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The Tenth Crusade

In case you've been living with your head under the pillows, the past week or so has seen what this humble writer is declaring to be the end of Western Civilization as we know it. Cartoons published five months ago depicting the "prophet" Mohammed wearing a bomb as a turban has incited bloody, destructive riots throughout the civilized world by some very uncivlilzed people. "Islam is peaceful," the protestors claim, "and if you don't believe us, we'll burn down your cities."

I'm already having the T-shirts made...

Anyone with a keyboard and internet access has already commented on the atrocities of the Muslim world, and I see no reason to beat a dead camel with my own pontifications. Suffice it to say that 175 million people practice the "religion" of Islam, and those 175 million are the direct cause of the slow collapse of the last vestiges of the complex European empire. As birth rates in Europe continue to level out and even fall, the population of France, Germany, Scandinavia is quickly being overwhelmed by the vast numbers of Muslim immigrants -- people who have no intent on assimilation into the European culture, but rather hell-bent on conquest.

By 1291, Antioch, Tripoli, Acre and Jerusalem had fallen to the Muslims despite hundreds of years and thousands of European lives given to their defense. Spain had already been conquered in 719 after an eight year campaign by the Moors, and remained under Sharia control for 700 years. Palestine, nothing more than a disputed area with no firm government, gave rise to 60 years of terror and violence after the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

Why this bass-ackward history lesson? Primarily to underscore the fact that since its inception in the 7th century, Islam has done absolutely nothing for the greater good of humanity except to attempt (and succeed) at conquering land for the sole purpose of spreading its misguided dogma through fear and intimidation.

I can hear you now: "Valannin, so did the Gauls, the Romans, the English. They are all guilty of imperialism and slavery, and even genocide." Point conceded. But look what the years of Romans and the European occupation has contributed to the world: Philosophy, Mathematics, Astronomy, Civil Engineering, Viniculture, Music, Sculpture, Democracy, Medicine, Literature, Industrialization, Nuclear Power, the Decoding of the Human Genome, the freakin' IPod.

And what has the Islamic world brought to the table?

Nothing. Except a continued espousal of a violent, intolerant religion.

Go ahead, name five things that the Islamic world has done for either planet Earth at large or even for their own people. You can't. There are no standouts. For every Ibn Sina, El Zahrawi, and Thabit Ibn Qurra, there are dozens of Euclids, Pythagoreans, DaVincis, Michelangelos, and Beethovens. In spite of the fall of glorious Rome under the Christians (thanks a lot, Constantine), Europe flourished as the world's beating heart of culture, scientific advancement, and discovery. London, Paris, Rome, St. Petersburg, Oslo, Amsterdam, New York -- all shining examples of the European ideal of progress.

And the Islamic world? Oceans of sand dotted with houses of indoctrinization. Where are the Universities, the libraries, the research institutes? Has the Arab world cured polio, put a man on the moon, minaturized the capacitor? No, they build mosque after mosque and dedicate their existance to oppressing women and burning the American flag. Millions of Muslims live in abject poverty, ruled by indifferent Sultans who spend their time constructing luxury palaces and funding groups whose sole purpose is to decimate the rest of the civilixed world.

This is not the beginning of the end, Ladies and Gentlemen. That dubious honor goes to the very day in 610 when an illiterate, dusty street merchant crawled out of a cave and claimed he spoke to an angel.

And if you don't believe that Islam is founded on violence, consider this: In the year 624, angry that his new religion was not being respected by the local potentates, Muhammad led 300 Muslim warriors on a bloody raid on a Meccan caravan at Badr, slaughtering 70 non-Muslim Arabs and throwing their bodies in the town's well. Muhammad's Quran speaks of the battle thusly:

"Yea, - if ye remain firm, and act aright, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, Allah would help you with five thousand angels making a terrific onslaught."

Peace, indeed.


Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
The period of scientific and academic genius in the Muslim world ends with the fall of Bagdad to the Mongols (1258), in the West with that of Granada to the Christians (1492).
Anonymous said…
"When we study Europe's Middle Ages, we seldom include Spain (at least not until after the "reconquest"). Our libraries abound with books on the Middle Ages, but try to find in any of them a single word about daily life and customs in Spain. It is as if later historians, in order to justify a uniquely "European history", ignored the fact that a vibrant and brilliant civilization created by "Others"—by Arabs, by Muslims, by Jews—by brown and black people—not only existed in Europe, but without whose contributions the region could not have become what it did. When we talk about "Europe's" Renassiance, we never think of its beginnings in Spain several centuries before it reached Italy. It's as if we lopped off a good 1000 years of history—or at least amputated it from Europe. Nothing could be farther from the truth."
From the introduction to A Medieval Banquet in the Alhambra Palace, Audrey Shabbas, editor, AWAIR, 1991.
Anonymous said…
"The terrorist acts of a few Muslims are terrible tragedies, but do they have a history behind them? Is there a history of Western provocations in the Muslim world? Does the Western world at any point enter the historical chain of causation that now drives a few sane Muslims to acts of terrorism? Western responsibility -- no Western guilt...

"...The historical amnesia is truly astounding ... The oppressors choose to forget the history of their [own] depredations, or substitute a civilising mission for their history of brutalities, bombings, massacres, ethnic cleansings and expropriations. It is the oppressed peoples who know the history of their oppression: they know it because they have endured it. Its history is seared into their memory, their individual and collective consciousness. Indeed, they can liberate themselves only by memorialising this history."

Shahid Alam
Anonymous said…
In 1212 a combined Christian force ... shattered [Muslim] power in the [Iberian] peninsula. By the mid-thirteenth century the Muslims retained only the kingdom of Granada. After its capture by the Christians (1085), Toledo immediately became the intellectual capital of Castile because of the transmission of Muslim and Jewish learning. The School of Translators of Toledo in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries rendered into Latin the great semitic treatises on philosophy, medicine, mathematics and alchemy. The works of Avicenna (Ibn Sina), al-Ghazali, Averroes (Ibn Rushd) and Maimonides filtered through to Christian scholars. Mudejar art spread into Castile.

From: The Spanish Inquisition
A Historical Revision, Chapter One
Yale University Press
Valannin said…
Ah, seven comments from a Muslim apologist. Perhaps I have been hasty in my judgement -- I didn't realize that the Muslims spent a thousand years developing medicine and mathematics. Probably because in the last thousand they've done nothing except wreak havok on the civilized world. Or in other words: What have you done for us lately, Mohammed?

And don't think I'm attacking only the Muslim religion, my anonymous friend. The greatest civilization the world has ever seen (that would be Rome) was toppled by a handful of people who think a man who, after being nailed to a cross, rose from the dead to join his father (God) in a mystical place called "heaven". All religions are dangerous, as they subvert and diminish individual notions of identity and instead attempt to force a collective mindset on groups of people too weak-willed to see past the pageantry and into the dark heart of zealotry.

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
-Denis Diderot
Anonymous said…
No apologium here, my pseudonymous friend.

You asked a direct question: "And what has the Islamic world brought to the table?" I offer you links and references to your answers.

Nice Diderot quote. You've offered it more than once. Try not to wear it out, elf.
Valannin said…
Damn. I hate multiple occurances of the same epigram...gotta hire a continuity editor.

As for the links and references, they are "too little too late". Mostly too little. Nobody cares that one member of a culture "developed a method for trisection of angle" if that very same culture's descendants are strapping C-4 to their sternums and dashing into bus depots uulating about Allah and 72 virgins. "Death to America" doesn't sound like scientific enlightenment to me.

And have you noticed that your timelines stop somewhere in the middle of the 14th Century? I guess the past 700 years have been spent perfecting the pipe bomb.
Anonymous said…
Hey, pseudonymous fairy god --

Drop me a line next time a Roman cures eczema, or Greece lands a man on the moon.

The motor that drives the advancement of science is an ambitious middle class, the members of which compete for wealth one against the other, in hopes they can one day afford enough toys to make their children love them.

Anyone who wishes his nation was wealthier and more practically capable should recognize the only solution is a competitive, educated middle class. It benefits the middle class itself, the labor classes, the poor and the extremely wealthy alike -- and cultivates a more viable overall social system. Islam is irrelevant in this matter, unless Islam successfully discourages an ambitious middle class.

Your indictment of Islam -- at least on the grounds you include in your harrague here -- fails. And that's a shame, because youe speak with such an authoritative ... tone.

Try again, lord of gnomes.
Anonymous said…
The pseudonymous god of Faerie wrote: "...have you noticed that your timelines stop somewhere in the middle of the 14th Century?"

I did. That's why I wrote: "The period of scientific and academic genius in the Muslim world ends with the fall of Bagdad to the Mongols (1258), in the West with that of Granada to the Christians (1492)."

Coincidence, perhaps.
Valannin said…
"Islam is irrelevant in this matter, unless Islam successfully discourages an ambitious middle class"

Training your followers to hate Israel, hate America, and hate all things civilized (read: The Western World) and then promising them that an invisible man named "Allah" will grant them an eternity of pleasure with 72 virgins if they viciously murder any and all members of the aforementioned cultures is probably the best defintion of actively "discouraging an ambitious middle class."

Of course, the same can be said for any fanatical religion. Plotting the deaths of abortion doctors or memorizing the schematics of passenger jets for future hijackings doesn't exactly afford people the free time to explore the mysteries of cold fusion or cure prostate cancer. In fact, the phrases "religious" and "educated" should probably not co-exist in the same sentence.

And I most certainly know what you said about the "period of academic and scientific genius in the Muslim world" ending in the 15th Century. I just fail to see such a period of "genius" or its subsequent results.

Oh, and paraffin, a common cure for exzema, was discovered in the 19th century by Dr. Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach of Stuttgart Germany. Modern rocketry can be attributed to Russian scientist Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky. Not exactly Roman or Greek, I'll admit, but certainly their discoveries are based on the work of Archimedes, Galileo, Huygens, Kepler, Newton, Lavoisier, and Mendeleev.

You know, people considered to be heretics...
Anonymous said…
"Of course, the same can be said for any fanatical religion."

That's why Islam per se is irrelevant. Remove Allah and substitute Valannin, and your some of your worshippers there would still interpret your canon as justification for violent resistance of the Euro-American western world. The "kings" of those nations would still be rip-shit angry at England/America/United Nations, believeing England and its collaborators violated agreements with sheiks who collaborated during the fall of the Ottoman Empire, who expected territory and recognition as sovereign nations. THAT's why they hate Israel, and that's why they've turned that hatred "religious" in the press.

Of course Islam includes memories of conflicts with western nations. How could it not? But it is not the engine that drives the machine of conflict. Yes, the rhetoric of terrorism there is affected by the vocabulary of Islam – but if the religion was animism, the terrorist rhetoric would simply take on a different vocabulary.

Absolutely not apologizing for the violence or the anger or the mobs. I’m saying the cause is simply not Islam. The cause is a complex system. Ya got the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, with tribal leaders thereafter fighting to cement their own authority. Ya got a top-heavy economy that makes middleclass entrepreneurship unprofitable, and its prospects unattractive compared to milk that flows from the OPEC teat. Ya got a middleclass farm industry that has degenerated century after century due to climate change, which can’t compete with corporate western suppliers. Jordan has developed some sort of public school system, perhaps better than those in Hussein’s Iraq or the Shah’s Iran – but no middle eastern school systems is good enough to keep the sons of sheiks from hieing up to Europe and America for boarding school; thus, the schools receive poor support.

Those are practical matters obstructing a viable middle class in the Mid East – a system. The noise that system makes is terrorism. Islam contributes little to the problem except to set the timbre of that noise.
Anonymous said…
“In fact, the phrases "religious" and "educated" should probably not co-exist in the same sentence.”

I would agree. It’s an unloveliness of history the educated middle class relied on the church for training in literacy and debate
Anonymous said…
“…paraffin, a common cure for exzema [sic], was discovered in the 19th century by Dr. Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach of Stuttgart Germany.”

Paraffin “was discovered by” the ancients. Your Reichenbach-von-Stuttgart might have used paraffin to treat the drying symptoms of eczema, but he did not cure it. Science has found no cure.
Anonymous said…
” Modern rocketry can be attributed to Russian scientist Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky.”

I prefer to think of Robert Goddard as the father of modern rocketry, but have it your way. Neither was Roman nor Greek. Without a doubt their work relied on classical scientists, mathematicians and philosophers – Archimedes, Euclid, Ptolemy, Aristotle, etc. Both also relied on Descartes, Galileo, Copernicus, Huygens, Kepler, Newton, Lavoisier and Mendeleev, sure. But part of the complex system that generated the European Renaissance was the appearance in Toledo of translations of those classic text into Arabic and their development by Algorizm, Nasir Al-Tusi , Albumasar, Alkindus, Thabit, Albategnius, Al-Fraganus, Azophi, Alhazen optics, Arzachel, Dreses, Alpetragius, Abdulfeda and others. Those were the guys who applied mathematics to logic, who devised mathematical models of astronomy that allowed Copernicus to disprove Ptolemy’s Almagest, who discovered optical refraction that led to Huygens’ fun optical lenses, who discovered the quanification of color refraction that led to a mathematical model for frequencies, whose tidal studies allowed Kepler to devise a mathematical model for orbits, whose alchemy (and criticism of each other’s alchemy) led Lavoisier to come up with his fanciful chemistry theories, and whose alchemical measures and records led yer other guy there to devise a periodic table to chart elements according to mass.

These Arabic scientists first conceived of planets as product of astronomical events, not some guy with a beard waving his hand. These Arabic scientists first demanded mathematical proofs for theoretical models. These Arabic scientists are the dudes who devised the scientific method as we use it today, not that oddball Aristotelian thing that
Never quite matches up to what they teach ya in high school.

All of which is kinda dry – which is why they get very little publicity.

Well, they did invented the globe. And the astrolabe, HELL YA! Now yer talking!

Once upon a time, those Arabic scientists got sweet publicity. They were all the buzz at Oxford and Padua. In fact, it was the arrival of their texts at Oxford and Padua in the 12th century that allowed the Renaissance to move from (recently Moorish) Toledo into the universities of Europe. And they remained all the buzz for centuries, until European nationalism led scholarship to hide its debt to those guys. Nowadays, a guy could graduate from Hoftra without ever hearing of them. Nowadays, they’re the stuff of Lovecraft and the Rosicrucians and those guys looking for someone to name an asteroid after.

Poor Valannin! You’re discrediting your own boys, the very inventors of mathematical logic and quantifiable emperical testing. Shine a mitzva on them, pixie god. Or admit your ignorance.
Moni said…
My! My! You guys still at it?
Anonymous said…
Thanks for reading, Moni.

Judge this discussion for yourself.
Anonymous said…
And forgive my typo, all.


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