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Islam and Christianity: The Long Duel (from Sikh Nugget)

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, Feb 6, 2011.

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    Jun 17, 2004
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    By Dr. Harrell Rhone

    Dr. Harrell Rhome, an investigative writer and researcher, contributes to print and on-line publications, including The Nationalist Times newspaper, www.anu.org. He is a Contributing Editor for The Barnes Review historical journal, www.barnesreview.org, and also an English-language contributor on Tsunami Politico, a multilingual on-line nationalist magazine out of Buenos Aires. See articles on rather diverse topics at www.tsunamipolitico.com/truth9.htm

    Islam began as a religious and cultural reform movement in North Africa and the Middle East. Sir Richard Francis Burton was a 19th century explorer, linguist and ethnographer, also serving as British Consul in Damascus in the 1870s. In his famous posthumous 1898 work, The Jew, The Gypsy And El Islam, he describes the odd and somewhat curious period of history that saw the fantastic growth of the Muslim religion.“Thus in Syria and Egypt Christianity became degraded. It sank into a species of idolatry. … About the sixth century of its era the Christian world called loudly for reform. When things were at their worst, Muhammad first appeared on the scene. … After a long course of meditation, fired with anger by the absurd fanaticism of the Jews, the superstitions of the Syrian and Arab Christians, and the horrid idolatries of his unbelieving countrymen, … he determined to reform those abuses, which rendered revelation contemptible to the learned and prejudicial to the vulgar. … [all previous revelations] …in the fullness of time had been superseded by the revelations of El Islam, the Saving Faith. All the past was now effete and abrogated. All the future would be mere imposture; for his was the latest of religions, he the Soul of the Prophets. He accused the Jews and Christians of entire corruption, of spiritual death, and preached to them with fervour a new faith, a doctrine of life. … Abolishing all belief in a local or personal God, he announced to his Arabs the One Supreme…. He preached ALLAH, the God inapprehensible, incomprehensible, omnipotent, all-beneficent, spiritual, and eternal. He revived the earliest scheme of Mosaicism and pristine simplicity of Christianity by making every man priest and patriarch of his own household. … he bequeathed to the world a Law and a Faith than which none has been more firmly or more fervently believed in by mankind. But, however El Islam prospered amongst the kindred races, it fell flat elsewhere.”

    While it somewhat did “fall flat” in the west, it was certainly not from lack of trying. But nowadays, with the exception of a few scattered colonies in Eastern Europe (still troubling us today), in spite of numerous military assaults, it gained little actual ground. Europe faces Islamicization again, but this time the jihad is bloodless, conquering the west through immigration and birth rate. Among others, Turks, North Africans and Pakistanis are well established in almost all major cities. After the Crusades, Islam was largely ignored by the west, and the Ottoman Empire maintained the openness of the Palestinian Holy Lands to all pilgrims, ending that old bone of contention. Western civilization rocked on in arrogance and ignorance for hundreds of years, but Islam became resurgent again in the 1930s. This was an era of political turmoil in Europe, but while the Europeans were largely ignorant of the Islamic political revival, the Islamists were quite aware of what was going on in Europe. The pan-Arab Ba’ath Party (Resurrection or Renaissance Party) was partially inspired by European nationalists in Germany, Italy and Spain.

    The history of Islam and the west is quite fascinating, containing our mutual experiences – and mutual resentments. While much more can be said about all of this, I limit my commentary to certain topics, which I see as the main focal points of the ill feelings between these two cultures.


    The Crusades may be “ancient history”, gone and forgotten by the west, but not by Islam. To many Muslims, it is truly just like yesterday, especially with our recent Zionist-inspired misadventures in the Middle East. Readers surely recall that George W even had the audacity to call our military movements a crusade! We saw it as a foolish slip of an already tongue-tied speaker, but most of the world’s 1.25+ billion Muslims saw it as one of the only times an American president spoke the truth!

    Really a series of related events, the Crusades began in 1095 when Pope Urban II rallied the Christians to war, ostensibly to liberate and protect the Holy Land, but numerous other motivations present themselves. Europe was a bit overcrowded, with many segments excluded from productive enterprise by the rigid class structure. Peasants were many in number and often idle. The young sons of aristocrats had nowhere to go and nothing to do. The aristocracy, especially counts and dukes who wanted to be kings, dreamed of expansion into new and not too distant lands. Even lesser-born Crusaders (so-called because of the crosses prominently worn on tunics, shields, helmets, banners, etc.) might gain recognition and land. Italian cities and their trade cartels, especially Venice, saw a great mercantile opportunity in the Near East, once Europeans rather than “Saracens” controlled the holy lands. The Catholic Pope, bishops, priests and monks of all sorts, just as do Muslim clerics today, greatly encouraged the Christian holy warriors, who, just like today’s Muslim Jihadists, were promised holy martyrdom and heaven for their sacrifices should they be slain. They were automatically granted Papal Indulgences, forgiving them from even the most venal sins. They would need it, for soon they would commit some of the foulest and most heinous war crimes and ethnic cleansings ever seen. This is ancient and largely ignored history to westerners, but it is a different matter with many Muslims. Current events are seen as closely following the old Crusader model in Iraq and Palestine. Could they be right?

    The First Crusade (1095-99) was successful, securing Jerusalem. The assorted cast of adventurers wasted no time in claiming the “holy land”. Four “Latin Christian kingdoms” were soon established, apparently with little regard to the fact that they presented special difficulties in defending. It was during this time that the famous Knights Hospitalers, Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and Knights Templar monk/holy warrior orders, et al, were established. All was well and prosperous – for a while. The Muslim forces did not back off completely; they merely reorganized and tried to recoup their losses. By 1144, they had reclaimed Edessa. In Europe many voices (St. Bernard of Clairvaux was the loudest) called for a Second Crusade, which lasted 1147-49. This was a dismal failure, and the great Islamic re-conqueror, Saladin, (Salah al-Din, The Righteousness of the Faith) recaptured Jerusalem with his massive and overwhelming jihad of 1187. A Third Crusade (1189-92), led by several of the crowned heads of Europe, failed to recapture the city, though Christians were granted access rights after a three year truce. This was the end of the real crusades to capture/recapture the Holy Land. The so-called Fourth Crusade (1202-04) was diverted by pressure from the Venetians to attack and sack (Eastern Orthodox) Christian Constantinople instead! A “mad monk” preacher created a horror and monstrosity known as the Children’s Crusade in 1212. Most never reached the holy land, and were sold into slavery (often in child brothels) or died of hunger and disease. A Fifth Crusade (1217-21) aimed at Egypt, but failed. Yet another (albeit a short one), the Sixth Crusade (1228-29) was attempted. The later crusaders were at least consistent. This one failed miserably. There were several smaller, lesser-known crusades all along the way. In fact, during the earlier, more successful times, the smaller versions became almost annual events. But the real crusades came to an end in 1291 with the fall of Acre, the last remaining Christian stronghold in the Levant. Christian troops would not enter Palestine and the surrounding areas again until 1917, with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.

    It’s hard to know when to quit on a fascinating topic like this, but suffice it to say, there are no sweet memories. For a final look at this era so crucial to Islamic-Western relations, especially now that we are fighting medieval-spirited warriors again, let’s remind ourselves of the furor the “Christian” west unleashed against them on 15 July 1099. The Crusaders thought they were doing God’s will, just as the Muslim Jihadists, then and now. Great atrocities characterized the Crusades. On that ultra-sanguineous day in 1099, the Crusaders breached the walls of the Holy City of Jerusalem. Later in the following full week of slaughter and terror, they herded the Jews into the synagogue and burned them alive, while circumambulating the building singing “Christ, We Adore Thee”. After performing a real holocaust against the harmless Sephardic Jews unfortunate enough to have stayed in the city, they directed their attention to the Muslims.

    “[After they breached the walls.] Then began one of the bloodiest and cruelest massacres in history. No reliable figures are available of the total number of Muslims who perished, but according to Ibn al-Athir, some 70,000 were slaughtered in the Al-Aqsa Mosque alone, all of them noncombatants and some of them Imams and professors of theology, who had taken refuge in what, under Islamic rules of war, was held to be a sanctuary. Christian annalists have confirmed this report, and one of their number, a Crusader chaplain named Raymond, exulted in print over the atrocities that were perpetrated. ‘Wonderful sights rewarded our eyes,’ he wrote. ‘Some of the men, and they the more merciful, cut the heads of the enemies: others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers: others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Heaps of heads and hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city.’ Small wonder that to the Muslim world, the Crusaders were ‘animal, possessing the virtues of courage and fighting, but nothing else.’ For a whole week these ‘wonderful sights’ continued as women and children, old men and young, soldiers and civilians, Arabs and Jews, were butchered in a massacre unsurpassed in savagery until the Mongol invaders.” The Arabs, Anthony Nutting, 1964, p. 172.

    Various other later crusades/campaigns were organized from time to time (e.g., 1396, 1464) to block the further extension of Islam. These were largely successful, and Islamic/Turkish expansion in Europe was confined to Greece and the Balkans. The expansion slowed to a halt after the disastrous Turkish naval defeat in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto. Islam was further diverted by the Mongol threat in the 13th century. And in 1492, Muslims who did not convert to Christianity were completely and inexorably expelled from Iberia. While the Muslim Mogul empires flourished in India, this had no bearing on Europe. Islam settled down into a cultural slumber.

    To many Muslims today, the Crusades ended in 1291, but the military and cultural aggression from the West has never really ceased. Europe has always been a block to the spread of Islam. We cannot recount the entire history, but more than once, Islamic military forces came quite close to conquering Europe, and they did hold Iberia for 800 years! Indeed, they came as far as France and Vienna as late as 1683. They might have conquered Europe had they fully exploited their advantage, but they did not. Even more frustratingly, Muslims clearly see that if Christian Europe had not stopped them, there might already be a world in submission to Allah instead of the world as it is today, where Muslims are under attack and suppressed on multiple fronts. They have not forgotten the Crusades nor have they forgotten the ultimate goal of all Muslims – the establishment of an Islamic World Order under Sharia law. So far, the Crusaders and their successors have been the primary adversaries.

    To conclude our discussion of the Crusades, in all fairness and honesty, the stated reasons for the Crusades were at best a pretext. In another parallel with current events, the western powers lied to provoke a war in the Middle East. The Muslims never really blocked pilgrims from Palestine just as Iraq never really had WMDs. Even after the savage Crusader assaults and atrocities, the Muslims still granted reasonable access rights to the Holy Land following the Third Crusade. Christians wrongfully seized these lands again in 1917. And to further add insult to injury, the third holiest site in Islam was turned over to the Zionists in 1918 through the Balfour Declaration, and consummated in 1948 with the establishment of the artificial and eternally troublesome ministate of Israel. When Israel took over, they seized even more native Palestinian land, abrogating deeds and land titles that had been valid and legal for centuries. Today’s news stories bring the Crusades and geopolitical issues of a millennium ago into play on our world stage.


    “As with every successful revolutionary, Muhammad touched on the raw nerve of the masses in Hejaz who were not privileged to share in the pleasures of life. For within his spiritual message, there was a call to social revolution every bit as clear as the writings of Karl Marx or the speeches of Gamel Abdel Nasser. And just as Nasser did in the 20th century, so Muhammad was able to uplift the Arabs and give to the underprivileged citizens who received his call a new dignity in being a Muslim Arab.” [Nutting, p. 37.]

    It suffices to say that attempts at Arab unity, no matter how auspicious and promising in their beginnings, failed not too much later. Moreover, the promises of a better life for the masses never materialized. Gamel Abdel Nasser is perhaps the best-known Pan-Arabist. The United Arab Republic (1958-61) was a short-lived union between Egypt and Syria (with Yemen in for a short time near the end), but later dissolved. It looked good for a while, but to make a long story short, Nasser overplayed his hand, failing to bring Sudan (a non-Arab state, actually) into the pact. Other Arab nationalists were at work as well, and there was a federal union for a time between the two Hashemite kingdoms of Jordan and Iraq. The Arab League seemed promising, but has not been that productive. The greater cause of Islamic unity has replaced the Arab nationalism of the mid 20th century. Islamic “international nationalism”, global nationhood based on religion, raises much greater fervor, enthusiasm and determination than the old movements, while avoiding many mistakes. A new Islamic union of nations could someday arise. But, don’t expect it anytime soon as vested and entrenched interests on all sides (and in the background) always work against (or to control) such movements. Nevertheless, they could effectively align on some issues and projects, although their performance as a bloc in the U.N. General Assembly has been disappointing.

    Most Muslims today are not Arabs; Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation. Mosques are now all over the globe. The old dream of Middle Eastern nationalism has grown and expanded itself into movements calling for a global Islamic system, a world under Koranic guidance and Sharia Law. Don’t even for a moment think this is a mere political movement. It is perhaps the ultimate rolling social tsunami that aims to sweep over the world in the most powerful spiritually based revolution ever known to mankind. Again, make no mistake. Islam is not “just another religion”. It is a world-embracing, all encompassing spiritual, legal and governmental system of the kind that literally works wonders. Early Christianity was such a faith. Today it is Islam. Does western culture and its “Judeo-Christian” churches have the tools to combat it? Only time will tell.

    “Islam created a world civilization, polyethnic, multiracial, international and one might say even intercontinental. … In the Muslims’ own perception, Islam itself was conterminous with civilization, and beyond its borders there were only barbarians and infidels.” Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?, 2002.


    Until very recently, Muslim countries have depended on western finances and technology to develop and operate the petroleum industry and many other fields as well. In a sense, the pan-Islamists are correct in saying that this is just another example of western imperialism and neo-colonialism. But to blame it all on western infidels is irresponsible, ignoring the unfair and dictatorial nature of many governments in predominantly Muslim countries. Even today, when many more Muslims than ever before are smart, sophisticated and well trained, the vast majority are poor and live in underdeveloped and misgoverned countries. Even in big-money states like Saudi Arabia, the most common major emphasis in universities is not science or business, but Islamic studies! While they rail against the Western and Jewish financial interests, some Muslims (Saudi royals and the like) live the good life of the West and play the system just as do the Jewish and infidel Westerners. But they only spread a little of the wealth to the people, just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Is this the Islamic way? Fundamentalists don’t think so, and they are right. Since the coming of oil in the 1930s, exacerbated by an ever-expanding market, billions upon billions of dollars have flowed into Muslim hands, and continue to flow each and every day, just as regularly as our trips to the gas pumps. So why are they still poor and underdeveloped except in rich “playhouse countries” like Kuwait and the little Emirates? While the west has, indeed, played a destructive role, Muslims need only look in the mirror (and at their governments) to find the worst offenders.

    “The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes.” Stanley Kubrick.


    As said in previous articles, infidel troops, including females, are considered inappropriate and unacceptable in many Muslim lands, but especially in the Islamic holy land of the Arabian Peninsula, home to both Mecca and Medina. Osama said they would never leave, and so far, they have not. The profligate Saudi royals recognize the danger in all of this. In January of 2002, information was released indicating that the Saudis might ask U.S. troops to leave. But, this did not happen and is even less likely to happen in the current state of affairs.


    For centuries, various pre-Zionist Judaic movements had their eyes on Palestine, even if the large majority of them were of Khazarian non-Semitic descent, whose ancestors never spoke Hebrew or set foot in the Middle East. However, the modern Zionist movement changed all of this, setting out clear and concise protocols as to how this land grab could be done. In 1898, what had been carefully planned and discussed for a long time was declared to the world. Theodore Herzl convened the World Zionist Congress, declaring that they wanted Palestine as the Jewish state, but not much happened until after World War One. Turkey chose the wrong side, and ended up losing much of her empire to the Europeans, including Palestine, which at that time was regarded as a part of Syria. As we know, Western military forces entered Jerusalem in 1917, the first time since 1291, when the Crusaders of old were cast out. In support of Rothschild and other Judaic banking interests, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, which set in process the coming State of Israel. Then as now, not all the world agreed that this was a wise plan. For example, even the Vatican expressed disapproval.

    But sadly, interests of the Palestinians were, then as now, discounted, disrespected and disregarded, and the Jewish ministate became a controversial reality in 1948. Today, the so-called and self-styled Israel is a racist apartheid state, just as former President Carter so eloquently said in his recent book. While I have never been a great admirer of the late liberal columnist, Molly Ivins, she had some excellent comments back in 2001, at the beginning of our somewhat inept “war on terrorism”.

    “It seems to me it does no one any good to keep saying, ‘Our enemies are evil people who hate us because we are successful.’ That’s certainly not the way they look at it – and, at the very least, it is necessary to understand your enemy in order to fight him. As many others have pointed out, we are probably dealing with at least two aspects of terrorism. One is the perverted holy-warrior fantasy of Osama bin Laden, and the other is the consequence of history and policy. If you drive people off their land – say the Palestinians – and leave them to rot in refugee camps for three generations, you are going to get terrorism. If you further aggravate old wounds by sending settlers into Palestinian territory and ruthlessly occupy same, you will get more terrorism. This is not a great mystery, nor is it caused by envy of American success. There is no weakness in re-examining policies that lead to terrorism – we’d be fools not to do so.”

    Of course, we have continued to be fools. Until true justice and fairness rules in Palestine, there can be no lasting peace, no matter how many “road maps” are on the table.


    Since we began with the words of Sir Richard Francis Burton, K.C.M.G., F.R.G.S., we close with them. He not only had a fluent knowledge of Arabic, but knew and well understood the intense and ultimately violent nature of the Islamic faith, especially when it feels challenged or threatened, as it does here at the beginning of the 21st century. In recent history, the western powers have done little other than directly challenge and threaten. Why are we so surprised by the response?

    “And should Christianity, as it has often threatened, ever meet the Saving Faith in mortal combat, and the Cross assail the Crescent in the latest of crusades, the Muslim scimitar, rusty as it is with the rust of ages, will prove the good metal of which it was in the beginning forged.

    Supposing, however, El Islam abolished by civilization, undermined by the slow action of the Christian Powers closing around it, or become decrepit from old age, what would be the result?

    Some renewal, essentially the same, formally different; some revival of its eternal principle, monotheism, disguised under a fresh garb of those outward accidents that constitute a religion. Such has ever been the history of the world’s creeds.”

    The West, like most of humanity, rocks along from day to day, making false linear assumptions that one day will be more or less like the next. While there are always wide-eyed prescient ones who see what is really happening, they are few and far between and most often scoffed at, ignored, even persecuted. Who could think a small cult of apostate Judean Palestinians flocking around a discredited prophet called Jesus could start a world-transforming religion? Who in old Rome or Greece thought that barbarians would ever defeat the greatest superpower the world had ever known? Even Eastern Christian Byzantium, who should have known better, didn’t really think that the newly upstart Arabs could do any actual damage – until the Islamic Jihad rolled into town in 1453 and slaughtered the bishops, priests, nuns and Christian families who took refuge in Hagia Sophia cathedral. The Jihadists extracted revenge for the earlier atrocities, and the floors were literally knee deep in blood. And even though Muslim armies almost made it into Europe, they did not. The West moved on with science and knowledge as well as warfare, and the Muslims fell back to their homelands, to take a long cultural siesta in the Middle Eastern sun. But they are asleep no more.

    What should be our response? Can we obtain détente with Islam? Should we apologize and seek to atone for some of the obvious wounds we have inflicted? Should they? As in most relationships, I feel that actions are more important than words, including apologies about the past. What lies ahead is more important, but I also realize this is a Euro-centric, occidental view of things. Nonetheless, three specific steps could make a great deal of difference. The ideas are simple, but require great willpower and major paradigm shifts to accomplish. I address three major changes that would definitely make a difference.

    1. PEACE AND JUSTICE IN PALESTINE. Americans must create a nationalist government that can align with the forces of peace and justice in the world and pressure the recalcitrant Israelis for a fair division of lands and rights. Of course, some Jews have a better idea. The anti-Zionist Neturei Karta movement proposes dismantling the entire Israeli artificial ministate, but since that is unlikely, let’s just remove our ignorant unthinking support of Israeli atrocities. Let Israel function on its own, like a genuine nation-state, without relying in the USA to clean up its messes and mishaps. And, not to divert too far, but perhaps the Israelis could give up their nukes! Is that too radical, or what? Enough said. Peace will come when all sides negotiate rationally and honestly.

    2. STOP BEING THE WORLD POLICE. A true patriot nationalist government would never have our military forces spread all over the world, so… Get our troops out of Muslim lands, especially in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, withdraw our forces from all foreign lands! Why are they there? A constitutional government must renounce our unacceptable goals of geopolitical hegemony.

    3. MUSLIMS SHOULD SHARE THE WEALTH. Muslim states with mineral wealth should seek new ways so that the residents of the petro-states share more meaningfully in the profits. Since charitable generosity is incumbent on Muslims, perhaps some of the wealth can assist other needy Muslims as well?

    “Experience and history teach us that people and governments have learnt nothing from history, nor acted on principles deduced from it.” Hegel.

    Can we create a new model for a better world? Or is Hegel absolutely and always correct? Such a world would be a true spiritual Nationalist New Age and New Order, a New Reality and New Paradigm, indeed! Perhaps I am, at best, an addle-headed philosopher and dreamer. But ever more importantly – what do YOU think? Who will win the ultimate Kulturkampf?



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