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Islamic invaders were not imperialists and western imperialists were not religious tyrants.

Reader comment on item: Dhimmis No More
in response to reader comment: SO what about the West

Submitted by Prashant (India), Jan 2, 2018 at 05:56

Dear Dr Pipes,

Our resident Islamic apologist Mr Debanjan Banerjee asked if we should consider the Christian religion in remote parts of the World as a violent Western imperial legacy? Debanjan Banerjee has come up with some of the most bizarre ideas on your forum and deserves no serious reply but I will give him one any way.

By implying that Christianity is a form of western imperialistic legacy, Mr Banerjee is indirectly trying to exonerate Islamic invaders. I will, first, tell Mr Banerjee why Christianity is NOT imperialism. It is BETTER than imperialism. Then I will tell Mr Banerjee that Islamic invaders were not imperialists. They were WORSE.

So why is Christianity not a symbol of western imperialism? Western attackers have been waging wars with other civilizations since a time predating Christianity. Some of these wars had religious overtones and some had none. For example, while the Christian church might have taken advantage of western colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, the colonists were not necessarily representing Christianity. There is little evidence that the British viceroys in India, for example, were devout Christians and doled out government positions to Christian converts. Additionally, though it is well known that deception is a tool used by Christian missionaries, Christian missionaries have done a lot of humanitarian work as well. And the missionaries have not tried to directly rule the conquered lands.

Islam on the other hand has been a completely different ball game. The behavior of Islamic invaders was different from the behavior of both imperialists and missionaries. First, the association between Islamic invaders and their religion has been very strong. In every part of the world there have been instances of conversions to Islam assisted by the invaders' swords. Invaders who fought in the name of Islam are also known to have usurped or destroyed the religious places related to other religions. Second, unlike Christianity, the term 'Islamic Charity' when the beneficiary of the charity is a non-Muslim simply does not exist! Third, the old dictum 'one for all and all for one' is much admired by all of us but Muslims take this advice to a completely different level. If a Muslim is fighting a Jew anywhere in the world, every Muslim in every corner of the world will consider it an attack on himself. You can find Muslims in remote Indian villages who hate 'Yehudi' people. Every Muslim war is a world war! Fourth, franchising of violence where every individual can raise arms to 'defend' Islam any where and every where is unique only to Islam (just see the ISIS' call for lone wolf attacks).

If Islam was just Arabian Imperialism, it would have been a manageable problem. World has seen enough Islamic tyrants who were neither Arabs nor acted on guidance of Arabs (brutal Pakistani atrocities on the then East Pakistan come to mind). These tyrants were non-Arabic and independent franchisees of the original Arabic doctrine (that violence is acceptable to defend or advance the religion). Imperialists come, make empires, and go back when defeated. They do not permanently convert people.

So in summary for Mr Banerjee, Christianity is not Western Imperialism because they both acted independently of each other at many different times and places. And, Islam is not Arabian Imperialism because Islam as it is practiced now is neither Arabic nor imperialistic. This is because 1) Islam and invaders who acted on behalf of Islam worked hand in hand at many places and times in the world. and 2) Islamic invaders were not exactly Imperialists. They converted people permanently to a new doctrine.

I hope this long letter helps Mr Banerjee.

Submitting....

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