On Islamic Violence: Forget the Koran, Look to History

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Family Security Matters

by RAYMOND IBRAHIM

 

The debate around Muslim violence all too often centers around doctrine-around what the Koran and Hadith (words and deeds of Muhammad) really mean and say. Forgotten in this debate is that Islamic scriptures are unnecessary in determining whether Islam teaches violence and war against non-Muslims.

History suffices.

Consider some facts, attested to by both Muslim and non-Muslim primary historic sources: A mere decade after the birth of Islam in the 7th century, the jihad burst out of Arabia.  In just a few decades, Muslims had permanently conquered what was then two-thirds of the Christian world.  The heart of the Muslim world today-nations like Egypt, Syria, all of North Africa, Turkey and more-were, in the 7th century, the heart of Christendom.

Thereafter it was a continuous war on Christian Europe.  Among other nations and territories that were attacked and/or came under Muslim domination throughout the centuries are (to give them their modern names and in no particular order): Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Belarus, Malta, Sardinia, Moldova, Slovakia, and Montenegro.

Less than three decades after the traditional date of Islam’s founding (622), three of the five original Christian centers (“sees”) founded by the apostles-in Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem-were forever swallowed up by Islam; the fourth, Constantinople, valiantly resisted the Islamic onslaught for centuries, but was finally conquered in the name of Islam in 1453.  Though sacked and burned by Muslims as early as 846, only distant Rome-the Vatican, fifth of the ancient Christian sees-remained unconquered.

The few European regions that escaped direct Islamic occupation due to their northwest remoteness include Great Britain, Scandinavia, and Germany.  That, of course, does not mean that they were not attacked by Islam. Indeed, in the furthest northwest of Europe, in Iceland, Christians used to pray that God save them from the “terror of the Turk.” This was not mere paranoia; as late as 1627, Muslim corsairs raided the northern Christian island seizing four hundred captives and selling them in the slave markets of Algiers.

Nor did America escape.  A few years after the formation of the United States, in 1800, American trading ships in the Mediterranean were plundered and their sailors enslaved by Muslim corsairs.  The ambassador of Tripoli explained to Thomas Jefferson that it was a Muslim’s right and duty to make war upon non-Muslims wherever they could be found, and to enslave as many as they could take as prisoners.

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