May 7, 2005

Jihad Interrupted

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities posts some reviewers' comments on Ridley Scott's film Kingdom of Heaven, and adds these observations:

Ever since 9/11, liberals have been struggling with the problem that - as pointed out by Michael Walzer, editor of the left-wing Dissent - jihad can't fit into liberal ideology. One of the tenets of modern liberalism is the supposed conflict between the corrupt West & the innocent Third World, an idea that stems from Rousseau's 'noble savage' sulk.

Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven gives the Crusades the Rousseau treatment with murderous Westerners & pacifist Muslims, but this is only possible if you're selective about history.

In a previous post, Jeff noted:

A NY Times piece on the film notes "Muslims are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything." Coexistence: the First Crusade was launched in 1096. Prior to that, Muslims conquered Syria (635), Palestine (638), Persia (642), Eqypt (642), North Africa (642-698), Kabul (711), the Indus region (712), Samarkand (712), Spain (712), Toulouse (721), Kyrgyzstan (751, Chinese army defeated), & Armenia (1071).

Muslim expansion into Europe was only stopped when the French defeated them at Tours (732). Someone should tell French actress Eva Green, who says, "It's not like a stupid Hollywood movie. It's a movie with substance. I hope it will wake up people in America ... to be more tolerant, more open toward the Arab people."

It is this 450 years of Muslim jihad against Jews, Christendom and the West which preceded the Crusades that is examined in Andrew G. Boston's essay at The American Thinker. (Thanks to Jeff for that link.) Boston traces the roots of jihad, and uses footnoted Muslim sources to document the centuries of Muslim expansion by conquest, and in the words of Bat Ye'or, "the actual methods of these conquests: pillage, enslavement, deportation, massacres, and so on."

As but one example, here Boston describes the subjugation of the Iberian peninsula:

The Iberian peninsula was conquered in 710-716 C.E. by Arab tribes originating from northern, central and southern Arabia. Massive Berber and Arab immigration, and the colonization of the Iberian peninsula, followed the conquest. Most churches were converted into mosques. Although the conquest had been planned and conducted jointly with a faction of Iberian Christian dissidents, including a bishop, it proceeded as a classical jihad with massive pillages, enslavements, deportations and killings. Toledo, which had first submitted to the Arabs in 711 or 712, revolted in 713. The town was punished by pillage and all the notables had their throats cut. In 730, the Cerdagne (in Septimania, near Barcelona) was ravaged and a bishop burned alive. In the regions under stable Islamic control, subjugated non-Muslim dhimmis -Jews and Christians- like elsewhere in other Islamic lands – were prohibited from building new churches or synagogues, or restoring the old ones. Segregated in special quarters, they had to wear discriminatory clothing. Subjected to heavy taxes, the Christian peasantry formed a servile class exploited by the dominant Arab ruling elites; many abandoned their land and fled to the towns. Harsh reprisals with mutilations and crucifixions would sanction the Mozarab (Christian dhimmis) calls for help from the Christian kings. Moreover, if one dhimmi harmed a Muslim, the whole community would lose its status of protection, leaving it open to pillage, enslavement and arbitrary killing.[21]

Read the whole Boston piece. It's a keeper. Part Two here.

Posted by dan at May 7, 2005 4:21 PM