Charles: The Constantine
By Ali Sina
began his rule, only 5% of the
Western Roman Empire
was Christian. He came to power at the age of 24 and did not baptize until he
was in his fifties and close to his death. Technically, he did not force his
subjects to convert, but he gradually introduced Christianity and changed the
laws making it harder to practice paganism.
increased taxes for the pagans while exonerated the churches and the Christians
priests from paying them. He granted lands and built many Christian churches. He
gave Christian bishops the authority of judges - against whom there would be no
appeal. He imposed moral codes by creating severe penalties against adultery,
concubinage and prostitution. For a variety of other crimes, people were to have
their eyes gouged out or their legs maimed. In keeping with Paul’s
instructions that slaves should “obey their masters with fear and trembling”
6:5], he passed a law allowing masters to beat their slaves to death.
He allowed infants born to slaves to be sold and allowed slaves who were caught
seeking refuge among "barbarians" to have a foot amputated. Slaves in
the public services caught attempting to leave town were to be beaten. With the agreement of
bishops, slaves who sought refuge in Christian churches were to be returned to
Constantine did not abolish democracy, but introduced policies
that made the Senate even more ineffective. Cities continued electing their officials but
under him municipal governments declined. He revived the secret police, which
was notorious for its reputation.
These changes were gradual. They destabilized
the democratic system and inaugurated an era of despotism which ushered
into obscurantism that lasted over a millennium. The Church received
governmental grants to build orphanages, hospitals, inns for travelers, and it
founded old age homes, all of which helped increase Christianity's prestige and
popularity. Constantine was gullible and the priests used him to advance their
Prince Charles being groomed to become the
of Islam in
Charles has come to
for an eight-day tour. His mission is to persuade W. Bush and the Americans
of “the merits of Islam”. He has voiced private concerns over
America’s "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to
appreciate "Islam's strengths". He thinks
has been too intolerant of the religion.
is behind this interest in Islam? Why would the Prince of Wales become an
ambassador of this Arabian religion?
a 1997 Middle East Quarterly article titled "Prince
Charles of Arabia," Ronni L. Gordon and David M. Stillman looked at
Britain’s Prince Charles might be a secret convert to Islam.
claim was put forward by no less a personage than the grand mufti of Cyprus: "Did you know that Prince Charles has converted to Islam. Yes, yes. He is
a Muslim. I can't say more. But it happened in Turkey. Oh, yes, he converted all right. When you get home check on how often he
travels to Turkey. You'll find that your future king is a Muslim."
Prince has not made any announcements about his conversion. But he is no
stranger to surprises. After all, didn’t he surprise everyone with his
confession to adultery when he was still married to Princess Diana?
has made several strong and disturbing public statements endorsing Islam “as
the solution to the spiritual and cultural ills of
and the West”. When Ayatollah Khomeini issued the fatwa against Salman
Rushdie for lampooning Muhammad in his novel Satanic
Verses, rather than defend Rushdie's right to free speech, Charles reacted
to the death decree by reflecting on the positive features that Islam has to
offer the spiritually empty lives of his countrymen.
views on Islamic terrorism are similar to those expressed by the apologists of
Islam. He believes that Islam has been hijacked by the extremists. In a major
address on Islam on October 27, 1993, at the Sheldonian Theatre at
where he is a vice patron of the Centre for Islamic
Studies, Charles declared:
“Our judgment of Islam has been grossly distorted by
taking the extremes to the norm. . . . For example, people in this country
frequently argue that the Sharia law of the Islamic world is cruel, barbaric and
unjust. Our newspapers, above all, love to peddle those unthinking prejudices.
The truth is, of course, different and always more complex. My own understanding
is that extremes, like the cutting off of hands, are rarely practiced. The
guiding principle and spirit of Islamic law, taken straight from the Qur'an,
should be those of equity and compassion.”
are the words of an apologist of Islam. They are of course absurd. The Quran calls for cutting the hands of
and those who wage war against Allah and his messenger 5.33
i.e. anyone who criticizes Islam. If Muslims rarely practice this law it
is a credit to them. It shows they are more humane than their prophet. But
Charles is defending ISLAM. He is claiming that the guiding principle and spirit
of Islamic law is taken straight from the Quran. Cutting the hands is straight
from the Quran. What spirit of the Quran is Charles advocating when he
brushes under the carpet its clear mandate? Which part of the Quran teaches
equity and compassion? No one expects kings to be intellectuals, but shouldn’t
they be minimally intelligent?
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