ‘dhimmis’ suffered under extra fiscal burdens. The produce of the ‘jizya’ was very useful because it was paid in cash. This became specially valuable in the years when structure of caliphal finance collapsed. Land tax became much more difficult to collect and was often assigned away to bureaucrats or soldiers.

Petty rulers and warlords could still collect the ‘jizya’ in cash money. There were, in short, clear reasons why Muslim governments would not want to encourage conversion to Islam. They were in most cases effectively unable to prevent conversion but they certainly had good fiscal reasons not to use force to achieve it.

There are also a few specific examples of the active discouragement of conversion to Islam. One of the clearest of these can be seen in then account of the trial of Afshini. 840 AD. Afshin was one of the leading generals in the army of the caliph al-Mu’tasim and he was also hereditary ruler of the small mountain principality of Ushrusana, southeast of Samarkand. In 840 AD, a conspiracy of his enemies caused him to be arrested and put on trial. The charge was apostasy, that is to say abandoning Islam because it was a charge that carried the death penalty.

One of the accusations was that he had forbidden the preaching of Islam in his domains, though he of course was a Muslim himself. Two witnesses were produced, pious men who had gone to these wild areas to preach. They showed the court the wounds that they bore as a result of the flogging that Afshin’s men had inflicted on them and Afshin was obliged to admit that he had indeed ordered their punishment for he had an agreement with his people that he would not allow Muslim missionaries in.

Another indication that compulsion were not widespread can be seen from the very small numbers of Christian martyr stories dating from the early years of Islam. If there had been compulsion, with punishment meted out to those who would not abandon their faith, their heroism would certainly have been remembered and recorded. The martyr narratives we do have mostly come from Syria and Palestine. The martyrs fall into fairly specialised groups. There were apostates from Islam, and converting from Islam to another faith was always regarded as worthy of death.

The other group were victims of random violence. Perhaps the most notable of these were the 40 martyrs of St Sabas. They, and a number of other holy men in the Judaean desert, were killed by Bedouin in the disturbed years which followed the death of Harun al- Rashid in 809 AD. In this case there was no implication that they were slain because they refused to convert to Islam: they were simply killed because the Bedouin wanted to steal their property and take over their land.

But that did not mean that military force played no part in the spread of Islam. The Arab conquests of the 7th century established Muslim government over large areas of the Middle East. But they did not make Islam into a majority religion. The process probably began quite slowly and gathered pace in the 9th and 10th centuries. In any age there will always be people who change their religion, convert from one to the other, purely on a wave of pious enthusiasm and religious inspiration. It is not perhaps too cynical to suggest that there were many others who have more mixed motives.

Islam was the elite religion. By converting to it, a man could, in theory at least, become a member of that elite. Conversion offered both career/social advantages. At a stroke it meant freedom from the hated poll-tax. It often gave the opportunity to move from the static and stifling environment of the village to one of the expanding towns. The Muslim authorities may not have forced people to convert but the structure of Muslim government did encourage people to make that choice. Islam may have not spread by the sword but without the sword it would not have spread.

mikel_kritzinger
mikel_kritzinger
3 years ago

Nice. Islam may have not spread by the sword but without the sword it would not have spread

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

Its seems a paradoxical answer but look at it this way. It is unlikely that Islam would have enjoyed the dominant role it had in the Middle East if the Arab conquests of the 7th century had never taken place. No matter how appealing Islam’s teachings may have been to people of the 7th century, I think it’s extremely unlikely that it would have made a lot of headway under the Byzantine/Sassanid Empire.

In both these empires there was a state supported religious institution to which anyone with pretensions of elite status would be expected to belong. Under the Byzantines there were certainly Jews, Samaritans, and prob a few pagans. But if u wanted a post in the govt/army, you had to be a Christian. And the right sort of Christian, one who accepted the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon (451). The large number of people who did not were excluded almost entirely from positions of power/influence.

Would Muslim missionaries have been permitted to preach? I find it unlikely in the extreme.

The Sassanids were certainly more pluralist. The Persian elite were all Zoroastrians but there were large numbers of Christians, Jews, Mandaens and others. But they would never have been allowed to challenge the position of Zorostrianism as the dominant faith. Muslim missionaries might have been allowed to preach but never against the position of Zoroastrianism among the Persians.

It was only the military/political victory of Islam in the 7th century that allowed for the ascendency of Christianity and Zoroastrianism to be challenged.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago

It absolutely did spread by the sword. If you want to understand the spread of Islam look no further than what Iraqis did to the Yazidi.

T Doyle
T Doyle
3 years ago

How do account for the armies of Islam reaching Poitiers in the 700s or forced conversion of Christians to Islam in the Balkans? The issue is clear.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  T Doyle

The Battle of Tours (732 AD) carries tremendous significance for the far-Right. The terrorist who killed 51 people at 2 mosques in New Zealand painted slogans on his guns including ‘Tours 732’ and ‘Charles Martel’.

The reality is that the Ummayad Caliphate in the 8th century were able to capture some areas along the southern French coast and launch raids into the interior of southern France. In 732 AD one of these raids was repelled by the Frankish leader Charles Martel.

Some view this as a turning point for Muslim expansion of the 7th-8th centuries. But a more prosaic view is that the Ummayads were after booty rather than conquest/mass conversions. According to the Chronicle of Fredegar, their motive was the wealth of the Abbey of St. Martin of Tours, the richest and holiest shrine in western Europe at the time.

The insignificance of Tours can be realised from the fact that historians like al-Tabarī and Ibn al-Qūtiyyah totally omit any account of the battle and stress the defeat at Constantinople. The Franks encountered little more than a band of raiders thousands of miles from home.

Like all the monotheistic religions forced conversions is a part of Islam’s history. What I was arguing is that there doesn’t seem much historical evidence to support the view of mass conversions after the Arab invasions of Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Iran in the 7th century, that’s all.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago

Christianity did not spread through forced conversions. On the contrary, Christianity developed and won converts through successive waves of violent persecution by non-Christian states. Only in later centuries did Christian missionaries follow on the heels of politically-motivated military conquests. Judaism has never at any time practised forced conversions. Islam is unique among the “monotheistic religions”. To pretend otherwise is dishonest.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

I disagree. During the Saxon Wars (772-804 AD), Charlemagne (748-814 AD) forcibly converted the Saxons from paganism by way of warfare. The Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae (785 AD) prescribed death to those who refused to convert to Christianity. Jews were forced to convert to Christianity by the Crusaders in Lorraine, on the Lower Rhine, in Bavaria and Bohemia, in Mainz and in Worms in 1096. There were also forced conversions of Jews in southern Italy in the 13th century, which were carried out by Dominican Inquisitors but instigated by King Charles II of Naples (1254-1309)

During the Northern Crusades (1147-1410) against the pagan Balts and Slavs, forced conversions were a widely used tactic, which received papal sanction. These tactics were first adopted during the Wendish Crusade (1147) but became more widespread during the Livonian Crusade (1198-1290) and the Prussian Crusade (1217-1274), in which tactics included the killing of hostages, massacre, and the devastation of the lands of tribes that had not yet submitted.

Most of the populations of these regions were converted only after the repeated rebellion of native populations that did not want to accept Christianity even after initial forced conversion; in Old Prussia, the tactics employed in the initial conquest and subsequent conversion of the territory resulted in the death of most of the native population, whose language consequently became extinct.

Forced conversions of Jews also took place under Manuel I of Portugal (1469-1521). In December 1496, it was decreed that all Jews either convert to Islam or leave the country without their children. However those expelled could only leave on ships specified by the king. When they arrived at Lisbon, clerics and soldiers used coercion in order to baptize them and prevent them leaving.

The forced conversion of Muslims was also implemented in Castile from 1500″“1502 and in Aragorn in the 1520s. After the conversions, the so-called “New Christians” were those inhabitants (Sephardic Jews or Mudéjar Muslims) who were baptized under coercion and in the face of execution, becoming forced converts from Islam (Moriscos, Conversos and “secret Moors”) or from Judaism (Conversos, Crypto-Jews and Marranos).

During the European colonization of the Americas in the 15th century forced conversion of the continents’ indigenous, non-Christian population was common, especially in South America and Mesoamerica, where the conquest of large indigenous polities like the Inca and Aztec Empires placed colonizers in control of large non-Christian populations.

After Ivan the Terrible’s conquest of the Khanate of Kazan (1552) the Muslim population faced slaughter, expulsion, forced resettlement and conversion to Christianity. The Portuguese practised religious persecution in Goa, India in the 16th and 17th centuries. The natives of Goa, most of them Hindus, were subjected to severe torture and oppression by the Portuguese rulers and missionaries, and forcibly converted to Christianity.

During World War II, Orthodox Serbs were forcibly converted to Catholicism by the UÅ¡tase. On 3 May 1941 a law was passed on religious conversions, pressuring Serbs to convert to Catholicism and thereby adopt a Croat identity

Under Judaism forced conversions occurred under the Hasmonean Dynasty (147 BC-37 BC). The Idumeans were forced to convert to Judaism, by threat of exile or death. As the historian Attridge pointed out “these were not isolated instances, but that forced conversion was a national policy, is clear from the fact that Alexander Jannaeus (around 80 BC) demolished the city of Pella in Moab, ‘because the inhabitants would not agree to adopt the national custom of the Jews.'” (Josephus, Antiquities. 13.15.4.)

Maurice Sartre has written of the “policy of forced Judaization adopted by Hyrcanos, Aristobulus I and Jannaeus”, who offered “the conquered peoples a choice between expulsion or conversion,”. William Horbury has written that “the evidence is best explained by postulating that an existing small Jewish population in Lower Galilee was massively expanded by the forced conversion in c.104 BC of their Gentile neighbours in the north.”

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago

Forced conversions of Jews also took place under Manuel I of Portugal (1469-1521)

Excellent piece, Mr. Creed.

My wife is Portuguese, her maiden name is de Pinho.(Pine)
I was once told that many Jews living in Portugal at this time who converted to Christianity adopted similar surnames that represented trees – d’Oliveira (Olive) being another one – to identify each other and remember their heritage,
I don’t know how much truth there is in this tale but it makes a good story!

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

Thank you ! Glad you enjoyed it !

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago

The astounding military success of Mohammed and his immediate successors is valorised in Muslim history as divine sanction and itself indicative of the superior nature of the muslim faith. The swords on the flag of Saudi Arabia are not whimsical affectations. When there lingers the powerful concept of jihad, holy warfare, the question that begs answering is – to what purpose is such a concept needed in a religion?

I know muslims who are very proud of the martial character of their faith. “We do not turn the other cheek,” they say scornfully.

I dont dispute your account. What is more real than distant history is a people’s imagined history of themselves. That explains the ISIS and Al qaeda types setting off from all corners of the earth to engage in the glorious rape and pillage of the poor infidel sods in the Iraq and Syria.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

I’m not trying to glorify ‘jihad’ at all. Like all 7th century wars, the Arab conquest had its fair share of brutality and atrocities. But it strikes me that understanding this history can help the West to know ISIS and predict its behavior.

In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a commitment to returning society to the 7th century. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early 7th century Islam.

Muslims can reject ISIS; the vast majority do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led many countries to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the ISIS’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal, or better still destroy it.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago

“But it strikes me that understanding this history can help the West to know ISIS and predict its behavior.”

Except ISIS is not relying on a secular reading of 7th century muslim Arab expansion. They are inspired from the bloodthirsty accounts from the hadiths and the sira of Mohammed where there was wholesale slaughter of enemies like the Jewish tribes of Banu Qurayza and Banu Nadir and the distribution of women as sex slaves. Now western scholars like Patricia Crone may have doubts about the actual historicity of these events but the muslim masses don’t and you are never going to persuade them. This is the reality that western scholars and governments have not addressed.

The muslim masses may have rejected ISIS but they haven’t rejected the theology and imagined history of their faith. The one muslim who responded upthread with his litany of grievance and expressed retribution, especially against Israel, is clearly familiar with what his faith teaches him.

I dont have issues with the rest of your reply.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
3 years ago

aahh but an army of 15,000 in the 7th century with an estimated world population of 250 million represents an army of 420,000 in today’s world pop of 7 billion. Use statistics at your peril.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Fraser

Xerxes I had an army of 400,000 in 480BC. Rome had armies in excess of 100,000. Fail to understand history at your peril.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Yes indeed Kevin. If you take that further you get some astonishing results.

For example the catastrophic Roman defeat at Cannae, in the year 216 BC, as you would call it, cost the lives of about 50,000 Romans. The estimated population of Italy at time was perhaps 6 million.

So to equate that with today, means multiplying by ten, giving a figure of 500,000 Roman dead. More than the combined total for the initial blasts at Hiroshima & Nagasaki. (129,000-226,000).

Predictably, the Roman suffered a short outbreak of ‘lack of moral fibre’ and resorted to human sacrifice to appease the Gods, (a favourite ploy of most religions when in crisis, incidentally).

On this occasion the Gods were ‘satisfied’ with the burial alive, of two Gauls and two Greeks (note no Romans).

However the Gods noted this parsimony, and the Romans had to wait another 14 years for final victory at Zama in 202 BC.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
3 years ago

Will 20 unarmed people argue with the man with a machete?

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

Why do you assume people in the 7th century went unarmed? Population estimates in the 7th century are difficult at best. But Roman Egypt had an estimated population of 8 million. Greater Syria estimated at 4.8 million. The Maghreb at 6.5 million. The Arab army that invaded N. Africa numbered approx. 16,000. The Byzantines probably numbered around 30,000. The Arabs didn’t win thru overwhelming military strength. They won because the Byzantine Empire was exhausted at this time after 28 years of war with the Sassanids. And they won because they gained the friendship of the Coptic Christians.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago

“the friendship of the Coptic Christians” which is why the Coptic Christians are almost extinct.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  crediniente

I’m talking in the context of the Arab invasion of Egypt between 639-646 AD, not what came afterwards. The head of the Coptic church Cyrus of Alexandria entered into a treaty with the Arab leader Amr ibn al-As recognising Muslim sovereignty over Egypt and insisted they would honour the terms even if the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius repudiated it. Cyrus was stripped of the viceroyship by the emperor but still insisted the Coptic Christians would honour the treaty. As the Copts were native Egyptians, the treaty gave a strategic advantage to the Muslims.

Furthermore, when the exiled Coptic Patriarch Benjamin returned to Alexandria, Amr treated him with respect and he was asked to resume control of the over the Coptic church. Amr also arranged for the restoration of the monasteries in the Wadi Natrun which had been destroyed by the Chalcedonean Christians.

As the historian Hugh Kennedy pointed out “the pious biographer of Coptic patriarch Benjamin presents us with the striking image of the patriarch praying for the success of the Muslim commander Amr against the Christians of the Cyrenaica. Benjamin also prayed for Amr when he attempted to take Libya”

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

Very interesting ““ more of an essay than a comment.

I assume your point Is that Islam, once established (by conquest surely), attracted converts for diverse reasons, pragmatic and otherwise. Accepting (or paying lip-service to) the established order and seeking to prosper within it is typical of human nature. We see it all around us. Conversion by the sword not required in the long run.

However, if unbelievers were a valuable source of revenue for the dominant muslim elite there must surely have been a measure oppressive force used ““ to say the least. No one likes paying taxes ““ least of all to a conqueror.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

I would take this ‘free will conversion’ theory with a grain of salt, it contradicts everything I’ve ever read. He may be focusing on men but what the ISIS did to the Yazidi population is a great example of muslim conquest of territory; execute the males, rape and enslave the women. Mohammed made a living at this and he was proud of it.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

For sure, like in all empires. We know for example that the poll tax was hated. A coptic Christian, John of Nikiû who lived after the Arab conquest of Egypt vividly records the terror that gripped the country in the aftermath of the invasion. There were also atrocious committed against the Coptic Christians and there were reports that the taxes were so burdensome some families were forced to sell their children into slavery. Oppressive force was definitely used, I would agree with that.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

Very interesting detail on 7-9th century Islam – but that is a snapshot of a long a protracted history.

As M Fraser points out – an army of 15,000 in this era is rather large.

Later in the 12-14th centuries we see Islam come close to pushing Christianity out of the Iberian Peninsula. Onwards we see various battles such as Lepanto (C.16) and Vienna (C.17) which stem the tide against expansion.

Early Islam (in parts) was largely progressive for its era within its borders, but nevertheless was as brutal as Christianity in its spread.

In latter modern day history the Islamic world became less relevant and globally quite backwards. This was changed by three major factors: large proportions of the world’s oil supplies were found in the middle east, large scale immigration occurred into Western societies and the populations in poorer (Muslim) countries grew at a faster rate than Western ones.

Now that it is more relevant the more archaic cultural elements of these societies are creating friction with Western ones.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

your dates are wrong. Islam DID push Christianity out of most of spain after 711. By the 13th and certainly the 14th century, the reconquista was well underway, and within another century or two Muslim Spain would disappear entirely.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

A bit like the Christians pushed the Jews out of Spain shortly afterwards.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Very true. I was looking at the Arab invasions of the 7th century not the whole 1,410 years of Islam.

I’m not sure Fraser is entirely correct. Perhaps in comparison to Western Europe. But even then its easy to forgot that “Charlemagne..could muster for simultaneous major campaigns perhaps 150,000 men. Individual armies of 35,000 to 40,000, though hardly common, were not unknown” (G, Parker, Cambridge History of Warfare, 2005).

Compared to the armies of the Near East, 15,000 was not an especially large number. Justinian had an estimated 300,000-350,000 soldiers. Even at the height of the 7th century crisis, the Byzantine army stood at around 129,000 men. The Sassanids field armies could easily reach 45,000-50,000 men, possibly even 100,000-130,000.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

Interesting thanks! My knowledge of this era is more focused on Britain so interesting to hear.

Mark M
Mark M
3 years ago

I would suggest that 20,000 armed soldiers who were quite happy to kill any civilian without a moment’s thought was enough to terrorise even large populations. Remember how Justinian ordered his troops to kill 30,000 people in the Hippodrome to quell a riot. They didn’t mess about in those days.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark M

The problem is that we have historical sources for the massacre in the Hippodrome (532 AD). Its mentioned by Procopius (Wars, 1. 24) and also the Chronicon Paschale. We have no historical evidence of large-scale mass forcible conversions in the aftermath of the Arab invasion of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt in the 7th century.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago

They did force people to convert and their religious writings give men permission in battle to rape women and take sex slaves and this is a form of conversion if the “women” were old enough to survive the sexual violation without bleeding to death. We regularly hear about child brides who bled to death on their wedding night rapes and this is most likely a fraction of what actually takes place, historically muslims have been known to execute males and take women for rape/slavery in conquest just as they did the Yazidi recently.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago

Islam spread through a combination of factors – military conquest, strategic marriages among elite ruling families (mass conversion followed the ruler’s conversion), and trade.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

Yes, and the death penalty for apostasy – or at the very least in these days, total rejection by one’s family and community who will take your children from you, is a very effective way of keeping them filled.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Macron is quite often right about things, but has enormous difficulty in terms of rectifying a given situation or problem. Not that there is really anything he can do about the inevitable and inexorable Islamisation of Europe. That is the future that our demented and despicable politicians have chosen for us.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It’s not inevitable.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Agreed, but Europe’s multiculturalism and liberal approach to mass immigration and social security has been its weakness and the enabling foundation of the longer term, gradual and less obvious strategy of out-breeding us. Islamism sees liberal democracy as an opportunity to infiltrate and outnumber non-Muslims. This is well under way, particularly in France and Germany.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Have faith in capitalism. It will destroy Islam as it has destroyed Christianity.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Eh? Last time I looked Christianity, while perhaps weakened, was far from destroyed. Of anything pertaining to its evident decline, capitalism (a very broad term) is marginally culpable. Has it destroyed Judaism? Hardly. Capitalism seems pretty strong in the Gulf states too.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

I mean destroyed it as a dominant political force. I’m thinking of capitalism as the economic system of liberalism. I think the same thing will happen to Islam; in fact, I think this is what has riled the Muslims up — the sureties of the old dispensation are slipping away.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Huh? Islam is the ultimate merchantile religion, apart from its prohibition of usury (easy get arounds exist!), there is nothing remotely anti-capitalistic about it.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

It absolutely does. But watching leftists fail to see it is like watching a farmer lead a fox into his chicken coup for the night and tell it to take good care of his chickens.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  crediniente

It’s worse than that – it seems to be a deliberate and conscious policy of seeing & hearing nothing / no evil. This blind eye approach results in the rising terrorist activity across Europe and paedophile gangs in northern English cities. But, hey, multiculturalism trumps all…

Mark M
Mark M
3 years ago

Quote ““ “most Islamists are not monsters. They are often educated, compassionate, articulate and charismatic individuals.” So were many Nazis. They were still monsters. So are these so-called Islamists. Because some of them may be suave and sophisticated doesn’t excuse them. After all, Hitler liked dogs and children, but that doesn’t make him a nice person.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark M

The writer would benefit greatly from reading “the banality of evil”.

crediniente
crediniente
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Alice Miller makes a great case for the results of extreme violence in childhood causing an authoritarian populace in her books “For Your Own Good” and “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware”. A Swiss psychoanalyst, she places Hitler in the context of his day, when child-rearing was incredibly brutal, and documents an entire culture of trauma-bonded authoritarians dissociating from their terror, trained to project negative feelings from severe brutality in childhood onto an ‘other’ whether it be a racial minority, females, or animals. This is very textbook, only when it infects entire cultures like Nazi Germany or Islamist nations do we get curious about the underlying reasons.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago

Bravo, one of the best articles on Islamism I have read. Most western commentators, even the so-called Islamism or terror experts are utterly lost when it comes to this topic.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Who do I believe: a journalist in the West or the Koran and President Erdogan? The last said that there is no fundamentalist Islam just Islam.
Please read the Koran if you have not. It doesn’t take long, and the murderous nature of its teachings are clear.

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

The French and Austrian’s are correct in their approach to these murderous criminals. The failed experiment is multiculturalism in the west and especially that of the U.K. promoted by blair and phillips.
Hopefully the French can bring this situation under control.

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter KE

I don’t think you can argue that French universalism is any more or less than a success or failure than is multiculturalism. Numbers count for most – and France has the largest number of Muslims in Europe

Christin
Christin
3 years ago

Macron is right to be concerned although it’s rather late in the day. And the author errs in placing any faith at all in any distinction between islamism and islam. Just ask Erdogan. “These epithets of ‘moderate Islam’ are very ugly, it is disrespectful and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” ” Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄƾan. He would know. He assisted ISIS, and still does.

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago

I resent the author talking about “the anglosphere” as if all in Britain and America were as stupid as some of our leaders (notably the multiculturist politicians) are. Most people I know in my part of Britain would applaud Macron, saying “At last! He sees sense.”

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago

“The Anglosphere should know by now that Islamism does not mean the same as Islamic.”

Should we? A fairly cursory look at the Koran would strongly suggest otherwise

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago

Typical of the “centrist” writers at UnHerd to talk such nonsense.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

If Islamic and Islamism were synonymous, all religious muslims would support sharia, if not Islamist terror tactics. But they don’t. There IS a distinction, and it’s important to make it, unless you want to play identity politics and essentialize every devout Muslim.

Fiona E
Fiona E
3 years ago

“While we can object to Paris or Vienna’s prescriptions to deal with the problem, we have much to learn from the diagnosis.” Who is this ‘we’? I’m quite certain ‘we’ the ordinary people are largely in agreement with Paris and Vienna while ‘we’ the politicians, media and others with influence (i.e. those who shout the loudest) who prevaricate and make excuses for a political ideology that hates liberal democracy as much as Communists and Fascists did, may ‘object’. It’s quite simple for ‘ordinary people’ – extreme ideologies (Communism, Fascism, Islamism) should have no place in western countries. People (of any race or religion) who appreciate freedom of conscience, thought, expression and religion should be welcome here, anyone who doesn’t should find somewhere else to live – there are plenty of illiberal, intolerant, countries to move to.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona E

What happens when you want to deport your citizens to an illiberal, intolerant country, but you can’t find one that’ll take them?

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

We have become weak minded in the West.

Islam is ok, but Islamist bad.

Why are you trying to differentiate between the two?

Either you believe in freedom from religion or you do not.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago

I think there is a difference between freedom from religion and freedom of religion. I would say that the former is not possible (the growing churches in China and Korea are witness to this) and, since freedom from religion is not possible, people should be allowed to follow the religion of their choice.

I think there is also a difference between Islamism and Islam. The militant nature of the former is based on early original texts (Nabeel Qureshi wrote about this in ‘Answering Jihad’) while many Muslims do not know this and speak out against Islamism. Others, like the liberal followers of any faith, play pick and mix with their holy books.

While no-one can be born a Christian, it must be a conscious decision, one can be born Jewish for instance. Therefore, one cannot stop being Jewish but can, of course, be a secular Jew, atheist Jew or a messianic Jew. I know about the words whispered in the ear of a newborn in a Muslim family but do not know if this makes them a Muslim or if they need to accept beliefs.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

The pick and mix is a good observation. People railing against the Koran as a book of war and conquest, handily forget all the parts of the Christian bible that get quietly dropped as they become incompatible with daily life. People are ‘born’ Christians though, or at least become it very fast through involuntary baptism. You “cannot stop being Jewish” – is that true? Surely you can stop believing any imaginary story you like. Do you mean genetically ?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Yes, you stop believing but you cannot stop being a descendent of Abraham. People have been trying to stop being Jewish throughout the centuries.

Which parts of the Bible do you mean when you mention being ‘handily forgotten’? Much of the Old Testament, for example laws such as not having tattoos or not wearing mixed fabrics, are superseded by the incarnation of Christ although the moral law, the 10 commandments, continues.

I think that baptism is a sacrament that is a symbol and it does not make anyone believe. Belief is innner but baptism is an outward.expression.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

but you cannot stop being a descendent of Abraham.

How does one even start to be a descendant of a ficticious character?

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

People do that all the time. It’s a wise child that knows its father.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

The same way 2 billion people around the world believe another fictitious character was the “son of God.”

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

So, we are not talking about Brian of Nazareth then? 😉

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

Wasn’t he “a very naughty boy “?

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I seem to recall this had something to do with that Welsh tart. Judith.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

I gather she went on to be Mayor/Mayoress of Aberystwyth!

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Indeed she did! I’d forgotten about that.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

Perhaps Lawrence Fox will make it to PM?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

“Beam me up,Scotty”!

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

…and what actual proof do you have that Abraham was fictitious? How do you know exactly?

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

I understand that proofs are generally reserved for things like maths?
Evidence, however, or rather a total lack of, is a different matter entirely.
To this end, I am inclined to accept the scholarly consensus on such matters, much in the same way as I accept things like evolution or the Human Genome Project refuting such nonsense as a single original breeding pair of humans as described in Genesis.

However, if one wishes to accept tales regarding figures such as Abraham and Moses and even the veracity of the story of Noah and his incestuous family being the progenitors of the second phase of humanity once the global flood had receded, after Yahweh/Jesus obliterated most life as we know it then who am I am to gainsay such beliefs?
But please, let’s just try not to indoctrinate children with this nonsense.
Thanks.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

You mean evidence (or lack thereof) surely?
Are you unaware of the scholarly consensus surrounding/ regarding this issue?
Along with the tale of Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood and Moses and the Exodus. It holds that the Pentateuch is historical fiction, part of the Jewish geopolitical foundation myth, and has been the scholarly consensus for at least a couple of generations.
Google is your friend!

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

that’s only partially true, and a view held by only some historians, at least with regard to Abraham.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

Which part is only ”partially true”?

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

The parts about Abraham and especially, Moses.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

I am unaware of any secular historian or archaeologist who puts any store in the historicity of either Abraham or Moses.
Many of those of a religious leaning also recognise that these two characters and the tales they are part of are merely part of geopolitical foundation myth.
But I am fully open to evidence to the contrary.
If you have something … anything, I would appreciate a link. Thanks.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

The same could apply to Jesus of Nazareth. I wouldn’t go there if I were you.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

Why wouldn’t you ”go there”?
There is no evidence whatsoever for the character Jesus of Nazareth as depicted in the gospels.
One can hardly expect to retain any vestige of credibility if one chooses to assert that the Lake Tiberius pedestrian is anything but a work of narrative fiction.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

Literally no serious scholar believes that Jesus wasn’t historical.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Well, no, not literarlly ”no serious scholar”.

As for an Itinerant preacher; someone called Yeshu, perhaps, who was crucified by the Romans for sedition? Sure, why not? Josephus mentions several types, and Yeshu /Joshua was a common enough name.
However, the character Jesus of Nazareth as featured and described in the bible; divinely conceived and born of an underage virgin, a carpenter’s adopted son; the miracle working Lake Tiberius pedestrian who, according to the story, was raised from the dead after three days and then floated off into space.
Nah! This character is a work of narrative fiction that no serious scholar or historian considers historical for one second. Just as well, too! Imagine if proper historians granted such a fantasy character genuine historical status. Good grief!

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

The character Jesus of Nazareth as depicted in the bible is an obvious work of narrative fiction.
That there may have been an itinerant 1st century rabbi called Yeshu is a possibility. Josephus mentions a few, I believe.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  attaleuntold

He mentions more than one person called Jesus, but only one who would be the historical Jesus, as in the one killed by Pilate, and he mentions him twice. As I said no serious scholar believes that Jesus didn’t exist. The internet though is different, but the the flat earth society is popular enough on the web.

What I find interesting but not surprising is that the people who oppose the idea of a historical Jesus don’t come up with a counter argument as to the founder of Christianity and don’t think they have to. It’s worth asking then – who invented the fictional Jesus, and why and when?

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Counter argument? Well, Saul/Paul is the likely go-to culprit. And as there is no mention of this character in the historical record outside of Christian circles one could be forgiven that he too is a work of narrative fiction.

His supposed letters – in themselves are, in places, regarded as somewhat of a smorgasbord of redaction, did not surface until Marcion ”collected” them and turned them over to the Church, apparently.

As Saul/Paul’s version of Christianity is based on his ”vision” there is enough doubt to consider Yeshu/Jesus to be a narrative construct.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Tacitus, Annals 15:44 for the best reference.
Oddly, Pilate is referred to as the Procurator, whereas the archaeological evidence (the Pilate Stone) names him as Prefect of Judea.

Incidentally I think executed by Pilate fits better than “killed by Pilate”.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Are you aware that there are two sections of the “Christian bible”, and the bit that actually involves Christ, the New Testament, advocates non-violence and is supposed to have priority over the pro-conquest passages of the ‘Old’? But over and above that argument, the Bible in any case comprises bits and pieces that were produced by many different people over many centuries, and trying to make it yield any one message consistently never works. Whereas the Koran was produced by one man at one time in a peculiar mental state, and is all too consistent.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Yes I am aware that the Christian bible has an original version and a sequel. I am pretty confident that nowhere in the New Testament does it actually say that it supercedes the Old. There are many Christians out there who believe it’s more of a supplemental document.

The Koran is as open to interpretation as the Bible is. If it wasn’t there would be a single Islamic faith that would probably be at actual permanent war with unbelievers. Luckily the vast majority Muslims apply moderate interpretations. The Koran is also supplemented by hundreds of hadith, which are a field of study in themselves. You might have heard of a book called The Satanic Verses which deals with an even further complication to the religion.

The religious texts for both religions are a dog’s breakfast of bolted together parts. I don’t buy an argument that Muslims have a better instruction manual. (Though if they did, you’d have to wonder if they didn’t also have the better God)

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago

Actually, the Koran is split between pre-abrogation and post-abrogation sections, and the two are not all that consistent.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Krehbiel

Thanks for correction – yes

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

How many priests openly preach the violent parts of Christian Bible in non-Christian countries?

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

None. Thats the difference, not what’s IN the holy books, but how they are followed today. Christianity and Judaism stopped taking the violent bits in their bible seriously a century or two ago. Muslims haven’t done so yet. Maybe they will, maybe never.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

You “cannot stop being Jewish” – is that true? Surely you can stop believing any imaginary story you like. Do you mean genetically ?

Jews are an ethnic group.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

You can convert to Judaism, which seems to disqualify it for ethnicity.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

human affairs are far too complex to be so binary. Yes jews are an ethnicity, but with a religious license. Yes it makes no sense, but neither do lots of other things and institutions humans create and deal with every day.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

You can convert to the religion, but that doesn’t mean that Jew is not an ethnic category as well.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

“no-one can be born a Christian”
Whatever the theological niceties, I was effectively informed I was a Christian as a child, before I had any idea what it meant.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Then you were fortunate : you can always change your mind later. had your family been muslim, you would not have that option.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

Nonsense, the large number of ex-Muslims in the West belies your assertion.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

Could this be evidence of moral superiority of the West? Not many ex-muslims in Pakistan, I think.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

I have no issues with the moral — and every other — superiority of the West. And it’s true, there aren’t many ex-Muslims in Pakistan. However, this discussion is about Muslims in Europe. And there are plenty of ex-Muslims there.

Christin
Christin
3 years ago

Precisely.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

There is a difference, and many devout Muslims in the West and elsewhere believe in freedom of, and from, religion.

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
3 years ago

The core of Islam, like Christianity, is conquest. Except, Christianity gave up the conquest game a long time ago. True Islamists still want every knee to bend to Allah, and however that is achieved is fine. To say this is ‘incompatible’ with Western values is plainly, obviously true, but no one in leadership has the balls to make it categorical.

Hazel Pethig
Hazel Pethig
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Powell

There is no political element to Christianity nor a call to jihad in its message . The cores are antithetical.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Powell

Christianity gave up the conquest game a long time ago?
In 2001, US President Bush talked of a Crusade against ‘a new kind of evil.’ It seems to be ongoing.

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
3 years ago