Leaving Islam




The Contradictions of Victim-Hood        

Paolo Bassi  

August 21, 2005  

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, when trying to explain world-wide Islamic anger, Muslim commentators often claim that western, in particular American, foreign policy is imperialistic and anti-Islam.  The periodic video tapes released by Al-Qaeda leaders bemoan the occupation of Muslim lands by infidels.  Before September 11, Osama Bin-Laden himself talked of "80 years of humiliation".  He is of course referring to the fall of the Turkish Ottoman Empire after World War I-- an empire which at its height conquered a large chunk south-eastern Europe and even besieged Vienna .  No doubt Islamists like Bin-Laden fantasize about Islam's fortunes had Vienna fallen.  

Is the Islamic accusation of western imperialism made in good faith or is it disingenuous?  It is true that Europe and America have greatly interfered in Muslim countries–we can disagree over the reasons and effects.  It is also true that Washington has supported repressive, authoritarian governments in places such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt . Without trying to justify American foreign policy, there are however, some glaring contradictions in Muslim claims that the west is imperialistic and anti-Islam.  Islamists seem to be historically selective and at times show outright historical amnesia, when they talk of Islam being the victim of western imperialism.  Islamists conveniently forget Islam's own imperial past and present ambitions.  

Just before his death in 632, Islam's founder, Mohammad, had engaged in what today would be ethnic -cleansing when he ended Jewish and Christian existence in the Arabian Peninsula . After Mohammad's death, his fellow Arab Muslims continued his war against non-Muslims. The Arabs, fueled by Islam and a lust for power and land, launched a stunningly successful but completely unprovoked war of aggression against the Persian and the Byzantine empires.  These early victims of Islamic conquest simply had no idea what hit them or why.  Next Palestine and North Africa were quickly overrun.  Eastern Asia, present day Afghanistan , and then India were also attacked.  Within 30 years after Mohammad's death in 632 AD, the Arab Muslims had violently carved out a huge empire stretching from North Africa to the Indus.   A few decades later, most of Spain was swallowed up.  France barely survived due to Charles Martel's critical victory over the invading Muslims at Tours in the 730s.  

Politically correct historians always talk of this "spread of Islam" as if it was a peaceful, gradual process.  This is a gross distortion since the facts are clear.  The Arab Muslim Empire was like any other imperial empire—it was created by mass killing, rape, pillage, national humiliation for the conquered peoples and the bloody replacement of existing ruling classes by an Arab Muslim elite.  In short, Islam was largely established by war and Arab imperialism.  To this day, Muslims nostalgically rue the collapse of the caliphate, when a single ruler, acting as God's Regent, ruled over an Islamic super-state, powerful enough to confront any infidel nation.  For centuries, the Islamic Caliphate run from Baghdad did exactly that.  

When Bin Laden laments the fall of the Ottoman Empire , he longs for the return of Islamic imperialism and military power–a power that can be used to further spread Islam and establish Islamic law.  When mullahs in Europe give their Friday sermons, along with the standard speeches claiming victim-hood, there is a sub-text, which glorifies the idea that Islam will gradually establish politically itself in the host countries.  Hard line fundamentalist Islamic groups, especially in Europe , make full use of western free-speech and are being very honest when they say they seek the creation of Islamic law in the west.  Western governments should be taking note and not complacently dismissing these groups as a few extremists.  Lastly, and perhaps most sinister of all, is the Saudi government's financing of extremist  Wahhabi Islam all over the world, by disseminating literature and constructing mosques.  All of these Islamic activities, aimed at making Islam a political power in the west, seem to fall under the news radar.  Islamists believe it is Islam's right to advance in non-Muslim countries but wail loudly at any real or perceived outside interference in Muslim affairs.  

Therefore, when Islamists and politically correct western historians discuss western interference in Muslim countries, a balance is needed and Islam's own imperial character and ambitions must be openly and honestly discussed.  Just as we should condemn unjustified aggression by the west, we need to examine Islam's past and present political ambitions.  Islam must be held to the same standard and not a culturally relative lower standard.







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