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Archive for November, 2008

Dutch 10-12 year-olds learn in school: Wilders is Hitler, Wilders has no respect for people that look different

Posted by paulipoldie on November 3, 2008


Shameful. A press release from the Dutch Freedom Party:

Dutch youths will learn next week at school that Geert Wilders is to be compared to Adolf Hitler. They will receive nationally-distributed class material that states “Geert Wilders’ film Fitna and Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf are based upon one-sided points-of-view. Fortunately there are also other books and plays that -on the contrary- show respect for people with other ideas or faiths or that look different.”The pupils will receive the class material highlighting the Day of Respect, a multiculturalist project. The project is funded by three departments of the national government: Education, Justice and Housing. The school material has a national distribution among 10-to-12 year olds. The pupils will receive the newspaper at school.

Geert Wilders: “The day of respect is a hate fest against the Freedom Party. According to the organization everybody deserves ‘respect’, but of course, if you stand for freedom and oppose the islamisation of the West you don’t deserve any respect at all. Then the government will tell children you have a problem with ‘people that look different’. They play the racism card.”

“We are extremely angry the Dutch Department of Education is involved in this project. We demand from education minister Ronald Plasterk to immediate withdraw any cooperation. Children go to school to learn not to be indoctrinated.”

The Freedom Party wants the class material to be discussed in Parliament this week.


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Textbook council accuses publisher of being politically correct on Islam

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008


Washington, D.C.

A new report issued by the American Textbook Council says books approved for use in local school districts for teaching middle and high school students about Islam caved in to political correctness and dumbed down the topic at a critical moment in its history.

“Textbook editors try to avoid any subject that could turn into a political grenade,” wrote Gilbert Sewall, director of the council, who railed against five popular history texts for “adjust[ing] the definition of jihad or sharia or remov[ing] these words from lessons to avoid inconvenient truths.”

Sewall complains the word jihad has gone through an “amazing cultural reorchestration” in textbooks, losing any connotation of violence. He cites Houghton Mifflin’s popular middle school text, “Across the Centuries,” which has been approved for use in Montgomery County Schools. It defines “jihad” as a struggle “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.”

“But that is, literally, the translation of jihad,” said Reza Aslan, a religion scholar and acclaimed author of “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.” Aslan explained that the definition does not preclude a militant interpretation.

“How you interpret [jihad] is based on whatever your particular ideology, or world viewpoint, or even prejudice is,” Aslan said. “But how you define jihad is set in stone.”

A statement from Montgomery County Public Schools said that all text used by teachers had been properly vetted and were appropriate for classroom uses.

Aslan said groups like Sewall’s are often more concerned about advancing their own interpretation of Islam than they are about defining its parts and then allowing interpretation to happen at the classroom level.

Sewall’s report blames publishing companies for allowing the influence of groups like the California-based Council on Islamic Education to serve throughout the editorial process as “screeners” for textbooks, softening or deleting potentially unflattering topics within the faith.

“Fundamentally I’m worried about dumbing down textbooks,” he said, “by groups that come to state education officials saying we want this and that – and publishers need to find a happy medium.”

Maryland state delegate Saqib Ali refrained from joining the fray. “The job of assigning curriculum is best left to educators and the school board, and I trust their judgment,” he said.


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Refuting God’s Crucible

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008


This text is written in response to God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis, an American historian and two-time winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In my opinion the book is largely a waste of money. This essay is not made to review the book as much as it is to refute it. It overlaps to some extent with the text The Truth About Islam in Europe, which I have published at the Brussels Journal before.

Briefly summed up, God’s Crucible laments the fact that Charles Martel, “the Hammer,” halted the advancing Islamic Jihad at the Battle of Tours or, Battle of Poitiers, in 732:

“Had ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders, as they hypothesize – one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths. Curiously, such speculation has a French pedigree. Forty years ago, two historians, Jean-Henri Roy and Jean Deviosse enumerated the benefits of a Muslim triumph at Poitiers: astronomy; trigonometry; Arabic numerals; the corpus of Greek philosophy. ‘We [Europe] would have gained 267 years,’ according to their calculations. ‘We might have been spared the wars of religion.’ To press the logic of this disconcerting analysis, the victory of Charles the Hammer must be seen as greatly contributing to the creation of an economically retarded, balkanized, fratricidal Europe that, in defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of religious persecution, cultural particularism, and hereditary aristocracy.”

Mr. Lewis is clearly sympathetic towards this view, and writes that the Carolingian order, established Charles Martel (Carolus in Latin) and his grandson Charlemagne, was “religiously intolerant, intellectually impoverished, socially calcified, and economically primitive.” Curiously, he mentions in passing that there was continuous “out-migration to the Christian kingdoms” from al-Andalus. Why did they move to the Christian lands, whose economy was “little better than late Neolithic,” if life was so sweet in al-Andalus? Lewis states that: “At the end of the eighth century, Europe was militarily strong enough to defend itself from Islam, thanks in part to Charlemagne and his predecessors. The question was whether it was politically, economically, and culturally better off for being able to do so.”

As Tim Rutten commented in his review in the Los Angeles Times: “In other words, the West would be better off if it had been incorporated into an all-conquering Islamic empire in the early Middle Ages. OK. Still, it’s fair to wonder why, if that’s true, the West ended up with the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the Scientific Revolution and the Islamic world got chronic underdevelopment, a pervasive religious obscurantism, Al Qaeda and the trust fund states of the Arabian peninsula?” Mr. Rutten also pointed out that another person who wanted Islam to win and wipe out Christianity was Adolf Hitler.

God’s Crucible is published during a time when Spain and Portugal under Islamic occupation are being hailed as a model of coexistence with Islam. The European Union recently announced its intentions of expanding to include the Muslim Middle East and North Africa. There is a concerted effort going on to present Islam as something non-threatening. In May 2008, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Europe’s largest weekly magazine, hailed al-Andalus as a “Multicultural model” for Europe: “For nearly 800 years, the 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.”

As Robert Spencer says in his book Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t: “Islamic apologist Karen Armstrong enunciates the common wisdom 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.’ 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.'”

Those who want a second opinion can start with reading the online essay Andalusian Myth, Eurabian Reality by Bat Ye’or and Andrew G. Bostom: “There were rarely periods of peace in the Amirate of Cordova (756-912), nor later. 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 thousand of Christian slaves brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women.”

Lewis alludes to some of this himself. He mentions “a small group of Andalusian Christians” filled with “fanaticism” who engaged in “a senseless spike in religious provocation” where individual Christian priests and laypersons “publicly disrespected mosques, the Qur’an, and the Prophet’s name.” Because of this, Cordoba’s qadi (Islamic judge), poor thing, had no choice. The ruler Muhammad I “approved his qadi‘s death sentence in 851-52 for thirteen Christians for whom clemency was impolitic if not impossible under Malikite Sharia.”

Unfortunately, these “Christian militants,” as Mr. Lewis calls them, were still deaf to all pleas of behaving properly submissive to Muslims, and more death sentences ensued:

“Twenty or so ‘Mozarab martyrs’ were dispatched in 853 or the year following, and a dozen more afterward. In another wave of Christian blasphemy in 859, thirteen more were executed, along with two daughters of a prominent Muslim family living in distant Huesca who defiantly disclosed their secret Christian conversion.” Lewis believes that: “A poll taken of Andalusians of all faiths would have shown an overwhelming disapproval of the ‘Mozarab martyrs.’ These Christian extremists were an aberration not because they acted outside history but because they were premature – three centuries ahead of the history whose intense cultural nationalism and religious intolerance were inculcated in the decades after the Battle of Clavijo.”

The “religious intolerance” he is referring to is not the Jihad waged against Christians and Jews in Spain and Portugal; it is the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. It is traditionally seen to have begun with Pelayo in 718. Although initially slow, it speeded up from the eleventh century onwards. The Portuguese had been liberated in 1249 under King Afonso III. The concept “Holy War” was originally alien to Christianity and was imported to Europe only after Europeans had been confronted with centuries of Islamic Jihad.

In a review in the Washington Post, James Reston Jr. criticized the “stilted academic prose,” but concluded that “Lewis has made an important contribution to the growing body of literature on Muslim-Christian relations that has emerged after 9/11.” Eric Ormsby of the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times, even if commenting on the “overly rosy picture often painted of Muslim Spain,” concluded that “In the end, these errors do not seriously mar the powerful thrust of his narrative.”

Lewis himself writes that people during this “golden age of tolerance” were executed for criticizing Islam. Isn’t that a bit disturbing, given that al-Andalus is now supposed to serve as the blueprint for our coexistence with Islam, according to our authorities and much of our media? “Blasphemy” against Islam and Muhammad is punishable by death according to sharia law, which is why the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim in Amsterdam in 2004.

On September 11th 2001 the city of New York suffered a Jihadist attack which caused more deaths than any other attack on the American mainland in its history, yet a few years later the New York Times publishes a reasonably positive review of a book which says explicitly that European civilization, and by extension the Unites States, should have been wiped out by Jihad centuries ago. I find this particularly disconcerting because I know for a fact that books by Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer and other Islam-critical authors have too often been ignored by the same newspaper, which appears more willing to listen to those who want to wipe out their civilization than to those who want to defend it.

The idea behind God’s Crucible and similar books seems to be that we have such a “Eurocentric” culture and that “Islamic civilization” is being unfairly treated. I can count endless amounts of books on the dark sides of European colonialism, some of them no doubt justified, yet comparatively few good books have been published on the victims of 1400 years of Islamic Jihad on several continents. The problem is that Islam gets too little criticism, not too much. In contrast, I actually believe European culture is being slighted today. We now face a situation where the United Nations increasingly wants to ban “Islamophobia” across the world as hate speech, while books saying that Western civilization should have been wiped out are praised. Which civilization is actually being demonized here?

Europe has for much of its history undeniably been a rather violent place, though this is not unique to Europe. I will question, however, whether Europeans are particularly “ethnocentric.” After having spent a lot of time reading history from several continents, visiting other countries and talking to people from different cultures, my impression is that Europeans have, by and large, been less ethnocentric and a lot more willing to give credit to other cultures than is common elsewhere. Western countries are being destabilized because of mass immigration from nations across the entire world, including Muslim countries. Our current problem is that we are too open-minded and naive, not that we are “too racist.” This is still a flaw, but precisely the opposite of the ones we are constantly being accused of having.

The French writer Remi Brague explains this in his interesting book Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization: “It is now fashionable to hurl at European culture the adjective ‘eurocentric.’ To be sure, every culture, like every living being, can’t help looking at the other ones from its own vantage point, and Europe is no exception. Yet, no culture was ever so little centered on itself and so interested in the other ones as Europe. China saw itself as the ‘Middle Kingdom.’ Europe never did. ‘Eurocentrism’ is a misnomer. Worse: it is the contrary of the truth.”

Moreover, “Islamic civilization, in contrast to Europe, has hardly dreamed of using its knowledge of the foreign as an instrument that would permit it, through comparison and distancing in relations to itself, to understand itself by becoming conscious of the non-obvious character of its cultural practices.”

Muslims were for the most part uninterested in other cultures and rarely bothered to learn their languages. The few translations that were made from other cultures were mainly concerned with scientific matters, not with historical events or “useless” cultural ideas, and they were often made by non-Muslims. The creation of archaeology as a scientific discipline was done by Europeans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Muslims showed little interest in the history of their pre-Islamic ancestors, let alone that of other nations, and sometimes aggressively destroyed historical remains unearthed in their own countries.

According to Remi Brague, usually a culture reflects on itself only when it is constrained by an inferior situation. Europe, on the other hand, represents the perhaps unique case of self-reflection brought about through its relation to peoples whose land it had just conquered. One such example is the Spanish Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas, who in the sixteenth century chastised his countrymen for abuses against natives in the Americas. In the words of Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa:

“Father Las Casas was the most active, although not the only one, of those nonconformists who rebelled against abuses inflicted upon the Indians. They fought against their fellow men and against the policies of their own country in the name of the moral principle that to them was higher than any principle of nation or state. This self-determination could not have been possible among the Incas or any of the other pre-Hispanic cultures. In these cultures, as in the other great civilizations of history foreign to the West, the individual could not morally question the social organism of which he was part, because he existed only as an integral atom of that organism and because for him the dictates of the state could not be separated from morality. The first culture to interrogate and question itself, the first to break up the masses into individual beings who with time gradually gained the right to think and act for themselves, was to become, thanks to that unknown exercise, freedom, the most powerful civilization of our world.”

Some of the abuses Las Casas accused his countrymen of were undoubtedly real and should not be excused. Still, we should remember that for instance Mesoamerica was a region with bloody conquests going on in pre-Columbian times, especially by the Aztecs, who practiced human sacrifice on a scale unknown in the Old World at the time. Yet to my knowledge, no account has come down to us of individual Aztecs criticizing their countrymen for these practices, certainly not cases that affected public policy. In my opinion, the Aztec religion was evil, and whatever else the Spanish have been guilty of in their former colonies, stamping out the Aztec religion should definitely count among their good deeds. In the process of converting the Aztecs (Mexica), the missionary Bernardino de Sahagún nevertheless took great care to record the language and customs of the people he was working with.

In 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, a book hailing the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas, Charles C. Mann writes the following: “Sahagún is known as the first American anthropologist, for he labored for decades to understand the Indians he sought to convert. With other missionaries, he amassed an archive on the Mexica and their neighbors – dynastic histories, dictionaries of native languages, descriptions of customs, collections of poetry and drama, galleries of paintings and sculpture – unequaled by that on any other Indian group, even the Inka. From it emerges, in almost full detail, a group portrait of a kind that is usually obscured by loss.”

An Islamic Spain could have produced brutal conquerors, but would have been unlikely to display the self-criticism of Bartolomé de las Casas or the cultural curiosity of Bernardino de Sahagún, both products of a Christian European civilization. In India, the discovery of the Indo-European language family, the world’s largest in terms of speakers today, was made by Sir William Jones, a gifted British classical scholar who had mastered French, Italian and some Hebrew and Arabic at an early age. According to Ibn Warraq in Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism, Jones is said to have known thirteen languages well, and twenty-eight fairly well, at the time of his death. In 1786 he elaborated a theory of the common origins of most European languages and those of Iran and northern India. According to Nicholas Ostler in Empires of the Word, the Mughal rulers in India, largely of Turkish origins but influenced by Persian culture, had never made the same connection: “The new Muslim masters, despite their independent knowledge of Arabic, Persian and Turkish, did not distinguish themselves for their linguistic scholarship.”

If you believe Mr. Edward Said, the “orientalist” Sir William Jones was actually a racist pig who invented comparative linguistics in order to establish his country’s dominance over “the Other.” If so, it’s strange that Muslims didn’t think of this when they ruled other peoples for centuries. After all, Persian, which they knew, is an Indo-European language, as is Sanskrit as well as Greek, Armenian and the tongues of many of their subjects. Muslim scholars had access to a number of Semitic languages, from Arabic and Hebrew to Aramaic, in addition to languages of other Afro-Asiatic branches in North and East Africa. They were thus in a position to discover this linguistic tree, too, but they didn’t. Did they simply lack curiosity?

Said has accused Westerners of creating negative myths about others, but some of the most stubborn myths are directed against our own ancestors, not against “the Other.” As Edward Grant puts it in Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus:

“Perhaps the most powerful illustration of bias against the Middle Ages concerns Christopher Columbus’ voyage of discovery to the New World in 1492. Many came to believe that the most significant achievement of Columbus’ voyage was the discovery that the earth is not flat – as was universally believed in the Middle Ages – but round. This is utterly false. No educated person in the Middle Ages believed in a flat earth (Russel 1991). They all knew it was round. Their authority was Aristotle. In his major cosmological treatise, On the Heavens, Aristotle emphatically declared the earth a sphere and even presented an estimate of its circumference. All who were educated in the universities of the Middle Ages would have read that passage. But it could be found in many other treatises they might also have read. No one would have doubted it. And yet, nineteenth-century authors were able to construct a falsehood still widely believed that everyone in the Middle Ages believed in a flat earth until Columbus’ voyage proved its sphericity.”

David C. Lindberg confirms this in a discussion of Aristotle’s thoughts on the cosmos in The Beginnings of Western Science:

“Arguing from his natural philosophy, he pointed out that since the natural tendency of earth is to move toward the center of the universe, it must arrange itself symmetrically about that point. But he also called attention to the observational evidence, including the circular shadow cast by the earth during a lunar eclipse and the fact that north-south motion by an observer on the surface of the earth alters the apparent position of the stars. Aristotle even reported an estimate by mathematicians of the earth’s circumference (400,000 stades = about 45,000 miles, roughly 1.8 times the modern value). The sphericity of the earth, thus defended by Aristotle, would never be forgotten or seriously questioned. The widespread myth that medieval people believed in a flat earth is of modern origin.”

David Levering Lewis in God’s Crucible mocks the state of learning in medieval Europe, yet largely ignores the Byzantine Empire. I have been told that the books of John Julius Norwich regarding Byzantine culture are good, but as an introduction, A History of Byzantium by Timothy Gregory is not bad. I have reviewed it in The Legacy of Byzantium at Jihad Watch.

According to Lewis, while the libraries of Cordoba contained many thousands of manuscripts, “The great Benedictine abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland numbered a mere six hundred books, all of them in vellum (calfskin) or parchment (sheepskin). The availability of paper in the Arab empire greatly enhanced the diffusion of knowledge and made large library holdings possible. Paper – made from bark, linen, and hemp rather than the papyrus of pressed reeds of the Egyptians – would have an impact on Muslims similar to that of the printing press on Europeans seven hundred years later.”

There is some truth in this. Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000 by Julia Smith is a much better book on the Early Middle Ages in Europe. As Smith says:

“Books required expert scribes and an abundant supply of high-quality animal skins for the parchment. Consider two of the most famous works from eighth-century Northumbria: Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, available today as a paperback of 290 pages, required the skins of about thirty animals for a single copy, while the magnificent, exceptionally large Lindisfarne Gospels was made from the skins of over 150 calves. Hildemar of Corbie (d. c.850) intimated that his monastery could sell a book made from thirty skins for 60 denarii (silver pennies), a sum approximately equivalent to the value of four fleecy sheep or fifteen piglets: Corbie’s own library possessed over 300 titles, most of them recently copied. Stocking a library of this size was extremely expensive.”

Before paper, the principal alternative to animal skins was Egyptian papyrus. As J. M. Roberts states in The New Penguin History of the World:

“From pre-dynastic times it was used for historical record and as early as the First Dynasty the invention of papyrus – strips of reed-pith, laid criss-cross and pounded together into a homogeneous sheet – provided a convenient medium for its multiplication. This invention had much greater importance for the world than hieroglyph; cheaper than skin (from which parchment was made) and more convenient (though more perishable) than clay tablets or slates of stone, it was the most general basis of correspondence and record in the Near East until well into the Christian era, when the invention of paper reached the Mediterranean world from the Far East (and even paper took its name from papyrus). Soon after the appearance of papyrus, writers began to paste sheets of it together into a long roll; thus the Egyptians invented the book, as well as the material on which it could first be written and a script which is an ancestor of our own. It may be our greatest debt to the Egyptians, for a huge proportion of what we know of antiquity comes to us directly or indirectly via papyrus.”

Papyrus grows only in warmer climates and there was a limit to how much papyrus you could actually produce. The establishment of the Library of Alexandria required large amounts of it. When another library was established in Pergamon in the second century BC, parchment was perfected as an alternative and was named after that city. This was by no means the first time that animal skins had been used as writing materials, but their importance was enhanced.

There are several types of parchment, for instance vellum, made from calf skin (or goat skin). Because parchment was expensive it was sometimes reused. The only surviving copies of two works of the Greek mathematician Archimedes, who lived in the third century BC, were copied from papyrus rolls onto parchment and copied again by generation of scribes, until a Byzantine priest in the thirteenth century reused the parchment for a prayer book, which was discovered in a Greek Orthodox monastery in 1906 by Danish scholar Johan Ludwig Heiberg. The reconstruction of the original text has revealed that Archimedes was working with understandings of the concept of “infinity” which would not be rivalled until Englishman Isaac Newton and German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz invented calculus two thousand years alter. The fascinating story can be read in The Archimedes Codex.

The invention of paper is one of China’s greatest gifts to mankind. The knowledge of paper-making spread west via the Middle East, North Africa and finally Spain after having been acquired by Muslims during a Jihad against Chinese troops in AD 751. Although it is probably historically accurate to say that Muslims helped spread the use of paper in both Europe and India, it is highly doubtful whether this makes up for the lasting destruction they brought to the lands they conquered. It is also likely that this Chinese invention would eventually have been adopted anyway, and it should be mentioned that Islamic countries stubbornly resisted the adoption of printing for more than a thousand years after it was first invented in China, despite the fact that Persians, Arabs and other Muslims were in regular contact with East Asia through trade and must have been familiar with the invention.

As Toby E. Huff says in his excellent book The Rise of Early Modern Science, “Up until the middle of the tenth century, papyrus was the main source of writing material. Papermaking was first learned by the Arabs from the Chinese as early as the eighth century in Samarqand. By the middle of that century there was a state-owned paper mill in operation in Baghdad, and by the middle of the tenth century the use of paper was so widespread that the manufacture and use of papyrus for writing materials had died out.”

Huff suggests that the library resources of the Middle East were initially clearly superior not only to Europe but even to those of China, where there was less emphasis on libraries even though the Chinese, unlike the Europeans at this time, had the tools to make them. He also believes that there was in Islamic civilization “a strong distrust of the common man, and efforts were made after the golden age to prevent his gaining access to printed material.”

David Levering Lewis picks every opportunity he can to dismiss medieval Europeans as backward fanatics and primitive simpletons, but he does have a couple of admissions of positive qualities in their culture. He mentions that the Catholic Church banned polygamy and imposed restrictions on divorce in order to establish monogamy as the norm:

“The social ramifications for Western society could hardly have been more profound. Selection of exogamous mates imposed patience, discipline, and discernment. Though valued as property and for procreation, women of the upper classes gradually acquired greater influence as mothers in marital decisionmaking. Relieved of the intraspousal competition for respect, power, and resources that characterized polygamous arrangements, Western women – notwithstanding the oppressive realities of patriarchy – achieved in time the potential for personal freedom that would set them apart from most of their sisters elsewhere in the world. With a fine sense of the blunt, Bishop Hincmar of Reims told Frankish men where things were heading. ‘Whether she be a drunkard, irritable, immoral, luxurious, and gluttonous, a vagabond, cursing and swearing,’ he said, ‘whether you like it or not, you must keep her.’ For all the cultural superiority of their situation to their Carolingian peer, Andalusian women were given so such guarantees by the Qur’an.”

This view is confirmed by historian Bernard Lewis in his book What Went Wrong?:

“The difference in the position of women was indeed one of the most striking contrasts between Christian and Muslim practice, and is mentioned by almost all travelers in both directions. Christianity, of all churches and denominations, prohibits polygamy and concubinage. Islam, like most other non-Christian communities, permits both….Muslim visitors to Europe speak with astonishment, often with horror, of the immodesty and frowardness of Western women, of the incredible freedom and absurd deference accorded to them, and of the lack of manly jealousy of European males confronted with the immorality and promiscuity in which their womenfolk indulge.”

David Levering Lewis expands on this with regards to another subject: “Chess, a favorite pastime of Harun al-Rashid, would be taken up by Andalusians in the 820s. Precisely when chess underwent its startling revolution on the Iberian peninsula is uncertain – when, that is, the ‘queen’ would displace the ‘vizir’ as the most powerful piece in the game, empowered to move unrestricted in all directions. In any case, the fact that the chess game played among Andalusi Arabs would keep to the old rules along with the traditional pieces, while Christians and Jews accepted the ‘queen,’ raises enough thoughts about the politics of gender in early Islam and Christianity to fill many books.”

The history of chess is still debated, but it 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 to East Asia and from the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire to Europe. It was called chaturanga in Sanskrit, which changed to chatrang and shatranj in the Middle East, while many European languages adopted some version of the Persian word for king, Shah. Chess went through a number of mutations as it spread. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the names and moves of the pieces changed considerably, until the game was more or less settled by the end of the fifteenth century. The queen became the piece with the greatest freedom of movement. This was definitely not a feature of the form of chess played by Muslims, who would never allow an unveiled female character to move around freely between male characters. The chess queen looked like some kind of harlot to them, no doubt. Although an Indian game originally, it is Western chess, as it came to be known, that is played in international tournaments.

Among the finest and funniest sets of chess from medieval times are the Lewis Chessmen, believed to have been made in Trondheim, Norway, in the twelfth century. They contain the “European pieces,” including the queen, and were carved from walrus ivory, which was often imported from the Norse colony in Greenland. According to Jared Diamond in Collapse:

“Greenland’s most prized exports mentioned in Norwegian records were five products derived from Arctic animals rare or absent in most of Europe: walrus ivory from walrus tusks, walrus hide (valued because it yielded the strongest rope for ships), live polar bears or their hides as a spectacular status symbol, tusks of the narwhal (a small whale) known then in Europe as unicorn horns, and live gyrfalcons (the world’s largest falcon). Walrus tusks became the only ivory available in medieval Europe for carving after Moslems gained control of the Mediterranean, thereby cutting off supplies of elephant ivory to Christian Europe. As an example of the value placed on Greenland gyrfalcons, 12 of those birds sufficed in 1396 to ransom the Duke of Burgundy’s son after he was captured by the Saracens [Muslims].”

It is interesting to notice how Diamond, who usually ignores Islam in his writings, casually mentions the fact that Muslims “controlled the Mediterranean.” Jihad piracy, slavery and attacks on European countries were a constant menace from the Jihad in the seventh century until the so-called Barbary States in North Africa in the nineteenth century. Some would argue that it is resurfacing now, for instance in the form of kidnapping of Western tourists.

As Paul Fregosi says in Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries: “Western colonization of nearby Muslim lands lasted 130 years, from the 1830s to the 1960s. Muslim colonization of nearby European lands lasted 1300 years, from the 600s to the mid-1960s. Yet, strangely, it is the Muslims…who are the most bitter about colonialism and the humiliations to which they have been subjected; and it is the Europeans who harbor the shame and the guilt. It should be the other way around.”

The Age of Exploration during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was undertaken in order to get away from Muslims and re-establish contact with the civilizations of Asia without hostile middlemen. Norman Davies puts it this way in his monumental Europe: A History: “Islam’s conquests turned Europe into Christianity’s main base. At the same time the great swathe of Muslim territory cut the Christians off from virtually all direct contact with other religions and civilizations. The barrier of militant Islam turned the [European] Peninsula in on itself, severing or transforming many of the earlier lines of commercial, intellectual and political intercourse.”

When it comes to learning, there were no universities in the Islamic world. I have encountered few if any institutions outside of Europe that I would call “universities” in the Western sense before modern times. Among the best candidates is the Great Monastery of Nalanda in India, which was a Buddhist institution. It was not built by Muslims, it was destroyed by Muslims.

Already before AD 1300, Europeans had created an expanding network of universities, an institution that had no real equivalent in any other civilization on earth, and had invented mechanical clocks and eyeglasses, which was also not done in any other civilization. It is easy to underestimate the importance of this, but the ability to make accurate measurements of natural phenomena was of vital importance during the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions. The use of glass lenses for eyeglasses led directly to the development of the microscope and the telescope, and thus the birth of modern medicine and astronomy. The network of universities facilitated the spread of information and debate and served as an incubator for many later scientific advances. All of these innovations were made centuries before European colonialism had begun, indeed at a time when Europe itself was a victim of colonialism and had been so for many centuries. Parts of Spain were still under Islamic occupation, an aggressive Jihad was being waged by the Turks in the remaining Byzantine lands, and the coasts from France via Italy to Croatia had been subject to centuries of Islamic raids. What did happen of innovation in the Islamic world generally took place in older centers of civilization, in Iran and Iraq, Syria and Egypt, and only while there was still a large non-Muslim population. The one “innovation” I can think of that was actually made by Muslims in the Arab Peninsula is coffee, which is an Ethiopian shrub but was first made into a drink in Yemen, later spreading to Mecca, Cairo and eventually the Mediterranean and Europe.

There are several names in use for Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Syria. One is the “Near East.” Another is “West Asia,” which excludes Egypt, a country with strong historical ties to this region. I prefer the term the “Middle East” because it is a reminder that this region is, well, in the middle. It was the only region that had regular contacts with all the major civilizations of the Old World, from Mediterranean Europe via India to East Asia. The Chinese had little exposure to Greek mathematics and natural philosophy whereas Muslims were well familiar with Greek ideas. Europe suffered the worst disadvantages by having little direct contact with South, Southeast and East Asia, in part cut off by Muslims. The favorable geographical position of the Middle East is demonstrated by the early access to Chinese paper and the Indian numeral system, to name but two things. Europeans thus outperformed Muslims despite having a significantly weaker starting point.

In addition to this, the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca and one of the five pillars of Islam, could have been a great opportunity for exchanging scientific and technological information to and from all regions of the Old World. This did happen occasionally. For instance, some agricultural inventions were transferred to Muslim West Africa this way. Primarily, however, it served to spread information on how to kill more infidels and better to implement sharia. Muslims thus enjoyed a favorable geographic position, ruled over significant numbers of non-Muslims and had access to the accumulated learning of many of the oldest civilizations on the planet. The challenge here is not to explain why there was a brief burst of creativity in the earliest centuries of Islamic rule. The challenge is to explain why this didn’t last, and how this once-dynamic region gradually changed from being a global center of civilization, as it had been for thousands of years, to the global center of anti-civilization it is today. That would be an interesting book, but I don’t suspect David Levering Lewis will be the person to write it.

The primary cause of the failure of the Islamic world is Islam. Those who want to know more about this should read book by people who actually understand Islam. I recommend virtually any book by Robert Spencer and Bat Ye’or, but here are some others:

Understanding Muhammad by former Muslim Ali Sina

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out by former Muslims, edited by Ibn Warraq

Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam by former Muslim Patrick Sookhdeo

The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims by Andrew G. Bostom

The Al Qaeda Reader by Raymond Ibrahim

Defeating Jihad: How the War on Terrorism Can Be Won – in Spite of Ourselves by Serge Trifkovic

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Bat Ye’or: “We have to educate the European, American and Israeli youth to recover their culture and values”

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008


An interview with the heroic and pioneering scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or.

“One on One: A ‘dhimmi’ view of Europe,” by Ruthie Blum in the Jerusalem Post, July 9 (thanks to Ruth King):

‘I always thought I’d be writing novels,” says Bat Ye’or, her wistfulness somehow adding an extra touch of class to her thick French accent. “Not such serious work.”Given the gravity of her subject matter, and what some might consider her alarmist way with words, this is hard to believe. But then, so is the historian’s life story, which is the stuff that sagas are made of.

Hers began in Egypt during World War II. The daughter of a middle-class Jewish family named Orebi, Bat Ye’or (her trademark pseudonym, which in Hebrew means “daughter of the Nile”) fled with her parents to England in 1957 – after suffering the brunt of the anti-Semitism she claims characterized the entire Arab world.

In 1959, she married a Briton – also a historian – whom she prefers not to name, to protect his and her privacy. The couple then moved to and settled in Switzerland in 1960, where they raised their children and continue to reside.

She is the author of eight books, including The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam (1985); The Decline of Eastern Christianity: From Jihad to Dhimmitude (1996); Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (2001); and – the one which captured international attention and catapulted her into the center of controversy – Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (2005). Saying that Europe is basically finished, due to its kissing up to the Arabs, will do that.

Here recently to promote the release of her best-selling “cautionary tale” in Hebrew (EuroArabia, Schocken Publishers; translation by Arie Hashavia), Bat Ye’or explains why she believes the West in general, and Europe in particular, is in state of denial at best, and dhimmitude at worst. To make matters more complicated, she asserts, though the citizens of European countries long to preserve their individual and collective cultures of freedom and democracy – which they have been exhibiting at the polls – the European Union, influenced by the UN-backed Islamic leadership, advocates appeasement and passivism.

In an hour-long interview on the terrace of her Mishkenot Sha’ananim digs overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, Bat Ye’or expounds on her bleak prognosis in an articulate tirade, raising her voice now and then for emphasis, pausing occasionally to laugh. What she has to say about the state of the world, however, is more likely to make one cry.

Why do you use a pseudonym?

For many reasons. First of all, when I left Egypt and started living in Europe, I found that I had changed – that I was no longer the person I had been before.

Secondly, I have always preferred to keep my personal and professional lives separate. I have always wanted my social standing to be distinct from my being the wife of my husband, the daughter of my parents and the mother of my children. It is a matter of independence.

Why did your family leave Egypt?

We left as part of the big exodus of Jews from Arab-Muslim countries. Jews suffered from severe anti-Semitism, especially in Egypt. There was a powerful Nazi community, established by [then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel] Nasser. There were many anti-Jewish laws. There was a general feeling of insecurity. There was open hatred expressed by the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in relation to the Palestine issue. As early as World War II – particularly after the November 1945 pogroms in Egypt – Jews began leaving the country. Many went to Israel. At that time there was a Zionist underground. Zionism was made a criminal offense for which you could be jailed or even tortured. So, many young people left. For the old people, of course, it was difficult, because many were members of the bourgeoisie, and it was forbidden for Jews to take any money or assets out of the country when they left. My parents’ assets were confiscated, for example, which created economic problems for our family.

Are you saying that as World War II ended, and in Europe Nazism became taboo, it was gaining strength in the Arab world?

Yes, but even before and throughout the war, both Nazism and fascism were strong in the Arab world. Hitler and Mussolini were heroes. The whole Middle East was in turmoil because the Arab-Muslim populations were all favorable to Nazism and anti-Semitic policies.

How much of what was going on in the death camps in Europe were you and other Jews in Egypt aware of at the time?

We knew everything. I remember my parents listening very carefully to the radio. And it was also in the newspaper. But also, my mother’s family was in France, and they were forced to wear the yellow star. So we knew.

When you heard about the peace treaty that Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin signed with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1979, how did you feel?

I wasn’t following it that carefully, due to family problems. Nor was I familiar with Israeli politics at the time. But I trusted Begin to do the best thing for Israel. So, I did have hope. Still, what you have to understand is that the problem is much larger than Egypt. The whole Muslim world is becoming more and more radicalized – more rooted in Shari’a, and less open to anything outside the religion. This is due to the policies of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 57 Islamic member states and a permanent delegation to the UN. At its last summit in December 2005, it decided upon a 10-year plan, one of whose resolutions was to root the Islamic uma – the world Muslim community – in the Koran and the [oral tradition of the] Hadith, which, of course, means Wahabbism. They also resolved to make the Palestinian issue the central issue of international politics. This is why we see relentless pressure on Israel from different countries. Because the OIC is an extremely powerful body, demographically, politically and economically.


The OIC is an Islamic body. How has it managed to turn the Palestinian issue into a Western focus? And to what do you attribute the political and cultural success of its ideology in Europe and the United States?First of all, a distinction has to be made here between Europe and America, which have chosen opposite paths in relation to the Middle East.

As for OIC influence on Europe: It is visible in immigration policy toward Muslims, and in the Muslims’ refusal to integrate into European societies.

The OIC considers nationalist-European movements, European history, European culture, European religions and European languages as Islamophobic. Why? Because Europeans have begun to feel that they are losing their own identity, due to their efforts to welcome immigrants who don’t want to integrate. As a result, they have adopted measures to stop illegal immigration, to control legal immigration and to curb terrorism. Europeans fear losing their historical and cultural assets – particularly those of democracy and human rights – to Shari’a law. They want one law for everybody – and it’s not Shari’a, which involves things like honor killings. It is thus that in all international forums, the OIC attacks Europe and demands that it apply multiculturalism.

Now, Europeans do not want multiculturalism. But this is a problem, because European governments – and especially the European Union – do not want to fight the OIC, and so they collaborate with it. Therefore, what we have inside Europe is a clash of interests between the European citizens and their governments.

A similar claim is often made about Muslim-Arab citizens and their governments – that a majority of the former is moderate, while the latter is extremist. Do you agree with this assessment?

No, I don’t agree with it at all. In fact, the opposite is the case. In the Arab world, it is the governments – as we see so well in Egypt – that are at the mercy of the radicalized, Islamized, anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israel masses who are in a dynamic of jihad. Certainly the majority of Muslims follow the ideology of conquest; it is in the Koran and the Hadith! And every time they go to the mosque, they hear it. I mean, the first shura, that is recited five times a day, is anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. So they cannot escape from it.

Unfortunately, the Muslims who are against this trend don’t have the courage to make the effort to change it. And those who do have the courage are threatened with losing their jobs and having harm done to them and their families. So Islamism is the natural culture of the Arab-Muslim world. Even in Turkey an Islamist government has taken over. So, how can we deny the reality? And anyway, if the moderates were in the majority, they would be making protests and issuing manifestos against Osama bin Laden, instead of against America and Israel.

The environment is one of jihad on the one hand and of dhimmitude [the state of being a non-Muslim subject living in a country governed by Shari’a law] on the other. European countries are becoming dhimmi countries, and people don’t realize it, because they don’t know what jihad and dhimmitude are, so they don’t recognize what condition they’re in. When you have an illness, but are unfamiliar with its symptoms, you don’t know that you are sick. You feel sick, but you don’t know what you’ve got. You therefore can’t make a diagnosis or embark upon a method of treatment to cure yourself. This is the current condition of Western civilization right now.

How, then, do you explain the electoral victories of France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and London’s replacement of mayor Ken Livingstone by Boris Johnson? Wouldn’t you consider this phenomenon as indicative that Europeans are making a diagnosis of and seeking a cure to the illness you say they suffer from?

Oh yes, they are extremely important developments which prove what I am saying about European citizens having had enough of this attempt to merge – culturally, religiously and demographically – the Arab and European sides of the Mediterranean. But the pressure exerted by the OIC on European governments is very strong. In addition, there is the pressure of terrorism inside and out of Europe, and that of the oil. So the task of these new governments you refer to will not be easy, to say the least. I don’t doubt their good intentions. But I don’t know if they will succeed in bringing about the change their citizens want.

Furthermore, unlike President Bush – who recognizes that Israel has a legitimate right to exist as a normal nation in its homeland – the Europeans think that Israel’s legitimacy should be granted by the Palestinians and the Arab states. In other words, Europe is putting Israel into a position of dhimmitude, whereby it will be recognized by Muslims if it abides by certain rules and duties.

This is in keeping with its own mentality. When the European community, in December 1973, published its document on European identity in the Copenhagen Declaration, they themselves were adopting a dhimmi mentality toward the Arab League countries. After World War II, Europeans decided that they didn’t want any more wars. Then, when they suffered aggression, such as the oil boycott and Palestinian terrorism that emerged in Europe in the late 1960s, instead of fighting, they joined their aggressors. This was their concept of multilateralism – thinking that by joining those who attacked them, they would be protected. This is when a tremendous Muslim immigration into Europe began.

You keep referring to immigration. Isn’t childbirth also a demographic factor, particularly since Muslims tend to have many children, while some European countries suffer from zero or minus population growth? Is it possible that by virtue of their numbers, Muslims in Europe are influencing policy – and that it is not just due to the power of the OIC?

Yes, but you have to understand that those who plan policy are Europeans. In other words, Muslim politics are conducted in Europe by Europeans themselves, based on the interests of Muslim lobbyists.

Isn’t Eastern Europe different from Western Europe in this respect?

Yes, and Eastern Europe is more pro-American than Western Europe – which is what the Muslims want. It is easier to take over the West as a whole when it’s divided.

How has this affected European academia?

European universities – like those in America – are totally controlled by the Arab-Islamic lobby, as are the schools. A teacher who attempts to teach according to the European view of history is thrown out. Indeed, the freedom of expression and thought that has been so crucial for European democracy has disappeared.

Many Israeli academics bemoan a similar situation in Israel. Do you see the mind frame you’re describing infiltrating the Jewish state?

Yes, because the EU is spending a lot of money on Israeli NGOs in order to promote policies which will lead to the destruction of Israel. The EU considers Israel to be an accident of history that has to disappear. It thinks that if Israel disappears, relations between Europe and the Arab world will be much better. Now, the EU doesn’t come out and actually say this, but all its policies, statements and actions are indicative of its aims. These aims could be developed in Israel and in America – especially when there is a new president.

Speaking of which, there is a concern among many Jews and Israelis that if Barack Obama becomes president, he will lean toward the kind of alliance with the Arab world that the EU promotes.

Yes, because he has a kind of “Third Worldism” – you know, the view that we all have to get together and appease the enemy. I’m no specialist on Obama. But I think that Bush has been a great politician, and that history will show he was right. Aside from everything else, he has woken up Europe to the calamity of global terrorism – and this is what brought about the coming to power of Merkel, Sarkozy and Berlusconi. And Europe can no longer be as anti-American.

That’s ironic, isn’t it, considering that most Americans now hate Bush?

That’s because they don’t understand what is really going on.

Given your bleak view of Europe, how is it that you didn’t end up living in Israel or the US?

I love Europe. It is part of my family history and my culture. I can criticize it because I love it and want to help it. Look what Europe has given to the world: democracy and human rights, the love of peace. Look at its achievements in the field of literature, music, law, architecture. There is a tremendous richness. But we have to fight for all those values and accomplishments. Otherwise, we will be living as dhimmis in barbarity.

Finally, how do you envision Western civilization 10 years from now?

The Mishna says, “You are not required to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

Well, I feel that though I may not have done enough, I have tried the best I could.

As for the future, it is difficult to say, but we must have hope. We have to educate the European, American and Israeli youth to recover their culture and values, since it is they who will have to continue the efforts to preserve freedom and democracy – and they who will have to fight to defend them.

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Spreading Islam through Christian & Public Schools

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008



By Berit Kjos – October 28, 2008


Background information: The International Agenda



Emphasis added in bold letters

“Medieval and Early Modern Times captures each student’s imagination by starting every chapter with a story.” The McDougal-Littell Website

“While seventh-grade textbooks describe Islam in glowing language, they portray Christianity in harsh light…. Islam is featured as a model of interfaith tolerance….” The American Textbook Council, [2,p.19]

“When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them.”[3] Qur’an [Sura] 9:5

Our friend Tom* enrolled his seventh grade son in a local Christian school this year. But he felt a bit uneasy when he saw the new history text. And as he leafed through the pages of World History: Medieval and Early Modern Times (a standard nationwide textbook), his concern grew.


The dramatic images, evocative suggestions and interesting group assignments would probably prevent boredom, but what would his son actually learn? How accurate were the lessons? And most important: What kinds of values would they instill?


Page 4 (in the section on “Strategies”) told students to “Try to visualize the people, places, and events you read about.”[4] With all the inspiring stories and pictures, that should be easy! Group dialogue and peer consensus would help seal those biased impressions! This was not what Tom expected from a Christian school!


The first unit dealt with the Roman Empire. It had nothing nice to say about Christianity — not a word about the courage, commitment and charity of the persecuted Christians.


The second unit covered “The Growth of Islam.” It began with an inspirational story that built a positive context for the rest of the chapter: Thirteen-year-old Ayesha and her family went on a hajj [pilgrimage] with “nearly 100,000” fellow Muslims (“a gross exaggeration”[2,p.19]) to Mecca back in 632 A.D. After the long, hot journey, “Ayesha tells [her brother] Yazid that the trip has been very hard, but it was also satisfying. They agree with their parents that being near Muhammad was especially meaningful.”[4,p.83]


This warm introduction to Muhammad was followed by stirring descriptions of Islam’s miraculous beginnings, noble beliefs, vast conquests, amazing scientific discoveries, and exceptional tolerance toward unbelievers. But were they true?


The actual facts are far less flattering. Back in the 7th century, large Muslim armies fanned out in different directions, forcing their way through the Middle East, Central Asia, northern Africa and southern Europe. Resisters were massacred or enslaved, while the vast “unbelieving” masses became taxpaying subjects at the mercy of Muslim rulers. Jews and Christians [dhimmis] were held captive to the restrictive and demeaning rules of dhimmitude [“protection’]. Here’s a brief explanation from The Myth of Islamic Tolerance,

“Jews and Christians are termed ‘People of the Book’ in the Qur’an—that is, communities that have received a genuine revelation from Allah. That’s why they’re offered this ‘protection’ in an Islamic state. However, the Qur’an also teaches that both Jews and Christians have incurred the curse of Allah (Sura 5:60 and others) for their refusal to receive Muhammad as a legitimate prophet and his Qur’an as a book from Allah…. In fact, the Sharia dictates that such a ‘protection’ agreement… ‘is only valid when the subject peoples follow the rules of Islam…”[5]

Those rules included special dhimmi clothing that shows the Christian’s low social status, a ban on proselytizing or building new churches, showing humble submission to Muslims everywhere, and many others. The constant threat of punishment (i.e. loss of “protection” which often meant death or slavery) — along with the crushing tax for “unbelievers” — broke down resistance to Islamic conversion. In vast regions around the Mediterranean, Christian communities were virtually wiped out.


Yet the textbook tells students that the conquered masses were generally impressed by Islam and willingly converted:

“For more than 20 years, Muhammad had spread the word of Allah across the Arabian peninsula. He had begun to establish a Muslim Empire. … Islam brought order, justice, and hope of heaven into their lives.”[4,p.99]

“There was much blending of cultures under Muslim rule. Over time, many peoples in Muslim-ruled territories converted to Islam. They were attracted by Islam’s message of equality and hope for salvation.”[4,p.101]

To make sure students don’t miss that last point, it’s repeated on page 105:

“By 661, the Muslim Empire had been expanded to nearly four times its size by Muhammad’s successors. It then included all of Southwest Asia and stretched into North Africa. … Many conquered people became Muslims. They found Islam’s message of equality and hope attractive.”

Tom was stunned! Why this idealization of Islam? There was no such support for “Christianity.” [See note] In the section on the Crusades (to retake the “Holy Land”), Christians were presented as violent attackers. The fact that Jerusalem was central to both Jewish and Christian history was ignored. While most Crusaders tended to be mercenaries rather than “Christians,” such bias against semblance of “Christianity” is striking.

References to slavery were just as misleading. “While Christian belligerence is magnified, Islamic inequality, subjugation, and enslavement get the airbrush,” wrote Gilbert T. Sewall in an excellent report titled “Islam in the Classroom: What the textbooks tell us.” After examining the six main World History texts for junior high students, he and The American Textbook Council concluded that–

“Textbooks mention Islamic slavery only obliquely… or not at all. Enslaved Africans and Slavs were transported to Muslim lands from the eighth century on. Slaves were accumulated through conquest, tribute, and sale….

“Muslim enslavement went on from the Balkans to Africa and Central Asia, and the estimated fourteen million slaves taken captive by Muslim rulers all over the world was a larger population than the eleven million Africans exported to the New World before 1850. In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, in the late nineteenth century, an estimated twenty-five thousand slaves were traded annually.”[2,p.23]

In the chapters on “European Renaissance and Reformation” the light of political correctness shone briefly on the Protestant Church. To help students internalize a new view of Christianity, the text included a story about Martin Luther — an excerpt from a biographical children’s book by the notoriously liberal pastor, Harry Emerson Fosdick. Dr. Fosdick led Manhattan’s large interdenominational Riverside Church built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. No wonder his excerpts misrepresented the courage and convictions behind Luther’s battle against theological corruption. Missing were Luther’s famous words, “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.” [4,p.467-469]

In contrast to the negative and confusing treatment of Christianity, the “Five Pillars of Islam” got plenty of positive attention. This set of basic rules was repeated several times throughout the book. Page 95 explains their significance:

“Muslims try to connect their personal and religious lives. They live their religion and serve their community by following the Five Pillars of Islam. These are the five duties all Muslims must perform to demonstrate their submission to the will of God.”

“Muslims believe the Quran is the word of God as revealed to Muhammad. Jews and Christians also believe that God’s word is revealed in their holy books. But Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the final book. They also think that Muhammad is the last prophet.”[4,p.95]

Since Muhammad was the “last prophet,” his teachings supposedly supersede the teachings of Jesus. And in spite of the textbook’s assurances of hope and tolerance, Islam’s global aims and militant threats are every bit as real today as in the seventh century. Whether living in the East or the West, its leaders still envision global Islamic dominion and religious supremacy — and the Qur’an still calls Muhammad’s followers to jihad:

“And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah.” (Sura 2.193,  8.39)

Fight those who do not believe in Allah… .” (Sura 9.29)

“Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way…” (Sura 61.4)

“…surely the unbelievers are your open enemy.” (Sura 4:101)

“…take not from among them friends until they fly in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” (Sura 4:89)[3]

This recent article from the British Times Online illustrates this ongoing threat:

“The first brick was thrown through the sitting room window at one in the morning, waking Nissar Hussein, his wife and five children with a terrifying start…. The victim of a three-year campaign of religious hatred, Mr. Hussein’s car has also been rammed and torched…. His car, walls and windows have been daubed in graffiti: ‘Christian bastard’….


“Mr. Hussein… is one of a growing number of former Muslims in Britain who face not just being shunned by family and community, but attacked, kidnapped, and in some cases killed. There is even a secret underground network to support and protect those who leave Islam…. For police, religious authorities and politicians, it is an issue so sensitive that they are accused by victims of refusing to respond to appeals for help….



Muslims who lose their faith face execution or imprisonment, in line with traditional Muslim teaching in many Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Yemen. In the Netherlands, the former Muslim MP Ayan Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding after renouncing her faith on television….

“Yasmin [another convert to Christianity] has helped to set up a series of support groups across England, who have adopted a method of operating normally associated with dissidents in dictatorships, not democracies…. The family of an 18-year-old girl whom Yasmin was helping found that she had been hiding a Bible in her room, and visiting church secretly. ‘I tried to do as much as possible to help her, but they took her to Pakistan ‘on holiday’. Three weeks later, she was drowned…”[6]

Why? How can this be happening in Europe! What has happened to Western objectivity, conviction and freedom?

The American Textbook Council helps answer that question. After a thorough examination of the primary US textbooks and their publishers, it concluded that–

“Textbook editors try to avoid any subject that could turn into a political grenade. Willingly, they adjust the definition of jihad and Sharia or remove these words from lessons to avoid inconvenient truths that the editors fear activists will contest. Explicit facts that non-Muslims might find disturbing are varnished or deleted….Terrorism and Islam are uncoupled and the ultimate dangers of Islamic militancy hidden from view.

“None of this is accidental. Islamic organizations, willing to sow misinformation, are active in curriculum politics. These activists are eager to expunge any critical thought about Islam from textbooks and all public discourse. They are succeeding, assisted by partisan scholars and associations. It is not remarkable that Islamic organizations would try to use ready-made American political movements such as multiculturalism to adjust the history curriculum to their advantage. It is alarming that so many individuals with the power to shape the curriculum are willfully blind to or openly sympathetic with these efforts.

“Multiculturalists are determined that social studies curricula do not transmit ‘Eurocentric’… presuppositions about Western history and society. Middle East centers on campuses promote an uncritical view of Islam, often with a caustic anti-Western spin. Historians actively interested in taking world history curricula in this direction are prominent in textbook authorship. Encouraged to do so by reputable authorities, textbook publishers court the Council on Islamic Education and other Muslim organizations—or at least try to appease them.”[2,p.9]

In this context of planned change, “Christians” such as Harry Emerson Fosdick fit right in. Like Muslims, he accepted the reality of a “Jesus” but denied His deity, resurrection, and miraculous birth. No wonder he was favored by the Rockefellers. He was no threat to their vision of socialist unity.Though Islam is incompatible with the vision of multicultural solidarity, it’s still one of the world’s most effective weapons in its battle against absolute Truth. It provides globalist change agents with (1) an energizing crisis, (2) the diversity and tension needed to stimulate the dialectic process, and (3) an active partner in the war against Biblical Christianity.

Why is this important?

A spiritual war is raging! And the primary target in today’s march toward a New World Order is Biblical Truth. It’s no accident that the European media describes Christians as “hardliners” and “fighters”

[7] but hardly dare mention the violent power behind the rising Muslim establishment. Or that the British government now allows Muslims to impose Sharia in their communities.[8] Or that countless critics have been assaulted or killed for their convictions. Or that “Hate Crime” laws may soon silence American dissenters.[9]Let me repeat two Scriptures that I often quote these days. We can’t afford to ignore them:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand…” Ephesians 6:10-12Do not be discouraged… For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  2 Chronicles 20:15




* Not his real name. We changed it to protect him from recrimination.


** Explaining our references to “Christianity: In the textbooks, as well as in our culture, Christianity means different things. While the references to Islam refer to a religious and political system based on the Qur’an, the historical meaning of Christianity varies. It may mean “cultural Christianity,” politicized Christianity, or Biblical Christianity. See Biblical versus Cultural Christianity  

1. The McDougal-Littell Website at www.mcdougallittell.com/ml/ss.htm?lvl=4&ID=1005500000030749#


2. Gilbert T. Sewall, Islam in the Classroom: What the textbooks tell us, American Textbook Council, 2008, pp. 19 and 11. http://www.historytextbooks.org/islamreport.pdf

4. World History: Medieval and Early Modern (McDougal Littell,


5. The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims,

6.  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article510589.ece

7. Wolfgang Polzer, “Germany: Evangelicals Portrayed as Dangerous Elements,” Christians in Crisis, September 30, 2008. http://www.christiansincrisis.net/content/view/2553/117

8. Richard Edwards, “Sharia courts operating in Britain,” Telegraph, September 16, 2008. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2957428/Sharia-law-courts-operating-in-Britain.html

9. “Why “Hate crime” laws would ban Biblical Christianity,” www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/hate-crimes.htm




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