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Not so fast. Islam did not spread beyond the Pyrenees through the example of pacifistic monks.

Reader comment on item: The West's Islamist Infiltrators
in response to reader comment: Islamists infiltrate US

Submitted by GWK (United States), Aug 18, 2008 at 16:13

Janusz; You say "The Old Testament sacred to ... contains condemnation of believers of other Gods than Yahveh and commands to kill them. Mohammed copied this idea as fundamental for Islam." Fair enough, except that the wars of conquest in the OT are from the earliest ages of Judaism, and the OT also goes to great pains to ensure that ritual, Law, and Love of God are set as paramount to assimilation or to conquest of unbelievers. In fact, Judaism does not even believe in trying to convert others to Judaism. It simply believed that the others would not be saved by God. Christianity adapts the exceptionalism of Judaism to make the sense of exceptionalism accessible to all believers, and it rejects any culture of violence in favor of a culture of community and relatively pacifistic love of all humans as potentially redeemable and as potential servants of God's mission of redemption.

Islam, on the other hand, adapts Mohammed's local Mekkan culture with other Arabian and Christian heresies that populated the caravan routes that Mohammed had been exposed to along with the pockets of Jewish culture that found refuge in Yathrib and other places along the routes where the Mekkan caravanserie traveled. The Mekkan culture was competitive and violent, and thus was very different from the culture of Dark Age Christianity and post-Diaspora Judaism. It is no wonder that it was able to thrive, in Arabia, nor that it could defeat the befuddled and plague-addled Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire forces in Syria and Palestine and the vain and despotically led Persian Empire forces shortly after Mohammed's death. The bigger mystery is why the once very Christian Vandals and Visigoth states of North Africa's Mahgreb and Spain fell so quickly to the charms of the young and adaptable religion -- Islam. Certainly, however, it didn't spread beyond the Pyrenees through the examples of missionaries and celibate and pacifistic monks.


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