Another pretentious approach to praise Islamic inventions is made through the internet. An article titled “How Islamic inventors changed the world” was written by Paul Vallely, begins with the following statement: “From coffee to checks and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life.” In his article, Vallely lists twenty “Islamic inventions that changed the world” and reveals their actual inventors and the true role of Islam/Muslims behind the inventions.
The answer to these atrocious claims is heavily taken from the internet article: “how Islamic inventors did not change the world.” Regrettably, this inaccurate piece of writing not to say full of sheer lies, has received much praise from Muslims and is still being widely circulated on Islamic websites, forums, blogs, and is even used as a source to validate false claims of Islamic inventions in many separated articles on Wikipedia.
Coffee. According to Vallely it was invented by an Arab named Khalid, in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia. He boiled berries of a tree to make the first coffee. However, this man was an Abyssinian; that is he was an Orthodox Christian. So, if this legend were to be true, Khalid (or Kaldi) would not have been a Muslim, but a Christian.
Vision. According to Vallely, the first person to realize that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was Ibn al-Haytham. He invented the first pin-hole camera and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word Qamara, for a dark or private room). He was also the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.However,the basic optical principles of the pinhole are commented on in Chinese texts from the 5th century BC. Both the claims, that Ibn al-Haytham created intromission theory, and that he invented the pin-hole camera, are false. Intromission theory originated in Greek philosophy by Aristotle and Galen. The term “camera” was not derived from Arabic, but the opposite: the Arabic word “Qamara” has been borrowed from the Latin word “camera.” The term camera was first coined by Johannes Kepler (1571–1630). “Camera Obscura” means literally a “dark room.”
Chess. According to Vallely Islam developed and was the cause of the spread of chess to Europe. However, this is an offence to the Islamic religion as chess is forbidden. It was condemned by Muhammad who compared playing chess with dying ones hand with the flesh and blood of a swine (Sahīh Muslim, 28:5612.al-Muwatta, 52:7). The internet publication “history of Chess” is commonly held that the first version of the game was invented in India. It spread to Persia before the Islamic conquests, and was carried by the Byzantine Empire to Europe. From there it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century.
Flying. According to Vallely, a Muslim poet, astronomer and engineer Andalusian named Abbas Ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, creating what is thought to be the first parachute. In 875, he perfected a machine of silk and eagles’ feathers he jumped from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes. This is a thousand years before the Wright brothers. As far as flying is concerned, at the beginning were the kites, and these were a Chinese invention. They date back as far as 3,000 years. The earliest written account of kite flying was about 200 BC. In 478 BC a Chinese Philosopher, Mo Zi. Kites were also used in Chinese warfare for years, meant to frighten the enemy. The ancient Greek engineer, Hero of Alexandria, worked with air pressure and steam to create sources of power. One experiment that he developed was the aeolipile, which used jets of steam to create rotary motion. The importance of the aeolipile is that it marks the start of engine invention. Given all of the above information, how can anyone possibly accredit the invention of flight to a 9th century Muslim jumping off a mosque in Spain?
Bathing. According to Vallely, since washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which perhaps explain why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim.However, Sumarians produced thousands of years before the formal invention of soap from a mixture of alkaline ash and fat-containing substances. A soap-like material found in excavation of ancient Babylon as early as 2800 BC. The “Muslim” that Paul Vallely is referring to who introduced shampoo, was not a Muslim but a Christian convert. Moreover, the Jews have strict rules concerning washing and hygiene related to religious rituals. Olive oil soap and lighting was known from the beginning of Jewish history in the Land of Israel. This happened thousands of years before Islam, and all evidence prove that Islam’s religious ritual was taken from Judaism. Like the ancient Egyptians before, daily bathing was also an important event in the ancient Roman world. Soap-making by guilds was an established craft in Europe by the 7th century. The English began making soap during the 12th century.
Distillation. According to Vallely, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam’s foremost scientist, Jabir Ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits. Ibn Hayyan was the founder of modern chemistry. However, distillation apparatus from the Chinese Han dynasty, dated around the first century AD. The earliest evidence for its invention is a distillation apparatus and terra-cotta perfume containers recently identified in the Indus Valley, dating from around 3,000 BC. The first firm documentary evidence for distillation comes from the Greek historian Herodotus, dated 425 BC. The Arabs may have improved upon the process of distillation some 3500 years later, but they most definitely did not invent it.
The crank-shaft. According to Vallely, this was one of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind. It was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock. However, the crank-shaft was known to the Chinese of the Han Dynasty. It was also used on Roman medical devices. In year 834 AD the crank was used in Europe. Piston technology was also used by Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD with the creation of the world’s first steam-powered engine—the aeolipile, more than a thousand years before al-Jazari. Hero of Alexandria deserves the title “father of robotics” and not al-Jazari. As for the water clock, the ancient Egyptians used a time mechanism run by flowing water. One of the oldest was found in the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh buried in 1500 BC, and the Chinese began developing mechanized clocks from around 200 BC. The more impressive mechanized water clocks were developed between 100 BC and 500 AD by Greek and Roman horologists and astronomers. Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, and astronomer Archimedes (287–212 BC) is also said to have made such a device. As about the Combination Lock, it was on use during the Roman period.
Quilting. It is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. According to Vallely, it is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China, but still Vallely chose to include quilting as an Islamic invention. However, again the evidence is clearly against. The actual origins of quilting remains unknown, but its history can so far be traced to ancient China, Egypt of the first pharaonic dynasty, in 3400 BC, and in Mongolia somewhere between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD.
Architecture. According to Vallely, the pointed arch so characteristic of Europe’s Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture, allowing building of bigger, higher, and more complex buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome building techniques. Europe’s castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world. However, there is no basis or credible evidence for Vallely’s claim that Europeans “copied” the structural elements of Muslim castles. When it comes to revolutionary architectural inventions, nothing is greater than the creation of concrete, a material perfected by the Romans. This enabled them to erect buildings that would have been impossible to construct using the traditional stone system. As about the pointed arch, it was in fact the Assyrians and not the Muslims who first used it as early as 722 BC. The best example of a dome in the ancient world is the Pantheon in Rome, built almost 500 years before Islam. It remained as the greatest dome in the world until the 15th century construction of the Florence Cathedral (1420–36). The second most impressive pre-Islamic dome is that of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, built during the years 532–537 AD. In fact, it was the Muslims who borrowed from older Christian architecture. As about rose windows, the invention depends entirely on glass and craftsmanship, originated around 2,000 BC. The best glass manufacturers and exporters were the Phoenicians, who had a great supply of silica rich sands. The invention of the arrow-slit is attributed to Archimedes during the Siege of Syracuse in 214–212 BC.
Instruments. According to Vallely, many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by the Muslim surgeon, al-Zahrawi. His devised 200 instruments are recognizable to a modern surgeon. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes.However,the Greek and Roman physicians had access to a variety of surgical instruments. These medical instruments, which are now on display in museums around the world, were all available to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) who lived more than a thousand years before Islam. It was also the Greek physician and medical researcher Claudius Galenus (129–217 AD), who first used catgut to close wounds and not al-Zahrawi. As for the circulation of the blood, the Chinese Book of Medicine describes this 1,600 years before Ibn Nafis. Cataract surgery has been performed for many centuries. The earliest reference was written by a Hindu surgeon in manuscripts dating from the 5th century BC. In Rome, archaeologists found surgical instruments used to treat cataract dating back to the 1st and 2nd century AD. Anesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes were used both by the ancient Chinese and Romans.
The windmill. According to Vallely, it was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation, 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.However, a lie again. Contrary to the Vallely’s claim, there was no caliph in Persia in 634, and there was no Islamic windmill in 634. The first rotary mills were discovered in Turkey and existed 8,000 years ago. As about grain-grinding and water-pumping, one of the earliest can be found in 1st century BC in Greek writings. China is also often claimed as the birthplace of the windmill, but the earliest actual documentation was in 1219 AD.
Inoculation. According to Vallely, the technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it. However, this is most inaccurate. Indeed, Jenner and Pasteur were not the inventors of inoculation but neither were the Muslims. Inoculation against smallpox began in China during the 10th century, but the earliest documented reference comes from text written in 1549. In India, physicians conferred immunity by applying scabs to the scarified skin of the healthy. The technique of inoculation spread west to Turkey and then Europe.
The fountain pen. According to Vallely, it was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir by a combination of gravity and capillary action.However, this nice story is provided without any proof or corroboration. The history of the fountain pen begins with the quill pen, which was used by the Pharaonic kings 4,000 years ago. Though the first pencil was invented by Conrad Gessner in 1567, until the end of the 18th century when the metal pen was invented. A fountain pen which functioned as a pen with a piston was created by Folsch in 1809.
The system of numbering. According to Vallely, the system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians, al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi’s book, al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. al-Kindi’s discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.However, today’s system of numbering evolved from the Indian Brahmi numerals which were developed in the beginning of the first century. Even Arabs themselves refer to as “Hindu numerals.” Theorigins of algebra is traced to the ancient Babylonians who were able to do calculations in an algorithmic fashion. The mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria (214–298 AD) who authored a series of books called “Arithmetica” and is commonly referred to as “the father of algebra.” It is universally accepted that the system of numbering we use today (the digits 0 to 9) was invented in India. The use of zero as a number is found in many ancient Indian texts. The concept of negative numbers was recognized between 100–50 BC by the Chinese.
Greek and Indian mathematicians studied the theory of rational numbers. The best known is Euclid’s Elements, dated 300 BC. Euclid is also often referred to as the “Father of Geometry.” The earliest use of irrational numbers is in the Indian Sulba Sutras (800–500 BC). The earliest known conception of mathematical infinity appears in the Hindu text Yajur Veda. The earliest reference to square roots of negative numbers were made by Greek mathematician and inventor Heron of Alexandria (10–70 AD). Prime numbers have been studied throughout recorded history. The mathematical branch of Trigonometry has been studied by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, but the ancient Greeks are responsible to modern trigonometric formulae. And finally, the earliest known algorithms were developed by ancient Babylonians (1600 BC). Cryptology itself can be traced back to the time of Julius Caesar.
Three course meal. According to Vallely, Ali Ibn Nafi’ came to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal – soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas).However, indeed having to include the three course meal in any top 20 list of inventions is embarrassing. Still, it is not a Muslim invention. It is Roman’s one. It was the pre-Islamic Persians who introduced the dessert into Asia Minor. Also, Abbas ibn Firnas did not invent crystal glass. Clear glass appeared during the 15th century in Venice, and was called cristallo. Crystal was invented 175 years later, after glassmaker George Ravenscroft added lead oxide to glass, creating lead crystal glass.Carpets. According to Vallely, carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques. , new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam’s non-representational art. Europe’s floors were distinctly earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. However, the earliest known carpet was discovered in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, dated from the fifth century BC and is now kept in the Hermitage museum of St. Petersburg. Evidence suggests that some forms of rug-weaving were used in Pharaonic Egypt, Babylon and Persia about 4,000 years ago. The Romans were fond of rugs and used them intensively.
The modern check. According to Vallely, the modern check comes from the Arabic word, Saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a check in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.The Pharaonic Egyptians invented the book, as well as the material on which it could first be written, via papyrus. Up until the middle of the tenth century, papyrus was the main source of writing material. The only surviving copies of two works of the third century BC, Greek mathematician Archimedes, were on papyrus (Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science).
Earth is round.According to Vallely, by the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said Ibn Hazm, “is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth”. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate, the Earth’s circumference to be 40,253.4km, less than 200 km out. Along these lines, Science and Technology Minister, Fikri Işık, claims that Muslim scientists working around 1,200 years ago (some 700-800 years before Galileo Galilei) were the first to determine that the Earth is a sphere.However, everything that has been attributed to Muslim Arabs, had already been discovered by not only the pre-Islamic East, but also by the pre-Christian Greeks. The fact that the Earth is spherical was common knowledge among Ancient Greeks Pythagoras (570–495 BC), Aristotle (384–322 BC) and Hipparchus (190–120 BC). Eratosthenes (275–194 BC) measured the circumference of the earth to a figure very close to what we know of at present. The Greek philosopher and mathematician Aristarchus (320–230 BC) even knew the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around. Indian astronomer and mathematician, Aryabhata (476–550 AD), also deal with the sphericity of the Earth, the motion of the planets, and that its circumference is 39,968 km, which is close to the current equatorial value of 40,075 km. He also calculated the length of the day to be 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.1 seconds.
Gunpowder. According to Vallely, though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket and a marine torpedo. However, indeed the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and saltpetre is in fact potassium nitrate. The Chinese were also the first to fire cannon in war, gun, grenade, and fire arrows carried flammable materials or sometimes poison-coated heads. By the end of the 13th century, armies of Japan and India are believed to have acquired sufficient knowledge of gunpowder propelled fire arrows. At the same time,scientific papers on the subject of the preparation of gunpowder and its application in weaponry were being published in Europe. Notable works were prepared by Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, and Marchus Graecus before the close of the 13th Century. In 1379, an Italian named Muratori used the word “rochetta” when he described types of gunpowder propelled fire arrows used in medieval times. This was the first use of rocket.
Gardens. According to Vallely, Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.However, gardens were in Middle Eastern tradition long before Islam, to mention the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon around 600 BC. It also ignores the beautifully artistic Chinese Suzhou gardens (770–476 BC) which were designed for relaxation. The Roman tradition of gardens and fountains used for meditation. The oldest pictorial records of gardens are from Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings.
It is much more important, to accredit inventions to a religion is complete nonsense. Inventions are the result of ingenuity on the part of one or more people. In fact, what have the Arabs invented lately? The answer is not much in the last one thousand years. Moreover, many Islamic nations are stuck in the dark ages because of their corruption, religion and wars. Millions of people live in squalor with inadequate toilets and water. The West patents hundreds of thousands of inventions a year whereas the entire Muslim world has only a handful in its entire history, if any. The reason for this is plain: Islam forbids creativity and ingenuity. It discourages resourcefulness and innovation. It promotes strict observance of religion instead. How is that, the Science Museum publish and exhibit these mere lies? Simple again: money. Big money is being used to propagate these lies to the public in the name of diversity and multiculturalism. Unfortunately, Muslim strategy to conquer the world and to subdue humanity is highly successful, also due to the policies of ignorance, appeasement and oblivion.
For those who wish to balance: imagine history of the Arab life in Arabia, tribes with two main occupations of day by day living: Ghazawāt (raids) and Ghanā’im (booty). This was also their main occupation during Muhammad’s times and the conquest eras (al-Khulafā’ ar-Rāshidûn, the Umayyad and the Abbasid Dynasties). These tribes were not acquainted with sciences and culture. Their religion does not recommend investigation, criticism, open-mindedness, rationalism, skepticism and free thinking. Were from one suddenly expects the Arabs to dwell with sciences?
Philip Carl Salzman sketches out two patterns of rule that historically have dominated the Arab-Muslim Middle East and are key to understanding it: tribal autonomy and tyrannical centralism. Tribal autonomy means, tribal confederations seize control of the political system and exploit their power unabashedly to forward their own interests, and cruelly exploiting their subject population. Tyrannical centralism means autocratic rule, political mercilessness, and economic stagnancy that account Islam’s “bloody borders:” widespread hostility toward the infidels, non-Muslims.
Tribesmen and subjects, not citizens, populate the region. Middle Eastern countries retain “us-versus-them mentality” which dooms universalism, the rule of law, and constitutionalism. Trapped by these ancient patterns, Middle Eastern societies “perform poorly by most social, cultural, economic, and political criteria.” As the region fails to modernize, it falls steadily further behind. For Fouad Ajami it is clear: under the modern cover, the reality of clans and tribe persists and the calling voice of antagonism.
André Servier, historian of North Africa, has related to the issue boldly: “Islam was not a torch but an extinguisher.” Conceived in a barbarous brain for the use of a barbarous people, it was and it remains incapable of adapting itself to civilization. Wherever it has dominated, it has broken the impulse towards progress and checked the evolution of society. Islam is all the unimaginative brain of a Bedouin that copies, and in copying it distorts the original. The Arab has borrowed everything from other nations, even religious ideas. Incapable of rising to high philosophic conceptions, It has distorted, mutilated and desiccated everything. This destructive influence explains the decadence of the Muslim nations and their powerlessness to break away from barbarism. Islam is a doctrine of death and it formally forbids any change, any evolution, and any progress. In the history of the nations, Islam has never been an element of civilization and the Islamic nations have been stricken with intellectual paralysis and decadence.
Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher and historian, also relates to this issue: “Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of the world. It was the duty of the faithful to conquer as much of the world as possible for Islam… The first conquests of the Arabs began as mere raids for plunder, and only turned into permanent occupation after experience has shown the weakness of the enemy… The Arabs, although they conquered a great part of the world in the name of a new religion were not very religious. The motive of their conquests was plunder and wealth rather than religion… In modern politics this embodied in imperialism.”
Von Grunebaum, the distinguished orientalist, suggested that Islamic science was a mimic of Greek science. Islam failed to put natural resources to such use as would insure progressive control of the physical conditions of life. Inventions, discoveries, and improvements might be accepted but hardly ever were searched for. Ernest Renan, the French philologist, believed that Islamic science could only flourish in association with heresy, and that Islam was simply a vehicle transmitting Greek philosophy to the Renaissance in Europe. Pierre Duhem, the physicist-philosopher-historian believed: “There is no Arabian science. The wise men of Mohammedanism were always the more or less faithful disciples of Greeks, but were themselves destitute of all originality…”
The truth is simple: the Arabs conquered the most cultured scientific peoples, in Iraq, Persia, India, and the Hellenist-Roman Christianity. Their peoples came under Islamic rule and were Islamized. They were forced to write in Arabic, they were forced to convert to Islam. Does that mean their scientific contribution is Islamic? Science does not emerge out of nothing, science is a continuous process of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. How that relates to the situation in Arabia? There were admittedly few Arabs that accepted and absorbed the age of scientific development, but they unfortunately were few and negligent. Even Ibn Khaldun refers with contempt to the retarded savage “Bedouins of the desert,” as compare to the city dwellers.
To the Islamic falsifications, Assyrians reacted to what they call “Islamic imperialistic expropriation behavior.” Arab-Islamic civilization is not a progressive, but regressive. It does not give impetus, but retards. The great civilizations in the Middle East have never been Arab-Muslim, but Babylonian, Persian, Pharaonic, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian. Arabs-Muslims were plundering Bedouins, engaged in an explicit ongoing campaigns of destruction and expropriation of cultures, identities and ideas, of ethnic cleansing and Arabization and Islamization. Wherever Arab-Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab-Muslim one, it attempts to destroy it, to Arabize and Islamize it, and to expropriate its achievements. This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago.
If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is an Arab. This is exactly the case of the Land Israel, when the so-called “Palestinians,” a new invention of the second half of the 20th century, expropriate the Jewish history and rights over the land. This is the case of the Assyrians in Babylon, who first settled Nineveh in year 5000 B.C. Even the word ‘Arab’ is an Assyrian word, meaning “Westerner” (‘Ma’rabiyeh’), first used by King Sennacherib, 800 B.C. The Assyrian group end their declaration by claiming: one must be very sensitive not to unwittingly and inadvertently support Arab-Islamic Imperialism, with its attempts to wipe out all other cultures religions and civilizations by expropriating their cultural scientific achievements.
One has to look into the history of Islam of the occupied territories. What happened to the ancient Middle East that has become Arabized and Islamized? What happened to the glorious Christian centers of Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch in Syria; what happened to the great Babylonian scientific achievements led by the Assyrians; what happened to the wondrous of Persian civilizations; what happened to the Buddhist achievements and glorious sites? Why all these and many others magnificent civilizations have disappeared? Indeed, they all had gone with the wind of the stormy desert of Arab-Islamic primitive invasions. And today, what is the fate of the minorities during the last 1400 years in the Middle East under the so-called Islamic “tolerance”? What is the fate today of the Nubians in Egypt; the Berbers in North Africa; the Negroid in Sudan; the Assyrians in Iraq and Syria? Can one really imagine the existential threats posed on Israel as a Jewish nation and a Zionist state if it fails?
*part of a larger book titled, Why Islam is a Danger to the World: A Scholarly Rebuttal of Muslim Propaganda, be published by Mellen Press.
No one owes anyone anything?
Amazing things keep happening in Ukraine: what we (and many others) had been writing and talking about for almost a year was suddenly confirmed by the most unusual and unexpected source.
According to the Orthodox Journalists Union website, citing Ukrainian radio program “ Persona Grata,” Filaret Denisenko not only rejects the status of “former Metropolitan of Kiev” that Constantinople gave him, but also says that he has never recognized the anathema placed upon him in 1997 by the Russian Orthodox Church, of which he was once a canonical hierarch.
“Well, if the Ecumenical Patriarch removed the anathema from me in 2018, does it mean that I had been under the anathema until 2018?” Filaret wondered. “If I was under anathema, it means that all these bishops are invalid. As to Epiphany, he is not a Metropolitan; he is not even a priest. If the Ecumenical Patriarch lifted the anathema from me in 2018, then the entire episcopate is invalid!” he added. Thus, by dismissing the Constantinople Patriarch’s meddling in Ukrainian church affairs, Filaret is actually implying that either everyone (including the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the UOC-KP) are schismatics and heretics, or no one owes anyone anything now. Then why are we talking about debts? Here is why.
On the surface of it, it might look as if the old intriguer and schismatic is right! The truth, however, lies with the Orthodox Church canons, not with what Filaret is saying. In our October article, titled “Legalizing the Schism – the Patriarchate of Constantinople crossed the red line”, we questioned the Ecumenical Patriarch’s decision to “lift” the anathema, both from Filaret himself and his structure and “clerics.” The article also wondered how come a schismatic under anathema could all of a sudden become “the former Metropolitan of Kiev,” and his associates “the former” metropolitans, bishops and priests. Our view was fully shared by the Russian Orthodox Church, and also by the Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church, whose position on the issue has been extremely consistent and unswerving: “The Council regrets the canonically ill-advised decision by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to exonerate and officially recognize two leaders of splinter groups in Ukraine as bishops Filaret Denisenko and Makariy Maletich, along with their episcopate and clergy.”
Moreover, Filaret went even further in his statements and exposés.
“Do not call the Ukrainian Orthodox Church the canonical Church, do not state untruths,” declared Filaret, who suddenly started espousing the truth. “It is not recognized by other Churches as canonical, it is recognized only by the Ecumenical Patriarch. It has the Tomos [of autocephaly], but essentially it is not autocephalous. It is not recognized as canonical by 13 Local Churches. So why does it call itself canonical, when no one serves with Metropolitan Epiphany, except the Ecumenical Patriarch?”
According to Filaret Denisenko, “no church, be it the ROC, or those of Hellas, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Poland and Georgia, recognizes the so-called UOC, just like they didn’t the UOC-KP before. Therefore, we should not be bragging about having the Tomos of autocephaly. It has misled us,” Denisenko says, admitting the obvious fact that receiving the Tomos has not brought the Ukrainian schismatics anywhere closer to the single family of world Orthodoxy.
Obviously, the “honorable patriarch” has uttered nothing new and offered no maxims from the annals of canonic law. What conclusions can one make analyzing similar “revelations” being made by this Ukrainian heresyarch? Are they really signs of him suffering from senile dementia? Hardly so – although old and angry, Filaret is certainly not a fool and is just as perfectly versed in canonical matters as are the most diehard advocates of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
In a thinly veiled threat, “Metropolitan” Epiphany has already hinted that if Filaret and his supporters persist in their efforts to undermine the autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (a clear reference to the Church Council scheduled by Filaret for June 20) they could expect “…all canonical and legal consequences.”
Assuming that Epiphany is careful not to openly challenge his former benefactor, Filaret realizes that the only canonical backlash he may face will come from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. To Denisenko all this looks very logical, reasonable and legitimate (something he is trying to get across to those who listen): Epiphany and others like him are duly recognized by Patriarch Bartholomew, and since they were all ordained by Filaret, it means that there was no anathema then, therefore Bartholomew never lifted it and so no one owes anyone anything!
Just how the current bickering by these clowns will end we’ll see very soon. And with a great deal of pleasure too since all this squabbling when schismatics keep dragging beards over autocephaly, accusing each other of being pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian, this gives the canonical Church of Ukraine a much-needed breather. May God extend Filaret’s days, so that he comes up with something good or says something interesting…
From our partner International Affairs
Pressure on the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro
The Montenegrin Government adopted a draft law on May 16 that included a register of all religious objects, for which they claim that they were formerly owned by the independent kingdom of Montenegro before it become part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. The new law states that religious communities may only retain ownership of their property if they have clear evidence of ownership, triggering accusations from Serbian Orthodox Church that the Government plans to dispute the Church’s property.
”If there is no such evidence, it is a matter of property created and acquired by the state of Montenegro and represents the cultural heritage of all its citizens,” the draft says. Such property will be listed as a cultural treasure, that is, as state property of Montenegro.
On June 8 at the election conference of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) in Niksic, Party President Milo Djukanovic said that the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is trying to protect the “big Serbia infrastructure“. Djukanovic also accused the Serbian Orthodox Church, whose members constitute the overwhelming majority of Christians in Montenegro, of hindering the European ambitions of society, and of trying to keep the religious monopoly in the country. Previously, Djukanovic had declared that like Ukraine, Montenego will ask for the autocephaly of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which is not recognized.
According to him, in the Balkans, as well as in Montenegro, there is still a difficult struggle between the two policies – one that the DPS and Montenegro lead, which is the Europeanization of this area, and the other that tries to conserve the state of the lagging behind of the Balkans. Although, as he pointed out, they did a lot on the building of Montenegrin identity, there was another important step, which is to “correct the serious injustice” done at the beginning of the 20th century and the abolition of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. He suggested that he would work devotedly to the reconstruction of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, whether somebody like it or not, as well as to guarantee a real but not formal freedom of religion.
„We will not formally ensure that people can pray to God but only in those churches that will be monopolized by them, in this case, the Serbian Orthodox Church. No, it’s not the freedom of religion. We will fight for the freedom of religion and the separation of the church from the state. We will not allow contemporary Montenegro to live under the dictation of a religious organization that represents the relic of the past and which can hardly understand that it has long since passed and that Montenegro, like Serbia and all the societies in the Western Balkans, have the right to its own consistent European future, “said Montenegrin president.
Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral (Serbian Orthodox Church) was shocked by the statement of the Montenegrin president.
“I was stunned by what I heard from the President of Montenegro, the man who is the successor of the communist Government and who publicly declare himself as an atheist. On the other hand, he complains that the church should not interfere in politics, and he tries to be the head of the church, to create its own church. This is the first time in history that an atheist creates a church”.
In a previous interview with the news agency TASS, Metropolitan Amfilohije recalled that the project of the so-called “Montenegrin Church” emanated from the communist rule, already in the years 1970-1980. The Metropolitan mentioned that “the Montenegrin Church” is not recognized by anyone, except by the Ukrainian schismatics: “The only one who has recognized this “Church of Montenegro” is [Filaret] Denisenko. Now, they hope that Constantinople will recognize them, but this is absolutely impossible because Dedeic, who is at the head of the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church, was a priest of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Rome, and was laicized because of his crimes. So there can be no such recognition”.
Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej warned Montenegrin President Djukanovic that his actions might lead to a formal curse, or anathema, being declared.
“Let God give him the mind to think what he is doing, and not deserve the anathema of the whole Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church,” Patriarch Irinej told a Church TV station Hram(Temple).
Serbian Orthodox Church is the largest denomination in multi-ethnic Montenegro, but its relations with the pro-Western Government have always been poor. The Government considers Serbian Orthodox Church hostile to the independence of the country, and generally as too pro-Serbian and pro-Russian. The story of the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church lasts for almost three decades and has had several development phases. In the first phase, at least officially, its initiators in the first half of the 90s of the 20th century were some separatist political parties and quasi-cultural and scientific organizations. However, when Djukanovic strengthened power in 1997, with the support of the West, it began with the change of the historical identity of Montenegro. Then, in the old capital of Cetinje, the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church were attacked. The Serbian Orthodox Church easy overcame that first extreme blow in the late 1990s and early 2000s, because, apart from the old capital of Cetinje, the Serbian Orthodox Church was the most important institution in all other cities in Montenegro. The same situation is today.
In line with that Montenegrin regime now started with another tactic. They realized that in spite of strong pressure, the people in Montenegro did not accept the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. That is why the Montenegrin Government decided to take away the temples from the Serbian Orthodox Church and register them as a state property. After that, Montenegrin Government will make appointments for service in the temples for Serbian and Montenegrin Orthodox Church. And then the ruling party will force their party membership to go to the service, when it serves Montenegrin Orthodox Church.
Western centers of power supported Milo Djukanovic in 1997 and 1999 against Slobodan Milosevic. He was allowed to win the presidential election with various non-democratic methods, and finally in 2006 to make a referendum for separation from Serbia. The referendum was held in a totally irregular atmosphere. Djukanovic is the wildcard of the West who has agreed, to keep Milo Djukanovic in power to change the traditional Serbian/Slavic – Orthodox identity into Montenegrin, Roman Catholic and Western identity. Serbian identity of Montenegro, has already been broken through decades of Yugoslav communist rule which made a strong promotion of Montenegrin nation. As a result, state with a completely new and artificial identity was created.
The only missing link is the Montenegrin church. This is where the global conflict of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy is happening. The so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church openly expresses sympathy for the Catholic Church. If the project of the Government of Montenegro and the West were to pass, Serbian Orthodoxy would be pushed from the Adriatic. That would be the strongest blow to Serbia and Republic of Srpska. It is not pretentious to say that the Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church, the historical nation and institution of Montenegro came to the red line of survival of their identity, beyond which there is no further withdrawal.
From our partner International Affairs
Only Patriarch Filaret will protect Ukrainian faithful in diaspora
There are about 20 million Ukrainians who live outside Ukraine; most of them are Orthodox Christians. However, according to the Tomos of autocephaly, these people don’t belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church anymore.
We are told that our transition into the jurisdiction of Constantinople will not change anything in the life of our parishes. We were promised that we would be governed by our Ukrainian hierarchs and that Ukrainian priests would be appointed for us or kept in their positions. But all this is a lie. The UOC of Canada and the UOC of the USA are completely dependent on Constantinople. On any issue, including the approval of their own statutory documents, their hierarchs apply to Istanbul and rush to blame each other before Patriarch Bartholomew whenever conflicts erupt.
So far, the Church of Constantinople has tolerated the existence of its subordinate Ukrainian Churches and doesn’t mind increasing their number. However, the distant future of these Churches is the same as of the recently abolished Paris Archdiocese or the Orthodox Church of Finland which reportedly may face reformatting and liquidation in several years. Even such a large and self-sufficient entity as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is completely dependent on Istanbul, as confirmed by the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios and the appointment of Metropolitan Elpidophoros in his place.
The general policy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is that all “parallel” and “autonomous” structures in the Orthodox Diaspora will be gradually eliminated, and their communities will be transferred to a single center. Archbishop Elpidophoros will take a lead on this in the USA, Archbishop Makarios will do this in Australia, and other hierarchs in Europe. When the situation in the Diaspora is brought in line with the Canon law (one city, one bishop, one Church), there will be simply no positions for Ukrainian bishops.
Finally, as to the parish life – what rectors will bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate appoint for Ukrainian parishes in diaspora? We already have an example – St. Nicholas Church in Valencia, Spain. At first, an unknown man in civilian clothes began to appear among the believers, then he called himself a priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and was allowed to minister, and then he was appointed rector. At that, no documents confirming his priestly rank dignity has been shown to the community members! And of course there was nothing Ukrainian in him at all. Valencia parishioners have got neither his support, nor merely participation in their cultural initiatives and traditions, which are, in fact, the very expression of the national identity of any community.
This is how the congregation can receive from Constantinople a “super-canonical” (perhaps, even having Moscovian background!) Ukrainian-speaking clergyman, but lose the Ukrainian spirit, originated from centuries-old customs as well as from the memory of the Holodomor, the Heavenly Hundred killed during the Euromaidan Revolution, the heroes of the war in Donbass.
Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and all Ukraine left the parishes of the Kyivan Patriarchate in the Diaspora to their own devices, so that they would become subordinate to the local bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He also agreed with the appointment of new rectors by the Phanar. Now, when the congregational peace is broken, and the very community in Valencia asks to replace the priest, he told Metropolitan Hilarion to deal with the. “Is it not too late for an attempt to solve the problems of the community which he turned his back to? Then whose parish are we?” – the believers wonder. – “The Ecumenical Patriarchate or the OCU?”
Another example of ambivalence in the actions of the OCU Hierarchs is their attitude towards the Orthodox churches of Montenegro and Macedonia that have not yet been recognized by Constantinople. In the Kyivan Patriarchate, we always were in communion with them and concelebrated with the representatives of their clergy. And this was a considered, fully reasoned decision by His Holiness Patriarch Filaret. These Churches are the same as our Church has always been. Indeed, they haven’t been recognized yet, but there is no reason to consider their sacraments invalid. If their sacraments are null and void, were then ours too? And if their sacraments are valid, why can not we concelebrate with them? Sooner or later, time will sort things out, the Orthodox world will recognize them as it recognized us.
What do we have with Epiphanius at the helm? On the one hand, in the Australian city of Newcastle, the OCU parish does not allow clerics of the Macedonian Orthodox Church to serve in the temple. They say, we are now recognized, and they are not. On the other hand, though secretly from the Metropolitan Emmanuel, clergyman of the similar “unrecognized” Montenegrin Orthodox Church Archimandrite Bojan Bojović was admitted to concelebrate Liturgy in the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery on May 26. But what is the difference between him and the priest of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Newcastle? It’s hard to answer, especially taking into account that the Phanar has already taken the appeal of the Macedonian Church to consideration and its recognition seems to be not far off.
Patriarch Filaret never taught to juggle the Holy Canons for the sake of political gains; on the contrary, he is the one who sticks to them more than others. And he is completely independent and never betrays the truth. The Kyivan Patriarchate existed and developed successfully without any recognition, as did the fraternal Macedonian and Montenegrin Orthodox Churches.
While Metropolitan Epiphanius is bound by some obligations to the Greeks, afraid of something or simply does not know what to do, Patriarch Filaret has a necesssary vision, status and determination to fight for the future of the Orthodox Ukrainians in the diaspora and to protect their interests. That is why foes seek to prevent him from governing the Church, the spiritual leader and founder of which he is.
At the request of the Greeks, Poroshenko forced Patriarch Filaret to write a refusal from his candidacy before the election of the OCU’s Primate. For the sake of independence and recognition of the new Ukrainian Church, Patriarch Filaret gave the “Greek party” a chance. But the promises given to the Patriarch have been broken. The Kyivan Patriarchate has lost its status and independence, and no recognition by the Local Churches but for the Phanar has been received. Instead of this, a permanent exarch of the Phanar was placed in Ukraine, the “pearl” of Kyiv – St. Andrew’s Church was given to him, and the first bishop ordained in the OCU was a citizen of Greece and ethnic Greek but not Ukrainian.
However, even after the election of Metropolitan Epiphanius, 15.5% of the population of Ukraine (that is more than the amount of those 14.2% Ukrainians who support UOC MP having 12 thousand parishes in Ukraine!) would like Patriarch Filaret to be the Primate of the OCU, despite his age. And a large part of the communities left the jurisdiction of Moscow to join the Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP), which, according to Patriarch Bartholomew, “has never existed”.
Given that the young bishops have sold their souls to the Phanar for their ambitions, Patriarch Filaret is almost the only leader in the Ukrainian Church who still believes that it must be independent and serve interests of Ukraine. If Ukrainians in diaspora refuse to support him, they will betray their patriarch and their own country. In return, they will receive Greek bishops and the only freedom to pay contributions to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. And taking into account the needs and appetites of the Phanar, the contribution rates will be sky-high.
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