Bat Ye’or is the most informed contemporary scholar of the unique Islamic institution of dhimmitude, the repressive and humiliating apartheid system imposed upon those non-Muslims (i.e., dhimmis) subjugated by Jihad. Sir Jadunath Sarkar, the pre-eminent historian of Mughal India, wrote the following in 1920 regarding the impact of centuries of Jihad and dhimmitude on the indigenous Hindus of the Indian subcontinent:
“The conversion of the entire population to Islam and the extinction of every form of dissent is the ideal of the Muslim State. If any infidel is suffered to exist in the community, it is as a necessary evil, and for a transitional period only. Political and social disabilities must be imposed on him, and bribes offered to him from the public funds, to hasten the day of his spiritual enlightenment and the addition of his name to the roll of true believers.” “A non-Muslim therefore cannot be a citizen of the State; he is a member of a depressed class; his status is a modified form of slavery. He lives under a contract (zimma, or ‘dhimma’) with the State: for the life and property grudgingly spared to him by the commander of the faithful he must undergo political and social disabilities, and pay a commutation money. In short, his continued existence in the State after the conquest of his country by the Muslims is conditional upon his person and property made subservient to the cause of Islam.”
According to Bat Ye’or, Eurabia is essentially a political project for a demographic and cultural symbiosis between Europe and the Arab Muslim world, a new extended Mediterranean “continent” made possible by EU authorities through deliberately favoring Muslim immigration, promoting Multiculturalism and the dissemination of Arab and Islamic culture in Europe. In the essay Andalusian Myth, Eurabian Reality, co-authored with Andrew G. Bostom, editor of the comprehensive book The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, Bat Ye’or dispels one of the founding myths of Eurabia: that of the alleged “tolerance” of medieval Spain under Islamic rule.
During the completion of the new Granada Mosque, which was marked by celebratory announcements July 10, 2003 of a “return of Islam to Spain,” disconcerting statements were made by European Muslim leaders. Specifically, the keynote speaker at this conference, Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, a Spanish Muslim leader, encouraged Muslims to cause an economic collapse of Western economies (by ceasing to use Western currencies, and switching to gold dinars), while the German Muslim leader Abu Bakr Rieger told Muslim attendees to avoid adapting their Islamic religious practices to accommodate European (i.e., Western Enlightenment?) values.
Bat Ye’or and Andrew Bostom state that: “We believe that reiterating these ahistorical, roseate claims about Muslim Spain abets the contemporary Islamist agenda, and retards the evolution of a liberal, reformed ‘Euro-Islam’ fully compatible with post-Enlightenment Western values.” “Iberia [Spain] was conquered in 710-716 AD by Arab tribes originating from northern, central and southern Arabia. Massive Berber and Arab immigration, and the colonization of the Iberian peninsula, followed the conquest. Most churches were converted into mosques. Although the conquest had been planned and conducted jointly with a strong faction of royal Iberian Christian dissidents, including a bishop, it proceeded as a classical jihad with massive pillages, enslavement, deportations and killings.”
“In the regions under stable Islamic control, Jews and Christians were tolerated as dhimmis – like elsewhere in other Islamic lands – and could not build new churches or synagogues nor restore the old ones. Segregated in special quarters, they had to wear discriminatory clothing. Subjected to heavy taxes, the Christian peasantry formed a servile class attached to the Arab domains; many abandoned their land and fled to the towns. Harsh reprisals with mutilations and crucifixions would sanction the Mozarab (Christian dhimmis) calls for help from the Christian kings.”
The humiliating status imposed on the dhimmis and the confiscation of their land provoked many revolts, punished by massacres, as in Toledo (761, 784-86, 797), Saragossa from 781 to 881, Cordova (805), Merida (805-813, 828), and yet again in Toledo (811-819). The insurgents were crucified, as prescribed in the Koran 5:33.
According to Bat Ye’or and Bostom, “Feuding was endemic in the Andalusian cities between the different sectors of the population: Arab and Berber colonizers, Iberian Muslim converts (Muwalladun) and Christian dhimmis (Mozarabs). 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. Society was sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, with the Arab tribes at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Berbers who were never recognized as equals, despite their Islamization; lower in the scale came the mullawadun converts and, at the very bottom, the dhimmi Christians and Jews.”
Richard Fletcher observed in Moorish Spain that “Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.” A prominent Andalusian jurist, Ibn Hazm of Cordoba (d. 1064), wrote that Allah has established the infidels’ ownership of their property merely to provide booty for Muslims. Ibn Abdun forbade the selling of scientific books to dhimmis, under the pretext that they translated them and attributed them to their co-religionists and bishops.
Bat Ye’or and Bostom state that: “The Muslim Berber Almohads in Spain and North Africa (1130-1232) wreaked enormous destruction on both the Jewish and Christian populations. This devastation – massacre, captivity, and forced conversion – was described by the Jewish chronicler Abraham Ibn Daud, and the poet Abraham Ibn Ezra. Suspicious of the sincerity of the Jewish converts to Islam, Muslim ‘inquisitors’ (i.e., antedating their Christian Spanish counterparts by three centuries) removed the children from such families, placing them in the care of Muslim educators.”
“The socio-political history of Andalusia was characterized by a particularly oppressive dhimmitude that is completely incompatible with modern notions of equality between individuals, regardless of religious faith. At the dawn of the 21st century, we must insist that Muslims in the West adopt post-Enlightenment societal standards of equality, not ‘tolerance,’ abandoning forever their hagiography of the brutal, discriminatory standards practiced by the classical Maliki jurists of ‘enlightened’ Andalusia.”
Some modern Spaniards, however, seem to have forgotten the painful lessons inflicted by an Islamic occupation that ended as late as 1492. Every year, in a tradition that goes back to the 16th century, Spanish villages still celebrate the Reconquista, the liberation from the Moors (as the Muslims were locally called) during “Moros y Cristianos” festivals in which effigies of the prophet Muhammad – the so-called “la Mahoma” – are mocked, thrown out of windows, and burned. After the 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 192 people, the village of Bocairent near Valencia decided to discontinue the century old tradition of mocking and burning effigies of Muhammad. Bocairent did not want to risk becoming the target of suicide bombers.
The Socialist government of PM Zapatero gained power after the bombings. Mr Zapatero’s first act after winning the general election was to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. He then turned on the Church, which he viewed as part of the “old Spain.” The government drew up plans to finance the teaching of Islam in state-run schools and to give funds to mosques on the grounds that it would create greater understanding of the country's one million Muslims. Spain’s leading archbishop, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco, denounced the Socialist government, saying its policies were taking the country back to medieval times, when Muslim invaders swept across the Straits of Gibraltar. “Some people wish to place us in the year 711,” Cardinal Rouco said. “It seems as if we are meant to wipe ourselves out of history.”
These days, we also hear claims that we in the West owe so much to Muslims because Muslim Spain preserved and passed on Greek knowledge to the West, without which there would have been no Renaissance. The funny thing is, nobody seems to ask the Greeks about how good Muslims have been at preserving their cultural heritage. They might disagree.
The classical and Greek heritage did not die when the Western Roman Empire collapsed, it continued in the Eastern Roman Empire, later known as the Byzantine Empire, as it was more Greek than Roman. It lived on there uninterruptedly until the 15th century when it was finally destroyed by, well, Turkish Muslims. The Byzantine Empire upheld the unbroken succession of Roman emperors for a thousand years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Byzantines played a crucial part in the transmitting the classical and Greco-Roman heritage to Renaissance Italy, especially after the Ottoman Muslim conquest and the many Greek scholars fleeing to the West.
The Greeks bore the brunt of the Jihad for more than a thousand years. Muslims wiped out Greek communities all over the Eastern Mediterranean for centuries, a process that continued in countries such as “Turkey,” the formerly Greek-dominated region of Anatolia, and Egypt even after WW2. If this is how Muslims “preserve Greek heritage,” I hope they will never be in a position to “preserve” mine.
Robert Spencer describes how on Tuesday, May 29, 1453, the armies of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II entered Constantinople, breaking through the defenses of a vastly outnumbered and indomitably courageous Byzantine force. Historian Steven Runciman notes what happened next: The Muslim soldiers “slew everyone that they met in the streets, men, women, and children without discrimination. The blood ran in rivers down the steep streets from the heights of Petra toward the Golden Horn. But soon the lust for slaughter was assuaged. The soldiers realized that captives and precious objects would bring them greater profit.” It has come to be known as Black Tuesday, the Last Day of the World.
The jihadists also entered the Hagia Sophia, which for nearly a thousand years had been the grandest church in Christendom. Muslim men then killed the elderly and weak and led the rest off into slavery. Once the Muslims had thoroughly subdued Constantinople, they set out to Islamize it. According to the Muslim chronicler Hoca Sa’deddin, “churches which were within the city were emptied of their vile idols and cleansed from the filthy and idolatrous impurities and by the defacement of their images and the erection of Islamic prayer niches and pulpits many monasteries and chapels became the envy of the gardens of Paradise.”
One of the worst burdens on the dhimmi population in the Ottoman Empire was devshirmeh, the forced collection of young boys from Christian Greeks, Croats, Bulgarians, Serbs and Albanians to build a slave army of Janissaries. Vasiliki Papoulia highlights the continuous desperate, often violent struggle of the Christian populations against this brutally imposed Ottoman levy:
“It is obvious that the population strongly resented […] this measure [and the levy] could be carried out only by force. Those who refused to surrender their sons – the healthiest, the handsomest and the most intelligent – were on the spot put to death by hanging. Nevertheless we have examples of armed resistance. Since there was no possibility of escaping [the levy] the population resorted to several subterfuges. Some left their villages and fled to certain cities which enjoyed exemption from the child levy or migrated to Venetian-held territories. The result was a depopulation of the countryside.”
Andrew Bostom describes how John Quincy Adams, diplomat and 19th century President of the United States, understood Jihad well, and had lots of sympathy with the Greeks, who, along with the Serbs, were the first to revolt against Turkish Muslim rule:
“If ever insurrection was holy in the eyes of God, such was that of the Greeks against their Mahometan oppressors. Yet for six long years, they were suffered to be overwhelmed by the whole mass of the Ottoman power; cheered only by the sympathies of all the civilized world, but without a finger raised to sustain or relieve them by the Christian governments of Europe; while the sword of extermination, instinct with the spirit of the Koran, was passing in merciless horror over the classical regions of Greece, the birth-place of philosophy, of poetry, of eloquence, of all the arts that embellish, and all the sciences that dignify the human character. The monarchs of Austria, of France, and England, inflexibly persisted in seeing in the Greeks, only revolted subjects against a lawful sovereign. The ferocious Turk eagerly seized upon this absurd concession, and while sweeping with his besom of destruction over the Grecian provinces, answered every insinuation of interest in behalf of that suffering people, by assertions of the unqualified rights of sovereignty, and by triumphantly retorting upon the legitimates of Europe, the consequences naturally flowing from their own perverted maxims.”
The gradual loss of supremacy over their non-Muslim subjects and the Islamic anger this sparked culminated in the outright Jihadist genocide of the Christian Armenians in the early 20th century, a crime Turks are greatly reluctant to acknowledge even today. Serious riots broke out in Istanbul on the night of September 6, 1955, which led to looting in Greek neighborhoods and the destruction of many of the city’s churches and synagogues. More than 5,000 shops belonging to the Greek minority were looted by an emotional crowd of several thousand people. The Turkish Pogrom resulted not only from “fervid chauvinism, or even [from] the economic resentment of many impoverished rioters, but [from] the profound religious fanaticism in many segments of Turkish society.”
Ultranationalist Turks in 2005 attacked an exhibit in Istanbul of rare photographs of the violent anti-Greek incidents that occurred 50 years earlier, ripping photos off the walls, shouting “Turkey is Turkish and will stay that way.” “I’m merely defending my country,” one militant said. Turkey is officially 99 percent Muslim. 4,000 Greek Orthodox faithful live primarily in Istanbul. Known as Constantinople under Greece’s last great empire, Istanbul remains the seat of the Eastern Orthodox patriarchate, the highest authority in the Orthodox world.
We often hear that “Islamic culture” was superior to Western culture in the Middle Ages, and that Westerners owe much of our technological progress to Muslims. If we say that the “Middle East” and the Eastern Mediterranean were culturally and economically superior to Europe in the Middle Ages, then this is true. However, this had been the case for thousands of years before Islam entered into history. The oldest civilizations know to mankind originated in a belt stretching from today's Egypt via Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq to Pakistan. It is not a coincidence that the first European civilizations began in countries that were geographically close to the Middle East: The island of Crete, later mainland Greece and the Balkans, then Rome. Even in the Roman Empire, the Eastern part of the empire was stronger and more urbanized than its Northern and Western regions, which is one of the reasons why the Eastern half proved much more durable while the Western half collapsed in the 5th century.
When the Arab Muslims, a collection of backward, nomadic warrior tribes who did not even have a fully developed script, conquered Egypt, Syria and Iran, they took control over some of the world’s largest centres of accumulated knowledge. To say that “Muslims” or “Islamic culture” created the civilizations of the Middle East can be compared to an illiterate person storming into the planet’s largest library, killing all the librarians and then claiming to have written all the books there. The cultural superiority of the Middle East in relations to Europe did not begin with Islam’s entry into the area. In fact, it ended with it. One of the great riddles of history is how this once-dynamic region could become the world’s number one problem spot. It so happens that this decline coincides with the region’s Islamization, although some would claim that it had already started before this. Islam’s much-vaunted “Golden Age” was in reality just the twilight of the conquered pre-Islamic cultures, an echo of times passed.
It is true that no civilization exists in a vacuum. Modern Western civilization owes much to Egyptians, Persians, Sumerians, Byzantines, Assyrians, Jews, Indians and Chinese. We owe little, if anything to Islam.
The esteemed F.A. Hayek, in his classic The Road to Serfdom, can have fresh lessons for us even today. According to him, “The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they, or at least the best among them, have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognised before.” “The most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning. Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of the meaning of words by which he ideals of the new regimes are expressed.” “Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them.” “With all the fatalistic belief of every pseudo-historian since Hegel and Marx this development is represented as inevitable: ‘We know the direction in which the world is moving, and we must bow to it or perish.’”
Isn’t this exactly what is happening in the West now, with Multiculturalism and Muslim immigration? A massive rewriting of our history, and a perversion of language?
The European Commission proposed the controversial idea of a Eurovision-style singing event in all member states to celebrate the European Union’s 50th “birthday,” the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Commissioner Margot Wallstrom was lobbying for big-style birthday celebrations to “highlight the benefits that European integration has brought to its citizens.” Diplomats said the idea had sparked feelings of disgust among new member states, which were reminded of “Stalinist times” when people were forced to sing. Brussels also intended to spend around €300,000 on the appointment of 50 citizen “ambassadors,” dubbed the “Faces of Europe,” who were supposed to “tell their story” throughout the year on what the EU means to them in their daily life. Germany will in any case go ahead with its own idea to let thousands of its bakeries bake 50 sorts of cakes with recipes from all 25 member states.
Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the most important Islamist movement of the 20th century, is a resident of Geneva, Switzerland. He is the author of a dozen books, among them To Be a European Muslim, translated into 14 languages. The EU Parliament consults him as an expert voice of “moderate Islam.”
Mr Ramadan says decadent Europe will give way to an Islamized Europe. The 21st century, he says, will see a second role reversal between Islam and the West: “The West will begin its new decline, and the Arab-Islamic world its renewal” and ascent to seven centuries of world domination after seven centuries of decline. “Only Islam can achieve the synthesis between Christianity and humanism, and fill the spiritual void that afflicts the West.” All good people are implicitly Muslims, he maintains, “because true humanism is founded in Koranic revelations.”
Muslim identity is the only true source of universality, proclaims Tariq Ramadan. “It will fill the spiritual void that afflicts the West.” In a clash with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalian-born Dutch MP and critic of Islam, Ramadan said it was wrong to suggest that Muslims were in Europe to proselytize, and wrong to say that Europe had a Judeo-Christian past. “Islam is a European religion. The Muslims came here after the first and second world wars to rebuild Europe, not to colonise.” Again, according to F.A. Hayek, “The Nazi leader who described the National-Socialist revolution as a counter-Renaissance spoke more truly than he probably knew. It was the decisive step in the destruction of that civilisation which modern man had built up from the age of the Renaissance and which was above all an individualist civilisation. Individualism has a bad name today and the term has come to be connected with egotism and selfishness. But the individualism of which we speak in contrast to socialism and all other forms of collectivism has no necessary connection with these.”
“The essential features of that individualism which, from elements provided by Christianity and the philosophy of classical antiquity, was first fully developed during the Renaissance and has since grown and spread into what we know as Western European civilisation – the respect for the individual man qua man, that is the recognition of his own views and tastes.” “From the commercial cities of Northern Italy the new view of life spread with commerce to the west and north, through France and the south-west of Germany to the Low Countries and the British Isles, taking firm root wherever there was no despotic political power to stifle it.”
In sharp contrast to the Islamic world, “During the whole of this modern period of European history the general direction of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which had bound him to the customary or prescribed ways in the pursuit of his ordinary activities.” “Perhaps the greatest result of the unchaining of individual energies was the marvellous growth of science which followed the march of individual liberty from Italy to England and beyond.” “Only since industrial freedom opened the path to the free use of new knowledge, only since everything could be tried – if somebody could be found to back it at his own risk – and, it should be added, as often as not from outside the authorities officially entrusted with the cultivation of learning, has science made the great strides which in the last hundred and fifty years have changed the face of the world.”
If this was all caused by the introduction of “Islamic science,” how come none of it took place in Islamic lands? It is patently absurd to claim that Islam, perhaps the most anti-individualistic creed on earth, was somehow responsible for triggering the individual brilliance of Renaissance men such as Leonardo da Vinci, not to mention the grossly un-Islamic, figurative art of Michelangelo. So why is this assertion repeated, again and again?
The roots of Western civilization are primarily Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman. If you want to create a new entity, Eurabia, encompassing Europe, Turkey and the Arab world, you need first to establish that this cultural entity isn’t “new” at all, but has always existed. The way to do this is to establish that Islam is a natural and integral part of Western civilization. You need to imprint in the minds of the people that yes, Muslims and Christians can indeed live peacefully together, as we did in the glorious days of Andalusia. Not only can we live with Muslims, we actually owe Muslims gratitude for helping us create the scientific achievements of the modern West. Thus we have the twin foundational myths of Eurabia. This is why French President Jacques Chirac can claim that “Islam has contributed just as much to Western civilization as Christianity,” thus echoing Tariq Ramadan. Muslims believe that all people are born as Muslims. Jews and Christians share the same message as Muslims. If they disagree on something, this is because Jews or Christians have “misinterpreted” or “perverted” the true, Islamic message. All good things are essentially Islamic, as Mr Ramadan points out. It is thus an illusion to claim that there is such as thing as a separate, “Judeo-Christian” civilization. All Western achievements are Islamic, as they are the result of a civilization Muslims gave to us. Muslims should thus feel no gratitude for enjoying the benefits of the West, they are merely enjoying the legitimate benefits of their own civilization. In fact, Westerners should feel gratitude towards Muslims.
It is a time-tested Islamic tradition: If you cannot show significant historical achievements of your own, you can always steal somebody else’s.
The EU elites see themselves as Julius Caesar or Octavian, but end up being Brutus, stabbing their own peoples in the back. They want to recreate the Roman Empire on both sides of the Mediterranean, bound together by some vague references to a “shared Greek heritage.” Instead, they are creating a civilizational breakdown across much of Western Europe as the barbarians are overrunning the continent. The EU wants to recreate the Roman Empire and ends up creating the second fall of Rome.
It has been said that those who do not have a history also do not have a future. If so, maybe the reverse is true as well. Westerners have lost sense of much of our own cultural heritage. We have forgotten who we once were. Perhaps if we start reclaiming our past, we will discover that we have also gained a future, as an added bonus.