1373 years later...
Today marks the anniversary of the death of the prophet Muhammad. Muslims in Iraq celebrated the anniversary
of the loss of the founder of the religion whose name means submission by killing 25 people.
Of course, it really is all our fault. Just ask the Boston Globe
. Had we, the West, simply minded our own business in the 700's none of this would be happening now:Given escalations of the war in Iraq together with widely reported instances of Koran-denigration by US interrogators, such trends in Europe make the global war on terror seem expressly a war against Islam. The ''clash of civilizations" seems closer at hand than ever.
To make sense of this dangerous condition, it can help to recall some of the forgotten or misremembered history that prepared for it, from the remote origins of the conflict to its manifestations in the not so distant past. As the story is usually told in Europe and America, the problem began when a jihad-driven army of ''infidel" Saracens, having brutalized Christians in the ''Holy Land," threatened ''Christendom" itself with conquests right into the heart of present-day France. Charles Martel is the hero of primal European romances because he defeated the Muslim army near Tours in 733. But for Martel, Edward Gibbon wrote, ''the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford."Across subsequent centuries, in the European memory, Islam posed the great threat to the emerging Christian order. But was that so? Lombards, Normans, Vikings, forces from the Slavic east, and violent contests among Christians themselves all wreaked havoc in Europe, even in Martel's time. As I learned from the historian Tomaz Mastnak, the threat from the Saracens was one among many. It was defined as transcendent only with the later Crusades, when Latin Christian armies set out to rescue that ''Holy Land" and roll back Islamic conquests. The crusading impulse presumed a demonizing of Saracens that was justified neither by the threat they actually posed nor by their treatment of Christians in Palestine. Indeed, chronicles of the earlier period take little or no notice of the religion of Saracens. Religious co-existence, famous in Iberia, was a mark of other lands conquered by Arabs. Europe's initiating ''holy war" with Islam, that is, was based on flawed intelligence, propaganda, and threat exaggeration.The poison flower of the Crusades, with their denigrations of distant cultures, was colonialism. The dark result of European imperial adventuring in the Muslim world was twofold: first, the usual exploitation of native peoples and resources, with attendant destruction of culture, and, second, the powerful reaction among Muslims and Arab populations against colonialism, a reaction that included an internal corrupting of Islamic traditions. The accidental wealth of oil in the Middle East made both external exploitation and internal corruption absolutely ruinous. The political fanaticism that has lately seized the Arab Islamic religious imagination (exemplified in Osama bin Laden) is rooted more in a defensive fending off of assault from ''the West" than in anything intrinsic to Islam. The American war on terror, striking the worst notes of the old imperial insult, only exacerbates this reactionary fanaticism (generating, for example, legions of suicide bombers).
So if I understand this correctly, a generation of German's, some still alive, that killed 6 million plus Jews and caused the deaths of countless millions of others should be forgiven
. But acts of religous war that are more than 1270 years in the past merit the reactions we see from Islamofascists today.
To the Globe I say this: there is no clash of civilizations, for that requires two civilizations to exists. As for the Koran being taught at Oxford- had the Muslims conquered Europe 1200 years ago there would be no Oxford. You may have noticed, after all, the dearth of Oxford level universities in the Muslim world. It is true that the Lombards, Normans, Vikings wreaked havoc in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. When, however, did you last meet a Lombard, Norman, or Viking? They were either destroyed, or joined the modern world. Finally, the idea that oil in the ME caused corruption may have a kernel of truth, but it was and continues to be the underlying lack of civilized society that allows corruption to continue.
Here is the "civilization
" the Globe lays the blame for at our feet:
August 2000: Amina Abdullahi is sentenced to 100 lashes in the state of Zamfara for having premarital sex.
November 2000: Attine Tanko, 18, is found guilty of having sex out of wedlock after the discovery that she was pregnant. Tanko's 23-year-old boyfriend, the father of the child, was also flogged 100 times and sentenced to jail time. The court ruled it would allow her to wean the baby for up to two years after she delivered before receiving the punishment of 100 lashes.
January 2001: Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, 17, is lashed 100 strokes after authorities discover she conceived a child out of wedlock the previous year. The girl, who gave birth and was breast-feeding at the time of the caning, had no representation at the trial where she said she was impregnated by one of three middle-aged men with whom her father pressured her to have intercourse.
October 2001: A court convicts Safiya Hussaini of adultery, a "crime" that, in the Sokoto state of Nigeria, comes with a sentence of death by stoning, because she became pregnant out of wedlock, even though the 35-year-old mother of five charged she was raped by a neighbor.
March 2002: Safiya Hussaini is acquitted
of charges of adultery. The Muslim appeals court overturns her conviction, stating that the law was not yet in effect when she become pregnant.
March 2002: Amina Lawal Kurami is sentenced to death by stoning for bearing a child out of wedlock in Katsina, a state in northern Nigeria. The man she identified as the child's father denied the accusation and was acquitted for lack of evidence last spring.
August 2002: Amina Lawal Kurami's appeal is denied
. The judge said her sentence of death by stoning will be carried out as soon as Ms. Lawal weans her daughter from breast-feeding.In other news
: "A weapons cache has been discovered at the Iraqi embassy in London, which was abandoned by staff in the run-up to the Iraq war in early 2003, it was reported on Wednesday."
Kind of makes you wonder, what would Jesus do?
(End of post)