69 million page views

reply to Deepali

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: Depiction of Muhammad is not new

Submitted by M. al-Content (Portugal), Feb 19, 2006 at 17:41

I think you made some interesting points, but missed more important ones.

True, the conflict between the Mediterranean North and South does go back as far as Carthage and Rome, and further back to Alexander, and so on. However, Islam arose much later and outside the Mediterranean world, when that world was largely Christian, and under Byzantine rule. In 634 AD, the Muslim Arabs began a war against the Byzantines which continued until the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, after which the Ottoman war against the Orthodox Christians of Russia and Eastern Europe
continued into the 20th century.

So, the conflict which now concerns us has more to do with that long war, begun by Muslims in the name of God, which lasted, with various intervals, for over 1,000 years. During that war, the Muslims were generally the conquerors and the non-Muslims the
defeated, frequently on a terrible scale. For example, during the 1526 Ottoman invasion, around HALF the population of Hungary was killed or taken into slavery. (Would you consider 'rape' to be an appropriate description of those events ?).

It should not seem strange that there would be a European reaction. Leaving aside the fact that Muslims had already invaded Spain and attempted to invade France, the Crusades are often portayed as unprovoked European agression. However, they originated with the Byzantine emperor seeking help against the Muslim agression which had divided the Mediterranean world.

Similarly, in the early 19th century, when European navies acted against North African pirate strongholds, they were responding to Muslim agression, putting an end to centuries of piracy and slave raids against European shipping and coastal towns (which had reached as far away as Iceland). That long war did not end (if indeed it ever really did end) because Muslims decided to live in peace, but because they no were no longer able to pursue war against industrial Europe with any hope of success. Similarly, Muslims did not abandon slavery because they had decided that it was morally wrong, but their their slaving activities were largely brought to an end by the European colonial period, and the liberation of eastern and Balkan Europe.

So, although I am not trying to justify the many and various wrongs of the European colonial period, I think Muslim claims to victimhood are not as well-founded as you suggest.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)