The below article by Raymond Ibrahim presents a condensed synopsis of the core presentation of his new book, Sword and Scimitar, which I intend to review here as soon as possible.
When it comes to understanding the threat to Christianity and the West from Islam, having a long view of history is essential. This is Raymond Ibrahim's forté, tracing the inexorable continuity of Islamic history and its relentless imperative to wage jihad against the Christian world.
In the words of Hilaire Belloc, whom Mr. Ibrahim cites below, we hear a dire warning from a serious observer of history:
The whole spiritual strength of Islam is still present in the masses of Syria and Anatolia, of the East Asian mountains, of Arabia, Egypt and North Africa. The final fruit of this tenacity, the second period of Islamic power, may be delayed —but I doubt whether it can be permanently postponed.
Islam: The West’s 'Most Formidable and Persistent Enemy'
by Raymond Ibrahim, American Thinker, Feb 13, 2019
|Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953|
At the height of Western dominance over Islam in the early twentieth century, the European historian Hilaire Belloc made a remarkably prescient observation that may have seemed exaggerated at the time:
Millions of modern people of the white civilization—that is, the civilization of Europe and America—have forgotten all about Islam. They have never come in contact with it. They take for granted that it is decaying, and that, anyway, it is just a foreign religion which will not concern them. It is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past (from Belloc’s The Great Heresies, 1938, emphasis added).
Anyone who doubts that Islam has been “the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had,” should familiarize themselves with Islam’s long offensive record vis-à-vis the West. A succinct summary follows:
According to Islamic history, in 628, the Arabian founder of Islam, Muhammad, called on the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius—the symbolic head of Christendom—to recant Christianity and embrace Islam. The emperor refused, jihad was declared, and the Arabs invaded Christian Syria, defeating the imperial army at the pivotal Battle of Yarmuk in 636 (see my MA thesis on this battle, which one prominent historian described as the world’s “most consequential”).
This victory enabled the Muslims to swarm in all directions, so that, less than a century later, they had conquered the greater, older, and richer part of Christendom, including Syria, Egypt, and North Africa.
Their drive into Europe from the east was repeatedly frustrated by the Walls of Constantinople; after the spectacularly failed siege of 717-718, many centuries would pass before any Muslim power thought to capture the imperial city. The Arabs did manage to invade Europe proper through and conquered Spain but were stopped at the Battle of Tours in 732 and eventually driven back south of the Pyrenees.
For more than two centuries thereafter, Europe continued to be pummeled by land and sea—untold thousands of Christians were enslaved and every Mediterranean island sacked—in the ongoing Muslim quest for booty and slaves, as what historians have dubbed “the Dark Ages” descended on the continent.