Friday, September 30, 2011

Islam's Continuity

For my first post since July, I've chosen to share a new article by noted scholar of Islam, Raymond Ibrahim, who I had the great pleasure of meeting at the Lima Conference on Orthodoxy and Islam, this past August 19-21. Raymond has for some time now been "demonstrating continuity" (the sub-heading of his former blog) in Islam, that is, how the actions of today's devout Muslims can be seen to span not merely decades back, but precisely 1.38 millennia, being evidenced in every land where Islam has spread.

In this article, Raymond makes his point stunningly clear by focusing on two nearly identical instances of attempted forced conversion, separated by five hundred years, culture and language:

Islam’s History of Forced Conversions
Raymond Ibrahim, September 29, 2011

Finding and connecting similar patterns of behavior throughout Islamic history is one of the most objective ways of determining whether something is or is not part of Muslim civilization.
Consider the issue of forced conversion in Islam, a phenomenon that has a long history with ample precedents.  Indeed, from its inception, most of those who embraced Islam did so under duress, beginning with the Ridda wars and during the age of conquests, and to escape dhimmi status.  This is a simple fact.
Yet, when one examines today’s cases of forced conversions with those from centuries past, identical patterns emerge, demonstrating great continuity.  Consider:
Days ago in Pakistan, two Christian men were severely beaten with iron rods and left for dead by a group of Muslims, simply because they refused to convert to Islam.  According toCompass Direct News [1], they were returning from a church service when they were accosted by six Muslims.  After they discovered they were Christian, the Muslims:
then started questioning them about their faith and later tried to force them to recite the Kalma [Islamic conversion creed, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger”] and become Muslims, telling them that this was the only way they could live peacefully in the city. They also offered monetary incentives and “protection” to Ishfaq and Naeem [the Christians], but the two refused to renounce Christianity.
“After cajoling the two Christians for some time,” the Muslims pretended to go away, only to ram their car into the Christians: “The Muslims [then] got out of the car armed with iron rods and attacked Ishfaq and Naeem, shouting that they should either recite the Kalma or be prepared to die…severely beating[ing] the two Christians, fracturing Ishfaq Munawar’s jaw and breaking five teeth, and seriously injuring Masih…. [T]he two Christians fell unconscious, and the young Muslim men left assuming they had killed them.”
Contrast this contemporary account with the following anecdote from some 500 years past (excerpted from Witnesses for Christ [2], pgs.62-64):
In the year 1522, two Christian brothers in Ottoman Egypt were denounced by local Muslims “mostly out of jealousy and envy”; so the emir arrested them and “began flattering them and asking questions about their faith.”  The brothers made it clear that they were firm adherents of Christianity.  “The Muslims in the audience became enraged with the brothers when they heard their answers, and they began screaming and demanding they must become Muslims.”  The brothers responded by refusing to “deny the faith we received from our forefathers, but we will remain unshaken and very firm in it until the end.”
The Muslim judge deciding their case told the Christian brothers that if they simply said the Kalma and embraced Islam, they “would be given many honors and much glory”; otherwise, they would die.  At that point, the brothers’ mother came to support them, but “when the Muslims in court noticed her, they fell upon her, tore her clothing, and gave her a thorough beating.”
After rebuking them for their savagery, the brothers reaffirmed that they would never deny Christianity for Islam, adding “behold our necks, do what you wish, but do it quickly.”
 Hearing this, one of the Muslims in the audience became so angry that he took out a knife and stabbed Kyrmidoles [one brother] in the chest, while someone else kicked him as hard as possible, and another dropped a large stone on his head.  Finally, they plucked out his eyes.  Thus Kyrmidoles died.  As for Gabriel [his brother] they threw him to the ground and one of the soldiers severed his right shoulder and then proceeded and cut off his head.
Now, consider the near identical patterns in the two accounts, separated by half a millennium:
  1. The Muslims first begin by talking to the Christians about their religion, suggesting they convert to Islam.
  2. Failing to persuade the Christians, the Muslims proceed to “cajole” and offer “monetary incentives and protection” (in the modern case) and “flatter” and offer “many honors and much glory” (in the historic case).  All that the Christians need do is speak some words, the Kalma, and become Muslim.
  3. When the Christians still refuse, the Muslims fly into a savage rage, beating and torturing their victims to death (in the modern case, the Muslims assumed they had killed their victims).
Considering the Ottoman Empire and contemporary Pakistan are separated by culture, language, and some 500 years, how does one explain these identical patterns?  What binds them together?
Only Islam—Islam empowered, Islam in charge; Muslim majorities governing, and thus abusing their non-Muslim minority.  A fact of life, past and present.

What Raymond Ibrahim does in his many articles, Dr Mark Durie has accomplished in his superb book-length presentation of Islam's treatment of Christians and other non-Muslims, The Third Choice. Durie devotes a large portion of his discussion precisely to "demonstrating continuity", showing through objective historical research how the Islamic practices of aggressive jihad, forced conversions, and the domination, subjugation and humiliation of non-Muslims through the institutionalization of the dhimma contract, are constants in Islamic history, spanning nearly fourteen hundred years, and evidenced in every part of the globe where Islam has spread. 

Wherever Islam goes, it seeks to usurp and dominate, by force if possible (jihad), and by stealth, immigration and deception if necessary, until it is sufficiently strong enough to wage offensive jihad. And wherever Islam is successful in overcoming and conquering a new territory and peoples, it becomes aggressively disposed towards its non-Muslim population, and wherever that happens, one sees the type of barbaric behavior against Christians documented in the lives of the Holy Neomartyrs (see Witnesses for Christ, by Nomikos Michael Vaporis), and in the lives of Christians in Islamic countries today.

Acknowledging this continuity in our considerations of Islam is essential for an honest appraisal of this alien and threatening culture which is once again seeking to assert itself over the world.