Islam and Christianity


I have wanted to write this blog for a while, but didn’t particularly know how to start it. A lot of this writing comes from the knowledge I gained reading Henry Chadwick, Karen Armstrong, and Voltaire. But I still didn’t have a beginning. Today provided me with that beginning.

Today is St Patrick’s day. As I was wandering through Leicester city centre, through swarms of happy people with tall green hats and pints of Guinness, I happened across an Irish pub. Outside the pub were six or seven people dancing to Irish music. Pleasingly, dancing side by side, arm in arm, were two men; An old grey haired Irish man with a huge smile across his face as he swayed, dancing quite comically with a young Muslim man also with a huge smile across his bearded (a bit of a failed attempt at beard growth actually) face whilst his friend filmed the entire scenario on his mobile phone. I was struck by the apparent lack of culture barrier between the two. They were just two men, enjoying themselves.

Meanwhile, in Sheffield, the “English Defence League” plan a march, against Islam. I wondered if this seemingly polarised contrast of values has always existed between the west and Islam? I’d argue that it has. I’d argue that the irrational fear that the contemporary western World seems to have of anything Islamic has been a linear progression since around 900ad.

During the 10th Century, in Al Andalus (Muslim controlled Spain), Islam was becoming amazingly ahead of it’s time. Cordova especially. Under Muslim control, Christians, Jews and Muslims were allowed to live side by side in peace, as long as respect was shown for each other. The Christians and Muslims shared poetry, literature, and philosophy. It was a golden age for the history of Spain. Typical Christian States at this time, were not allowing such integration to exist, because Jews and Muslims were considered heretics, who should be killed rather than accepted.

A Spanish Christian outside of Cordova, whom would undoubtedly be a member of the EDL today, once spoke out against this arrangement, arguing that Cordovan Christians had become corrupted by Islam. Paul Alvaro stated:

The Christians love to read the poems and the romances of the Arabs. Not to refute them, but to form an elegant Arabic. Alas! All young Christians read and study with enthusiasm the Arab books”

This was an attack on the Christians of Cordova. Christian layman reacted viciously, and started to burn Islamic books and writings in the centre of Cordova. One man in particular, named Perfectus, began to denounce Muhammad publicly. As this began, the Muslim supreme judge known as the Qadi did not pass the death sentence (to insult Christianity, in Christian lands, would have almost certainly resulted in a rather nasty death penalty) because he considered the Christian to have been provoked by both the writings of people like Alvaro, and angry Muslims, so he released Perfectus. But, Perfectus continued attacking the name of Mohammad. And so, without any other option, given the social and historical context of the time, Perfectus was executed by the order of the Qadi under the control of Abd ar-Rahman II. This martyrdom started a fresh wave of anti-Islamic sentiment. Known as the “Cordova Martyrs“, they began to publicly condemn Muslims for being heretics, and did not cease until they were executed. The Muslim court was reluctant to execute people for two reasons. Firstly, they believed it to be wrong to execute people for believing something different. Heresy did not exist for Islam. Disrespect for the Prophet did exist. But heresy, was not a concept Islam understood. Islam expanded at a time of religious plurality in the near East, and so they were used to different beliefs, and did not execute people on that basis. Secondly, they did not want to create a cult surrounding these martyrs. The martyrs were quickly being recognised as soldiers of Christianity. Islam did not provoke nor want a religious war. Christian bishops in Cordova, did not want a religious war. In fact, many Christian bishops and scholars denounced the martyrs as simply out to cause trouble where it was not needed. Slowly, successive Popes started to ban anything slightly Islamic. Koran’s were banned. As was recitation from memory of verses. In contrast, Islamic nations allowed Christian bibles, and Christian debates and discussions, even propaganda from Christians, providing it did not insult Muhammad. Islam, was generations ahead of Christianity both morally and spiritually.

We can then follow that insecurity, and irrational attacking of Islam or anything that was slightly different, almost directly to Pope Urban II and his attacks on Jerusalem. Perhaps this wasn’t necessarily an all out attack against Islam, but more Papal imperialism. Spreading the power of the West. Using Muhammad and the “heretics” as a predicate for war. As if Urban II was protecting Christianity rather than extending his own power, dominance and wealth. The Jews across the Rhine Valley were victims of Pope Urban attempting to kill off any non-Christians across the known World. Islam and Judaism have a lot more in common then they have differences.

For the next couple of centuries, false legends were propogated across Europe surrounding Islam and their Prophet. He was the anti-christ, a child molester (which is rich, coming from Catholicism), out to destroy Christianity, Satan himself.

As the reformation swept through Europe in the 15th and 16th Centuries, it became apparent that Christian ignorance would not go away. Catholics attacked Islam by linking it to Protestantism. They were a breakaway sect of Christianity that denied the Pope’s authority. Similarly, Protestants began attacking Islam by linking it to Catholicism. They worshiped false idols and didn’t believe in faith alone. Even Luther, the hero of the reformation wrote how he considered Europe at risk from being engulfed by Islam; and so the continued irrational fear spread miserably for another century. By 16th Century, the modern historian Norman Daniel points out that Islam was now used as a dirty word. The illiterate European population had no idea what Islam was; had never read the Koran; had never even spoken to a Muslim, but they had all decided through relentless Catholic and Protestant propaganda that Islam was never to be tolerated, purely because Islam held that Jesus was not the chosen Prophet of God.

In fact, it was not until Voltaire wrote his account of Muhammad, as being a great philosopher and Islam as being far more progressive than Christianity, that anything positive from the West was being written about Islam. Francois Rene de Chateaubriand, the French imperialist writer stated that:

Christianity is the most favourable to freedom.”

And that Islamic nations were:

A Family without a father

The Western imperialist powers, were apparently that “father“.
And then rose the British Empire.
The “us VS them” mentality continued. The Empire marched into Muslim lands and proclaimed that those who lived their, were barbarians who needed the British Empire to improve their lives. Algiers, Aden, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya; all came under imperialist power, and we were horrendously evil in our dealings with our new colonies.

The writer Boaudricourt of France at the time, wrote what he had known of the British and French expeditions to Africa and our treatment of Islam:

“About 18,000 trees had been burnt; Women, children and old men had been killed. The unfortunate women particularly excited cupidity by wearing silver ear rings, leg rings, and arm rings. These rings have no catch like French bracelets. To get them off, our soldiers used to cut off their limbs and leave them alive in a mutilated condition”

And we had the nerve to refer to Islam as barbaric?

The fear and violence continues right up until today. George Bush in 2004, run his re-election campaigned claiming to have been sent by God, and that America shouldn’t change commander-in-chief during a war. Christian and Western arrogance propagating fear all over again.
After 9/11, Muslims were viewed with unprecedented fear. As if they were all terrorists who simply “hated our freedom”. The same propaganda that was being used 1000 years ago, was being used again. Screening young muslim men at airports, always telling us that our terrorist threat level was at critical. And yet, the majority of terrorist attacks on U.S soil over the past twenty-years, has been by Christian fanatics. Burnt and bombed abortion clinics, the KKK, the murders of abortion doctors, the Olympic bombing in 1996; all Christian extremists. Why aren’t Christians given the same, if not more level of suspicion given their rather disgraceful past?

It was inevitably that eventually a generation of disenfranchised Islamic lunatics with delusions of hatred and an irrational bloodlust for Americans and the West was going to arise. When one mad man kills a few people, that’s a psychological issue. When a hundreds of men become radicalised, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. You cannot simply blame Islam for “hating our freedom”. It simply isn’t true. It’s an ignorant, racist concoction used to feed our arrogance because the West, and Christianity, has always had this delusional sense of superiority.

Not today. Today, the Irish man and the Muslim man proved that multiculturalism and tolerance work. The linear progression from the Cordova Martyrs, to the English Defence League and the War on Terror, has not prevailed. It is clear that the anti-Islamic prejudice is slowly dying out, on a scale never before seen. This is a fantastic thing.

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20 Responses to Islam and Christianity

  1. anon says:

    Studies in the U.S. and Europe have shown a link between Islamophobia and Anti-semitism. Much of the rhetoric and fears are almost interchangeable. This has led some people to speculate that the older anti-semitic prejudice and bigotry had never been eliminated—it had simply gone “underground” and with Islamophobia—has had a resurgence.

    These studies pose re-evaluation of “identity” for the “West”—what are their values? What does “freedom” mean? What is the future they see as members of the world community?…….

  2. Dawud says:

    there has never to my knowledge been a conflict between the irish and Muslims, the opposite in fact with more aid sent by the turkish sultan to famine struck ireland than sent by the british government.

    Islam, although believing christianity to be wrong, defends that right to be wrong as long as certain norms are followed and there are no reasons why a future islamic state couldnt have perfectly good relations with christians like this.

    Christians who behave like george bush and barrack obama however can expect quite a different state of relations with muslims, both today and whenver an islamic state is established in the future.

  3. TL Winslow says:

    Sorry, but a study of Islam’s history back 1400 years shows that it was a totally intolerant world domination cult from the start, and only when it was defeated militarily in Vienna in 1683 did it try to play wolf in sheep’s clothing until it could regather its strength and continue it world domination plan. Master all the key facts of Islam’s history free with the Historyscoper and see how deep the rabbit hole goes at http://go.to/islamhistory

  4. Dawud says:

    TL Winslow,

    I dont think people deny there has been conflict between Muslims and Christians throughout Islamic history, but it is also a fact that non orthodox and non catholic Christians used to flee to spain and the middle east as they knew there they would recieve toleration for their beliefs.

    Islam did believe, and does believe in expanding the rule under God’s law – the Shariah, but as long as people will pay the Jiziyah and respect the law then Christian and Jewish minorities have existed for centuries living side by side with Muslims.

    Jews refer to their time in Spain as the Golden period for Jewish medicine, art and philosophy and thought it would be impossible to ask the Christians and Jews of al-Andalus (spain) for detail of what they thought of Muslim rule as the Catholics did a pretty good Catholic job of forcibly converting them and expelling others, and burning all the books of the period but you can go and see and speak to the Samaratans in Palestine who state they would have been wiped out except for Muslim rule.

    Muslims dont pretent there is no conflict between us and agressive, intolerant strands of Christianity and ourselves, but with other minorities and denominations they have always found a place to shelter and escape persecution from other Christians under the Shariah law of God.

    Daw’ud

  5. The Irish are such a peaceful bunch of people aren’t they? I agree that the Irish have not had any conflict with Islam but they sure have had conflict with their own people and the English, blowing up innocent women and children is something that both have in common……

  6. That’s also a common feature of the English, over the past three centuries at least 🙂

  7. Dawud says:

    newsextra,

    pot calling the kettle black i think given the Brits carpet bombings WWII and in other conflicts as well as blowing up far more women and children than the irish and muslims could manage if you added them together.

  8. Dawud,

    The Brits only started carpet the carpet bombing of Germany after the germans bombed our cities for months, Coventry, London etc, I suppose we should have sat back and let the Nazis bomb us into oblivion?

    It’s strange how people who have freedom today castigate what past generations did to give them that freedom, sad person……

  9. Futiledemocracy,

    I think you mean the British, there is a difference?

  10. I believe the English were killing each other for being Catholic and Protestant, centuries before the British Empire rose.
    There is a difference, if of course, you’re a Nationalist. I’m not. I could decide that I’m from Leicester, and so absolve myself of any wrongdoing on the part of “England”, because I want “Leicester” devolved. British, English = humans regardless of what man-made abstract concept we place on ourselves. Either way, the lands we are from, England/Britain/Albion/UK, whatever you wish to call it, have been a fucking monster for centuries, until America took over.

  11. Futiledemocracy,

    I am sure the English were killing each other centuries ago but so were all nations,you blame everything on our Empire building past, do you not think that If Britain had not been spreading it’s wings across the world then some other nation would have done the same thing? Maybe Russia?Would that have been acceptable?

    You call the British or English fucking monster’s for their imperial past, I never hear you put down all the other nations treatment of their own peoples, why are the British/English so bad?, we have given the world democracy, we fought in two world wars to save the world from the Nazis, many countries of the world would be far worse off If the british had no involvement in their past, you are typical of the traditional left winger who has no passion or patriotism for his own country, you are pathetic and will always remain so, you are just like the Anti Fascist groups who caused the majority of the trouble in Bolton yesterday,it’s very amusing to see that it is now the so called Anti Fascists that are the groups causing the violence and not the supposedly right wing groups such as the BNP and the EDL, I don’t think it’s the far right we have to worry about, it’s the unwashed student/hippy types who have a loathing for their own nation.

    I suppose you will bring the subject of the slave trade up next????

  12. ” do you not think that If Britain had not been spreading it’s wings across the world then some other nation would have done the same thing? Maybe Russia?Would that have been acceptable?”
    – Oh well, the torturing of young muslim women because they weren’t Christian in places like Libya, was just fine then. Well done for that ridiculous attempt to justify our past. Nationalists tend to ignore negative aspects of our past.
    No, it wouldn’t have been acceptable if Russia had done it. That doesn’t make it acceptable that we did it. Nor can you use speculation to justify violence.

    “You call the British or English fucking monster’s for their imperial past, I never hear you put down all the other nations treatment of their own peoples, why are the British/English so bad?”
    – America, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, Cuba, to name a few others, have all been shit to their people, and others.

    “why are the British/English so bad?, we have given the world democracy”
    – No we didn’t. That’s a rewriting of history right there…. another trait of Nationalism.

    ” you are typical of the traditional left winger who has no passion or patriotism for his own country, you are pathetic and will always remain so”
    – Damn right i’m a traditional left winger. We gave this country minimum wage, we gave this country a decent standard of universal healthcare. We gave this country better working conditions. Damn right i’m not a neo-nazi. Damn right i haven’t stolen the British flag for far right winged propaganda. Damn right i’m proud of this Country’s tolerance and acceptance. Damn right some of my closest friends are muslims… two of which are in our armed forces, fighting to keep little nazi cunts like you, who do not deserve any of their time and effort, safe. If Patriotism simply means your brand of ignorance, lies, and racism…… then damn right i’m not a Patriot. In fact, if patriotism means simply your brand of Patriotism, then you Patriots can fuck off. England deserves better than nazi scum. You make the rest of us ashamed to be British, because we’re not as hateful and as intolerant and as viciously despicable as you. That doesn’t make us anti-British. That makes us anti-scum. I love this Country. I love it’s liberal values. Your ridiculous idea that if i’m anti-BNP, and I happen to want to bring my children up in a multicultural society, i’m somehow anti-British, is so fucking damaging. I hope you never have children. My grandad (who fucking despises everything you nationalists stand for) fought to keep Nazis away, why have we gotten to a stage in our history, where you lot are considered acceptable again? Has history taught us nothing?

    BNP members:
    . Nick Griffin (Party Chairman) Received a two-year suspended sentence in April 1998 for inciting racial hatred.
    . Tony Lecomber (Group Development Officer). In 1985 he was convicted on five counts for offences under the Explosives Act, including possession of homemade hand-grenades and electronic timing devices. Sentenced to three-years imprisonment.
    In 1991 he was sentenced to another three years imprisonment for unlawful wounding for his part in an attack on a Jewish schoolteacher whom he caught trying to peel off a BNP sticker at an underground station. He has a total of 12 convictions.
    . Colin Smith (South East London organiser). Has amassed a total of 17 convictions for burglary, theft, stealing cars, possession of drugs and assaulting a police officer.
    . Warren Bennett (Chief Steward). Supposed to keep order in the party yet has convictions for football hooliganism. In 1998, he was deported from France with over 50 other Scottish hooligans, including several BNP members.
    . Steve Belshaw (East Midlands BNP organiser. Was convicted in 1994 for assaulting a lawyer in his home-town of Mansfield. At the time, Belshaw combined his BNP membership with Combat 18 activity.
    . Kevin Scott (North East Regional Organiser). Was convicted in 1993 for hurling a glass at a black customer in a pub.
    . Robert Bennett. A leading activist in Oldham BNP during the 2002 elections campaign, Bennett has served five years in prison for the gang rape of a woman. He has also served seven years for armed robbery and has over 30 convictions in total.
    . Mick Treacy. The Oldham organiser has five convictions for violence, theft, and handling stolen goods

    So keep the holier-than-thou far right bullshit to yourself. You don’t fool anyone. You’re all fucking nazis. If the Anti-Fascist lot are causing violence, I certainly don’t condone them. But, if one of you nazi thugs happens to get the shit kicked out of you….. a smile might just cross my face 🙂

  13. Dawud says:

    @ newsextra,

    so according to your reasoning, the fact the west has been bombing muslims for decades justifies whatever the muslims do back?

    not a position i support, but i see you are with sheikh osoma on this one.

    As for the argument, ‘well could have been someone worse who colonised them’ or the ‘better us than the french’ argument, it is like arguing you are not an evil person if you rape someone if you use a condemn because there are other rapists out there who dont.

  14. futiledemocracy,

    “Fighting to keep little nazi cunts like you”

    And that just about sums up the left, you talk about tolerance but you have none for other peoples opinions, have I said I am a member of the BNP or far right organisation? No, you just assume because I don’t follow your views.

    I also have not stolen the British Flag, I am not British, I am English and proud to be so.

    You bringing up the criminal records of the BNP leadership and their henchman is supposed to do what?

    I could list you a number of New Labour politicians who have given support to various dodgy organisations, I could give you lists of dozens of Labour councellors who have convictions for serious crimes but what’s the point?

    I used to be a labour supporter but will never ever support them again, they like all the rest of the main parties have ruined this country over the last 30 odd years, even a well respected leftie like Tony Benn said he was retiring early from politics because there is no longer a choice for the voter to make, all the main political parties are the same.

    The people you mention who run the BNP are hooligans and criminals I agree but so is Tony Blair, Peter Mandleson, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw, Harriet Harman, etc etc, the difference is that those politicians have not been convicted for their betrayl and lies to the country.

    I think people should vote for the BNP as a protest,it may make the other parties sit up and listen to the genuine concerns of the people of this country.

    If being concerned about Immigration makes me a nazi in your eyes then you are not as intelligent as I first thought you were, my mistake obviously.

    You can call me all you want it will not change my views that this country is full, be it Immigrants from Africa, East Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Islamification of Europe is a great danger, you may not believe that but I do, we will never see eye to eye on that point or any other I should imagine, that’s OK though.

    And as for the Islamification of Europe I think it is a danger,I have a right to my opinions just as you do but the difference with me is that I would not try and stop you saying that but you would try and stop me airing my opinions, you don’t believe in democracy you just believe in your sort of democracy……

  15. Your attempts at fear mongering (the islamification of Europe) appall me. We heard the same fear tactics from the nazis against the Jews. We know where that kind of empty rhetoric leads.
    I have dated a muslim girl. She was lovely. Her family, were lovely. She would get threats from people, purely because she was muslim. The fear that was portrayed especially in places like the Daily Mail (your source of truth, apparently) made her be viewed differently. She was born here. She loves it here. She’s massively anti-islamic fundamentalism. Why should she suffer because a few ignorant English people (i.e, you) see her as part of some vast conspiracy against your very limited scope of what it means to be “British”. Why should she suffer, because people like you still have this archaic us VS them mentality?
    I love Britain, and one of the reasons I love Britain, is because of it’s diversity. I grew up in a massively diverse area of central Leicester. I love it. We are forward thinking, we are liberal. My friends are white, black, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and we all get on great. It’s people like you, that frustrate me. How dare you suggest that I hate England, simply because I don’t conform to your Nationalist bullshit?
    Secondly, whilst you suggest that i’m clearly not intelligent for referring to you as a nazi, you similarly suggested that I hate my Country…… purely because I do not adhere to your point of view. So, in the usual Nationalist rhetoric, you suddenly decided you were actually being really democratic by suggesting I hate my Country, whilst I was being undemocratic by suggesting that I deplore xenophobic Nationalism.
    What utter bollocks.

  16. I hate violence and I would never condone it on any side unlike yourself, I also have Muslim friends and Black friends who think Immigration has been a disaster in this country and needs to be halted, what is wrong with that?

    I think any member of the BNP party that attacks anyone be they black, white, chinese, Indian, any race should be prosecuted to the fullest by the law, I very much doubt you would say the same for some of your friends who are members of the far left militant groups? Double standards I think?

    You calling be a Nazi does not make me one, it just makes you closed to other peoples ideas and views, you are the one who believes violence towards others is OK, I don’t…..

  17. 🙂 No. I believe if a member of the UAF attacks a member of the EDL or BNP, they should be chucked in prison, and re-educated about what it means to be right or wrong.
    However, an attack on a nazi, is long down my list of sympathies.

    You told me that I hate my country. That doesn’t mean I do. 🙂 It goes both ways.

  18. I am pleased we can agree on one thing but your opinion that I am a nazi because I wish to end immigration to this country is totally ludicrous….

  19. So, you’re an English Nationalist.
    You believe that there’s an objective English identity (even though you and I are both English, and our opinions on what it means to be English are completely opposite)
    You believe all immigration should stop.
    The bulk of the attacks on immigrants on your blog I’ve seen have been aimed at Muslims. I haven’t once seen you mention American immigrants (America has done far more to “erode” English traditions than any Middle Eastern Country……… it’s the reason our Nation is getting fatter…. McDonalds).
    You’re simply anti-muslim.

  20. I don’t think we can blame the USA for our nation getting fatter, most westernised nations are suffering with the problem of obesity due to the better living standards of the westernised world, the improvement of working conditions/wages/lifestyle change,Is not blaming the Big USA for the worlds obesity problem is just a little paranoid in my opinion?

    I agree the bulk of the attacks as you call them on my blog are against Muslims, the reason for that is that I don’t believe the majority of Muslims wish to integrate into our culture and way of life, their belief system is so non westernised that it will never fit into our system and culture, when they kill people and call it Martyrdom I get angry, it is Murder and nothing less, when I see and hear Muslims chanting on our streets they wish to kill all non believers I get angry, I am sorry If you disagree with me on that but I will never change my view on that and I believe we are too tolerant on those that wish to harm us, political correctness has hamstrung our politicians.

    I also attack other immigrants on my blog, I did a piece about Romanians the other day and I also did a piece about Travellers.

    My anger with Immigrants who come to this country is mainly aimed at those who come here but who wish to change our society and to attack us for being RACIST, a friend of mine who came here from Pakistan many years ago said that there is far more racism amongst ethnic groups than the English/British, in India/Pakistan they have the cast system which looks down on people from their own race, how racist is that?

    You and I disagree with lots of things but I as the saying goes would fight for your right to have those views and opinions, you on the other hand I doubt would fight for my right to have the views I do.

    I will say one thing that I thoroughly enjoy on your website and that is your photography section, I enjoy photography as a hobby so really appreciate a good photograph….

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