Why the Western urge to ridicule the Prophet?


Over the years there have been repeated incidences of people that have mocked the character of Prophet Muhammad , and in all likelihood there will be people who will continue to do so.

In light of this it is important to understand the history of Western prejudices against Prophet Muhammad .

In the following article excerpted from "Muhammad – A Biography of the Prophet", Karen Armstrong reflects on events that took place when the book "Satanic Verses" caused a crises in Muslim-Western relations.

Ms. Armstrong traces the bitter history of Muslim-Western relations which began with Christian attacks on the character of Prophet Muhammad in Muslim Spain.



It has been difficult for Western people to understand the violent Muslim reaction to Salman Rushdie’s fictional portrait of Muhammad in The Satanic Verses. It seemed incredible that a novel could inspire such murderous hatred, a reaction which was regarded as proof of the incurable intolerance of Islam. It was particularly disturbing for people in Britain to learn that the Muslim communities in their own cities lived according to different, apparently alien values and were ready to defend them to the death. But there were also uncomfortable reminders of the Western past in this tragic affair. When British people watched the Muslims of Bradford burning the novel, did they relate this to the bonfires of books that had blazed in Christian Europe over the centuries?

In 1242, for example, King Louis IX of France, a canonised saint of the Roman Catholic Church, condemned the Jewish Talmud as a vicious attack on the person of Christ. The book was banned and copies were publicly burned in the presence of the King. Louis had no interest in discussing his differences with the Jewish communities of France in a peaceful, rational way. He once claimed that the only way to debate with a Jew was to kill him "with a good thrust in the belly as far as the sword will go".1 It was Louis who called the first Inquisition to bring Christian heretics to justice and burned not merely their books but hundreds of men and women. He was also a Muslim-hater and led two crusades against the Islamic world. In Louis’ day it was not Islam but the Christian West which found it impossible to coexist with others. Indeed, the bitter history of Muslim-Western relations can be said to have begun with an attack on Muhammad in Muslim Spain.

In 850 a monk called Perfectus went shopping in the souk of Cordova, capital of the Muslim state of al-Andalus. Here he was accosted by a group of Arabs who asked him whether Jesus or Muhammad was the greater prophet. Perfectus understood at once that it was a trick question, because it was a capital offence in the Islamic empire to insult Muhammad, and at first he responded cautiously. But suddenly he snapped and burst into a passionate stream of abuse, calling the Prophet of Islam a charlatan, a sexual pervert and Antichrist himself. He was immediately swept off to goal.

This incident was unusual for Cordova, where Christian-Muslim relations were normally good. Like the Jews, Christians were allowed full religious liberty within the Islamic empire and most Spaniards were proud to belong to such an advanced culture, light years ahead of the rest of Europe. They were often called ‘Mozarabs’ or ‘Arabisers’.

The Christians love to read the poems and romances of the Arabs; they study the Arab theologians and philosophers, not to refute them but to form a correct and elegant Arabic. Where is the layman who now reads the Latin commentaries on the Holy Scriptures, or who studies the Gospels, prophets or apostles? Alas! all talented young Christians read and study with enthusiasm the Arab books.2

Paul Alvaro, the Spanish layman who wrote this attack on the Mozarabs at about this time, saw the monk Perfectus as a cultural and religious hero. His denunciation of Muhammad had inspired a strange minority movement in Cordova whereby men and women presented themselves before the Qadi, the Islamic judge, and proved their Christian loyalty by a vitriolic and suicidal attack on the Prophet.

When Perfectus had arrived in gaol he had been extremely frightened, and the Qadi decided not to pass the death sentence because he judged that Perfectus had been unfairly provoked by the Muslims. But after a few days Perfectus cracked a second time and insulted Muhammad in such crude terms that the Qadi had no option but to apply the full rigor of the law. The monk was executed, and at once a group of Christians, who seem to have lived on the fringes of society, dismembered his body and began to revere relics of their "martyr’. A few days later another monk called Ishaq appeared before the Qadi and attacked Muhammad and his religion with such passion that the Qadi, thinking him either drunk or deranged, slapped him to bring him to his senses. But Ishaq persisted in his abuse and the Qadi could not continue to permit this flagrant violation of the law.

Ninth-century Cordova was not like Bradford in 1988. The Muslims were powerful and confident. They seemed extremely reluctant to put these Christian fanatics to death, partly because they did not seem in control of their faculties but also because they realized that the last thing they needed was a martyr-cult. Muslims were not averse to hearing about other religions. Islam had been born in the religious pluralism of the Middle East, where the various faiths had coexisted for centuries. The Eastern Christian empire of Byzantium likewise permitted minority religious groups liberty to practice their faith and to manage their own religious affairs. There was no law against propaganda efforts by Christians in the Islamic empire, provided that they did not attack the beloved figure of the Prophet Muhammad. In some parts of the empire there was even an established tradition of skepticism and freethinking which was tolerated as long as it kept within the bounds of decency and was not too disrespectful. In Cordova the Qadi and the Amir, the prince, were both loath to put Perfectus and Ishaq to death but they could not allow this breach of the law. But a few days after Ishaq’s execution, six other monks from his monastery arrived and delivered yet another venomous attack on Muhammad. That summer about fifty martyrs died in this way. They were denounced by the Bishop of Cordova and by the Mozarabs, who were all extremely alarmed by this aggressive cult of martyrdom. But the martyrs found two champions: a priest called Eulogio and Paul Alvaro both argued that the martyrs were "soldiers of God" who were fighting bravely for their faith. They had mounted a complex moral assault against Islam which was difficult for the Muslim authorities to deal with because it seemed to put them in the wrong.


It is still common for Western people to take it for granted that Muhammad had simply "used" religion as a way of achieving world conquest or to assert that Islam is a violent religion of the sword, even though there are many scholarly and objective studies of Islam and its Prophet that disprove this myth of Mahound. 

The martyrs came from all levels of society: they were men and women, monks, priests, laymen, simple folk and sophisticated scholars. But many seem to have been searching for a clear, distinct Western identity. Some appear to have come from mixed homes, with a Muslim and a Christian parent; others had been urged to assimilate too closely with Muslim culture – they had been given Arab names3 or had been pushed into a career in the civil service – and felt disoriented and confused. The loss of cultural roots can be a profoundly disturbing experience and even in our own day it can produce an aggressive, defiant religiosity as a means of asserting the beleaguered self. Perhaps we should remember the martyrs of Cordova when we feel bewildered by the hostility and rage in some of the Muslim communities in the West and in other parts of the world where Western culture threatens traditional values. The martyr movement led by Alvaro and Eulogio was as bitterly opposed to the Christian Mozarabs as to the Muslims and accused them of being cultural defectors. Eulogio made a visit to Pamplona in neighboring Christendom and came back with Western books: texts of the Latin Fathers of the Church and Roman classical works by Vergil and Juvenal. He wanted to resist the Arabisation of his fellow Spaniards and create a Latin renaissance which looked back with nostalgia to the Roman past of his country as a way of neutralizing the influence of the dominant Muslim culture. The movement fizzled out when Eulogio himself was put to death by the Qadi, who begged him to save his life by making a token submission to Islam – nobody would check his subsequent religious behavior – and not give in to this "deplorable and fatal self-destruction" like the other "fools and idiots".4 But Eulogio merely told him to sharpen his sword.

This curious incident was uncharacteristic of life in Muslim Spain. For the next 600 years members of the three religions of historical monotheism were able to live together in relative peace and harmony: the Jews, who were being hounded- to death in the rest of Europe, were able to enjoy a rich cultural renaissance of their own. But the story of the martyrs of Cordova reveals an attitude that would become common in the West. At that time Islam was a great world power while Europe, overrun by barbarian tribes, had become a cultural backwater. Later the whole world would seem to be Islamic, rather as it seems Western today, and Islam was a continuous challenge to the West until the eighteenth century. Now it seems that the Cold War against the Soviet Union is about to be replaced by a Cold War against Islam.

Eulogio and Alvaro both believed that the rise of Islam was a preparation for the advent of Antichrist, the great pretender described in the New Testament, whose reign would herald the Last Days. The author of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians had explained that Jesus would not return until the "Great Apostasy" had taken place: a rebel would establish his-rule in the Temple of Jerusalem and mislead many Christians with his plausible doctrines.5 The Book of Revelation also spoke of a great Beast, marked with the mysterious number 666, who would crawl out of the abyss, enthrone himself on the Temple Mount and rule the world.6 Islam seemed to fit these ancient prophecies perfectly. The Muslims had conquered Jerusalem in 638, had built two splendid mosques on the Temple Mount and did indeed seem to rule the world. Even though Muhammad had lived after Christ, when there was no need for a further revelation, he had set himself up as a prophet and many Christians had apostatized and joined the new religion. Eulogio and Alvaro had in their possession a brief life of Muhammad, which had taught them that he had died in the year 666 of the Era of Spain, which was thirty-eight years ahead of conventional reckoning. This late eighth century Western biography of Muhammad had been produced in the monastery of Leyre near Pamplona on the hinterland of the Christian world, which trembled before the mighty Islamic giant. Besides the political threat, the success of Islam raised- a disturbing theological question: how had God allowed this impious faith to prosper? Could it be that he had deserted his own people?

The diatribes against Muhammad uttered by the Cordovan martyrs had been based on this apocalyptic biography. In this fear-ridden fantasy, Muhammad was an impostor and a charlatan, who had set himself up as a prophet to deceive the world; he was a lecher who had wallowed in disgusting debauchery and inspired his followers to do the same; he had forced people to convert to his faith at sword point. Islam was not an independent revelation, therefore, but a heresy, a failed form, of Christianity; it was a violent religion of the sword that glorified war and slaughter. After the demise of the martyr movement in Cordova, a few people in other parts of Europe heard their story, but there was little reaction. Yet around 250 years later, when Europe was about to re-enter the international scene, Christian legends would reproduce this fantastic portrait of Muhammad with uncanny fidelity. Some serious scholars would attempt to achieve a more objective view of the Prophet and his religion, but this fictional portrait of "Mahound" persisted at a popular level. He became the great enemy of the emerging Western identity, standing for everything that "we" hoped we were not. Traces of the old fantasy survive to the present day. It is still common for Western people to take it for granted that Muhammad had simply "used" religion as a way of achieving world conquest or to assert that Islam is a violent religion of the sword, even though there are many scholarly and objective studies of Islam and its Prophet that disprove this myth of Mahound. 

 

Excerpted from "Muhammad – A Biography of the Prophet" by Karen Armstrong.

NOTES:

1. John of Joinville, The life of St Louis, trans. Rene Hague and ed. Natalis de Wailly (London, 1955), p. 36.
2. Paul Alvaro , Indiculus Luminosus, quoted in R. W. Southern, Western Views of Islam in the Middle Age (London, 1962), p. 21.

3. Perfectus was probably a Latin version of the Arab name al -Kamil (the Complete One) ; other martyrs were called Servus Dei, which must be a translation of Abdallah (the Slave of God).

4. Paul Alvaro, Vita Eulogii, quoted in Norman Daniel, The Arabs and Medieval Europe (London and Beirut, 1975), p. 29

5. II Thessalonians 1:4 – 8 . The author was not St Paul; the letter was written years after Paul’s death.

6. Revelation 19:19



By: karen armstrong | Source: IslamiCity | Category: Articles, Faith, Politics, Society | Views: 15,630 | Comments: 52

52 Comments

  1. The basic reason for hatered against Islam and its prophet is that Islam provides completely diifferent view and solution for problems of human society and it is only ideaology that stand opposed to secular capitalistic ideaology. When Chritianity and jedaism become submissive and extension of the secular idealogy.

  2. No one has the right to ridicule or say bad things about any prophet of God be it Moses (as), Jesus(as) or Muhammad (pbuh) even if you are a non believer.

    A good person does not say, do or create any obnoxious story about another person.

  3. All the people need to open their eyes, ears, and hearts; thus permitting Allah (God) to show the truth and to be patient as one learns the truth of the error of mankind.

  4. The article is as objective a narration of the Islam in Spain as you can get from a person of other religion. Regarding some of the comments that i see spewing hate against Islam, I would like to remind everybody here that it was Islam that allowed Christians, Muslims and Jews to co-exist in Jerusalem for hundreds of years and there was no conflict in the area. The conflict only came when the Crusaders came with the intention of Conquering Jerusalem and on their way used to kill Jews like anything. Now the neo-crusaders or neo-cons are ruling Palestine trying to settle the Jews in the Middle East so that the second coming of Christ takes place. In order for this to happen these Christian extremists in the US want to occupy Iraq because the prophecy says that when the land between Euphrates in Iraq and Nile is Egypt would be occupied by Jews then the second coming of Christ would take place and he would kill all the Jews or convert them to Christianity. That is what we call real hatred and ignorance of religion. For these neo-cons religion is war and they are hell bent on bringing about the second coming of Christ. While Islam tells its followers to act upon the religion and do good things for these neo-cons all religion amounts to is to settle and abuse palestians and kill them. So much for Christianity and the Crusaders. As for the World War I and II, if you take religion out of the equation then people would fight based on ethnicity and the principle of might is right. It is only religion that tells people to behave and respect all religions and do the right things as ordered in the religion, especially Islam. With regards to the respect for Prophets of God, Muslims not only respect Muhammad (PBUH) but also Prophets like Jesus and Moses and hate pictorial depictions or insult on these prophets with the same emotions. However, Muslims should make it known publicly that this is not on and hurting people of any race, religion or color by insulting the prophet is not.

  5. You can criticise any religion and any religious figure except Zionisim. This is the current trend and fashion of the world. As a matter of fact, Zionists are leading the way against the current storm against Catholisim. Without organized attack on the personality of the Prophet (saw), their mission will be incomplete and will come to a sudden halt. Removing God the Almighty from the planet is pre-requisite in attacking the personalities of all the Prophets (as).

  6. First of all, there is no need for any apology for Islam or anything else. As a Muslim, I do not think Islam is an intolerant faith and it is the SOLE reason why the world has progressed the way it has.

    The problem lies with the media and muslims, but not Islam. There are a few crazy muslims who utter some stupid things and media sees some food on a platter, and can’t wait to put it on the front pages. And than people who do not know history nor the religion speak as if they are some 1400 year old scholars.

    Now, the reaction to South Park was bad, but what do you expect. We love our Prophet MUHAMMAD very much and we got to defend his name, NOT by MAKING THREATS, but verbally defending him does not hurt. Again, small group of crazy muslims gets magnified so the ignorant mass cannot distinguish between what we really feel.

    Don’t you think the world got better things to talk about than this… like fixing the recession which was started by small group of greedy hogs who raped this society and financial system… no, they keep getting richer while the world gets poorer and more ignorant yet the media has time to bury muslims whenever it gets a chance…

    “WE are in a sleeping state but we wake up when we die”

  7. Armstrong is the foremost apologist for Islam in the West. She can find nothing to criticize in Islam and nothing to praise or agree with in Western history. And I would ask why go back hundreds of years to reconstruct this ideological motivated account instead of looking at the world as it is today?

    We have free speech in the West which is why this website is in the US and not in the Muslim world where the faction fighting sects and governments would censor it. Why do we see renewed threats to Salmon Rushdie after his knighthood? Why do we see an orchestrated reaction to cartoons in Denmark? Why do we see death threats over the bad taste in the South Park program? Why do we see people threatened in the Middle East if they attempt to persuade others about religion as this very website does here in the US?

    It is because Islam is an intolerant religion that does not respect free speech and yet believes that its piety can dictate to the rest of the world what they can say. You cannot. Your piety makes no demands upon me as I don’t believe any of your religion or any other. And you have no right to expect the West to set aside its principle political beliefs because you are “offended.”

    This is what Armstrong should have written about instead of her usual apologies for Islam, condemn the West, pity narrative for which I have nothing but well earned contempt.

  8. Greetings all, There are many truth’s that can be used to paint a picture. Opinion can blur that picture. There are truth’s in both “Book’s” which are in total agreement. We however have been programed to think a certain way according to the evidence provided, not according the total evidence that exists,kind regard’s

  9. Yet another article by Karen Armstrong. The title proposes to explain why Westerners ridicule the prophet. Yet this article (or book) hardly explains this. Infact, Christian/Western arguments are stated and in a round-about way, they mock the prophet.

    And this is typical of all Karen Armstrong articles. Her titles are always positive – but the content of her articles always end up in mocking the prophet by asking questions in a negative way and never answering them. In this way, she reinforces the Christian/Western stereotypes.

    And most Muslims because of the Western name purchase her books.

  10. Sheer ignorance and bigotry play a major role in the urge to ridicule the prophet. I think the best way to tackle the constant barrage of insults, Muslims must ignore the reprehensible smear campaign against the Prophet and his followers; should ignore it and not react violently to the incitement and provocations which is proscribed in the holy Koran.

  11. Karen Armstrongs swooning romanticisms are in full swing as usual. When one does some actual historical digging, one will realize that things were not peachy-keen in andalus. The concept of Europe being this “backwater” place during the time is an attempt to disenfranchise Westerners from their past. A necessary move in order to perpetuate an agenda. Again, looking at historical facts shows this to be false. Andalus being this “beneficent light upon Europe” is also an attempt to further an agenda, and has no real basis in fact.

  12. I think is no good ofensed eny religion, in spain, keep respect at the muslism religion, because considered is a sagrade, then cant support, how sam people are ridiculize this religion, hope so keep respect, for etic and morally.

  13. I agree with my namesake Maryam that this article is nothing more than biased prunings from Ms. Armstrong’s excellent writing. I also wholeheartedly agree with everything else she says in her comments. But mostly, I am surprised that no one caught on to the true motive of the publication of the cartoons, and that was obviously to throw a lit match into the volatile situation in the Muslim world – the anger at the west, the war in Iraq – for the purpose of creating news. We should be greatly horrified and angered at this blatant move to manipulate and incite the public into violence and murder (Muslims have died as a result of the repercussions of this irresponsible act). The media’s responsibility is to publish news, not create it, especially when the result is death. Muslims all over the world should be focusing on this injustice – to me, it is much greater than any harm a few stupid cartoons can do to our great Prophet (pbuh).

  14. John,

    You know that in the two World Wars of the last century, Religion played no role in killing all those millions who died. Apart from this, Comrade Stalin massacred millions in Ukraine alone, besides in other places. Was it religion? And how many did Pol Pot kill in Cambodia? Over 2 million people. And think of all the human beings massacred by the Americans in different parts of the world: Vietnam, Philippines, Korea, Chile, Nicaragua and so on and on… Religion played little role there.

    If you make an objective study, you can see that the role of Religion in wars is unimportant in comparison. And even where religion is in the dock, we can see that it was actually the greed, the madness or the arrogance of certain persons who put on the garb of religion that caused those wars, rather than Religion itself which invariably teaches people to strive for peace.

    You may be right in saying that people with religion kill. But people without religion also kill. So what we need to do is to urge the people to accept some philosophy (as you do not like the word, religion) that persuades them to be peaceful. Islam, though terribly misunderstood, stands for Peace.

    Also it is true that Religion demands restraint, which is in a way curtailment of freedom. But tell me, can we claim to be cultured or civilized beings, if we do not exercise restraints in our day to day life?

    Thank you very much.

  15. I agree with Maryam. Ms. Armstrong does a wonderful job of promoting understanding by explaining how and why a particular sect believes and behaves a certain way by looking at the history and evolution of their thought. Almost any stand can be promoted by excerpting a piece of her writing. Only by looking at her books as a whole work do you see the whole picture. I suggest that Dan read The History of God, and The Battle for God. I think he would agree that she is far from selling hate. He would also find that she agrees with his distaste for fanatic/fundamentalists who put their brand of religion over the faith that it is supposed to represent.

    As far as the reaction to the cartoons go, let God take care of those who mock him. I think he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself and would be offended by anyone presuming to kill in His Name.

  16. Islamic teachings began with Adam and were completed with Muhammed. The Koran tells us to revere none other than God, and to respect all prophets equally. “The West” has for years been pushing the boundaries of free speech with commentaries and depictions of Jesus, Mary and even God. None of this concerned the Muslim world until they singled out Muhammad.

    If we have truly submitted to God, and certain people choose to denigrate His prophet(s), should we retaliate like animals? Surely God will decide what punishment (if any) these people will face. Many of these “Muslims” who have been publicly acting out in Muhammed’s name come across as Mohammedans, as opposed to Muslims. The reason why ANY prophet shouldn’t be depicted is because human beings have a tendency to follow other human beings rather than God. Clearly even without depictions, most people who call themselves Muslim have put Muhammad on a pedestal that he himself would not have wanted to be on. We argue over Abu Bakr and Ali, Aisha and Fatima, when in the end, NONE of it has to do with GOD.

    Since none of the people burning down churches, embassies and even other mosques have chosen to follow the behaviour outlined in the Koran, why do they call themselves Muslim? In their blind allegiance to Muhammed, they haven’t even followed his examples and teachings for facing adversity. Rather they have created a cultural/ethnic icon – ignoring everything that came before him. They make fun of Christianity, but don’t realize that they’ve fallen into all of the same traps.

  17. Who is “the West” that you’re talking about? I am a European Muslim, living in North America. Am I the enemy? There is no unified “West”. Many of the people that you are lumping together are either not Christian, or are in fact open to all religions -they have denounced Imperialism, attacks on minorities and militarism that affects Muslim communities worldwide. So they become your enemy because a tiny newspaper in a tiny European country prints some disgusting and stupid cartoons? Frankly, the extremist elements within our own community who encourage people to follow hate and violence are enemies of Islam.

    If a Christian website were to put together various historical instances where Muslim communities victimized Christians, and used it as “proof” that Muslims are to blame for poor Muslim/Christian relations and violence, would that be fair? Of course not! It is just as easy to find cases where Muslims have brutalized Christians and others, particularly in recent history. That should concern us more then a handful of cartoons.

    In the recent fall-out, Muslims have burnt down churches, murdered a priest and some Muslims have even made disgusting comments about Jesus and Mary (pbut). This sickens me to the core, and this concerns me more than what some stupid right-wing paper decides to print. The recent responses have done nothing to indicate that Islam is a religion of peace, a religion of knowledge or a religion of tolerance. In fact, they have shown how we have allowed some of our communities to fall into absolute ignorance, where teachings about tolerance and peace have no relevance. If the global Muslim community had responded in the way that Muhammed (pbuh) responded to adversity, we would have set a wonderful example for others to follow. Instead we have proven that the cartoons are a more accurate portrayal of the modern Muslim community than the actions and lessons of Muhammed (pbuh) himself.

  18. So, putting “fools and idiots” to death for what they say is considered Islamic, depending perhaps on what they have said? And when troublemakers (presumably ones with political connections) manipulate some idiot from another community – one taught by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to compete in good works – into disturbing the peace, the proper response is to execute the unfortunate fool in question? In the name of the Most Merciful, the Beneficent?

    Is that Islam?

  19. Freedom in the west allows some people to express themselves without any fear and I don’t see it as an insult toward any one. They do however do not realize that many people in this world of ours are “weak” and can not take Criticism.

    The more we worship “things and people” the more we feel betrayed when someone talks negative about them. God is the only one needs to be worshipped and He does not need our help to fight on his behalf. If what people say is not true then don’t take it to heart. If what they say is true and it causes pain, then change.

    True leaders care for “all” mankind. Christians and Jews and Sabians are all Muslims (Submissive to God)according to Quran, therefore I do not care about anyone who says that they are infidel or kafar, for that is not true.

    If someone eats what ever they want but you can not do that, it does not mean what they eat is bad. It is only bad for you because

    a)It is not common for you,

    b)You are “weak” to consume that food because of your belief.

    THE BEST ANSWER TO CRITICISM IS TO BE STRONG AND TO RESPOND BACK IN LOVE AND NOT TO REACT IN ANGER OR VIOLENCE.

    Saiid

  20. The breach between societies, religion has been indoctrained by the mischief makers of the world-

    the prophets came to save the whole humanity. Why can’t the sick minds of the world ridicule one another and leave the benefactors of humanity free of slander and take lessons from their lives.

  21. I think there needs to be a clarification here. The sub-human hatemongers are only doing what their ancestors did. The same people who invade, torture and murder hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan have no business complaining about “Muslim violence.” Muslims “riot” while they just drop megaton bombs on entire cities. These are the same blod thirsty criminals who murdered over a 100 million people in the 20th century. Yeah, people like “dan” and “john” are perfect examples. Base hypocrites, murderers and liars.

  22. Salman Rushdie’s fictional portrait of Muhammad in The Satanic Verses

    Point out fiction plz, Salman might have interpreted things different fron traditional views, but he doesnt say Muhammed did things he didnt do, or didnt do things he did…. for instance.

    “Indeed, the bitter history of Muslim-Western relations can be said to have begun with an attack on Muhammad in Muslim Spain.”

    I dont know how anyone can take her seriously after this gem! This just says sooooo many things about her.

    “This incident was unusual for Cordova, where Christian-Muslim relations were normally good.”

    This is not only false, but often spewed by propagandists. Christian-Muslim relations were terrible, Muslim-Jew relations were better than they ever were, but Muslim-Christian??? Do some honest research plz! If all Spainiards loved Islam/Arabs so much there wouldn’t be a classification of them amongst the society at large. Mozarabs/Arabizers refers to a certain select group of people.

    Also, take into account of all those years of Islamic/Arabic rule, youd think that all these Spanish people who love Islam/Arabs would have treated them better than to torture, kill, and expell them with such vivaciousness as they did to free themselves of the yolk of islamic rule. No, i’m willing to go as far as to say the Christian Spanish hated them.

    “The diatribes against Muhammad uttered by the Cordovan martyrs had been based on this apocalyptic biography.”

    …But the truth is they did it because they were EXTREMELY steamed off!

    Examples abound!

  23. THIS ARTICLE IS OPEN EYE FOR EUROPEAN COUNTRIES THEY GOT LESSON THROUGH THIS.IF THEY READ THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD(PBUH)THEY ACCEPT ISLAM BUT UNFORTUNATELY THEY DIDN’T.THEY GOT LESSON THROUGH HISTORY WHEN SALAHUDDIN DEFEAT THEM.

  24. AL SALAM ALAYKOM WARAHMAT ALLAH WABARAKATOH

    PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH) WAS NEVER A PROPHET OF WAR. HE WAS ALWAYS A PROPHET OF PEACE. HE WAS ALWAYS PUSHED TO WAR BY THOSE WHO WANTED TO OPPOSE HIM TO INFORCE THEIR BELIEFS UPON HIM. WAR WAS ALWAYS THE LAST RESORT FOR HIM.

  25. This text is unusual clear and from an outer view. so no one can

    say it was sponsort by muslim (like the us sponsored iraqi press).

    so I will definetely buy this book form Karen Armstrong and hope

    to find more historical and religious background to discuss with my

    non-muslim neighbours.

  26. The article has been a real eye-opener to us in the Wes,t about the attitude that Christianity has had towards Islam since centuries. It is hardly surprising that defamatory cartoons should appear in Western papers given the history of rabid hatred and hostility that European Christians have harbored against the Muslims of the world. Additionally, the fact that Islam has been singled out for special treatment under the guise of ‘freedom of speeech’ has been made even more obvious by the recent CONVICTION in a EUROPEAN country, of a historian, for denying the ‘holocaust’ … apparently freedom of speech in the West is especially reserved for those abusing Islam … very interesting indeed …

  27. For one I can say as a muslim, what happaned in Cordova was wrong, wrong wrong. I shouldnt have to say that. The Christians here were absolutely wronged and they had every right in my opinion to take the stance they did. However to say that this represents or will represent Islam is wrong as well. I could quote many verses that state muslims should ignore what people say about them, I cannot understand for the life of me why we get so upset about someone saying, drawing, or otherwise about Islam or the prophet. If someone wants to vent their frustrations or troubles with Islam out fine. We are supposed to be the patient, the understanding, the wise. The general idea that we need to kill or uprise against the worlds view of Islam is strange to me. Hasnt Islam always been criticized? Whats new about that? The idea that we should be upset or ready to bust down doors is a bit short sighted. We would be quite overwhelmed.

    With that being said, never bluntly generalize anything. I tend to believe that Islam is perfect and muslims are not. Most religions, constitutions and idealogies from the beginning of time considered themselves perfect and no man or group can be, so why people are so constantly suprised at institutions failing their ideals is beyond me. Man is not perfect, the only thing that inspires us to be is these perfect ideals. So people like this can ridicule or demean, but have no idea what it takes to do good for the world and sustain it. Thats what Islam is about. Its not easy and the problem cant be simplified by generalizing and denouncing. If you think you can do it better JC, Mrs Armstrong, 1 million critics go ahead. And if you think the world is perfect now, think again. Its always easy to criticize from the bench.

    – Rashad

    “God can never change a people until they first change what is in themselves”

    Quran 13:11

  28. As usual Muslim haters pouring their venom where ever they find a chance. I am not sure when they will come to their senses and look things from an open mind and not blindly follow the brainwash that regularly occurs across the mainstream media. I ask Y.P to start with atleast one correction rather than venting his frustration.

  29. I agree with Y.P. completely. I have no idea why Islamicity would display this article reflecting the views of such a biased and uninformed author. This text feeds the flames of the controvery rather than helps to extinguish them, this is completely the opposite of what we need at this point! Extremely poor choice!

  30. Islam is peace and damn the Americans for they “no not what they do”. Islam is not terroism, people blowing themselves are a minority and nothing is taught about that in Quran. Yes, muslim hatred from the west is normal, but muslims during that early years were the the most tolerant people in the world, and thats what made them so powerful in Allah(SWT)’s eyes. Now, we are not one anymore and we are killing each other and going against what Islam says, the list goes on foreever. And if the west riducules us,, lets riduucle thier many many many problems….W/salam

  31. I do not know who this woman is, nor do I care. The funny things is this line after the article:

    “The opinions expressed herein contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization.”

    Yet, look what they state in introducing the article:

    “In light of this it is important to understand the history of the Western bigotry against Prophet Muhammad” (peace be upon him).

    I am from the West, and a soldier in the U.S. Army, and I try to follow the words of the Prophets (peace be upon them) as closely as I can on a daily basis. This author brings up events centuries ago. “Muslims” riot against images? Huh? Who are the true infidels? You make violence against people over a cartoon? Do you think God needs your help in dealing with those who mock one of the prophets? The Arab and “Palestinian” Worlds have created more misunderstanding and spite of Islam than the West could ever do. The hypocrisy of the Arab and Palestinians is beyond reasoning. I can remember the siege of the Church of Nazareth in 02′. Why were the Tanzim in there? Can you imagine if a Christian had done that to a site of Islam? There would be bombings everywhere. I disassociate myself, as many Christians do on their fanatics, from these infidels who think they do the work of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). He does not need you. You are incomparable to Him.

  32. The question must be asked. Why should anyone ever respect Christianity while it sanctioned and supported slavery and the dehumanization of an entire nation/people for over 300 years? What followed was 100 years of lynching. Should we ever trust another white American? Many of them stood by and had a party (and many went to church afterwards) while the corpse of a Black person was burned to a crisp.

    Why should we trust one may ask? Those who are so dumbed down and ignorant can only be so narrow not to recognize that those Muslims who blow themselves up represent a minority. We know that Christianity (and all religions) can be misused and misrepresented, but intelligent people look beyond the immediate and realize that many did not share those racist feelings that kept African-Americans in a state of oppression.

    Muslims number over 1 billion people across this globe and it’s the fastest growing religion in the world. A great number of those who convert are among the Christians. This demonstrates that in spite of all the negative press that Islam receives, there are countless people who are able to see the value and beauty of Islam.

    It is a tiny minority who are discarding the teachings of Islam that get’s all the press. To know Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) is to love him. He returned aggression with patience and forgiveness. There are too many instances to site where the Prophet forgave and overlooked those who fought against him. Karen Armstrong highlights a prejudice that has infected the Western psyche for over 1000 years. She hopes that by self-examination the Western mind will learn more about the Prophet, thereby bringing about a healing of the soul and dialogue among civilizations.

  33. I don’t believe there is a western urge to ridicule the Prophet, anymore than there is a western urge to ridicule Jesus. Movies are made in the west that portray Jesus, and many other religions in an unfavorable light, but as a Christian I don’t ever believe that the response should be kill, kill, burn, burn. What appears in an obscure Danish paper has little to do with most westerners, and almost nothing to do with western governments. If that were the case the U.S. would have declared war on all Muslim dominated Governments as a consequence of 9/11. Such action would not have been appropriate and this fury against all things western is not appropriate either.

    Comparisons that start and end with the Christian evils of the Middle Ages, are really meaningless. Most Christians would acknowlege the ills of the past, and pray that we never return to them. But this urge to kill, kill, burn, burn, and even behead in the name of Allah or the Prophet will only lead to more and more blood.

    It is important for people to express thier concern, even thier outrage over such things, but reasonable men and women must condemn vilents actions just as I condemn many actions of my own government. Most importantly, no credible western leader will even attempt to justify the horrors of war and murder by invoking the name of Jesus. And I sincerly hope that all “people of the book” would stand against anyone who seeks to justify or condone war and murder by invoking the name of one holy diety or another.

  34. I want to respond to ‘John’ who seems quite angry and why wouldn’t you be John? After all you are obviously uneducated and the only ‘facts’ it appears you seem to be getting are from your brothers at CNN!

    John please explain to me how it is that these ‘countries’ which you refer to are keeping the arabs alive? Is it the bombing and invasion of Iraq ? Is it the occupation of Kuwait where hundreds of American soldiers are still stationed and which America refuses to withdraw? Maybe it was the sanctions on Iraq during the time of Saddam Hussain which in fact killed more children than Saddam ever did. And yet he is the terrorist! If you are referring to the arabs living in America and who have made America thier home well have you not heard the saying “Don’t bomb my home and i will not live in yours”!?

    C’mon John. Any fool knows Sept 11 was not committed by your enemy Arabs. Do the research and stop living in ignorance. The Bush administration had everything to gain from that dreadful day where as the Arabs had everything to loose. Why would they do it?

  35. John,you question the Muslims so disdainfully why you should respect their religion – and look at the bad language you use. I presume you should be highly respected instead? Muslims do not blow up their own people everyday – there are 2 billion muslims in the world today spanning countries and cultures across the board. If you talk of the middle east fighting, that is fighting that the US has started. In short, many many many view the Americans as terrorists where millions of innocent lives are taken, and never accounted for in your news in the US! September 11 has changed your view of arabs? What about the western world? You think plain ‘ol jealousy brought on those attacks or hating democracy?? Think again. You ask Islam to self-introspect when you know NOTHING about it – ever thought of self introspection of western tactics? Where millions are killed and lands are taken (many times completely wrong lands!) in the face of fighting terrorism? The view from the other side would scare you – where you are looked as the terrorist. I have lived in the middle east for half my life. Went to school there and got educated at an International school – had many many “western” friends who enjoy living in that part of the world with well protected rights to practice their religion, and live their lives as respected individuals. So think again, the “Arab” nations aren’t what your media here shows you as dirty nations with bomb splatter everywhere. In many, the standard of living is better than the US even!, with free healthcare and intelligent world leaders as opposed to you-know-who. The western audience was never thought of as uneducated – YOU think of Muslims as uneducated! How many Muslims do you actually know in person? Do you know how they live their lives? Do you dare visit the mosque in your city? Did you know Muslims believe in the one GOd, the creator of all things and his prophets, Adam, Noah, Abraham among others and hold your breath, Jesus and Mohammad!

  36. To MR John please educate yourself. instead of watchin Fox News. you are the most ignorant person I have ever seen.

    its people like you I feel sorry for.Did you forget what your people did for the last hundred of years.

    slavery,colinising, world wars(1 and 2)esc.

    you live in a stolen land, and you lecturing us.

  37. I would only like to say that unlike any human being no one likes to be insulted or humiliated. If one insults or make fun of the religion, or The Prophet (PBUH) he/she is aggrigating the Muslims. We all have our faiths and believes and we Muslims react on such issues.consider us to be sensitive about these topics.So Why then aggrigate us? Every action has a reaction and that is what we are facing.And let us admit the truth. Contempt for the beliefs and values the Islamic faith holds dear, and for the prophet, has been widely expressed by ideologues, entertainers, preachers and even conservatives post-9-11. One man makes those cartoons – insulting, blasphemous, provocative to Muslims.All Muslims believe that to depict the face of the prophet or to ridicule him as Salman Rushdie did is a sacrilege. Why did that Danish newspaper do it? Why have conservatives rushed to show solidarity with the European editor-idiots who plastered these mocking cartoons all over Page 1?

    Its high time People should realise this and open their senses and think that Muslims from all over the world are reacting to these cartoons that means it was a WRONG ACT!!! Simple

    Quran 16:125

    Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful exhortation; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.

  38. It is amzing how some people look at Islam, view it and show their hate to Islam and Muslims according to the rubbish they know from our so called “news media”. It will be an eye opener for those to get to interact with Muslims and Arabs (not all Arabs are Muslims, there are Christians and Jews) in their countries to see what they are all about, how they live and raise their families, not what they think or know about the Muslims and Arabs. Islam is one thing and in many cases Muslims are another in this day and time. It is true that we see some Muslims do violent acts and horror, but they do not represent Islam nor represent me as a Muslim, they only represent their own ideas that are contradictory to Islam. I would say to those who view Islam and Muslims as terrorists to wake up and take those blinders of their eyes and mind, and only then we can talk and have a dialogue as civilized people with out insulting and labeling any body of any thing weather positive or negative lables.

  39. John,

    Although you have set up yourself for failure, you have still made some good points. I am a Muslim and I love Islam because of the way it explains life, the universe, and what lies beyond. Now, I urge you to look at Islam as a faith and not at the so called “Muslims.” Many of those who kill and maim innocent individuals no matter what their faith is are not Muslim. It is so easy these days to associate killers and terrorists with Islam. Most of the Shiites and Sunnis who are killing one another in today’s Iraq are condemned to go to Hell as our cherished Koran clearly states. Those killers are animists who have no faith or a degree of morality. They are plainly wild beasts who are hopeless and always take their vengeance under the banner of our cherished faith. After all said, I should enlighten you that Muslims are the originators of today’s Western wealth and comfort. Do not illusion yourself into thinking that the West is Christian; it is not. The West is as Christian as it is Muslim. No only this, but also I should draw your attention to the fact that Islam is the fastest growing faith in the world and particularly in the US. If you do not believe this, then do some research! I would highly recommend for you to listen to Vincent Cornell of the University of Arkansas who has recently offered some facts about Islam and Muslim World and especially our Prophet. I invite you to go to:

    http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/faceoftheprophet/index.shtml

  40. This is a great article by a just non biased authur. I need to tell the hateful commentators that Islam tells us to respect you and argue with you except in goog manners . May God bless you and plant love and justice in your heart .

  41. Muslims should be concerned more with terrible things amongst them; -poverty, unempolyment, oppression by their leaders, backwardness in education, riots, intolerance towards non-Muslim minorities, killing and little respect for Human rights etc. etc. rather than worry about these stupid tasteless cartoons.

    How sad!

  42. Actually the knowledge of present christians is very limited and narrow minded, they are completely involved in evil acts and therefore if they encounter any good act they could not concieve it as it get reflected from their hearts. since the heart is like a mirror, if you are good then your heart accept good things and if you are bad your heart accept bad things, the rest are reflected.

    The first thing the christians should do is to follow their religion properly atleast according to bible(If they found an uncorrupted version). Follows the dos and donts of the bible.

    All the acts what present christians do in todays world is also against the corrupted version of bible.

    Read the bible directly but not the translated versions or commentaries and have anxiousness in your heart to acquire a right religion. Then only you encounter a true religion.

    Atleast what all human biengs can do is to have anxiousness in ones heart and mind for the true religion then i am sure god will not let you down and award you the true religion so that your life ater death is in peace and paradise.

    for anxious people, they may encounter true religion in a day, month,or years… but they will be awarded.

    Rest god knows well.

    Hussain Mohiuddin

  43. It has always been that all faith has good and bad when the film the last temption of christ was going to be shown it was the muslim’s of Leicester that was unhappy about this I don’t see the christians getting upset when our faith is set upon WHY I do not understand they love Jesus as you love Muhammad (peice be upon him)

    so why do we not get upset when Jesus is called bad thing.But I would ask all Muslim’s not to play into the hand of the west who will only say “look I said that is what they would do be violet”

  44. This excerpt was utter garbage. I don’t even know where to begin on correcting the mistakes, great exaggerations (like Kate Armstrong loves to do) and false assumptions.

  45. Why should the rest of the world look so respectfully at your religion? Really!!! Muslims blow up their own people day after day – everyday!! Historically, before that they fought each other – day after day as nomads. While the rest of the world was moving forward. Tell ME how justified is it to kill people that really could give a shit less about you and your violent religion. Damn, I’m sounding pissed off again. I’ll sum it up like this. Since september 11, I will NEVER look at another arab through the same eyes – I have to intentionally tell myself to give this person a chance…judge this person on who they are, not by the fact that they’re arab.

    Islam needs to have a restructuring – an overhaul. Islamic nations treat people of other nations like criminals; while you blow up the buildings of nations that produce a haven for you. You blow up their buildings, speak of genocide and still demand more, all the while these countries have provided a better life for you and you fellow muslims?? While arabic countries treat “outsiders” or foreigners” like anti-humans. Imagine what it would be like for muslims to live …let’s say in arabia. They would kill each other off. Islamists have killed incocent people because they are JEALOUS!!

    just a bit of venting their. I would actually really like to talk live with someone about this; not healthy for either one of us to post message after message. Real talk would be good. There should be a Muslim / Western Chat Room. A lot of good could be done there.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    jc

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