Originally written 9/15/2006 – I first wrote this nearly ten years ago, and am working on an updated version. In the process, I’ve come to realize that nothing, not-a-thing, has changed for Islam since the first radical Islamic terrorist, Muhammad, started things off by killing his way into the history books. Now, his adherents kill their way onto the front pages…
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For as long as the history of Islam has been written, the followers of Muhammad have stamped their feet like spoiled little children throwing a temper tantrum after being denied another piece of candy. Except that after they finish stamping their feet they blow up buildings, bomb weddings, and behead any who dare criticize their childish behavior.
There are those who, in an effort to make the peace, attempt to grant legitimacy to Islam, throwing them that piece of candy by conceding that their founder Muhammad is indeed the last and most important prophet of God. I, for one, do not. And neither did the wise Catholic American writer Orestes Brownson.
Orestes Augustus Brownson wrote in 1850, “The powerful genius of Mahomet made him dream that he could do what Caesar and Alexander did, that he could enslave the world; and he matured his plans with care. The political aspect of the world was very inviting to an ambitious imposter, for the Western Empire had fallen, and the strong arm won the spoils; the Eastern was getting old and crazy, and all Asia was nearly independent of the Greek Emperors. Mahomet gave laws which were singularly adapted to please man’s corrupt nature, and his laws were piously kept. He won his soldiers to his party by promising them rich booty, and by keeping his promises.”
If Brownson were around today, you can bet there would be a fatwa, a death sentence, declared on him for daring proclaim such an opinion. Opinions are not looked upon highly in the Islamic view of the world. More recently, Ibn Warraq, outspoken critic of Islam who has written extensively on what he views as the oppressive nature of Islam, concludes that traditional Islamic interpretations of its history and the origins of the Qur’an are fictitious and based on nothing more than historical revisionism aimed at forging a religious Arab identity to combat Christianity. Warraq, like so many dissident authors throughout the history of Islam, is forced to write under a pseudonym for his own safety. Warraq says of his work Quest for the Historical Muhammad (Prometheus Books, 2000), “I wanted to point out that there were a large number of ex-Muslims, and I wanted to hold them up as examples to ex-Muslims to come out of the closet. I want people from Islamic countries to breathe a freer air because of the courage of these particular apostates. I wanted to open up the debate on Islam – and after all, freedom of conscience is a very basic human right which is denied many people in Islamic countries.” Sounds like an occasion for another fatwa to me. It’s no wonder ex-Muslims are afraid to come out of the closet.
This past week, Pope Benedict XVI quoted Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus when he said in a late 14th-century conversation with a Persian citizen, “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” The Pope was careful to mention thrice that this was a quote, and not his personal belief. Yet the reaction by the international Muslim community was entirely predictable: churches firebombed, a 65-year old nun shot seven times in the back as she returned from a charity hospital where she helped feed and bathe sick Muslims, and complete silence from the mythical “moderate” Muslims. What else could we expect from the same community that rioted over editorial cartoons? The same religion that issues death warrants for fiction writers? The very same religion whose leaders proclaim the swords of their followers are still thirsty for the blood of the infidel?
Contrast the collective behavior of the worldwide Muslim community with that of slain nun, Sister Leonella, one of the longest-serving foreign members of the Roman Catholic Church in Somalia. As she was dying from her bullet wounds, Sister Leonella used her final moments to forgive those Muslims who shot her in the back. “I forgive, I forgive,” she whispered in her native Italian as she drew her last breaths.
The history of Muslim aggression against the Christian West can be found in the very first moments following the birth of Islam. Throughout its early history, the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, was under attack by forces of evil. To quote Brownson again, “The world for three hundred years groaned beneath the tyranny of Rome, and during that long period the worship of Christ was proscribed, and his children hunted to the death; the prisons were choked with them, the wild beasts were glutted with their flesh, the ground was red with their blood; they were pitilessly murdered, sometimes singly, sometimes by hundreds, sometimes by thousands. This was the first great sifting; it was a trial of the Church by fire and by sword, a determination to crush her by treating her children as convicted enemies of the Empire and of the immortal gods.” From the Romans to the south, to Nordic hordes of Godless barbarians to the north, those proclaiming allegiance to Christ found no safe haven in which to worship, and were granted no quarter by their numerous enemies.
Despite their treatment, and in accordance with the teaching of the Lord, the Catholic Church, observed Brownson, “took these things to her bosom, and her supernatural warmth made those bones live again; she made them Christians, and they became men.” He continued in his treatise St. Peter and Mahomet; or the Popes Protecting Christendom from Mahometanism, “If the Church ever could really fear an enemy, she would have been hopelessly affrighted at Mohometanism. All her other trials were accompanied with some solace for her wounded heart. The persecutions were bitter, but she often had a little time to breathe; she felt that such a violent state of things could not endure long.”
But this new enemy, the brainchild of a very eloquent and intelligent man, promised not to be so easily endured. Again Brownson: “Mahomet unfurled his banner, and in a twinkling it waved over a great host. He went forth to make converts and subjects. The process was quite simple. He held his tablet of laws in one hand, and the sword in the other, and in most cases the people chose to live and believe in one God, and in his prophet, Mahomet.” The new found faith, with promises of eternal earthly pleasures in heaven, not least of which was a mansion full of virgins for those whose lives where lost spreading the oppressive beliefs of Islam, wiped out or enslaved all non-Muslims from Persia to the gates of Vienna.
Brownson, perhaps prophetically, wrote, “And thus, in six hundred years after the death of the Prophet, Mahometanism had nearly fulfilled its purpose; its universal sovereignty seemed only to be a question of time. It had blasted Asia; it had destroyed Africa; it was the terror of the Mediterranean; and it was advancing slowly but surely upon the last abiding-place of Christianity, converting, like a cancer, healthy flesh into a mass of corruption and hopeless deformity. The Church of God never saw such an enemy, for Mahometanism was evidently a heresy that would live for very many ages.”
And here we are, generations, centuries later, and Islamic leaders the world over are exclaiming such pronouncements as this one from the Mujahedeen Shura Council in response to the Pope’s quoting Manuel II, “You infidels and despots, we will continue our jihad and never stop until God avails us to chop your necks and raise the fluttering banner of monotheism, when God’s rule is established governing all people and nations.”
As Orestes said in 1850, so it seems to still be true, “Tell men that they can serve God and Mammon at the same time, charge them to indulge their passions freely, secure to them a heaven whose first law is sensual gratification, make ignorance the first commandment, and erect this scheme of lust and rapine into a religious system, and what remains to insure it long life? Punish apostasy with death. This stern law of the Prophet is as faithfully kept now as it was under Al Raschid.”
I pray we have the resolve to withstand this new era of Islamic aggression.