English

The programs on Islamic history on media channels like BBC, ITV, Channel 4, all come across as propaganda for Islamic history, and vilification of Christian history. After seeing such programs – an informed viewer is certainly left with a large number of unanswered questions – and can make no sense of why events occur.

How did the Arabs win their battles and conquer territory? We have lots of details of other conquering in the ancient world – Caesar had his “War in Gaul”, even today UK has channels showing war history from WW2 and WW1. Arabs conquer all of North-Africa, Spain, and the Middle East – and not a word is spoken about how they did it?

When the conquering has been done – rule begins. And we are informed of all the things now accomplished, the giving of arabic names to all the stars in the sky, establishing hospitals and a university in Cairo, and so on. But there is an elephant in the room – where does the money come from. Tax? Then why is the tax income in muslim occupied territories so much higher than before?

War and rule strategy of Islam

We do possess eyewitness accounts of how the Arabs did their conquering, lets quote Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem in the 630’s AD [1]:

“As once that of the Philistines, so now the godless Saracens has captured the divine Bethlehem and bars our passage there, threatening slaughter and destruction if we leave this holy city and dare to approach our beloved Bethlehem.”

Then we have graphic descriptions of what the Saracens have been doing:

“Why do barbarian raids abound? Why are the troops of the Saracens attacking us? Why has there been so much destruction and plunder? Why are there incessant outpourings of human blood? Why are the birds of the sky devouring human bodies? Why have churches been pulled down? Why is the cross mocked? … plunder cities, devastate fields, overturn the sacred monasteries …”

The descriptions is graphic – and tells of an almost meaningless violence.

Another source  – History of the Conquest of Spain, by Ibn Abd-El-Hakem [2] sheds more light on the matter. He tells a story of how the first moslem conquerors made the Christian and Jewish spaniards submit to their rule:

“.. they found no other inhabitants there, than winedressers. They made them prisoners. After that they took one of the winedressers, slaughtered him, cut him in pieces, and boiled him, while the rest of his companions looked on. They had also cooked meat in other cauldrons. When the meat was cooked, they threw away the flesh of that man which they had boiled; no one knowing it was thrown away: and they ate the meat which they had boiled, while the rest of the winedressers were spectators. These did not doubt but that the Moslems ate the flesh of their companion; the rest being afterwards sent away, informed the people of Andalus that the Moslems feed on human flesh, acquainting them with what had been done to the winedresser.”

We see here that it seems terror and fear are the stratagem by which the early Moslems fight, and rule. While this is only a couple of examples, the reference [1] is full of negative texts from this early period – and why are these stories cleansed from what should be informative media?

Terror as a strategy was valid in ancient time – the Neo-Assyrians excelled at it. Of course, it’s not particularly impressive – but then brute force seldom is.

The tolerance of Al-Andalucia

The golden age of Islam is often portrayed as Al-Andalucia – Moslem Spain. A tolerant paradise on Earth if we are to believe what we are told.

And what we are told are mostly correct facts – we will be told for example that the Moslem rulers often employed both Christians and Jews – implying that this is a sign of tolerance.  And what is the highest office a Moslem ruler can give to an infidel? Well, that of leading his army of course – the position just under the ruler himself.

And indeed – one such example exists in Al-Andalucia – in 1066 AD the ruler of Granada employed a Jewish general to lead his army. A brilliant example of tolerance perhaps?

Except the oddity – TV programs about Al-Andalucia never mention this lofty appointment. Is this perhaps because the appointment does not quite confirm the tolerance we are led to believe existed?

Since the time of Sargon the Great of Akkadia, supreme rulers have been faced with The Problem. They need to delegate power – as they cannot be everywhere, nor awake all the time. And who can they trust? History is full of sons standing up to fathers, brother against brother, other nobility and so on.

But since the dawn of time the solution has been at hand – the outcast. The man despised by everyone. The male eunuch has always been a favourite – despised as just a woman – he poses no threat in himself – nobody will let him replace the ruler. So eunuchs have commanded armies. And here we see the brilliance of a Moslem ruler appointing Christians and Jews – they are social outcasts among the Moslems – and cannot themselves replace the ruler. Hence they can rule his armies.

And here is the point about the 1066 AD appointment – the Moslem soldiers showed in their own way how they despised the Jews. When the Jewish general was appointed – they rioted, slaughtered him, and the Jewish population of Granada as well – they would not be commanded by a disgusting Jew [3].

This massacre – several thousand Jews were slaughtered – is also important for another reason. It would be in living memory 29 years later when the first Crusade was proclaimed in 1095 AD – an action taken to protect Christians and Jews from atrocities like this.

But that’s difficult for the viewer to understand – as the bad things are cleansed from the narrative we are presented.

A final comment on tolerance – in the Moslem occupied territories Jews and Christians were forced to pay an extra tax – the jizya. This is often presented as tolerance towards non-Moslems in return for an extra tax. This is an odd use of the word tolerance – considering that in USA the extra tax the Mafia puts on their neighbourhoods is called racketeering, and the extra tax Germany put on Jews in the 1930’s is called racism.

Saladin and Richard – Crusades on BBC2

richard-saladin

A very recent program – about Saladin and Richard the Lionheart. In this episode – the battle of Hattin was described. As usual – details were left out – especially how Saladin treated the captured knights.

The battle took place 4th July 1187, Saladin won, and took prisoners. Some, like the Christian king, he released for ransom. The knights were not so lucky:

“Saladin ordered that they should be beheaded, choosing to have them dead rather than in prison. With him was a whole band of scholars and sufis and a certain number of devout men and ascetics, each begged to be allowed to kill one of them, and drew his sword and rolled back his sleeve. Saladin, his face joyful, was sitting on his dais, the unbelievers showed black despair” – Imad ed-Din, Saladin’s Secretary [4].

This part of the story was left out of the program. The fact that Saladin slaughtered 200 helpless knights in his care was going to come back to haunt him. But of course – the viewer has not been informed – and another narrative is being presented.

Enter Richard, who takes the Saladin held city of Acre in 1191 after a long siege. For those who know what Saladin did to the 200 knights 3 years earlier – it is no surprise that Richard executes some 2700 prisoners – about ten times as many.

But that is not an understanding BBC2 wishes give us – they have withheld information to understand the scene – and this allows the narrator to walk slowly across the battlefield of Acre – telling the audience in a grave voice how cruel and inhumane Richard was compared to Saladin.

The TV-scene is wrong in other ways too. We cannot use 20-century sentiment to pass judgement on men who lived a thousand years ago. They broke no laws with their actions – and merely lived and behaved according to the culture and rules of their own time.

The Golden Age of Islam is back

With the added facts above we can see from current events that the Golden Age of Islam is back. ISIS is haunting Syria and Iraq – and we are now able to recognize events being reenacted before our very eyes.

Prisoners are summarily executed – and we recall Saladins actions at Hattin. Cities are taken, and men from the civilian population are brought out of the city to be shot. We think of Sophronius words from Palestine 1400 years ago. Sunnis wipe out Shias – and we are reminded of the Moslems of Granada as they massacred the Jews in 1066 AD.

It is all as it was – in Islam’s Golden Age.

A different view on the Islamic Golden age

Islam never built any states – the previous Roman provinces were built by – the Romans. They took over states – and governed them with terror. They shone brightly for a while – but where did the gold come from? How do rulers who – by their own admission – previously made their income from robbing and killing people – now obviously make a fortune from states they controlled?

Overtaxing perhaps? It occurs to me that overtaxing combined with state terror will indeed bring in a lot of money in the short term – but will eventually destroy the state itself. By the 1220’s AD there were apparently no more Christians or Jews left in Al-Andalusia.

Much is said about how much we got from the Golden Age – how much of greek and roman culture it preserved. This is an odd claim – considering the greek-speaking roman empire called Byzantium existed until 1453 AD. From there we got greek and roman works, we received scholars who fled Moslem attacks, and the Justinian code of law.

Why is the West’s enormous heritage from Byzantium so overlooked compared to the Islamic heritage?

Scientific progress is presented as proof of the excellence of this time and culture – yet, isn’t that like arguing that Hitler’s Germany was excellent for making V2 rockets and jet aircraft? Was the Soviet Union in 1957 an excellent and tolerant place because they managed to launch Sputnik?

The Quran

The Quran is seldom questioned in the media – never criticized – but often praised. Some western scholars have praised it highly indeed.

One oddity hidden from view, is about the size of the Quran. On the table in front of me now is a copy of a Gideon Bible, and a Yusuf Ali Quran. Judging from their relative sizes – the Quran appears physically 3 times the size of that Bible (which includes the New Testament).

In terms of verses however, the Bible has more than 30,000 verses, against the Qurans 6200. It’s only a fifth the size of the Bible – but so filled up with extra material and commentary that it seem 3 times larger instead. This Quran pretends to be 15 times larger than it really is.

It makes one think about the Honest Prayer from the Monty Python film The Meaning of Life. If you do one thing in your life – read the paragraph above three times over – then watch the youtube video.

It is universally known that the Quran is riddled with contradictions, tedious repetitions, and a shuffled and unreadable chronology – as the chapters appear shuffled like a deck of cards.

Think about how many words are spent praising this book – rather than impressing us with long quotes from it? The Bible and many other books are so well written that a person can stand up and read from it for hours – and the audience will be thrilled. Reading lengthy sections from the Quran is likely to give people headaches if they try to make sense of it.

Why is there so little criticism of this book when so much criticism is warranted?

History of Christianity

2000 years of Christian history fits quite nicely to the five fingers of a hand.

1st period is 300 years from the death of Christ to 311 AD – a period of slow spread, and deadly persecutions under Emperors like Decius, Diocletian and Galerius.

2nd period is 300 years from 311 AD to 630 AD with spread through a Christian Roman Empire, while said Empire breaks into pieces and loses territory to invading northern and northeastern  tribes. The Western part and North-Africa is lost.

3rd period is 400 years from 632 AD to 1095 AD where Islamic disaster strikes. The Christian areas of Palestine, Egypt, North-Africa and Spain are lost to gruesome Islamic tribes – ruling by terror.

4th period is 400 years from 1095 AD to about 1500 AD – Christianity strikes back and makes an effort to bring back previous Christian areas – motivated by stories about atrocities against Christians and Jews. One might suspect that the idea of Holy War and Crusade is reaction to the fact that Christians at this point have been the victims of Jihad for 400 years.

5th period is 1500 AD until now. After existing for 1500 years – the Christians finally realize they’re meant to be imperialists. If you think about how long it took Islam to realize it was imperialistic – the Christians comes out as slow and dumb. During this period the Christians conquered most of the world – then ended slavery, put in equal rights for women, suffered some terrible wars while harming mostly themselves, and then dismantled their empires, giving the conquered states back to the people living in them. Oh, and wrote the human rights and ended institutional racism and apartheid.

Well, lets not forget people like Ghandi, MLK, and Mandela. Yet – these excellent men worked to change the minds of (mostly) western Christian people – by their excellent examples, words and deeds they succeeded.

An oversimplification – absolutely. But it’s a five point summary – not the history of the world. Truth is – imperialism started some 4300 years ago with Sargon the Great of Akkad. It went on for 3800 years before the Christian Europeans got into the business for real. Practically every race and creed on this planet have ancestors “guilty” of imperialism, atrocities, slavery, and so on. Having ancestors doing “evil things” – we are all the same.

In terms of setting people free however …

The Zebra

The Zebra is an interesting animal – with its black and white stripes. Funny colouring in a landscape dominated by green.

But it works – the Zebra protects itself against – other Zebras. When placed next to other zebras it becomes a messy blur of stripes – very hard for predators to single out.

However, this requires the zebra to be genetically forced to mingle with other zebras – other animals identical to itself. It must have a paranoid fear of being on its own, and have a great need to stand only with animals looking like itself.

Some animals have this survival skill – place yourself next to someone similar to you – it will protect you.

This genetic disposition is clearly present in humans – groups of similarly looking people form everywhere – how many cities have a Chinatown or a Brixton?

Perhaps we can call this the zebra effect?

How can we explain that so many media outlets have misinformed the public in the same way about the objective history of Islam? Perhaps we can observe another zebra effect among media and some academic circles like humanities – the effect that like-minded people also group together.

It has long been known that journalism in Scandinavia is dominated by people of the same mindset – voting extreme left in gross disproportion to the actual population. Is this because we are genetically disposed to employ and promote people who share our views?

I consider this thought because of an extreme example from the madhouse called Sweden. It involves a school visit by a political party SD – Sweden Democrats. Apparently this visit by a person “with the wrong stripes” was too much to bear for a person, who spent his time in the toilet (crying?) to avoid being in the same room as someone with a different political opinion.

This example is truly extreme – but it does seem we have places in which all media not only are completely aligned in their views and beliefs – they also appear to have an absolute fear of different point of views.

(There are other hypotheses on why the zebra has stripes! )

Summary

It appears Islamic and Christian history appear to be considerably misrepresented in western media. Facts seem to be overlooked when they do not fit the preconceived conclusion – and so a manipulated picture of history is presented.

With UK alone having 100,000 converts to Islam – one must wonder how large a part media had in those conversions. If all the facts had been presented – would the number have been so large?

References
[1] Seing Islam as Others Saw It – A Survery and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam, Robert G. Hoyland, 2001

[2] History of the Conquest of Spain, Ibn Abd-El-Hakem, 1858

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1066_Granada_massacre

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hattin

 

 

The signature SK is a Norwegian living abroad who for apparent reasons prefer to remain anonymous.