The myth of Islamic enlightenment 5

A Wall Street Journal editorialist in a grossly distorted encomium to Muslim Spain, mentioned the “pan-confessional humanism”  of Andalusian Islam, and even asserted: “one could argue that the oft-bewailed missing ‘reformation’ of Islam was under way there until it was aborted by the Inquisition.”

Maria Rosa Menocal, Yale Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, in her 2002 hagiography of Muslim Spain, The Ornament of the World, has further maintained that “the new Islamic polity not only allowed Jews and Christians to survive, but following Quranic mandate, by and large protected them.”

These quotations are from an essay by Bat Ye’or and Andrew G. Bostom at Jihad Watch. The authors go on to explain that the commonly held view that Andalusian Islam was enlightened and tolerant is a myth:

We believe that reiterating these ahistorical, roseate claims about Muslim Spain abets the contemporary Islamist agenda …

Iberia (Spain) was conquered in 710-716 AD 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 strong faction of royal Iberian Christian dissidents, including a bishop, it proceeded as a classical jihad with massive pillages, enslavement, 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, Jews and Christians were tolerated as dhimmis – like elsewhere in other Islamic lands – and could not build new churches or synagogues nor restore the old ones. Segregated in special quarters, they had to wear discriminatory clothing. Subjected to heavy taxes, the Christian peasantry formed a servile class attached to the Arab domains; 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.

By the end of the eighth century, the rulers of North Africa and of Andalusia had introduced Malikism, one of the most rigorous schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and subsequently repressed the other Muslim schools of law. Three quarters of a century ago, at a time when political correctness was not dominating historical publication and discourse, Evariste Levi-Provencal, the pre-eminent scholar of Andalusia, wrote: “The Muslim Andalusian state thus appears from its earliest origins as the defender and champion of a jealous orthodoxy, more and more ossified in a blind respect for a rigid doctrine, suspecting and condemning in advance the least effort of rational speculation.”

The humiliating status imposed on the dhimmis and the confiscation of their land provoked many revolts, punished by massacres, as in Toledo (761, 784-86, 797). After another Toledan revolt in 806, seven hundred inhabitants were executed. Insurrections erupted in Saragossa from 781 to 881, Cordova (805), Merida (805-813, 828 and the following year, and later in 868), and yet again in Toledo (811-819); the insurgents were crucified, as prescribed in Quran 5:33.

The revolt in Cordova of 818 was crushed by three days of massacres and pillage, with 300 notables crucified and 20,000 families expelled. Feuding was endemic in the Andalusian cities between the different sectors of the population: Arab and Berber colonizers, Iberian Muslim converts (Muwalladun) and Christian dhimmis (Mozarabs). There were rarely periods of peace in the Amirate of Cordova (756-912), nor later.

Al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year, sometimes twice a year, raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts, even as far as the Aegean Islands, looting and burning as they went. Thousands of people were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousand of Christian slaves brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women. Society was sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, with the Arab tribes at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Berbers who were never recognized as equals, despite their Islamization; lower in the scale came the mullawadun converts and, at the very bottom, the dhimmi Christians and Jews.

The Andalusian Maliki jurist Ibn Abdun (d. 1134) offered these telling legal opinions regarding Jews and Christians in Seville around 1100 C.E.: “No Jew or Christian may be allowed to wear the dress of an aristocrat, nor of a jurist, nor of a wealthy individual; on the contrary they must be detested and avoided. It is forbidden to [greet] them with the [expression] “Peace be upon you”… “A distinctive sign must be imposed upon them in order that they may be recognized and this will be for them a form of disgrace.”

Ibn Abdun also forbade the selling of scientific books to dhimmis, under the pretext that they translated them and attributed them to their co-religionists and bishops. In fact, plagiarism is difficult to prove since whole Jewish and Christian libraries were looted and destroyed

In Granada, the Jewish viziers Samuel Ibn Naghrela and his son Joseph, who protected the Jewish community, were both assassinated between 1056 to 1066, followed by the annihilation of the Jewish population by the local Muslims. It is estimated that up to five thousand Jews perished in the pogrom by Muslims that accompanied the 1066 assassination. This figure equals or exceeds the number of Jews reportedly killed by the Crusaders during their pillage of the Rhineland, some thirty years later, at the outset of the First Crusade…

The Muslim Berber Almohads in Spain and North Africa (1130-1232) wreaked enormous destruction on both the Jewish and Christian populations…  massacre, captivity, and forced conversion… Maimonides, the renowned philosopher and physician, experienced the Almohad persecutions, and had to flee Cordoba with his entire family in 1148

Although Maimonides is frequently referred to as a paragon of Jewish achievement facilitated by the enlightened rule of Andalusia, his own words debunk this utopian view of the Islamic treatment of Jews: “..the Arabs have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us… Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase, and hate us as much as they..”

A valid summary assessment of interfaith relationships in Muslim Spain, and the contemporary currents responsible for obfuscating that history, can be found in Richard Fletcher’s engaging Moorish Spain. Mr. Fletcher offers these sobering, unassailable observations:

“The witness of those who lived through the horrors of the Berber conquest, of the Andalusian fitnah in the early eleventh century, of the Almoravid invasion- to mention only a few disruptive episodes- must give it [i.e., the roseate view of Muslim Spain] the lie. The simple and verifiable historical truth is that Moorish Spain was more often a land of turmoil than it was of tranquility…Tolerance? Ask the Jews of Granada who were massacred in 1066, or the Christians who were deported by the Almoravids to Morocco in 1126 (like the Moriscos five centuries later). In the second half of the twentieth century a new agent of obfuscation makes its appearance: the guilt of the liberal conscience, which sees the evils of colonialism – assumed rather than demonstrated – foreshadowed in the Christian conquest of al-Andalus and the persecution of the Moriscos (but not, oddly, in the Moorish conquest and colonization). Stir the mix well together and issue it free to credulous academics and media persons throughout the western world. Then pour it generously over the truth… [But] Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.”

A success or a mess? 0

McCLATCHY reports:

As the U.S. and its allies try to overcome logistical hurdles and rush [?] some 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan in 2010, intelligence officials are warning that the Taliban-led insurgency is expanding and that “time is running out” for the U.S.-led coalition to prove that its strategy can succeed.

‘Succeed’ at what? What will constitute success? Can anyone describe what Afghanistan will look like when ‘the US-led coalition’s strategy’ has succeeded?

The report goes on:

The Taliban have created a shadow “government-in-waiting,” complete with Cabinet ministers, that could assume power if the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai fails, a senior International Security Assistance Force intelligence official said in Kabul, speaking only on the condition of anonymity as a matter of ISAF policy.

As the Obama administration and its European allies face dwindling public and political support for the eight-year-old Afghan war, the Taliban now have what the official called “a full-fledged insurgency” and shadow governors in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, including those in the north, where U.S. and other officials had thought the Islamic extremists posed less of a threat.

The Taliban’s return to the northern provinces, including Baghlan, Kunduz and Taqhar … poses serious security, logistical and political problems for the U.S.-led ISAF and Karzai’s government.

The northern region is under the command of German forces, but they and other European contingents operate under restrictions imposed by their governments that limit offensive operations against the Taliban.

The Taliban now threaten the northern supply route that the ISAF established to supplement the vulnerable routes that run through Pakistan, where the U.S.-backed government is battling its own Islamic extremists and growing sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

The Taliban in northern Afghanistan are sheltering among and recruiting from large communities of Pashtuns — descendants of settlers transplanted from the south in the early 20th century — fueling tensions with the Uzbeks and Tajiks who dominate the region.

At the same time, though, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens and Arabs linked to al Qaida have moved into northern Afghanistan with the Taliban, seeking to carry their jihad to the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and alarming Russia, which is grappling with Islamic insurgencies in the republics of Chechnya and Dagestan.

As the Taliban have extended their reach, they’ve also grown more formidable militarily by developing bigger and more effective improvised explosive devices. Insurgents have mounted 7,228 IED attacks so far this year, compared with 81 in 2003, and … the homemade bombs have even destroyed some Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, the most heavily armored U.S. troop transports….

So will success be a state of peaceful, happy co-existence among the Pashtuns, Uzbeks, and Tajiks? How likely is this?

Why are they in conflict with each other? What must change so that the ‘tensions’ between them will suddenly end? How can this be brought about?

What will make the Taliban abandon its intentions? What will have changed for them?

If by some remote chance the Karzai government found itself with an effective native fighting force, what would it do to achieve a pacified Afghanistan? Or will there be perpetual internecine war?

What might the US have gained by the time its army is pulled out? What does it want to gain?

We beg for enlightenment. Would someone who knows the answers please give them to us? We see nothing but a mess into which American troops have been plunged for no discernible reason, to fight and die with one arm tied behind their back, so to speak, for no defined or even definable goal.

Arab cheers for Israel against Hamas 0

 From ICJS (Issues of Concern for Justice & Society), Australia, an article by Farid Ghadry, President of the Reform Party of Syria: 

During this Israeli campaign to silence the terror of Hamas, one can discern two voices coming out of the Middle East against or in support of the Gaza operations.

The boisterous voices are those of Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah leader, who a few days ago, verbally attacked Egypt’s leadership for not standing by Gazans by opening the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The attack was unprecedented in scope and intensity because it just fell short of asking Egyptians to overthrow the rule of Mubarak. It did, however, heighten anger amongst the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt enough to incite them to rise against their own government.

Other noises come from Damascus and Iran, where the "resistance" has its center of gravity. Both Assad and Ahmadinejad know that a Hamas defeat is their defeat. Those two have incited the Arab street in a show of force and complicity with extremism. And while many believe the fate of Hamas parallels the fate of Hizbullah, reality is that short of a total defeat of Hamas, not to exclude regime change, Palestinians and Israelis will continue to suffer the consequences of an election that brought them more misery than they imagined on that fateful day: January 23, 2006.

On the other side, the majority of voices approving of the Israeli campaign are those who have remained quiet or convoluted in their objections. Many Arab leaders, intellectuals, businesspeople, and even commoners from Iraq to Lebanon, from Egypt to Morocco, from Bahrain to Yemen, believe that Hamas represents deformity of an Arab civilization, one that is in dire need of an overhaul by existing homegrown leadership in Palestine, Syria and Iran capable of that solemn responsibility.

Many ask why fellow Arabs would support the destruction of Hamas and Hizbullah. The answer is simple. Both organizations, in addition to the rule in Damascus and Iran, represent everything that is wrong in the Middle East today: Morally weak organizations or states seeking revenge, extolling resistance, and abetting violence against those who have surpassed us in knowledge and technology.

Hamas, Hizbullah must be destroyed … and the regimes in Damascus and Tehran must be changed for all Arabs and Farsi people to survive and prosper …

We Arabs must be the ones to stop Hamas and Hizbullah, rather than support their demonic and twisted logic of resisting development, enlightenment, and progress of the region. Even when development and enlightenment stare them in the face, their instinct is to destroy them pretending to safeguard their honor, the mechanics of which supersede all else including a happy life of fulfillment and accomplishments.

So while we abhor violence of all kind, Israel’s campaign against Hamas must continue to the bitter end not only for the sake of peace but also to help Arabs realize they have a choice: Destroy like Gaza or develop like Dubai. Will this happen soon? Maybe not, but if a wake-up call and a nudge, once in a while, to pierce through the fog of deceit perpetrated by Syria and Iran is what it takes to see the light, then we stand by the West and Israel in the only hope that an Arab Renaissance in the Levant may actually have a chance of resurrection.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 4, 2009

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British Law Lords grovel to the Saudis 0

The self-abasement of the British authorities before the Arabs is now complete and utterly contemptible. It’s hard to say whether they are more stupid in their shortsightedness as to the consequences of such caving-in,  or more wicked in possibly working deliberately to bring about the demise of their nation and all that it used to stand for.  

The Saudis, in their customary immoral fashion, used bribery to gain commercial advantage. It was a clear breach of British law. But the highest court in Britain has let them off.  

Read Melanie Phillips here on how the Law Lords have sacrificed the highest principles of British law to sheer expediency. 

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 5, 2008

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Extreme cruelty 0

 Can it be true that tiny children, some only two years old,  are treated like this by Arabs? 

Posted under Articles by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 16, 2008

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