An Analysis of Anti-Islamic Polemics

Category: World Affairs Topics: Syria Views: 23707

In a seminal essay on "Islam Through Western Eyes," Professor Edward Said of Columbia University wrote, "I have not been able to discover any period in European or American history since the Middle Ages in which Islam was generally discussed or thought about outside a framework created by passion, prejudice and political interests. This may not seem like a surprising discovery, but included in the indictment is the entire gamut of scholarly and scientific disciplines which, since the early nineteenth century, have either called themselves Orientalism or tried systematically to deal with the Orient."

Truly, anti-Islamic polemics is older than the Crusades. Since the time of John of Damascus (c.675-c.749), Islam was depicted as a Christian heresy. In his book De Haeresbius, John claimed that the Quran was not a revealed scripture but was created by the Prophet Muhammad and that he was helped in his task by a Christian monk Bahira to use materials from the so-called Old and New Testament. As the Islamic Empire defeated the Byzantine Empire of one after another of its far Eastern Provinces, the negative portrayal of Islam became quite wild. This view is echoed by Hichem Djait, the distinguished historian attached to the universities of McGill and Berkeley: "Over the centuries Christian tradition came to look upon Islam as a disturbing upstart movement that awakened such bitter passion precisely because it laid claim to the same territory as Christianity." Nicetas, of Byzantium, wrote a "Refutatio Mohammadis" (Migne P.G. cv), and Bartholomew, of Edessa, a treatise "Contra Mohammadem" (Migne P.G. civ), which reflected more about the emotional health of these Byzantine Christians than anything of real value. 

Then came the Latin writers (in fact, priests) of the Middle Ages who got their information mostly from the Byzantine accounts, and from the personal contact with Islam during the Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula and the Crusades. Alvarus Paulus (d. 861) was the first Latin author to transform Muhammad into antichrist. Making use of the reference in Psalm 89, he algebraically substituted seventy years for each of the three and one half "times" and calculated that the end of Islam would come after 245 years of Islamic rule, that is, as he figured it, in the year 870 C.E. His friend Eulogius of Cordova (d. 859) similarly depicted Muhammad as the 'anti-Christ,' a 'false prophet,' the coming of which Christ had foretold to the apostles. These Latin priests' preference for the meager, debased, and distorted Latin version of Muhammad's life, which Eulogius found in Navarre, rather than from the fountainhead of the Quran and Muslim traditions is symptomatic of a xenophobic ignorance, which characterized early Spanish views of Islam in general. It would be an intriguing study to follow the development of the absurd fables that spread abroad in Europe during this period in which Muhammad comes to be one of the three great idols - Mahomet or Mahound, Opolane and the third Termogond (in that order) - popularly supposed to be worshipped by Muslims. Among the ecclesiastical writers of the Crusade period Muhammad was looked on as the arch heretic, a second Arius, worse than the first, and his legend was molded on that of the great legendary heretics, Simon Magus and the Deacon Nicholas. Dominican Friar Humbert of Lyons (d. 1277), Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Nicholas de Cusa (c. 1443) and others followed John's footstep in portraying Islam as an inferior religion. 

The Italian scholar Professor Francesco Gabrieli puts it succinctly: "We find it in various versions, inconsistent in their content, but entirely consistent in their spirit of vituperation and hatred, in the writing of chronicles, apologists, hagiographers and encyclopaedists of the Latin Middle Ages; Guibert of Nogent and Hildebert of Tours in the eleventh century, Peter the Venerable in the twelfth, Jacques de Vitry, Martinus Polonus, Vincent of Beauvais and Jacobus, a Varagine, in the thirteenth, up to Brunetto Latini and his imitators, and Dante and his commentators."

Karen Armstrong tells us that during the Crusades, "... biographies of Mohammed by Christians describe the Prophet's sex life in a manner that reveals far more about their own sexual problems than about the facts of the Prophet's life." 
As Christendom started losing ground to expanding Islamic empire, the vilification of Muhammad became more vicious. To quote Montgomery Watt, "It is easy to see how this has come about. For centuries Islam was the great enemy of Christendom, for Christendom was in direct contact with no other organized states comparable in power to the Muslims. The Byzantine Empire, after losing its provinces in Syria and Egypt, was being attacked in Asia Minor, while Western Europe was threatened through Spain and Sicily. Even before the Crusades focused attention on the expulsion of the Saracens from the Holy Land, medieval war-propaganda, free from the restraints of factuality was building up a conception of 'the great enemy'. At one point Muhammad was transformed into Mahound, the prince of darkness." 

The attitude of Protestants under Luther (1483-1546) and Calvin (1509-1564) was no different from the Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Already the Ottoman Turks had established themselves as Muslim Caliphs ruling vast territories in Asia, Africa and Europe. On May 29, 1453, Constantinople had already fallen to the forces of Sultan Mehmed II. Twice, in 1529 and 1683, the Ottomans reached the gates of Vienna. So began a new period when the Church and the state cooperated, and "Muhammad, the prophet of the Arabs, came to be seen as the embodiment of Turkish monstrosity." Martin Luther's attitude towards Islam is reflected in the following words: "...[he] who fights against the Turks [Muslims]...should consider that he is fighting an enemy of God and a blasphemer of Christ, indeed, the devil himself...."

The ignoble task of vilifying Muhammad then was shouldered by people like Raleigh (c. 1637), Hottinger (c. 1651), Marraccio (c. 1698), and Humphrey Prideaux (1648-1724). Most of this early work is bitterly hostile, inaccurate and prejudiced. Sir Edward Denison Ross has rightly observed: "For many centuries the acquaintance which the majority of Europeans possessed of Muhammadanism was based almost entirely on distorted reports of fanatical Christians, which led to the dissemination of a multitude of gross calumnies."

Then began the era of Orientalism, when disingenuous scholars, mostly passionate Christian polemicists, joined the fray to assassinate the character of the Prophet of Islam and demean his religion. As Roger Du Pasquier has rightly observed, "One is forced also to concede that Oriental studies in the West have not always been inspired by the purest spirit of scholarly impartiality, and it is hard to deny that some Islamicists and Arabists have worked with the clear intention of belittling Islam and its adherents." The motivation seems to have come from John of Segovia who pointed out that the Islamic threat of Muhammad could only be crushed by an intellectual assault. Consequently, the Bibliotheque Orientale of Barthelmy d'Herbelot (written during the end of the 17th to the beginning of the 18th century), which was used as the most reliable reference on Islam in Europe until the beginning of the 19th century, made the most disparaging remarks about Muhammad . The first Encyclopaedia of Islam depicted 'Mahomet' as 'Author and Founder of a heresy.' In his book "History of Saracen Empires" (London, 1870), Simon Ockley (c. 1708), the celebrated English Arabist, dubbed him as 'a very subtle and crafty man, who put on the appearance only of those good qualities, while the principles of his soul were ambition and lust.' George Sale (c. 1734), the translator of the Quran, titled The Koran (commonly called the Alcoran of Mohammed), called Muhammad a monster. In his essay Les Moeurs, Voltaire (c. 1740) said that even those who regarded Muhammad as a great man knew that he was an impostor. 

Only when Christians were able to defeat Muslims militarily and colonize their vast territories did this vilification get somewhat muffled, and apologetic writings in favor of Islam and its Prophet surfaced. In his work "de Religione Mahommedica" (Utrecht, 1704), the Dutch scholar Reyland sought to break away from the hostile attitude to Muhammad , and strove for a just appreciation of his historical significance. His work was followed by H. de Boulainvilliers's "Vie de Mahomed" (London, 1739), which was a laudation of Muhammad , while belittling Christianity. Such a conciliatory attitude towards Muhammad (and hostility towards Christian teachings) was offensive to Christian orientalists; Snouck Hurgronje called it 'an anticlerical romance.' Gagnier's "Vie de Mahomet" (Amsterdam, 1748), and Edward Gibbon's (1737-94) account of Muhammad in his "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" (London, 1776-88) were, therefore, aimed at shifting the scale once again towards Christian prejudice. Gibbon argued that Muhammad had lured the Arabs to follow him with 'the bait of loot and sex.'

The 'colonial spirit,' driven by a belief in racial superiority, and a mission to civilize the barbaric native inhabitants of the conquered territories, characterized the 19th century. After the French Revolution, Islam continued to be seen as 'the opposite of us.' The European authors concluded that in the Quran there was 'neither a principle for civilization nor a mandate that can elevate character.'

This 'colonial spirit' was reflected in the works of bigoted missionaries and Orientalists like Sir William Muir (1819-1905), D.S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth, Leone Caetani, and Henri Lammens (latter a Jesuit and Church pastor). Most of these Christian polemicists only proved how ignorant they were in their understanding of Islam and of the veneration of its Prophet in the Muslim psyche. Interestingly, despite their prejudice and 'holy contempt' for everything Islamic, these Orientalists were (and still are) assumed by many Europeans and Americans who studied Islam to be objective and unbiased researchers. The explanation is provided by Prof. Edward Said, "... Orientalists use the authority of their standing as experts to deny--no, to cover--their deep-seated feelings about Islam with a carpet of jargon whose purpose is to certify their 'objectivity' and 'scientific impartiality.'"

Speaking about Western slander of the Prophet , Thomas Carlyle (d. 1881) said, "Our current hypothesis about Mahomet, that he was a scheming Imposter, a Falsehood incarnate, that his religion is a mere mass of quackery and fatuity, begins really to be now untenable to any one. The lies which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man are disgraceful to ourselves only... A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world's Maker had ordered so." Speaking about Islam, he also said, "To the Arab Nation it was as a birth from darkness into light; Arabia first became alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people, roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world: a Hero-Prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe: see, the unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has grown world-great; within one century afterwards, Arabia is at Grenada on this hand, at Delhi on that; -glancing in valor and splendor and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section of the world . . . I said, the Great Man was always as lightning out of Heaven; the rest of men waited for him like fuel, and then they too would flame." The admiration of Muhammad's achievements visible in this writer, as Prof. Juan Cole of University of Michigan points out, marked a turning point in Western culture, away from narrow religious bigotries and toward a humanist ability to appreciate the best in world civilization.

Montgomery Watt after examining the various charges heaped on the Prophet similarly concluded: "In his day and generation Muhammad was a social reformer, indeed a reformer even in the sphere of morals. He created a new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before. In this way he adapted for settled communities all that was best in the morality of the nomad, and established a religious and a social framework for the life of a sixth of the human race today. That is not the work of a traitor or a lecher."

So, for a brief period, we fancied that we had probably seen the last of such vilifications against Islam and its Prophet. But we were wrong. Prejudice dies hard. With the emergence of the OPEC and the Islamic Revolution in Iran, situation again worsened. The late Prof. Edward Said of Columbia University echoed this understanding: "Even when the world of Islam entered a period of decline and Europe a period of ascendancy, fear of 'Mohammedanism' persisted. Closer to Europe than any of the other non-Christian religions, the Islamic world by its very adjacency evoked memories of its encroachments on Europe, and always, of its latent power again and again to disturb the West. Other great civilizations of the East - India and China among them - could be thought of as defeated and distant and hence not a constant worry. Only Islam seemed never to have submitted completely to the West; and when, after the dramatic oil-price rises of the early 1970s, the Muslim world seemed once more on the verge of repeating its early conquests, the whole West seemed to shudder."

For all these years, anti-Islamic polemics were essentially a Christian phenomenon. The contribution in this sector by non-Christian zealots was marginal. This, in spite of the hatred spread against Muslims by Christian missionaries in colonized territories (e.g., in India among the Hindus). The media to disseminate such polemics were limited to speech and printing. Now we have radios, films, TVs and Internet to give a more lasting expression to such polemics. The first Intifadah and the radicalization of liberation movements in the Occupied Territories of Palestine and Indian Occupied Kashmir, respectively, opened the floodgate for Likudnik Jews and Hindutvadi Hindus (of the Sangh Parivar), each with its own political agenda, to join the rank and file of Christian bigots. It became all too politically expedient to castigate decades of resistance movement against occupation as 'terrorism.' And with the al-Qa'eda attack against America on 9/11 all hell seems to have busted loose. The attack was described by President Bush, a born-again Christian, as a 'war' against (American) 'freedom' and 'way of life.' Borrowing religious jargon, he called his war 'a monumental struggle between good and evil.' In his speech of declaration of war, speaking of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'eda, Bush said, "They want to kill all Jews and Christians" and that they wanted to establish their form of government in every country. Despite the Defense Department's dumping of the name "Infinite Justice" for its invasion of Afghanistan and Bush's apology for use of the term "Crusade," the aura of Christian fundamentalism could not be mistaken. 

Mr. Bush's support for war and Israel comes mostly from 60 million strong Christian fundamentalists who identify themselves with the neo-Crusading Religious Right movement. They now represent the single most powerful voting block in U.S. history. It is a twist of fate that brought these fanatics of Christian Right and the so-called neo-conservatives together in the U.S. to find a common platform under Bush presidency, thanks to Karl Rove, to push the country towards American unilateralism, redrawing the map of the Middle-East, and unquestioning support of the Jewish state of Israel. Many of these neocons are Jewish, who have long-awaited the backing from the Christian Right - many of them Southern Baptists - who believe that Jews of the world must be assembled in Israel a priori to facilitate the second coming of their Messiah (Jesus); those Jews who convert to Christianity will be salvaged, the rest slaughtered. Many of these Christian fanatics are, therefore, proud of their new identity as 'Christian Zionists.'

In the days following 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcroft (who starts his official duty everyday with a Christian prayer with his staff members) would be seen behaving as if it were his personal Crusade to ridding the nation from the menace of 'Islamic terrorism.' As if to reassure his support base among Christian evangelists, he was unequivocal in his bigotry when he was quoted as saying that "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for Him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends His son to die for you." [Under his direct supervision, hundreds of Muslims, including American citizens, would end up detained (some in solitary confinement), either on suspicion as 'terrorists' or as (the so-called) 'material witnesses,' indefinitely incommunicado. While in detention, they were beaten, deprived of shower, mattress, blanket, and (even) toothbrush, and were verbally abused. Some detainees were stripped naked and physically tortured by both guards and prison inmates. Within days of early detention, one died as a result of physical torture suffered.] 

With such high-pitch sounds of official Crusade against Islam and its adherents emanating from the powerful members within the Bush Administration (despite Bush's claim that his war was against terrorists and not against Islam), it was all too natural for Christian Evangelists like Jerry Vines (of Southern Baptist Convention), Pat Robertson (of 700 Club), Jerry Falwell (of Christian Moral Majority) and Franklin Graham (of Samaritan Purse), all known for their bigotry, to join the choir. Armed with centuries of myths and mendacities from the Middle Ages by belligerent crusaders, both inside and outside the church, and the sophisticated mass communication tools and gadgetries of our modern time, these neo-crusaders (Christian-Jihadists) of the 21st century sang the chorus that Islam is "a very evil and a dangerous religion." These Christian preachers seem to suffer from selective amnesia about the fact that if they want to find violence preached in the name of religion, they need not look beyond the Bible. They preached that Muslims want to kill all infidels, because the Quran commands such. The verses of the Quran that were revealed against the Arab polytheists of Muhammad's time were twisted to give a more generalized application. Inaccurate translation of Arabic words like "auliya" were used to justify that Muslims are forbidden to have friendship with non-Muslims. And the worst possible attacks were reserved for the Prophet of Islam. Even as recently as in December of 2003, Pat Robertson said in Israel that today's world conflicts concern "whether Hubal, the moon god of Mecca known as Allah, is supreme, or whether the Judeo-Christian Jehovah, God of the Bible, is supreme." From his remarks he has again proven that negative stereotypes about Islam almost never die. This, in spite of all the resources that are now available at the tip of our fingers to learn the fundamental beliefs in Islam. Never mind that Hubal was actually a pre-Islamic pagan god that Muhammad rejected. Robertson's comments, like those of General Boykin, illuminate a widespread misconception -- one that the news media has inadvertently helped to promote 1. Just as it is accepted today that if the Crusaders knew as much about Muslims as Muslims had known about them, the sad event probably would not have happened. It is clear that the situation has not improved.

These preachers of hate forget that a person is best judged by the people who lived with him, and not by someone (let alone a bigot) who comes centuries later. From the authentic reports we have, we can say that during Muhammad's time even his worst enemies were unanimous in their praise of his character 2. The poem below by Hassan ibn Thabit (RA) shows how Muhammad's companions felt about him:

By God, no woman has conceived and given birth
To one like the Apostle, the Prophet and guide of his people;
Nor has God created among his creatures
One more faithful to his sojourner or his promise 
Than he who was the source of light,
Blessed in his deeds, just and upright.

(Sirat Rasulallah by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq)

The renowned historian Lamartine, when speaking on Muhammad's greatness said: "If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties but millions of men in one-third of the then-inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls.... his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers; his mystic conversations with God; his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two-fold: the unity of God and the immateriality of God-the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with the words. Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire: that is MUHAMMAD. As regards all the standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?"

Obviously, we cannot hope for a bigot to agree with Lamartine. What we notice, instead, is the resurrection of old hatred. Signs are too many these days to discount the wicked marriage between the church and the state, jointly bent on demonizing Islam under the pretext of combating al-Qa'eda, 'radical Islam' or the so-called 'Islamism.' It is intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible for a Christian (or a Jew) if he bases his representation of Islam on its worst examples while carefully shielding both Christianity (or Judaism) and the West from comparable critique. As much as Menachem Begin, Rabbi Meir Kahane and Dr. Baruch Goldstein are not moral representatives of Judaism; and U.S. Presidents Truman and Ronald Reagan, and rev. Jones of Jonestown, Guyana and David Koresh of Waco, Texas are not moral representatives of Christianity so is Osama bin Laden when it comes to Islam. As Prof. Ziaudddin Sardar puts it, Osama is a product of the history of American aggression that places no value on Muslim lives. He is motivated by a sense of outrage against all those who caused so much misery and injustice to the Muslim people. 

When someone judges Islam and Muslims through the prism of 9/11- event it is travesty and sheer dishonesty on his part. Unfortunately, in these days, such an intellectual dishonesty or debauchery sells, and sells big time, with lucrative book deals, profitable consultancies and frequent TV and radio appearances to all the 'experts' vying to present their 'discoveries' about 'real' Islam.

In recent days, it is, therefore, not surprising to find that many bookstores and public libraries in the West display new books with screaming titles about Islam and Muslims, each purporting to present the 'truth.' Sadly, very few of these books are written by either qualified Muslims or western non-Muslim scholars who possess good knowledge of Islam and its rich history. And then there are scores of hate websites that feed hate literature to demonize Islam and its Prophet . [This disturbing trend should not, however, obscure the fact that a growing number of scholars are also making an honest and non-prejudicial attempt at understanding Islam. They are generally fair, objective and empathetic in their works. These include Louis Massignon, H.A.R. Gibb, Henri Corbin, Marshall G.S. Hodgson, William G. Milward, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Annmarie Schimmel, Ralph Braibanti, John L Esposito, John O Voll, Yvonne Haddad, Karen Armstrong, and many others. Although they remain a minority, they represent a historically significant phenomenon. (In what follows, my remarks would be reserved for these anti-Islamic polemicists.)] 

A closer scrutiny into the background of these self-styled experts reveals something, which is very troubling. A majority of them are just pen-pushing, anti-Muslim fanatics - some affiliated with hate groups, some with missionary groups, some have clear political agenda, and some purely to maximize the sale of their books (characterizing Capitalism 101 at its worst) - all working towards demonizing Islam. Very few of them had ever visited any Muslim country, and even if they did so, they could not communicate in the language of the people visited or had studied Islam as part of their academic curriculum. It would be ludicrous to be taken seriously as an expert on Russia, Latin America and China, without knowing the requisite languages, but not for "Islam" where linguistic knowledge is deemed unnecessary! The only recourse to their Islamic knowledge seems to be either the works of Orientalists or readily available translated work on hadith and fiqh, thanks to the Internet. 

A minority among these self-acclaimed experts claims to have studied Islamic history, but their work only proves their lamentable prejudice. They have mastered the art of 'cherry-picking' passages from the Islamic sources - the Quran and hadith - without the framework of 3P's (people, period and place), as if moral imperatives (e.g., rahmah or mercy, 'adl or justice, ihsan or kindness, and ma'ruf or goodness that are the overall moral thrust of the Quranic message) and historical context were irrelevant to their interpretation. 

Some of these disingenuous individuals, especially those with political agenda, are basically serving the 'old wine in new glasses': resurrecting or recycling the works of the likes of Lammens, Caetani and Muir. Truth is not their motivation, but sensationalism is. Every Muslim is portrayed as a 'sleeper terrorist' - a potential Mohammad 'Ata or a John Allen Muhammad. These messengers of hatred preach that Islam - is not a religion of peace, does not promote sound moral values, debases women, and is incompatible with both democratic pluralism and science. These delusional and mendacious writers preach that the world of Islam ought to be confronted now, and defeated both militarily and culturally, before it triumphs over and imposes jizyah upon western non-Muslim citizenry, lowering them to the status of dzimmis, and takes away all their rights and privileges. In short, they confirm every fear one may have ever had about Islam. These books tell us more about the mental health of their authors than they do about Islam or its people. They are truly the drumbeaters of fascism and perpetual war.

What could be more disquieting than to read in Richard Perle's book (co-authored with Bush's former special assistant David Frum) "An end to evil: How to win the war on terror," the remark made about Muslims, "The roots of Muslim rage are to be found in Islam itself. There is no middle way for Americans. It is victory or holocaust?"

As was argued by Prof. Edward Said in one of his last essays "Orientalism: 25 years later," without a well-organized sense that Muslims were not like "us" (westerners) and that they didn't appreciate "our" (western) values - the very core of traditional Orientalist dogma - 'there would have been no war.' Just as there were paid professional scholars enlisted by the colonial conquerors to justify their savagery in former colonies against the natives, there are today American advisers to the Pentagon and the White House who use the same clichs, the same jargon, the same dehumanizing stereotypes, the same justifications for violence against the Muslim world. 

So, what is happening in the western world in post-9/11 era of disingenuous expertise, Islamophobia and neo-imperial arrogance or unilateralism is a very distressing phenomenon: the spread of the worst form of anti-Muslim hate literature that tries to demonize Islam and dehumanize one quarter of humanity who calls themselves Muslims. It is ironic that many of those who cry out foul with books like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (or are paranoid with anti-Semitism) are not losing their sleep over this development. Why should they when they know perfectly well that such demonization legitimizes unilateral, lawless violence against Muslims that otherwise would not have been condoned?

By now there is no dispute that the West has 'discovered' in Islam a viable 'demon' to replace the 'evil' Soviet Empire. The question is: how long will we have to wait before a new 'demon' is found? Or, would we have to wait for the Armageddon to settle the perennial question - who's the 'real' demon?

Dr. Habib Siddiqui lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA, and is the author of the book Islamic Wisdom. He can be reached at [email protected]


1 - My God Is Your God by John Kearney, NY Times, Jan. 28, 2004.
2 - For example, see the report about Abu Sufyan's meeting with the Byzantine ruler where they discussed the personality of the Prophet . [Hayyat-e-Tayyaba by Muhammad Abdul Hai]

  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Syria
Views: 23707

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Older Comments:
Dear Muslima,

Apologies for any offence but you are utterly wrong:
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Chad, Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etc... Asian countries such as: Maleysia, Indonesia, Pakistan Bangladesh, Maldives, Brunei, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan etc...
These countries youmention were colonised by Mulims first. Than colonised by Europeans and than finally became independent.

The biggest genocide in the history of muslim world committed against muslims is as follows:

Yahya Khan of Pakistan and his occupying army in Bangladesh killed 2 million muslims in Bangladesh

Thus the biggest single genocide committed against muslims is by a muslim.

Secondly, In relation to ban in France i agree with you it should not happen but do you also resent the ban in Saudi Arabia against HIndu woman who want to wear a Mangla Sutra and Sari?

If you have petioned the Saudi Arabian government on this matter I take my question back.

The key issue is that all religions are regional. Thus Quran only talks about Christian and Jews and Not about Buddhist, Hndus and Jains who all predate Islam.

No religion is complete and no book is complete otherwise it would have referred to all relgions in detail chapter and verse.

anyhow; hope all ends well in Iraq and people can have peace.

excellent eye opener


I apologize to everyone.I think I'm coming across the wrong way. I would like to state that, despite my statements, I have a profound respect for Islam and its traditions. I respect your piety and devotion. I have studied mystical Islamic practise (sufism) and found it very inspiriational. I enjoy the writings of Farid Ud-Din Attar, Omar Khayyam, Rumi and Al-Hallaj. This might sound strange, but I tend to say what I think, but upon reflection I think I could've phrased it better.
I came here to post because I felt that I was getting a negative view of Islam due to recent events and my country's current conflicts, and I did not like it (my negative views). I would like to think that Christianity and Islam can reconcile themselves with one another, desptie their differences, and realize that we have more in common than we think.

A very intriguing and ambitious article. Touched my heart and i am sure the hearts of many others. Firmly founded and merits great strength. Well written of course.

Samir, one more point, you need to travel more. To say that Christians cannot say what they want in Muslim countries speaks of your unbelievable ignorance. Go to Maleysia, or Indonesia, or Lebanon etc... As a matter of fact in Lebanon, a mostly Muslim country, the minority Christians have equal power in the government, something that can never happen in Christian countries, especially after Lebanese Christians have massacred untold number of Muslims in the early 80"s.

On the other hand, Muslim women cannot practice their religion in France as you might have heard. They have to choose either education or their religion. The double standards are egregious.

Samir, ... I am sorry if I do not mean to offend you, but what you said is the biggest blunder I have ever heard of.

It is amazing that Christians talk about the Armenian massacres, when there have been far more massacres of Muslims done by Christians for centuries. It is a fact that the instances where Christians have been victims of Muslims can be counted with our fingers, but the massacres of Muslims by Christians are so numerous that it would take a great deal of time to count them.
The list of Muslim countries that have colonized by European Christians is so long that I do not know if they fit in one posting, but I will try.

Countries from the former Ottoman empire which were colonized by the British and French are: Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Albania, Iraq, Syria, western part of Saudia Arabia (the Hijaz), Egypt, etc... Many African countries like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Chad, Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etc... Asian countries such as: Maleysia, Indonesia, Pakistan Bangladesh, Maldives, Brunei, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan etc...

Note: most of the countries listed above have been formed after the colonies have drawn their borders which speaks greatly of the overwhelming devastation the Christian colonizers have inflicted to most of the Muslim world and non Muslim countries throughout this precious planet.

Great article, hope some people will take notice.

TO HUDD D'ALHAMD regarding your article 24477
based on you & your Syrian friend all the world may be either Jews, Muslims,Christians, Hindus or Buddhists since all God & man religions requires good deeds, so which is which.
To be a Muslim require the following
1. Shehadah ( testamonial)ones declaration that there is no God but Allah & Mohamed is his mesenger.
2. (Haig) The pilgrimage to Macca.
3. Fasting
4. (Salah) Prayer
5.(Zakat) The paymet of a percentage of income to the needy.

So without fulfilling these requirements one can not be a Muslim.
these 5 requirements are called the 5 corners of Islam.(Arkan Al-Islam)

may God bless you.
Here what I came to know about you, you are a third generation Palestinian Canadian with a son in collage & possibly living in Toronto

SAMIR said:
TO Muslima regarding your article 24567

SURE THERE ARE NOT ONE SINGLE MOSQUE IN THE VATICAN because the Vatican is the center of the Cathlic faith & has the same status reserved for Macca & Madinah in the Muslim faith. If and when Christians can warship in a Christian church in Macca then may be you would see a Mosque in the Vatican, but look at it this way in Arabia there are many Christian workers who would like to have their own place of warship but on the other hand there is not one single Muslim worker in the Vatican.
As far as the number of chruches in Muslim countries versus the number of Mosques in Christian countries, lacking statistical data we may have to look at the % of Christians in Muslim countries & the % of Muslims in Christian country bearing in mind that there are no restiction on building Mosques in Christian countries but there are restrictions & limitation on constructing Chruches in muslim countries Egypt, Arabia & Turky for example.
The relative number of Muslims in France for example is 5% of the population & most of the immigranrs came relatively recently may have contributed to fewer Moqsues mind you that most Churches were built many years ago.

This link give the % of Christians in the middle east countries, whis is as follows
Turky & Arabia 0%, Iran 1%
Egypt is not there since the # of Christians is a gaurded secret by the Muslim rulers.But a very pessimistic % would be 10%
I found this link to suggest that Muslims in America in 1992 was 5 millions so by now assuming 100% increase that would bring the % age to 1/30 or 3.33% much less than almost most of the middle eastern countries, so the cry for lack of Mosques in Christian countries is unfounded.
One strike against "THE MOTHER OF ALL HATRED & BIAS"
When you disagree pls. provide a reputable source of information nothing like "it is a well known fact"
I bid you

SAMIR said:
To Muslima regarding your article 24565,you suggest that Muslims invaded land that was once populated by Christians! WOW what happened to them Christians? evaporated I guess not they were put under the Islamic sowrd. Yes Muslim land was colonized by Europeans so was India, however colonization did not come for religious reasons but for dominance there was no forcible conversion to Christianity & today 99% of colonized countries are free, would the occupied territories by Muslim be allowed there freedom now? Does it change the fact that Muslims conquered & converted to Islam other countries.
The fact that today the majority of Muslims reside in countries not invaded by Muslims does not change the previous fact that Muslims invaded & forcibly converted its inhabitants to Islam.
The fact that lands were conquered 1000 years ago still does not negate the fact that occupation is an occupation, only Muslim historians claim that Christians accepted Islam like that, it was Gizia, ill treatment that forced many many to convert, for example Egypt's Christian population was @3 million in 642 A.D but after a century the number went down to few 100,000.
well you can proudly call yourfelf"THE MOTHER OF ALL HATRED & BIAS"
How did you forget Muslim hatred for each other, example Iraq-Kuwait, Iran-Iraq, Lybia-Chad, Morocco-Moritania, Saudi Arabia-Yamen, the conflict between East Pakistan & West Pakistan yielding Pakistan & Bangladesh & the invasion of Lebanon by Syria.
I suppose that Muslims are not that great after all using your same logic & approach.
As of today there are no colonized Christians by Christians only by Muslims.
Let my people go

To Muslima
Regarding your article 24547 in response to Williams Haines article 24454.

Muslims have invaded the following countries:
Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turky, Greece,the Balkns, The west all the way to Morocco, Spain & all the way down to India. These wars were for religious reasons & no body asked for muslim help against oppressors. Muslims were not liberator same as the Americans are not Iraq liberators. The only war that was waged against Muslims was the Crusader wars in Palestine to secure safe passage to the Holy land.
Judging by the number of countries conquered it is clear that the number of Christians killed by invading Muslims out number Muslim killed in such battles of aggression.
At a time Muslims celibrated killing 20,000 Hindus in India & that explains the deep rooted
hatred twards muslims in India.
As far as the condaming the crusade, yes it did happen but in not that strong language, however I would not apologize for an act of securing safe passige to Holy sites.
So now you say that hatred for Muslims were racial not religious, I am lost here which was it?
As far as the Jews you Muslima of all the people talk about Jews, I suppose you love them more than you love for Christians.
For your knowledge, visit the following 2 links that will show you how the Muslim Turks decimated the poor Arminians in 1915.

The following link gives a full account of "The plight of eastren Chistianity under Islam"

I am at loss of word at your relentness attack on Christinity, it is Muslims then Jews then again eastern Christian.
May God open your your eyes so you might see a better Christians.
By the way how many Christians demonstrated against America & how many of these Islam haters are in America, You are in America & can say what you think right or wrong, Christians in all Muslim countries can not wi

tell us this was actually an interpolation of the previous verse).
Jesus, peace be upon him, is not attributed anywhere throughout the four Gospels to have made any claim to Godhood or being even the "Son of God." These words are only used by the devil, demons and non-Jews who were then ordered by Jesus, peace be upon him, not to say this to others. Jesus, peace be upon him, did frequently refer to himself as the "son of man" and simply the "son"; ex: John 14:13.
There are actually different versions of the "Bible" not matching each other; to mention only a few: The Catholic Bible contains 73 books, while the "Protestant Bible" that was based on the Catholic Bible, dropped 7 of these books and then altered some of the verses and deleted and added others from certain other books.
The teachings preserved and attributed to Jesus, peace be upon him, match very close with Muslims today. A few examples of Jesus' teachings include: "God is One" (Mark 12:28); "Commandments of Old Testament are still in tact" (Matthew 5:17) and (John 14:21)

Another prophet (translated as comforter) to come after Jesus, peace be upon him, is clearly stated in the New Testament (Gospel of St. John, 14:26); (St. John, 16:7)
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is mentioned by one of his common names "As-Saddiq" (the Spirit of Truth) (St. John 16:13)
The first words revealed in Quran to Muhammad, peace be upon him from God, were "Recite!" (Proclaim!) and this comes to him while in the desert mountain of Jabal Nur. lsaiah in the Old Testament tells us of one who will speak or cry ('proclaim' is used in some translations) in the 'wilderness.' He will prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)

The Bible refers to many individuals as "sons of God." (Gen. 6:2); (Job 2:1)
David tells us of a decree that the Lord has declared on this day, namely that David is the 'begotten son of God.' (Psalms 2:7)

----- cont.. on... PLEASE R

To Jack Peter and others:

First of all Mecca is a part of the whole Country Saudi Arabia, where as Vatican is a soverign State of its own (check there are Churches etc. in Saudi Arabia.
Kabaa is a Worship place like a Big mosque and more (no boundries etc.). so to say putting a church in Kabaa would be like putting a mosque inside of a church.

Second,Taliban were a cruel people who tried to rule the cruel ones. They did not follow the full laws of Quran and they did give rights to people that Islam gives, they more of went for there Savage culture then Islam.for the rights of women and human rights visit its a website by a Former Christian Preacher. and i believe that Taliban were overthrown by other becuase they did not follow the rules of God.
God has set forth Universal rules for all the humanity to follow, for example Quran mentions that Justice prevails no matter who follows it, and unfortuanatly todays muslims do not Follow the teachings of islam or the right path as God has ordered them to and are twisting everthing to fit there materialistic needs. once again check the website i mentioned above and others too.

more: when Muslims 'conquered' other lands they did that not only to give the inhabitants the gift of Islam as a religion, but muslims gave them better life with the help of Allah, right untill they followed proper rules of Allah. Please note that in history when muslims were at the hight of civilization the europeans were living in the dark ages at that time, and later the wealthy came to muslim countries to learn and take the knowledge back to europe.please check history i dont have to right all the details.
now, open your eyes and ears and listen to the American administration they are repeating the same words muslims most likely used when they tried to fix the other countries
---- CONT.---

Hey Petros, peter, Pete...take it easy and slow down before you start comparing bananas with cucumbers...forget apples and oranges - Muslimah did not use the examlpe of a Masjid within the vicinity of the Vatican to say that one should be there,rather she did so in order to show you that there are no Masjids in the Vatican, whereas earlier you had stated that there was, so that is your own fault.

Next, you talk about the Armenian genocide to justify the behaviour of Muslims the world round in saying that you are talking about what happens today and not 1000 years ago...ok well then why don't you look at the Christians being killed by Hindus in India...and the 10-20 million Muslims killed by Joseph Stalin?

The article, and commentors such as Muslimah only wish to show you that you should stop generalizing about Muslims the way you do and gain the ability to develop a deeper understanding of Islam with a deeper scope than that which you use to justify your positions at present. 'Nuff said...

Hey, I just realized, you guys can go to the Vatican whenever you want. Also, you tried to kill the current Pope (and failed due to the intercession of the Blessed Madonna).
I tell you what, let me get a Visa to the Kaaba and I'll taked back everything I've said.

Mohammed was white, dude. Only the first muezzin was black (and a slave, for that matter). So race doesn't really figure into what I am talking about. Did you know that one of the most likely candidates to be the next pope was black? Obviously not. What is more, Western civilization is the first civilization in the history of the world to end slavery (and I thank God for that). A far cry from what we see in the Sudan. In fact, Osama refers to blacks in his famous videotape (the one at the wedding where he brags about the 911 murders) as zurgah, a pejorative Arab term for blacks that means 'slave'. You need to read and research more my Farrakhanish friend!

An excellent article, too bad the local white supremascists refuse to acknowledge reality.

Muslima, I was trying to explain to you why it was that many European Christians feared Islam - the spread of the religion went hand in hand with military force although it is true that Christians in North Africa and elsewhere chose to convert to Islam as they saw it as a reformation of a fractious distorted Christianity. Had Islam tragically not been so closely identified with militarism then it is quite possible that Europeans might have also accepted it. Had they done so the world would be a better place today.

Of course I am aware that many Muslim countries recently were briefly part of the empire of one Christian country or another and that there have been very few converts from Islam to Christianity. Muslim empires for whatever reason have been far more enduring. Despite occupying much of Eastern Europe for several centuries I don't think they won many converts. Could it have been because of their poor attitude to Christianity compared to that of Muhammad (pbuh) and the first Muslims?

Why do you call Christians hateful? If you think and speak of them in that way of course they will not come to respect and admire Islam which as we know has many admirable qualities and virtues.


Of course Christians in the past did bad things. No one will deny that. Muslims did conquere land filled with Christians. Like it or not they killed off most of the Christians in places such as Egypt, Iraq, Constanople, Jerusalem. I know there are some Christians left in Iraq who speak Aramaic (almost a dead language). There are also no Greek Christians in Jerusalem, Israel, or Palestine. To be fair the Catholic church in the Middle Ages considered these Christians to be heritics.


I am well aware that the Vatican is separate from Rome. To place a mosque there would be like putting a church in the Kaaba, so we're not comparing apples to apples, thank you.
As for exploitation by missionaries, the Roman Catholic church does no such thing. They build schools and hospitals. And as far as Christians killing more Muslims than the other way around, why don't you ask the Armenians what they think of the Turk genocide they suffered in the early part of the 20th century (2 million dead). What is more, I am talking about what is happening TODAY not 1000 years ago.


Excellent points Muslimah....

Peter: the Vatican's political borders and legal boundaries are indeed distinguished and separate from Rome's, please....

Muslimah, good points about killings of Christians by Hindus in India, b/c I have also known about this for a very long time - all we ever see is footage of Mother Teresa in the slums of Hindu neighbourhoods, may God grant her peace and serenity for her great work - but besides that we don't see the other more serious side of Christians being killed by non-Muslims.

Unbelieveable how ppl turn a blind eye to the undeniably gigantic TRUTH that wherever you look in the world, Muslims are the ones who are being persecuted and killed...rather the media shows African Arabs in Sudan fighting with the non-Arab Africans while Muslims are being slaughtered left right and centre in Nigeria by Christian Nigerians? Being slaughtered in Southern Thailand by its government, and persecuted in Xinxiang, China, rampaged in Sheeshan/Chechnya, obliterated in Iraq, sanctionized in Syria, burned alive in Gujurat, and openly killed because they are Muslims as well in Kashmir & Falasteen...furthermore they are humiliated as far as pushing them to the brink of death in Abu Ghraib, Gitmo/ Guantanamo Bay, and the numerous prisons of Afghanistan, where NO coverage is given by Western Media, b/c supposedly they do not have "access" or know of such information in their "embedded" relationship with U.S., British, and all other NATO forces and their unrespectful nations illegally in Afghanistan.

Now, all of a sudden, the mysterious character known as Musab Al-Zarqawi who was reportedly killed last year by US CPA, has replaced Osama bin Laden as the most wanted man by the U.S.A. Oh yeah - Americans were so ticked off at Osama after being told he was responsible for 9/11 but let's forget what happened yesterday b/c it's what many Americans are best at doing.

Watch Farenheit 9/11 - All I gotta say.

Peter, I do not know if you are aware that the Vatican is independent from Rome, and there are no mosques in the Vatican. The Vatican is the center of the Catholic church.

As to the taliban in Afghanistan, their situation is very unique. The Afghan people have been devasted by years of war, acute poverty,and chaos. Everyone in Afghanistan has suffered greatly, and it is not surprising that an extremely controlling government like the taliban has ruled that country for a few years. Just look at what happened in the USA. One terrorist attack has in a very short time given the government great powers and limited civil rights, look around and see how extreme everything has gotten, and by the way Muslims were discriminated against before 911, and after 911 things have gotten worst.

Christians have received more tolerance in the past 1400 years in Muslim countries than vice versa. There is a long history of harmonious cohabitation between Christians, Muslims and Jews in Muslim countries that cannot be discarded as if it never happened.

As to the problem with Christians today has a lot to do with the exploitation of Christian missionaries. Unfortunately, Christian missionaries use the power of wealth to pressure the poor Muslims and Hindus to convert to Christianity. As a matter of fact Hindus are more outraged about what the Christians have been doing than Muslims are. There have been a great deal of killing of Christians by Hindus and it is hardly reported. If Muslims would have done such things it would have been talked about over and over and over again. Another very overlooked point is the persecution of Muslims all over the world. Thousands of Muslims have been killed in India, thousands more in Kashmir, Philipines, Chechnya, Nigeria mostly by Christians. The news would only report when Muslims kill not the other way around. This is despicable.


There are mosques in Rome, check your facts. And I am well aware that there are churches in Islamic countries, just as there are mosques in Christian countries. My point still stands. There are no Christian countries where Islam is forbidden, but plenty of Muslim ones (Afghanistan under the Taliban for one). And there still is no church in Mecca. But I tell you what, if you're so open minded, tell the ayatollah of Iran to re-open all the Catholic schools that were closed during their revolution. In fact, ask the Catholics of Timor what they think of Muslim open mindedness regarding Christians.

Excellent article. Who's the real demon?


Peter, there are no mosques in the Vatican. Churches are all over in Muslim countries, as a matter of fact there are more churches in Muslim countries than there are mosques in Christian countries.

Jack, first of all you can bring the example of Sulman Rushdie any time you want, but the fact remains that he is still alive and there was no movement or attempts to his life. There was a great deal of outrage about his book, but I have not read any reports of attempts to his life. Moreover, ayatollah Khomeini is not considered a leader by more than 80% of Muslims, and the few who considered him their leader did not attempt to fulfill his orders. Sulman Rushdie has been hiding for no reason, there have been equally offensive books written by former Muslims throughout the past centuries and they have not been hunted down, nor killed.

As to your imbecile comments on Muslim women not being educated and being oppressed I can find more evidence of Christian women being oppressed and not educated in Christian countries all over this planet. By the way, before you make such conclusion are you aware that there are and have been Muslim women leaders of countries, Muslim women doctors, engineers, scientist, professors, judges, ambassadors, CEO's in Muslim countries. So please, check the allegations you make before you write them.


William Haines, regarding the lands Muslims conquered vs Christians, you are completely incorrect. You are referring to the lands that were once populated by Christians and are now mostly Muslim like Egypt, Turkey etc... I do not know if you are aware that Christians have colonized almost all Muslim lands in recent centuries and they have tried in vain to convert Muslims to Christianity without much success. Contrarly, Muslims have conquered Christian lands over a thousand years ago and the Christian populations accepted Islam without any cohersion despite what hateful Christians allege. Moreover, most of the Muslims today reside in countries where Muslim armies have never conquered like Indonesia, Malesia, China, and many African countries, which speaks greatly about the virtues of the Islamic religion that has appealed to so many in the world. The same cannot be said about Christianity, for it is a well known fact the most Christians today have been under Christian colonies in the past centuries.


Well Muslima, have Christians killed more Muslims than Muslims have killed Christians? I don't know. But it is quite clear that geographically Muslims have conquored more lands that were Christian than the other way round. Can you seriously dispute that?

I wasn't trying to justify hatred which is obviously wrong apart from the fact that it is based on ignorance and a wilful distortion of Islam. I was merely suggesting that it is time Muslims try to understand why they were feared: - for 1000 years Christian Europe was threatened from the east, west and south by Muslim armies which represented a spiritually and technologically more advanced culture.

Anti-semitism has its own theological and historical roots which are quite different to Islamaphobia. I admit that the way that white Christians have treated other races is also completely wrong.

While the word crusade has positive connotations in English, the atrocities done by the medieval Crusaders themselves have been condemned by Christians. The Pope is regarded as having apologised for the inexcusable and shameful atrocities in 1998. I freely admit that in general Muslim soldiers and their leaders certainly behaved for more nobly than Christians in that conflict.

I came across an example of Christians repenting for the crusades:

Behind such a large march there would obviously be a lot of discussion and prayer. Why don't you ask the next Christian you meet about the crusades?


There is a mosque in Rome. There are no churches in Mecca. Kinda says it all, doesn't it..?

As an American muslim, I completely agree with this entire article. One only has to look around them to see the Allah has told us to do. I take comfort in the fact that Allah has promised us that Islam will survive no matter what one may try so in the end Allah wins. Of course we should do our part as well by correcting wrong when we see it.

While there is much scholarship in this article, and is a good history lesson, I think the writer ignores much that has happened in the last few years. The bile you see from some Americans today regarding Muslims was nonexistant before the attacks of 9/11, I assure you. However, the groundwork for this distrust had been established by "moderate" Muslims long before. For instance, I searched in vain for the moderate Muslim response to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. All I could find were statements like "Well, he did blaspheme us...." What sort of people kill someone, as a matter of policy, for their writings? Then the Taliban took over Afghanistan, and once again I scoured your newspapers and writings for something that opposed the atavistic and brutal actions of those people. All I could find was some rich Muslims crying about how the Taliban was destroying non-Muslim artwork. I think that if you search your souls, you'll remember that there was precious little coming from the "moderates" among you about these things. Finally, the last straw was the case of poor Amina Lawal in Nigeria. What sort of people kill their young women for having sex outside of marriage? It took the intervention of human rights groups from the West to save the poor girl's life. (And please don't bring up the one or two exceptions - they're very lonely voices) The Shari'ah laws belong in the 9th century, but hardly a peep from you folks regarding its imposition. The Arabs, and the Muslims more generally, used to have a great culture, where intellect and science were highly valued. What happened? What have you done for the world lately? Please don't try to blame something silly like colonialism or capitalism. Neither of those keep your daughters out of school, or make it impossible to use forensic science, or limit the sciences your children might study. Some of you get $ billions every year in free oil money - where are the great industries of the Middle East?

Abdullah Hakim why cant you stop using psuedonyms instead of pretending to be a Muslim ?! What a childish idiot you are, a true talmudic dullard.
As far as Islamic critique of Christianity, they never use deception or promote hatred and violence unlike christian polemics which range from false to the irrational. You will never find Muslims degrading Prophet Jesus (saw), unlike his worshippers who ignore and violate his teachings on a daily basis.

William Haines, your understanding of history is wrong. I conceit that Muslims have attacked Christian lands in the past, but it is also true that Christians have done the same to Muslims at the time. There is no debate on the fact that Christians have killed and attacked more Muslims in the past 1400 years than vice versa.

What is amusing about your argument is that you justify the western Christian hatred for Muslim as based on the threat Muslims posed to them, than how would you justify the equal hatred Christian westerners had for the Jews, who were minorities in their lands and posed no threat to them? Please answer my question.

As to your assertion that Christians condemn the abhorrent actions of the crusaders, I beg to differ. Crusade is considered a just fight and used in common conversation in the English language and other European languages. I have yet to see any discussion in the mainstream public about the oppression and mass murders the Crusades have inflicted to Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Middle East. As a matter of fact the hatred the Europeans had for the Muslims was more racial that religious. They equally hated their fellow Christians from the Middle East as they did hate the Muslims. The problem Europeans Christians have had is to see fellow human beings with different tint in their skin as aliens that do not belong to this planet.

A very interesting and informative article. It seems to me though that it is preaching to the converted and not really expanding the debate.

While the article quite accurately describes and rightly decries the anti-Islamic polemics, it doesn't try to understand the reason for the historical Islamophobia.

The article shows little or no empathy for the perspective of Christians living in Europe over the past 1500 years. Is it not understandable that Christians feared and had a negative view of Islam considering that Europeans felt that Muslim armies were constantly threatening to destroy their way of life - from colonisation and conversion of Christian North Africa and Spain to the Battle of Tours in 732; from the continual beseiging of Orthodox Byzantium to the eventual fall of Constantinople in 1453; from the occupation of Greece and much of Christian eastern Europe to the final threat to Vienna in 1683.

For 1000 years Muslim rulers were constantly trying to defeat Christian countries and establish Islam in the place of Christianity. So I look forward to the day when Muslim scholars and others are able to take this on board and perhaps condemn it in the way that Christians nowadays condemn the crusades.

I would also be interested to read a similar article reviewing Islamic polemics against Christianity.

Brian Moyer writes:
"If Islam is the true religion, than all the rest are false."

And how come you make such a cracking statement. Sure to the Muslim it is just as CHristianity and Judaism are to its faithful or Bhuddism for that matter.

A fundamental point you miss is that Islam acknowledges Chrisianity and Judaism as true religions from God and Quran refers to those people as the "people of the book", thus accepting all the revelations before as being from the SAME source. The interesting thing is that neither Christians nor Jews acknowldge Islam as being a good religion. The emphasis is on "Acknowleding", not wanting to convert them.

At the time of the Prophet, he did not want to convert the Jews or the Christians. There are many of them who wanted to convert and the Prophet turned them away until they insisted to become Muslims. And when he had the upper hand God ordered him to declare "You have your religion and I have mine. I do not worship what you worship and neither you worship what I worship, etc." which is the most eloquant and just thing to say.

God does not need your worship if it does not come from the heart. Truly the soul and the heart has to be converted not the person.

The point of this excellent article is to show how the hatred of Islam and Muslims is deeply rooted in the Christian church and its history. Thus those of you today who play fair must acknowledge this and see that fairness is the current norm and not blind prjudice. Even as you write, I detect you still want to put us down. Such is the deeply seated negative feelings that permeates your souls. Brother, it is your problem and you must sort it out, insha'Allah and in time BUT keep an open heart for despite what we all say, non of us hold hatred agaisnt the West, Christians or Jews. We lived with them for centuries, in peace and my own 50+ years testify to this peaceful time which we long to have back. God bless all.

Oh,my very dear brothers who love islam and love establishing righteousness and forbidding evil.Inshaallah allah will keep us firm upon this principle.It was a very beatiful and truthful article based upon facts and not misleading information.As sincere muslims it only saddens us to see that so many innocent truth seeking persons can be blinded by this misleading information which is and was being presented to the masses over the centuries. I would like to present an example to the people, which can inshaallah be a mind opener just as this article was. When the mongolians swept through asia and into the muslim controlled lands, they were very merciless warriors which built towering piles of human skulls, after they defeated the enemy.These same mongolians defeated the muslim world brutally The only problem remaining was that it was only the muslim forces that they defeated and not the power and truth of ISLAM.They could not extinguish the light of Islam but Islam illuminated them from darkness which was within themselves , and it needed not the help of any thing else. Islams truth and guidance led to their acceptance of Islam.The mongols became the exact opposite of the ruthless warriors which they were, and they started propogating the beautiful sweet tasting essence of Islam by their very selves. The lesson to learn is that no matter how much the efforts are made to extinguish the light of truth, truth will always remain and falsehood will always vanish by it's very nature. Dear brother and sisters of faith in the one god, Islam can do to us as it did to all the peoples who learnt and tried to understand it's message.It will never stop spreading until It establishes its justice and gives the world another chance to see the bright shining light again just as it did with those before us, and check your history to verify it's truth. Thank you very much for this article, It really is really awakening when you read this article because it shatters the prejudices.

Answer for g.l. Do I sense a kind of sarcasm in your comment? Your comment sounds either indefinitely sarcastic or unforgivingly cretinous. Watch your masterpiece:"past europe considered the mongols and the jews and others every bit as dangerous as the muslims. don't overrate yourselves." Overrate ourselves?! ... Do you think this is a competition in which we compete to inflict terror or monger danger? What the hell do you think we Muslims are? ... People like you that have not a clue what Islam and Muslims are and find themselves opening and closing their mouths in a futile attempt to utter something licid!! ... Muslims don't want this propaganda of danger inspiring people, especially when it's not true. How many Muslims you knew, talked to and hurt you?! You know what assumption is, look at your stupid government and FBI, just now they made a tremendous blunder with the white Muslim lawyer that was accused that participated in the Madrid bombing! Paranoid nation of cretins you belong to, g.l.! All my respect for those Americans that are normal. And I especially take off my kufi to Mr Michael Moore! ..., are you trying to fault a caliphate? Firt let me tell you that jizya would be a fraction of the taxes you pay, so you would be in a better economic position. Being other than Muslim you would not be subjected to zakat instead. However this is pointless to bring about. When jizya was in use, the Christian nations imposed heavy taxes on their colonies, from which the occupiers or settlers were exempt. So, what did you want to say that the Muslims were or are more oppressive that the Christians?! You make me laugh!
Bottom line, the democracy of ancient Greece cannot be compared with that of modern times. So the shariah Allah in a Western Caliphate would be dramatically different from that of the Taliban in Afghanistan, different culture.


Your effort on this very timely article surely is the best kind of Jihad that mankind deserve. I commend the action of the writer to put things in better and clear perspectives. Acts such as this will win us many lost souls. It has surely corrected the doubts I have started to entetain concerning who actually the Almighty Allah is. Indeed Allah's creation as the best.

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Lateef Lanre Kolawole
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Interesting, very interesting. Now how do you get it read to the masses??

Alhamdulillah, they have tried so many different ways to turn off the light of Islam, but Allah turns it the other way.

Nur Muhammad Djuned

A real eye opener. The article is an outcome of natural reasons that have arised through the ages. Even 1400 years of seasoning to cast Islam as a repressor a demon has not stopped human nature to appreciate its sanctity. Priciples of Islam confirms with human nature and this has broken the boundries of inequality. This is a clear contradiction to the claims of Anti-Islamists.

It is very beneficial to have this kind of article, that puts what we all know and feel so eloquently into words. It is also refreshing to read a meesage from a muslim writer that has some spirit and passion in it. Furthermore, the writer's courage in giving names to the perpetrators is commendable. And he does it while giving objective evidence to support his viewpoint. The article was riveting. I enjoyed every word and learned a lot from it. May Allah reward the writer.

I would like to say I am more unsure of the article and for, against, or indifferent. The challenges that Islam has faced and does still face are real and are to be addressed. However, the reasons Islam is not accepted by other faiths is because of the battle for absolute truth and zeal for one's own religious beliefs. If Islam is the true religion, than all the rest are false. Christians claim to hold onto true religion and faith, therefore all others are false, including Islam. It is not necessarily that people hate or dislike muslims, it is that they cannot accept Islam as a faith, otherwise it would take away from what one holds to be true. The same would be true of Islam. Muslims claim Jesus is a prophet, but it would relativize and challenge Islam to say that Jesus is the Son of God, was resurrected from the dead and still lives, and that the Trinity exists. It is one thing to challenge the belief systems, but it is another thing when people are involved. I am unclear as to what the author is trying to propose, because the statements made about Muhammed as a prophet of Allah and Islam as true are made for the same reasons as the Christians who say it is false. Christians cannot accept Islam, nor can Jews, as a true religion. Nor can Islam accept Christianity or Judaism as true religion. Both sides are still in conflict over who is correct. All three hold different beliefs, and not all beliefs can be correct, otherwise the power, strength, and truth of each of these faiths would become false and subject to becoming unnecessary.

A thought provoking piece but one I wish I had read in the pages of a well known magazine or newspaper.I read many good articles in Islamic publications but such works need to be dissemnated to the public at large to help counter prejudicial attitudes.

This is by far one of the most profound articles I have read on this site, and there has been many. Excellent work.

Truly their hatred is deeply rooted in their church and literature with today impounding thro their Zionist-controlled media, Holywood included.

I am particulary touched by the comments of John Harris (24484). It has been my experience that those Westerners who have lived in Muslims countries have become acquainted with us and thus hold no fear of hatred of us. I personally have some of my best friends from amongst them.

God bless those who speak the truth and may be we also need to do the reaching out. For as God said thro HIS prophet: "I was a hidden treasure and wished to be known", thus referring to Adam's creation. We are indeed brothers in humanity and creation.

The Westerners laso have a saying: "If the mountain does not come to mohammad, Mohammad goes to the mountain." Let US as muslims reach out to their common man/woman. Let us not wait for them to understand us. Only thro love and wanting to show goodness that we can do that.

The alternatives have proven to be fatal, as we discuss this issue. So much blood of the innocent is spelt. As Muslims, all we have is prayer. Quran implores upon us to pray: "I will answer the prayer of those who pray". Pray that this "Hidden Treasure", in the form of ALLAH, be revealed to those WHO WANT to see HIM. This way the power of evil is truly deminished. Ameen.

200% Marks for the author on a very informative article on 'Neocon perspective on Islam'and its roots.Its true, as the neocons say that 'They Muslims don't have our Western value'[Pls someone explain to me the term,'Western values']but surely, we Muslims,follow the true Christian values,the original values taught by our Prophet Jesus[may the blessins of the Almighy be upon him]

ALYZZA said:
I agree with much of the article, but - as before - I am disturbed by the responses to it, particularly one wherein the author admitted to cheering the deaths of coalition soldiers. If torture and murder are wrong, they are wrong for everyone - all the time. How can anyone reasonably claim that it is wrong to mistreat Muslims, whether non-combatants or soldiers captured when fighting an invading army, while at the same time excusing atrocities committed against non-Muslims?

You can legitimately hold up Boykin and Robertson as examples of Christianity gone awry, but many people from all over Christendom have openly condemned them for their comments about Muslims. These losers were exposed under the harsh light of criticism for the insipid bigots they are, and widely condemned for their pathetic attempts at bringing about a bloody holocaust designed specifically to meet their own selfish political ends.

Incidentally, Robertson and his ilk aren't particularly fond of most Christians either, save those who agree with every piece of garbage that emanates from their attached marketing firms - and they don't like the Jews at all. These people may still be in power, holding court with the gaggle of idiots who believe their claims, but most of us know what they are and wouldn't lift a finger to help them carry out their ambitions. We abjure them.

I do not, however, see similar attempts among Muslims to protect Islam against those who would profane it by doing evil in the name of God. Where is the outrage directed at those who kill in the name of Islam? Where is the cry against murder in Sudan, or against the mistreatment of the Afghani citizenry when under the Taliban?

The demonization of Islam doesn't just come from one hateful source bent on its destruction, for no better a reason than the fulfillment of religious or imperialistic goals; hearing Muslims say they cheer bloodshed adds fuel to the fire. (cont...)

well done! very well written. i really wish every person on this world could read this.

Well written! Congrats! But I feel earnestly that such readings must surface in the Western media, in any acceptable shape, to enlighten the honest, simple and peace loving Christians and other non-muslim entities. They must learn how the prejudices play to sweep out one's goodness n humanity. Islam, which means itself Peace, needs to be educated with love, reason and logic. If one muslim living in the West undertakes to devote time to 'educate' only one non muslim friend about Islam and to gift out any good book on Islamic teachings, particularly the social and moral concepts advanced by Quran, I believe a positive change will kindle. Being muslims it is imperative upon us to transfer the Divine Message to all the humanity. We must do it with pride, courage, politeness, love and dedication, not with prejudice or hatred against any one, even that one who is prejudiced against us. Every human being must receive the message of God to love each other and to live in peace....And remember, all acts are rated on intentions! We are not liable for results, but answerable for our efforts..Good Luck to all....

Could this war be the Covert Threat to Islam described in the Qur'an. It's defenitely not open like the Crusades.

There is only one God...
and I love Him and all his manifastations of his word.
Islam is not evil
Only those who believe that evil is good

Well written article, with a lot of truth - my only exception is that I believe much of what passes for "anti-Islamic" action is just plain old - we need the oil, you got it. I would also highly recommend Karen Armstrong's book "The Battle for God - a History of Fundamentalism". It is very informative and it really helps to explain much of what goes on in our world today. She is one of Dr. Siddiqui's quoted friends of Islam - "generally fair, objective and empathetic in their works".

This morning it was revealed the UN has granted immunity to the US against criminal prosecution for war crimes it has committed in Iraq. Has anyone speculated what this means. This means the UN has been once again bullied by the US into granting an immunity that no nation has ever got in the past. Now America can torture, murder, rape, pillage and plunder openly, and there is not a damn thing anybody can do about it. Israel already does with great vigor and gusto, slaughter and murder children, women and men, yet all that the UN can do is wag the finger and click its tongues. This now ushers in a historic era where there is no institution left in the world that protects the rights of the oppressed, the victims of abuse, torture and murder, as any nation with the power to bully and intimidate the UN will easily do so. The US, Israel, Russia and the UK stand out like the marauding, terrorizing monsters they are, unchallenged and unstoppable. The Muslim nations need to seriously stand up and take notice; they are now about to go through an era where the name of the game is, "Eliminate Islam and its Muslims". The reward-land, oil, resources, prestige and most of all a Judeo-Christian reign supreme over the earth. Muslims not only have no friends in Christians and Jews but even the one country that hosts Islam's most sacred site, Mecca, is a willing pawn in the hands of the US and UK. The one weapon Muslims had, oil, has been compromised by the Saudi royalty. The Saudis sold the Muslims out. Now Muslims have no one to look hopefully towards but God. I hope they turn to him with all their faith and besieging. I wonder if there are any Muslims left with that seed in their heart that gave rise to champions of Islam like Saladin. I wonder if Muslims will cower and submit or will the indignity, shame and torture and murder of their people give vent to a rage and passion that we have only read about in the history books.

salamu alaykum
very well written. the author does a great job shattering the myth that the christian world is now only focusing on arab states for the first time. that christians are now involved and interested post sep 11 is a pathetic misnomer. its merely the restart of crusades that failed in the past.
for bush's cheerleaders reading this, every crusade failed, and so will this one.

manshallah, this article is really an inspiration and an opportunity to awaken muslims who have depth all around the world. i wish we had more articles like this published publically in the media as this is the only reliable source that today's muslims and non-muslim alike could be informed of the cause of the prevailing anti-islam. may allah give us the the tafiiq to knolerge to underatand our religion and act upon it depite the existence and practice of anti-islamist individuals.

Being of Martin Luther's "clan" I wish to offer an apology on his behalf. Actually, Martin Luther had said a lot of things - including things I would imagine he might regret having said about Jews, too.

So, if I may be so bold to ask, might you yourself conceivably have the potential to be excessive, especially in speaking out against invaders seeking to impose their will on your countrymen - unless, it would seem, the invaders were Turks? Perhaps tribalism would be harder to leave behind us than we might suppose - unless Allah wills otherwise.

Good work, "Subhan Allah" Please keep up the good work. My dear muslim brothers i just want to tell you that the current leaders of the muslim world have gone crazy excluding a few and it is the time where we must make some chahges. for example it is still not to late to consider palestine and Iraq a muslim poblem instead of an Arab problem. U arabs have nothing but tall buildings u r week from inside u r like a fat rich man who cant get up a get a drink of water. please my arab brothers wake up and as Roger smith said strengthen ur economy industrilize ur nations. and may be u also need a strict diplomatic president like musharaf who had the guts to kick out a corrupt leader. but right now we stand as the stongest muslim nation and no one including america can give us a false look that is why he has managed to shift our leaders intrests from the muslim world by showing them a dream of a economically strengthening Pakistan. even though i wish we could do something to help the (moraly poor) arabs right now, but then after viewing ur attitudes in the Arab summit I sometime get so angry at you ppl that i think u deserve what ur getting. but this offcourse is a temporary feeling. please u need to bring a change in ur self and then expect others to follow. it is high time u realized that they (the anti muslim) forces will ever come agree with u, u must find a like Pakistan has. I would also like to mention the fact that every Pakistani student is given a 2 months military training where he is toght how to use different types of weapons and how to act at the commanders orders. AS u can see we are always prepared. another thing USA used the differences among the afhani and the iraqi's for his benefit (Shiah/Sunni) please get rid of such differences in ur society. and let me tell all the forign powers no matter how many terrorism activities u may conduct in pakistan we will never be divided

This article is both insightful and should be required reading in the school system.The response from our European friends are gratifying as well.The dehumanization of Muslims are at the core of the neocon beliefs and fuel their rage and broadcast throughout the corporate media.

the fight as potrayed by the west is 'between us and them'. we can never hope that they can understand islam. as bush put it after 9/11, it is an attack against the civilised world forgeting the blatant attacks against muslims and islam going on for centuries

G.L. FROM U.S.A. said:
past europe considered the mongols and the jews and others every bit as dangerous as the muslims. don't overrate yourselves.

also, is the author saying that if a true caliphate was created and a muslim empire existed, that the non-muslim inhabitants wouldn't have to worry about dhimmitude or jizya?

Well researched article. Very very informative. Please carry on with your good work and keep sharing it with rest of u.s. May Allah reward you in the hereafter. I have downloaed it on my hardrive.

Congratulations Dr. Siddiqui for your scholarship. This is what we need today. We have lost our scholarship so the west is pounding is us and we are crying a fool. Muslims has been a great civilization in the past because we followed the first word in the Quran "read" we learned and researched we were civilized, we did dominate the world. We are not reading now so we are getting those Saddams., or Osama's - no not at my name. We need to go back to basics we need to READ and act upon it. We can be intellectually superior again we can get our Islam back. The world will follow again.

Dr. Siddiqui has put us a question who is next to replace Islam today after the end of cold war. It will be unfortunately my country CHINA. Matter of time we are growing at the speed of light, economically and by all other means. We have the population (including 80 million Muslims) we will have the economy and it will be the economy that will rule the west. Wake up China is rising so as the muslims. I believe it will be another 20 Years we will start to choke the world with our economic power and what else we need. Today's Islamophobia will replace Chinaphobia, but the world will have no choice but to obey, think today can you live without Chinese made products?

I am pained to see Christians on both sides of the continent and Jews from Israel to Russia so happy and thrilled to see the shedding of blood of innocent Muslims. I am so amazed at their complete lack of care for the hundreds of thousands of children and women and the old and young in the prime of their lives, murdered, made homeless, horribly mutilated, injured and yet even tortured, humiliated and massacred by the US and UK bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan (and soon in Syria), that I and a good number people here in the Netherlands have now come to regard the US, UK and Israel as the biggest threat to the world since the black plague. I have to admit we now cheer when we read or hear of Americans, English or Israelis being killed. It is sad it has come to this but it has and the occupying forces deserve every bullet and every knife coming their way.

I was also quite shocked to learn that the Vatican instead of taking a leadership role is also, like the loony US Evangelists, spewing hate and venom against Islam and Muslims. Last week in a statement he "warned" Christians from Marrying Muslims.

I find this so simply racist and completely absurd that I am very surprised that some Muslim group has not already sued the Vatican for encouraging racial unrest and hate and for fomenting violence against Muslim minorities in Europe and the US. Also is it that most people are dumb or are they ignorant by choice? The fact of the false pretexts under which the US & UK attacked the sovereign countries of Afghanistan and Iraq, when oil and protection of Israel was always the real motive, is completely lost upon most Americans and English. I wonder if they choose to put their fingers in their ears and sing loudly like children hoping the truth will go away? I do think the fact of the matter is that Americans and the English thought that it would be a cake walk to attack defenseless Muslim countries on some trumped up rubbish rhetoric, grab all the oil, destroy the ability of Muslims to ever defend themselves hence safeguarding Israeli interests and in the process convert them to Christianity too - all in a days work. Funny it did not work out that way, did it? Sadly I do not think the Arabs have any will to fight anymore - even collectively to repulse the aggressors. I think their will to fight is gone and they are too accustomed to the soft life now to complain. It would probably take a people far more passionate about their faith and a readily willing to stake their lives for their cause who might take the lead. People like the Chechnyans, and I won't be surprised if the next century Islamic leadership arises out of Chechnya.

Let us all join Humanity and work to create a better global civilization. Muslims currently have many problems: mojority of us illiterate(Iqra), rambant female abuse, Hadood Ordinances, Blasphamy Laws(over 75% current prosecutions in Pakistan are now against fellow Muslims)etc...etc..
A good article. I pray for articles from scholars that enjoin us to work towards global solutions. Tired of 'the better side' syndrome.
WAssalam :o)


Salaam Alekoom

As a person from urban North America who has travelled regularly throughout parts of the Arab/Islamic world for 31 years, I have to agree with much of the content in this article.

I have friends and know of others who share many of the same views and beliefs presented here. Most of them have never visited a Muslim country nor have they ever set foot inside a Mosque.

How can I ever explain Sultan Hassan or Omayyed Mosque to them. Or Kairoun in Fez or the Green Mosque in Bursa.

Everyday there is tragedy in many areas, ...... it becomes unbearable to watch and listen. It is shameful to see so much violence and suffering.

One thing that does appear clear to me from this reading is that " Hey all you folks out there, .. we have had a clash of civilizations for centuries and it is now clearly volcanic before us in our present age."

And the situation promises to worsen.

Lets hope God does intervene soon and creates justice and a lasting peace.

When Bush and Sharon are gone the volcano will subside.

May God Bless All of You

John in Vancouver BC Canada


BNAK said:
Hats off to you brother Siddiqui. You have indeed taken a lot of trouble to study history and to try and enlighten people about the history of vilification of Islam.
Indeed, the Judge of Judges, Allah is watching and His promise to His creation shall be fulfilled. His Justice will InshaAllah come soon and the world shall InshaAllah see who the true demon is.
May Allah reward you for your work. Aameen!

very well researched article with lots of detailed information about the root cause of antiIslamic biases in the West. I am afraid, democracy is too weak to counteract this form of antiIslamic biases given its deep historical roots.

Excellent article Dr Habib Siddiqui. Very informative and true. It seems that the West had never settled her hate toward Islam, only postponed it, waited for the Islamic countries to regress and then attack. They practiced on USSR, physically on Viet Nam, etc., but their target was always there: Islam!
It is my absolute belief that Islam cannot be exterminated. I really believe that when humanity will realize its moral and ethic degradation it will search for refreshing values in Islam. Could be a very different Islam of what we are used to, like the Evangelical church is very different than the Orthodox Armenian one. But still, it will be Islam.
I remember once on the streets of Rome I met a Syrian and we talked about Islam. He opined: "People are turning Muslims by the thousands without even knowing it." I thought he was commiting an inormity. He sensed my disbelief and continued:"I met so many righteous Italians in this country(Italy) and righteous French and Germans that they do not believe in Bible anymore or in the church or in any scripture...still they believe that the universe and the life in it was created by an inteligent superpowered being, call it God, Spirit, The Force, they said. They regard Jesus as an inspired man and so all the prophets of any religion. Their philosophy is to do good, to witness injustice and fight it, peace, love and friendship." My Syrian friend looked at me smiling and asked:"What would you call these people as a religion?" I said, I don't know...The Syrian asked me, "could you envi9sion them as your brothers?" I said, yes! He said, you see, they are your brothers because they without knowing it are Muslims, I call them: "Uncommited Muslims" or "Free Muslims". He laughed and parted. I've never seen him again, but he made his mark on my heart...
Peace to all!