Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Let's Hope Hosni Mubarak Is Right!

Emanuele Ottolenghi writes:
Right Message, Wrong Audience

Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, told Israel, in a televised speech
to mark the Prophet’s birthday, that “history shows no occupation
lasts forever”.

Now who’s going to tell the Chinese ?
I don't know--maybe he was referring to the Muslim occupation of Spain? Or the Arab conquest of Palestine?

Or maybe just the Arab conquest of…Egypt?

There seem to be too many Muslim occupations to keep track of. After all, with Arab talk of "Israeli Occupation," you might forget that what are today Arab countries today were not always that way. In The Arab Mind, Raphael Patai gives a short rundown:
Within eighty years after the death of Muhammad (632), the Arabs held sway over Spain, North Africa, Egypt, the Fertile Crescent and several contiguous areas, most of which have remained both Arab and Muslim to the present day. Successive generations carried the banner of Islam into more remote parts of the world, including, in the east, Central Asia as far as Mongolia, the Indian Peninusla, and Southeast Asia; in the west, the Balkans and Hungary; and in the south the wide Sudan belt of Africa. (p. 48)
Bernard Lewis makes the point even more clearly. In What Went Wrong, Lewis notes
In the course of the seventh century, Muslim armies advancing from Arabia conquered Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa, all until then part of Christendom, and most of the new recruits to Islam, west of Iran and Arabia, were indeed converts from Christianity. (p.4, emphasis added)
Lewis describes how the Moslem invasions did not stop there.

During the eighth century, using North Africa as their base, the Arab forces were joined by Berber converts as they went into Spain and Portugal and invaded France.

In the ninth century they conquered Sicily and sacked Rome--resulting in the Christian counter-attack known as the Crusades, hardly the offensive unprovoked attack that the Arab world condemns.

In the thirteenth century, the Tartars conquered Russia and later converted to Islam--meaning that Russia and much of Eastern Europe was subjected to Moslem rule till they freed themselves in the late 15th century.

During a third wave of attacks, the Ottoman Turks conquered Anatolia, captured Constantinople, invaded the Balkan peninsula and reached as far as Vienna.

So historically, the Arabs have the distinction of being The World's Greatest Occupational Power.

And you know what that means. Like any other occupational force, the occupying forces of the Moslem army had to deal with the occupied population--though not in terms of terrorist militant counter-attacks.

In The Crisis of Islam, Lewis writes
By this time the jihad had become almost entirely defensive--resisting the Reconquest in Spain and Russia, resisting the movements for national self-liberation by the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire, and finally, as Muslims see it, defending the very heartlands of Islam against infidel attack. (p. 34 emphasis added)
But the Arab occupier-as-occupied claim goes along with similar claims made regarding the Taj Mahal and their continued claim to Spain. As Ephraim Karsh writes:
the fact is that the fuel of Islamic imperialism remains as volatile as ever, and is very far from having burned itself out. To deny its force is the height of folly, and to imagine that it can be appeased or deflected is to play into its hands. Only when it is defeated, and when the faith of Islam is no longer a tool of Islamic political ambition, will the inhabitants of Muslim lands, and the rest of the world, be able to look forward to a future less burdened by Saladins and their gory dreams.
Let's hope Mubarak is right.

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