Yet another perspective to reflect: what are the archaeological treasures and the glorious historical events Egypt is proud of? Are they Pharaonic or Islamic? What about the Assyrians and Chaldean sites in Iraq? Are they Babylonian or Islamic? What about the Ugarit and Sumerian sites in Syria? Are they belong to the great history of ancient Syria or the Islamic era? In Lebanon it is the Phoenician culture and in North Africa it is the Berber. What about Persia that takes high proud of its scientific cultural achievements and cherishes its Arian glorious past? Does Islam has anything to do there? What about the great achievements of Buddhist Afghanistan and Hindu India? Islam has only left ruins there and took care to perform ethnic cleansing genocide.
John O’neill’s research (Holy Warriors: Islam and the demise of Classical Civilization) prove that Islam’s cultural and scientific contribution to the world is not only poorly negligent but negative. Not only Islam did not contribute to the civilization’s advancement, but in fact Islam was the main cause to the stagnation, decay, and the obstruction of Europe in the Middle-Ages. The so-called “Islamic Golden Age” is a total myth and a fabrication. The research of Dario Fernandes-Morera (The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians and Jews under Islamic rule in Medieval Spain, proves that Spain was the uppermost victim of the Islamic imperialist-colonialist occupation, and perhaps the most violent and harsh of the Islamic rule. The Christian Crusades were in fact defensive wars that saved Europe from the Islamic aggression. They were the last frontier before the transformation of Europe to Islamic territory.
Moreover, Islam was negatively the main cause for the discovery of America. The history of Western Civilization begins in a conflict with the Orient, a conflict of which it may be the end is not yet. When the Ottoman Empire took control of the Bosporus and Egypt, new routes had to be found.When Muslim Turks cut off the land routes to India and China, Europeans began to look for sea routes. In 1492,Christopher Columbus took four voyages to the New World (1492-93; 1493-1496; 1498-1500; and 1502-1504). The incentive was the Islamic imperialist occupation.
In his book, Libro de Las Profecias, he revealed his motivation for setting sail on his first voyage in August 1492, with the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria. He sought to find a sea route to India and China as the Ottoman Empire had closed off the land routes. The Mozarabic Chronicle in 754, recorded that thousands of churches were burned and: “God alone knows the number of the slain.” Columbus referenced how 40 years earlier in 1453, the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople, effectively cutting off the land trade routes to travel from Europe east to India and China.This gave rise to Columbus and other explorers searching for a sea route.Present-day critical of Columbus for discovering the New World should blame the ruthlessness of Islamic imperialism, for it was only after the Ottoman Empire cut off of the land routes to India and China that Columbus sought a sea route.
Those Arab and Muslim propagators who take so deep self-pride on the greatness of Ibn Khaldun, as the first historian, for example, should read what he said about Arab character: the natural talent of Arabs is the plundering and exploitation of others. Belongings of others inspire them to theft and robbery. They feed through their swords, robb and plunder without moral boundaries. During their conquests, they occupy a country and pay no attention to the heritage of the people. The only thing the Arabs cared for was to obtain other people’s property through extortion and blackmail. They knew no mercy for other peoples and their well being. It was never their intention to improve a community but to find new ways to satisfy their greed and increase their wealth. Because of their nature it is hard for Arabs to accept any authority. On the basis of their characteristics they show brutality, greed and rivalry. It seldom happens that they agree on anything, except on religious matters. Raiding and plundering rule the Arabs lives, the way they behave, their relationships, their views of the other, and their decisions. Any Arab conquest automatically entailed the destruction of the civilization in question as most cities were deserted by their inhabitants. Cultivated fields turned into a wasteland. The areas between Mediterranean and Sudan, which has previously built and inhabited, are now just a desert, where ruins are left to to remind us that it once was a civilization.
“Islamic science” and /or “Arab Science.” George Saliba, the University of Columbia’s Arabic and Islamic Studies, claims that “Islamic science” virtually created the modern world. To this, Toby Huff refers to “Arab Science,” and claims that from the eighth century to the end of the fourteenth, Arabic science was probably the most advanced science in the world, greatly surpassing the West and China. Arab scientists were in the forefront of scientific advance.
When Pope Benedict XVI delivered his Regensburg Address on 12 September 2006, quoted a passage about Islam, given by Manuel IIPalaiologos, the Byzantine Emperor: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached. To this absolutely correct words Tariq Ramadan, Europe’s favorite Muslim and perhaps one of the most influential figure in the West today, condemned the Pope and Europe for ignoring the positive contributions of Islam to the development of rational thought in the West: Benedict’s narrow definition of European identity is deeply troubling and almost dangerous, the tendency of Westerners to ignore the critical role that Muslims played in the development of Western thought. In his article he gives a long list of Muslims who developed European sciences.
However, first, “Islamic Science” is not an “Arab Science.” This differentiation is important to start with. “Arabs science” was and still is until today, non-existent. One can count Arab scientists in his finger-hands. In Huff’s analysis it appears clearly: his mistake is that when he uses the term “Arab science” he actually means all Muslims, anybody who happened to live under Arab-Islamic rule, and not necessarily Arabs.Muslims, whenever they talk about Islam’s contributions to civilization, are quickly to mention Muslim philosophers and scientists, and the Islamic Golden Age, spanning from 9th to the 12th century. To understand this issue, one must address: more than inventing and developing, as they claim, Muslims transferred Greek, Indian and Persian knowledge and sciences through the Arabic language. Muslims have not created any new sciences but passed on the formers’ (‘Ulûm al-Awā’il, ancient sciences). Moreover, this project of translation to Arabic was done by the local indigenous scholars, Assyrians, Persians, Jews, Christians, and not by Arabs. In fact, only those sciences that were considered fitting to Arab-Muslim interests, like linguistics, mainly grammar (‘Ulûm al-Lughah), vocabulary (‘Ulûm an-Nahû), and historiography, were investigated. Other scientific research, mainly natural sciences, were entirely investigated by the natives of the Islamic conquests, except of very few and still without considerable progress.
The Greek-Arabic translation movement in Abbasid Baghdad, like other scholarly efforts was not centered in educational institutions, Madāris, which remained religious-oriented, but in the households of patrons seeking social prestige. The translation movement supported by the entire elite of Abbasid society, however, when these patrons changed their priorities, or when they died, the institutions often died with them.
Madāris were established under the law of Waqf, pious endowments, which meant they were legally obligated to follow the religious commitments. Autonomous institutions were utterly absent in the Islamic world until the late nineteenth century. Again, “Islamic sciences” had only one meaning: the study of the Qur’an, the principles of the Shari’ah, and Arabic grammar. Nothing more. “Islamic Sciences” is a fake myth propagated to the ignorant contemporary world without any corroboration and substantiation. Averroës’ works were forbidden and neglected, even burnt, until Europeans rediscovered them. Now Muslims pretend to speak on behalf of him.
The more sordid the Islamic present seems, the more we are told of the glories of the Islamic past; and the most glorious among the glories of Islam are the “Islamic science,” the Islamic contribution to all Western sciences. However, according to Reliance of the Traveller, the following list are denied being a blasphemy: sorcery, philosophy, magic, astrology, the sciences of the materialists, and anything that creates doubts. These are unlawful, serious affronts to Islam, and a form of apostasy. Ghazali in his The Incoherence of the Philosophers rejects the connection exist between causes and effects, which are basic to any science. According Ghazali, causes and effects are inadmissible, because they limit the absolute freedom of Allah and his will. The Reliance of the Traveller asserts “that things in themselves or by their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah” is apostasy.
Yet, without the notion of cause and effect, any science is impossible. Therefore, the condemnation of the Reliance of the Traveller of “the sciences of the materialists” and philosophy leads to condemnation of all secular sciences. If one cannot discuss the nature of any object, whether material or spiritual, because it conditions how it affects and is affected by other objects that means condemnation of any effort to understand anything.
For Bassam Tibi, the reformist Muslim, all along the Islamic history, what is called science was viewed as literally Islamic science, meaning the study of the Qur’an, Sunnah, and the glorious Arab history. Rational sciences were – in medieval Islam – considered to be foreign sciences and at times heretical. It was termed ‘Ulûmal-Qudamā'(the sciences of the Ancients), that it, the Greeks.”Islamic science” was totally dependent upon translations that ultimately made by non-Muslims of the achievements of pre-Islamic cultures, Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Jews, Christians, Assyrians. The Arabs of the desert, warriors of raids and booty, knew no languages and had no intellectual curiosity. A striking number of Muslim thinkers and scientists were Persians and Assyrians, who totally owed to their pre-Islamic heritage than if anything to Islam.
This issue should also be viewed and examined by the test of history: If Islam has scientifically contributed so much to humanity in almost every aspect of human life, how come there was nothing, almost zero, of these before the 9th century, and nothing after the 13th century? If the Arab-Muslims are so talented, can anyone explain this perplexing fact? Science does not stop. Science does not disappear abruptly. Science is an ever going processes of learning and developing, pile on pile, error and trial, erring and correcting, from the past to the present, and from the present to the future. Science does not appear out of the blue and does not disappear out of the blue. Science is created and it develops. It takes efforts and investments to cultivate and ameliorate it, but it is part of of the progress of humanity.
Today, the Muslim world produces a disproportionately very small amount of scientific output and much of it is of low quality, if any. In numerical terms, Muslim countries having almost 25% of world’s population, generate less than 5% of its science, with innovations almost to zero. How does one explain the huge gap in scientific output between the Muslim world and the West or East Asia? The past achievements of scientists clearly show that Islamic religion is the key problem facing scientific achievements.
Again, where are the Islamic scientific achievements from the 13th century on? What are their achievements until today? As for contemporary situation, how about investigating all 56 Islamic countries’ situation today? What are their economic, social, cultural, scientific situation let alone their achievements? All we see around is misery, wretchedness of life, and authoritarian patrimonial oppressive rule. No freedoms and no civil rights. Islam forbids. Islam demands submission and devotion to Allah alone. Pretentiousness is notorious. Pretentiousness without any proven basis is not only a shame to those who hold it, but total impossible inhuman trait to accept. However, it is much worse to those who accept it without investigation and understanding, and still carry it on to shape the ignorant minds and to influence world public opinion with fabrications.
Regrettably, it looks like that Muslim propagators have taken control on Wikipedia’s user-created and many other internet devices, to propagate on many subjects concerning Islam and the Middle East. It is highly salient in articles on the history of sciences and Islamic involvement. This is what is so dangerous when depending on the internet, and Wikipedia in particular. The articles have been thoroughly overrun by Islamic supremacist propagators and their Western supporters. Reading them, one is overwhelmed by uncorroborated and unsubstantiated material, which absolutely support the Islamic propagation. This process influences the learned people that wish to understand, and therefore wirld public opinion, the media, and by all means the politicians. The result is twisted, fabricated and false information.
The “Islamic Golden Age.”In our contemporary twisted world and upside down language, the allegedly ‘anti-imperialist’ Marxists in Western world love brutal, aggressive, oppressive imperialism, as long as it comes in an Islamic shape. They deeply hate and totally fight Western imperialism and colonialism, but put a blind eye to the fact that the worst Imperialists and colonialists ever in the entire history, the worst genocide and ethnic cleansing acts were perpetrated by Muslims under the banner of the worst and cruelest religion, Islam. European medieval peoples are invariable portrayed as barbarians with no culture of their own, while Islamic barbarian and primitive culture is praised as being the best and advanced. Therefore, as Islamic and Bolshevik propaganda dispersed around, the naïve Westerner is confused, perplexed, and wonders about his own religion, history and culture and what is wrong and what is right.
The issue of Islam vs. Europe in the Middle-Ages is repeatedly flooded with fabrications promoted by Muslims propagators and Western Bolsheviks, and accepted by ignorant who know nothing of the issue, and do not ask questions. This is one of many cases in which experienced and well-rooted sciences is being rebuffed in favor of myths disseminated by Muslim propagation. People who know very little about the issues have taken control on knowledge and dictate their distorting extreme lies on world public opinion, the media, and even the politicians. The Islamic Golden Age is one of the biggest myths that are still with us.
Taking this line, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Europe’s largest weekly magazine, hailed the Muslim al-Andalus as a Multicultural Model for Europe: “For nearly 800 years, inhabitants of al-Andalus, as the Arab dynasties called their empire on the Iberian Peninsula, allowed Jews, Christians and Muslims to coexist in a spirit of mutual respect, a situation that benefited all.” Even the U.S. State Department has proclaimed that “during the Islamic period in Spain, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together in peace and mutual respect, creating a diverse society in which vibrant exchanges of ideas took place.”
Please read these few lines of total ignorance and stupidity: “800 Years” (!); “coexist in a spirit of mutual respect”(!); “in peace and mutual respect, creating a diverse society” (!). Now the question: did they ever try to learn the issue, or just followed like monkeys the Islamic propagation? Yet still, this is the voice of ignorance. One can also find the voice of evil: Islamic propagator, Karen Armstrong, enunciates this when she says that “until 1492, Jews and Christians lived peaceably and productively together in Muslim Spain – a coexistence that was impossible elsewhere in Europe.”
The vast volume of the myths, in fact sheer lies, were related to the so-called “Golden Age” of Islamic rule in Andalusia. Here are the facts: Spain was conquered in 710-716 by Arab tribes. Followed the conquest, there was a massive colonization of the Iberian Peninsula; huge Berber and Arab immigration; and an intensive acts of slaughter of Christians, conversion of churches into mosques, and massive pillages, enslavement, and deportations. The only toleration was when Christians and Jews acted in submission, like the Muslims expected to as Dhimmis. Segregated in special quarters, they had to wear discriminatory clothing. Subjected to heavy taxes, misery and poverty were the common.
Society in Andalusia, occupied Spain, was sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, with the Arab tribes at the top of the hierarchy; followed by the Berbers who were never recognized as equals, despite their Islamization; lower in the scale came the Mullawadun, converts; and at the very bottom, the Dhimmi Christians and Jews. The slogan that went prime during the Islamic reign in Spain was the quotation of the Qur’an (58:19): ‘Satan has gained possession of them, and caused them to forget Allah’s warning. They are Satan’s party; they will surely be the losers!’
The fact is that the humiliating status imposed on the Dhimmis and confiscation of their land did provoke many revolts, punished by horrifying massacres. The socio-political history of Andalusia was characterized by a particularly oppressive Dhimmitude that is completely incompatible with notions of equality and liberalism. As Bat Yeor and Paul Fregosi prove, al-Andalus represented the land of Jihad par excellence. Indeed, the Islamic “policy of tolerance and egalitarianism,” as Muslim propagators claim, was shown by the raiding expeditions every year, sometimes twice a year, against the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, plundering them and bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts and the Aegean Islands, looting and burning the peoples.
In 846, 11,000 Muslims on 73 ships invaded Rome and sacked the Basilica. They looted old St. Peter’s basilica and desecrated his grave. The Muslims then trashed the remains of St. Paul, which were in the historic church, San Paolo Fuori le Mura. As a result of this invasion, Pope Leo IVbegan building a massive wall to protect the Vatican from Muslims raiders.A miracle saved Rome at the Battle of Ostia in 849, when Muslim ship were decimated by a violent storm and captured. When Pope, John VIII (872-882) failed in rallying a defense, he was forced to pay an annual extortion tribute taxes. Muslims plundered the coasts of Italy, and in 883 they destroyed the renowned monastery of Monte Cassino, and killed its abbot, St. Bercharius in the altar. They destroyed the abbey of San Vincezo in 884, and the abbies of Farfa and Subiaco in 890. At the Battle of Garigliano River in 916, Muslims captured Reggio and Calabria, selling inhabitants into North African slavery.
Huge number of people were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the Muslims kept a militia of tens of thousands of Christian slaves (Saqaliba), and a harems filled with captured Christian concubines. In Granada, the Jewish viziers Samuel Ibn Naghrela and his son Joseph, who protected the Jewish community, were both assassinated between 1056 and 1066, followed by the annihilation of the Jewish population. It is estimated that up to five thousand Jews perished in the pogrom by Muslims that accompanied the 1066 assassination. The Muslim Berber Almohads in Spain and North Africa (1130-1232) wreaked destruction on both the Jewish and Christian populations. This devastation, massacre, captivity, forced conversion and slaughter was described by the Jewish poet Abraham Ibn Ezra. Suspicious of the sincerity of the Jewish converts to Islam, the Muslims removed the children from their families, placing them in the care of Muslim educators. Maimonides, experiencing the Almohad persecutions, had to flee Cordoba with his entire family in 1148, temporarily residing in Fez, before finding asylum in Fatimid Egypt.
Richard Fletcher offers a sobering observations and a valid summary assessment of the real interfaith relationships in Muslim Spain, and refutes contemporary propagation of obfuscating Islamic history. The simple and verifiable historical truth is that Moorish Spain was more often a land of turmoil than it was of tranquility…Tolerance? Ask the Jews of Granada who were massacred in 1066, or the Christians who were deported by the Almoravids to Morocco in 1126 (Moorish Spain).
It is imperative to start understanding the issue by analyzing the cultural-scientific aspects: Muslim scholars did not seriously and could not religiously study other cultures and accept them with fairness, and therefore cannot express sympathy, egalitarianism and good will to the other. It also means that Islam lacks the basic important ingredients of scientific research:
a) Curiosity, the urge to know, to understand and to investigate, as the world of Muslims is always arranged and Islam regulates the believer’s life on each and every aspect, 24 hours a day. The Islamic educational system is to learn by heart. This is the most praised, cherished, and recommended demand of the believer and in the Islamic Madāris. The Shātir (skillful) in Islam is he who quotes by heart as many Qur’an verse as he can; he who knows the stories of Muhammad by heart and tell them proudly, and he who strive for the Islamic law to be the only law of the land. These are the most appreciated, welcomed and adored in the Islamic society.
b) Unlike the cultural and scientific approach in the West, which advocate skepticism, self-criticism and even self-blame; these attitudes simply do not exist in the Islamic religious system. Criticism, open-mindedness, and objective appreciation are totally missing in Islam, as the imperative to ask questions and to criticize has become in Islam a blasphemy.The believers should not, in fact must not ask questions: everything depends on Allah’s will and everything operates according to Allah’s demands. When the Muslims came to the idea from the 11th century on that Islam has the total human wisdom from the beginning of history to the end of the world, that there is nothing in the completeness of Islam, they accordingly also denied, neglected, and even prohibited the adoption of Western ideas, being Bid’ah (forbidden as heresy).
c) This approach leads to another component: in Islam the Golden Way is absent. By virtue of being absolute axioms, all Islamic notions are beyond proof. Islamic epistemology is clear and decisive: good and evil do not exist in and of themselves; they are as Allah proclaimed them. Allah does not decree or prohibit certain behaviors or actions because they are good or evil; but the actions are good or evil because Allah defined them as such.The faithful always avoid evil and always pursue absolute good (Sûrat al-‘Imrān, 3:110, 114, 132; Sûrat at-Taubah, 9:71, 112). Consequently, there is no room for moral or conscientious considerations in reference to infidels and there is no reason to feel empathy towards them (Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:62; Sûrat Hā Min as-Sajdah, 41:30; Sûrat al-Fath, 48:29). By its innate essence, Islam is globally superior. It therefore does not engage in self-criticism over the actions or behavior of a faithful Muslim, as it is the epitome of perfection.
d) Islam’s view of the “self” versus the “other” is absolutely ethnocentric. Everything is perceived in unqualified terms of black and white. Islam divides the world in two: Dār al-Islām against Dār al-Harb, the good and just society versus the evil and impure society; absolute righteousness as compared to ultimate evil; Heaven againt Hell. The operative expression of this juxtaposition becomes evident in the al-Wallā’ wal-Barā’ approach: the supreme and unqualified loyalty and love for Islam versus the absolute rejection, enmity and hatred for the infidels. This is the most important manifestation of the Islamic faith, second only to the belief in the unity of Allah (Tawhīd): (Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:257; Sûrat al-‘Imrān, 3:28, 31-2; Sûrat an-Nisā’, 4:76, 89; Sûrat al-Mā’idah, 5:51, 54; Sûrat at-Taubah, 9:71; Sûrat an-Nûr, 24:2; Sûrat al-Mumtahanah, 60:4).
e) Many commandment in the Qur’an can make this religiously legitimate: the verses that declare Muslims are the best of all human beings on the universe; the verses that declare the Muslims are always doing only good and always forbidding the bad and evil. These have a clear direction that lead the Muslims to freely expropriate everything that belong to the other, from the material to the spiritual, without any guilt remorse and with clean conscience. Indeed, there have been various attempts at historical revisionism concerning Islamic contributions to the world. These attempts are yet political propaganda than academic scholarship. After all, it is religiously acceptable in Islam to deceive and to act falsely if it promotes the interests of Islam. Allah deceives the infidels by Taqīyah and Kitmān, lying and deceiving the infidels to advance Allah’s cause, is permitted, and even prescribed, to Muslims.
f) There cannot be a Golden Age as Islam does not believe in “conquering” foreign territories; instead, there is only Futûhāt – introducing the world to the light of Islam and delivering the infidels from the darkness in which they live to the light of Islam. This is why the Muslim regimes have never expressed any remorse, or apologized for their past conquests or their present violence. The outcome was Arabization and Islamization of the indigenous natives. This is how the Middle East was mainly Pharaonic; Phoenician; Babylonian; Ugarit; Chaldean; Jewish, and Berber in North-Africa. Iran was Sassanid; East Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan were Buddhist. All these lands were Islamized and/or Arabized. Most of these peoples have perished, or come to extinction.
For Bernard Lewis the issue is clear. The golden age of equal rights to minorities and egalitarianism was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam. The myth was invented by Jews in nineteenth-century Europe as a reproach to the Christian religious Antisemitism. He continues by referring to the myth of Islamic Golden Age in broad perspective: we live in a time when great efforts have been made, and continue to be made to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they would wish it to have been, as they would like their followers to believe that it was. All this is very dangerous indeed, to ourselves and to others, however we may define otherness – dangerous to our common humanity. Because, make no mistake, those who are unwilling to confront the past will be unable to understand the present and unfit to face the future.
From the lifetime of its founder, Islam was the state, and the identity of religion and government is indelibly stamped on the memories and awareness of the faithful from their own sacred writings, history, and experience. It is the duty of those who have accepted Allah’s word and message to strive unceasingly to convert or at least to subjugate the infidels. This obligation is without limit of time or space. It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.
His conclusion: Islamic Golden Age has never reached the gates of Islam, it was a big myth. Muslims and their Western collaborators have no shame added with of impudence stating that the real face of Islam was exhibited in Spain. Their statements are so deep on the fabricating side of the lie that the ignorant and the stupid go side by side with the evil to accept this falsification. Toby Huff warns out that if Islam had taken over Europe, the later Western scientific achievements would have been impossible: If Spain had persisted as an Islamic land into the later centuries, it would have retained all the ideological, legal, and institutional defects of Islamic civilization. A Spain dominated by Islamic law would have been unable to found new universities based on European model of legally autonomous corporate governance, as corporations do not exist in Islamic law. The Islamic model of education rested on the absolute primacy of Fiqh, of legal studies, and learning by heart is a total failure that leads to illiteracy.
It is recommended to read the online essay in Jihad Watch by Bat Ye’or and Andrew G. Bostom: “There were rarely periods of peace. al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year, sometimes twice a year, raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts, even as far as the Aegean Islands, looting and burning as they went. Thousands of people were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousands of Christian slaves brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women.”
Muslims were for the most part uninterested in other cultures and rarely bothered to learn their languages. The creation of a scientific discipline was done by other, never by Muslims. They showed little interest in the history of their pre-Islamic ancestors, let alone that of other nations, and aggressively destroyed historical remains unearthed in their own countries. They were concentrated in their own religion, and in conquering and plundering the infidels’ lands. This is the only perhaps the best science they have excelled.
There was much more, and the best to testify what the face of Islam is the greatest ever top Jewish philosopher, physician and scientist, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known as Maimonides, whom Muslim propaganda shamelessly and impudently claim he was a Muslim convert. He was a proud Jew, one of the greatest human mind who despised Islam. For Maimonides Islam is barbarian and violent, the worst nation that hates Israel and acts to eliminate the Jewish people. Muhammad was a deceiver, fanatical and Islam is savage religion.
The fact is clear: Muslims have spent 1400 years trying to eradicate Greek studies and the ancient peoples’ scientific achievements. Islam acted also to demolish the Greek and the ancient Middle East heritage and societies whenever and wherever they came and occupied, from India to Andalusia. Now Muslim propagators shamelessly want to take the credit for “preserving the Greek cultural and scientific heritage” and claiming to be in the forefront of sciences. Yet, no cultural sphere with one and a half billion people contributes so little to the development of science or the arts in our time.
After the 13th century, the Arab world saw very few innovations in any of the scientific fields. The Renaissance, the Reformation, the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment, passed totally unnoticed in the Muslim world. It is related to Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, in late 19th century asking why the Muslim torch became extinguished and it remains buried in profound darkness.
*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.
Muslim-Evangelical alliance strives to create religious and political middle ground
A recent unprecedented alliance between Muslims and Evangelicals takes on added significance in a world in which human rights are on the defensive, religious groups tend to forge political as well as ideational partnerships, and the role of the clergy in multiple Muslim-majority countries has come under scrutiny.
The alliance potentially could create a platform for voices in the Muslim world, particularly the Middle East, in which significant segments of the youth who constitute a majority of the population, increasingly reject state-controlled, ritualistic forms of religion and distrust clerics subservient to the government.
It could also offer a middle ground on which elements of the secular centre-right and centre-left could meet based on shared faith-based values in deeply polarised parts of the world, particularly in the West.
International affairs and inter-faith scholar Michael Driessen suggested in an email to this writer that the recently forged alliance between Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), one, if not the world’s largest Muslim civil society organization, and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), fits a pattern of partnerships between diverse religious groups that goes beyond seeking to protect minorities to promotion of social cohesion and fraternity.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Interfaith Forum of the Group of 20 or G20 that brings together the world’s largest economies, Tunisian Islam scholar Nejia Al-Ourimi seemed to anticipate the alliance when she argued that reform of Islam would have to be bottom-up and originate in civil society rather than top-down and directed and controlled by autocratic rulers who see it as a way of branding themselves and their nations as well as and one way of ensuring survival.
Ms. Al-Ourimi reasoned further that genuine inclusivity was precluded in much of the Middle East because most Arab constitutions assume that the state has a religion. She went on to say that “what we need to do is reframe the traditional approaches of linking religion to legislation. We must find leaders who are willing to withdraw from the traditional way of participating in the public sphere—through the legal and legislative dimensions—and return from a ‘values’ perspective to guide ethical efforts.”
In a contribution to a recently published report on Human Fraternity and Inclusive Citizenship issued by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and the Beirut-based Foundation for Diversity, Solidarity and Human Dignity (Adyan), Ms. Al-Oumiri points to a series of lofty, lovey-dovey inter-faith statements issued in the past decade by different combinations of Arab Muslim and non-Muslim clerics, religious and secular intellectuals, and politicians.
The statements constituted attempts by Muslim religious authorities and autocratic governments to keep ahead of the curb of youth aspirations and project themselves as voices of moderation by emphasizing religious freedom, religious pluralism, and inclusive citizenship irrespective of religious belief.
The statements include the 2012 Statement on Basic Freedoms issued by Al Azhar, Islam’s Cairo-based oldest institution of Islamic learning that has long been swayed by Saudi and United Arab Emirates financial support, the 2016 Marrakech Declaration that called for the development of a jurisprudence of that enshrines the concept of inclusive citizenship, and the Document on Human Fraternity signed in the UAE in 2019 by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.
Referring to the 2012 Al Azhar statement, Ms. Al-Oumiri highlighted the fact that the statement was issued in the wake of popular revolts that in 2011 toppled the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Saudi and UAE manoeuvres helped roll back the revolts’ achievements in all of the countries except for Tunisia.
The manoeuvres did not roll back what Ms. Al-Oumiri described as a “new awareness” among “all the components that participated in the protest movement, secularists, liberals, Christians, Muslims and others, (that) became aware of the fact that the bilateral polarization and exclusionary relations prevailing at that time were the main reason for the dispersion of forces capable of inducing positive change and extricating Arab society from its chronic crisis.” It is an awareness that expresses itself today among others in changing youth attitudes towards religiosity.
Ms. Al-Oumiri’s ‘new awareness’ is one factor that hampers autocratic efforts to shape a moderate form of Islam that serves the needs of social change and economic diversification without conceding democratic freedoms, projects autocrats as religious moderates as part of their nation branding and furthers their quest for religious soft power.
The ‘new awareness’ is borne out by research and opinion polls that consistently show that the gap between the religious aspirations of youth and state-imposed interpretations of Islam is widening. The polls and research suggest that youth are increasingly sceptical towards religious and worldly authority. They aspire to more individual, more spiritual experiences of religion.
As a result, Nahdlatul Ulama’s opportunity to turn its alliance with the WEA into a vehicle of change in both the Muslim world and the West is enhanced by the fact that religious reform in rival contenders for religious soft power like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Egypt is top-down by decree or changes in common or civil rather than, more sustainably, bottom-up and anchored in religious law and jurisprudence.
The point was highlighted when Nahdlatul Ulama’s religious leaders took the first step towards reform of religious law and/or jurisprudence in 2019 by replacing the notion of the kafir or infidel with the concept of muwathinun or citizens to emphasize that Muslims and non-Muslims were equal before the law.
Leaders of the group say that they intend to tackle other outdated, intolerant, or supremacist concepts such as the dhimmi or People of the Book, and slavey that remain reference points even if large numbers of Muslims do not heed them in their daily life, as well as eventually blasphemy and apostasy.
Nahdlatul Ulama’s opportunity is further both bolstered and complicated by the fact that autocratic Muslim rulers wittingly or unwittingly reinforce Islamophobic tendencies in multiple ways by their often brutal abuse of human rights at home and their support of policies in various parts of the globe that encourage negative perceptions of Islam and Muslims.
These policies include the blurring in countries like France and Austria of the lines between political Islam and piety as well as autocratic Muslim acquiescence, if not endorsement of the crackdown on Turkic Muslims and Islam in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang.
Nahdlatul Ulama, despite its tangible adherence to principles of democracy, human rights, and tolerance, has yet to clearly distinguish itself from autocratic religious soft power rivals when it comes to its shared rejection of political Islam and identity politics. In other words, how it handles Islamophobia is likely to be a litmus test for Nahdlatul Ulama as well as its alliance with the Evangelicals.
Making that distinction clear is likely to also enhance the Nahdlatul Ulama-WEA alliance’s ability to bring together elements of the centre-right and centre-left could meet based on shared faith-based advocacy of human rights, democratic freedoms, and tolerance at a time that democracy is on the defence.
The linkage between the Nahdlatul Ulama-WEA alliance’s opportunity to serve as a bridge in both the religious and political domain is evident not only when it comes to countering religious supremacism but also far-right extremism. It is that linkage that adds a geopolitical dimension to the alliance’s potential.
Germany, where ultra-nationalist supremacists, despite recent electoral setbacks for the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have infiltrated the security and armed forces, spotlights the importance of creating a religious and political centre that is driven as much by shared values as it is by interests.
Security services recorded more than 1,400 cases of suspected far-right extremism among soldiers, police officers and intelligence agents in recent years. The German defence ministry last year disbanded a whole company of special forces after explosives, a machine gun, and memorabilia of the Nazi’s SS were found on the property of a sergeant major.
The geopolitical significance of developments in Germany is enhanced by the fact that some German ultra-nationalists and members of the far-right are believed to have links to Russia and /or far-right Russian nationalists.
In the latest German incident, prosecutors are investigating an official of Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country’s domestic intelligence agency, suspected of helping plan the assassination of a Chechen dissident as part of a campaign across Europe that targets critics of Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of the Russian republic of Chechnya. Mr. Kadyrov is widely viewed as an associate of President Vladimir Putin and maintains close ties to Middle Eastern autocrats.
Defining moderate Islam: Muslims and Evangelicals forge an alliance
A major Muslim and Evangelical organization joined forces this week to significantly advance hitherto state-backed ceremonial inter-faith dialogues that seldom go beyond platitudes and lofty statements.
This week’s launch at a Washington DC mosque of an inter-faith alliance and a book published by the Institute for Humanitarian Islam and the Germany-based World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) as well as the Center for Shared Civilizational Values constitutes an Evangelical endorsement of Humanitarian Islam.
It also amounts to a rare Muslim celebration of an Evangelical authority, WEA secretary general Archbishop Thomas Schirrmacher, who played a key role in building a relationship between the Evangelical group and Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, one, if not the world’s largest Muslim movement.
“Dr. Schirrmacher’s decision to engage with the Humanitarian Islam movement may prove to be singularly consequential, and perhaps even historic, in its ramifications for the relationship between Christians and Muslims,” the editors of the book, Thomas K. Johnson and C. Holland Taylor said in their introduction.
Entitled ‘God Needs No Defense: Reimagining Muslim – Christian Relations in the 21st Century,’ the book is an anthology of essays written by preeminent Muslim and Christian scholars.
Based in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the Institute for Humanitarian Islam was established by Nahdlatul Ulama to advance globally its humanitarian interpretation of the faith.
Nahdlatul Ulama sees the concept as an alternative to state-backed less developed and less tolerant and pluralistic notions of a moderate Islam as propagated by countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well expressions of political Islam represented by Turkey, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nahdlatul Ulama was founded almost a century ago in opposition to Wahhabism, the austere interpretation of Islam propagated for decades by Saudi Arabia until the rise in 2015 of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Indonesian group positions Humanitarian Islam as advocating genuine religious reform rather than self-serving social and rhetorical change advocated by rulers eager to implement long-overdue economic and social reform and project themselves as genuine religious moderates in a global battle for Muslim religious soft power and the soul of Islam.
The differences between Nahdlatul Ulama’s Humanitarian Islam and the interpretations of the faith put forward by its conservative monarchical and republican Islamist soft power rivals are stark and raise fundamental questions about what constitutes genuine reform and how it can sustainably be achieved.
The differences pitch an independent civil society group, albeit one with close ties to the state, against states themselves.
Nahdlatul Ulama’s independence has allowed it to start a process of real change rooted in religious law and jurisprudence rather than a ruler’s decree or opinion issued by subservient clergymen.
The group challenges outdated, intolerant, or supremacist concepts such as the kafir or infidel, the dhimmi or People of the Book, and slavey that remain reference points even if large numbers of Muslims do not heed them in their daily life, as well as eventually blasphemy and apostasy.
The group’s religious leaders took the first step in 2019 by replacing the term kafir with the word muwathinun or citizen to emphasize that Muslims and non-Muslims were equal before the law. “The word ‘kafir’ hurts some non-Muslims and is perceived to be theologically violent,” Nahdlatul Ulama cleric Abdul Moqsith Ghazali said at the time.
Independence also enabled Nahdlatul Ulama to embrace the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, parts of which are exempted by its religious soft power rivals. That is not to say that liberals may not take issue with some of the interpretations of the declaration by Nahdlatul Ulama, a socially conservative movement.
The differences raise questions about Nahdlatul Ulama’s ability to succeed beyond the significant inroads that the group has made among political and religious elites in the United States, Europe, the Vatican, and parts of Africa and Asia.
The launch in Washington of the unprecedented alliance and the book is together with Nahdlatul Ulama’s association with the Centrist Democrat International (CDI), the world’s largest grouping of political parties, the most publicly visible evidence of its success among elites.
The alliance puts flesh on the skeleton of recent inter-faith dialogue by bringing together two of Islam and Christianity‘s major groups. Nahdlatul Ulama has tens of millions of followers while the World Evangelical Alliance says it represents 600 million Protestants and national evangelical alliances in 140 countries. The alliance with Nahdlatul Ulama casts a different light on Evangelicals as opposed to Evangelists, who particularly, in the United States have often come to be identified with Christian nationalism and Islamophobia.
The alliance aims “to prevent the political weaponization of identity; curtail the spread of communal hatred; promote solidarity and respect among the diverse people, cultures and nations of the world; and foster the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being,” the Institute for Humanitarian Islam and the Nation’s Mosque in Washington, said in a press release.
With the creation of the Center for Shared Civilizational Values, the alliance also constitutes an effort to create a platform for a dialogue that moves beyond elites to nurture a grassroots movement in favour of religious reform across major religions that emphasizes inclusivity, pluralism, tolerance, and common values rather than exclusivism and supremacy fueled by identity politics. (In the spirit of transparency, this writer has been invited to be a member of the centre’s advisory board).
In doing so, the Center hopes to build on Nahdlatul Ulama’s substantial popular base in Indonesia, the WEA’s reach across the globe and a range of contacts and interactions with Catholic, Jewish, and Hindu groups and personalities.
The choice of Masjid Mohamed, the Nation’s Mosque, as the venue of the launch, suggests an outside-in strategy in trying to garner grassroots support in the Muslim world. Located in Washington’s historic African-American Shaw district, Masjid Muhammad is the first mosque in the United States built by descendants of slaves.
As such, the launch constitutes an outreach to a minority Muslim community in a Western democracy that despite upheaval in the United States as the country struggles to come to grips with its history of racism is likely to be more accessible and perhaps more open to Humanitarian Islam’s message than significant segments of the population in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan or the Middle East where many see what has long become a global faith through the lens of its Arab origins.
The alliance takes on added significance in a Western world that despite the electoral defeat of former US President Donald J. Trump and setbacks in Europe suffered by populists and ultra-nationalists has in recent years increasingly mainstreamed prejudice, bias, and authoritarianism.
“Rather than the world becoming more like the United States, as so many of us expected after the Cold War, the United States has become more like the rest of the world—in particular, its authoritarians,” noted foreign policy analyst Steven A. Cook, debunking the projection of the US as a beacon of liberty and freedom.
In a twist of irony, Nahdlatul Ulama’s book publication coincided with a more narrowly focused and transactional Saudi-backed launch in Lebanon of a book, ‘The relationship between the Maronite patriarchate and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’ Written by Maronite Father Antoine Daw, Saudi support for the book and outreach to the Maronites was part of the kingdom’s effort to counter Iran’s regional influence and engage the Islamic republic in direct and indirect issue-oriented dialogues.
The launch in Bkirki, the Maronite patriarchate’s episcopal see, followed a call by Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, Lebanon’s most senior Christian cleric, for a meeting with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that is Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world.
The patriarch urged Hezbollah, one of Lebanon’s most powerful groups that played a key role in Iranian support for the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad to move towards a position of neutrality in a bid to salvage Lebanon that is teetering on the brink of economic and political collapse.
Sedition law: Hand-maiden of the Modi’s government
Sedition laws have become a handmaid of India’s government under Narendra Modi to stifle dissent, incarcerate political opponents or persecute minorities. Shouting a slogan, wall chalking, social post “azadi” (liberty), wearing a prayer cap, or offering prayer on adjoining roads when a mosque is overcrowded could attract sedition charges. Even interfaith marriages or cow related offences could be tried as sedition. The Hindu-monk chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had directed his administration to try cow related offences under the National Security Act. Some states have passed love-jihad laws to prevent interfaith marriages. The over-ebullient Hindu extremists haul up even such people to the police stations who are happily married long before enactment of the law banning inter-faith marriages.
Apathy of India’s Supreme Court
Till recently, the Supreme Court had looked the other way in cases where there was blatant misapplication of the sedition law. Some verdicts smacked of communal bias. India being a secular country, the Supreme Court should have avoided dabbling into religious matters of different communities particularly of the largest minority, the Muslim. But, in vain. The Supreme Court pronounced that a mosque was not essential to Muslim way of worship. It allowed demolition of the ancient Babri Mosque. Thus it accepted the fictitious contention that Ram god was born at the site of the mosque millennia ago.
In marked contrast to its “Islamic” judgments, the Supreme Court had a benign attitude toward the Hindu religion. It admitted that a temple was necessary to the Hindu mode of worship. It allowed menstruating women to visit Sabarimala temple.
Supreme Court’s awakening
The plethora of sedition cases awakened the SC from its slumber. While quashing the sedition case against journalist Vinod Dua, the Supreme Court expressed ennui on slapping sedition charges to gag journalists. A Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice UU Lalit upheld “ the right of every journalist to criticise, even brutally, measures of the government with a view to improving or altering them through legal means”.The case against the journalist had been filed by the ruling BJP and was fervently defended by the Himachal Pradesh state government. The journalist was accused of “criticising the prime minister and the Union government for mishandling of the migrant crisis during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic”. The court drew attention to the 1962 Nath case judgment. That judgment took the sting out of the sedition cases filed under Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code. In the aforementioned case, the Supreme Court had ruled that Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code can be used only when someone’s word actually leads to violence or generates an inclination for violence. The Section 124A describes sedition as punishable with imprisonment from three years to life, a fine or both.
Among journalists facing sedition cases is Siddique Kappan based in Kerala. He was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police while on his way to Hathras to cover a rape case last year and had been denied bail. Kappan and 21 other journalists covering the Hathras rape case were charged under Section 124A.
Similarly, several prominent journalists were charged under the sedition law for their coverage of the farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day. The Supreme Court stayed the arrest of all of them. The Court observed that the Constitution has varying criteria for permissible restrictions on freedom of speech and expression and draws a boundary between serious and aggravated forms of public disorder which are calculated to endanger the security of the State and the relatively minor breaches of the peace of purely local significance.
India’s Supreme Court had earlier observed in its 1950 judgment on Romesh Thapar versus State of Madras. “Only a higher degree of threat pertaining to endangerment of the foundations of the State could justify curtailment of the rights to freedom of speech and expression,” Thapar was editing a weekly journal called Cross Roads which was constantly at loggerheads with the Congress government of the day.
Disregarding the guidance in this judgment, the successive governments continued to mis-apply the sedition law.
Birth of the sedition law
When the Indian Penal Code was enacted in 1860, the sedition law was not included in it. It took another 10 years for Section 124A to be included. Mahatma Gandhi was tried under this law in 1922. He told the court that the law had malafide intent. It was tailor-made to suppress the liberty of the citizen.
India’s Law Commission issued a directive in 2018 that cautioned that a simple expression of a thought inconsistent with the government’s policy did not qualify as “sedition”. One has to be circumspect while invoking the sedition law. Yet, the Commission’s voice has proved to be a voice in the wilderness. Sedition law is a handy tool to stifle dissent. It is hoped that India’s Supreme Court will define the contour of the law more stringently to preclude its misuse by the fanatic Modi government.
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