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And thank you, 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 20, 2006 at 17:51

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply. we don't have to agree, but we do need to try to disagree peaceably !

It is hard not to use strong language when considering some aspects of the European colonial period, but part of my point was that the Muslim colonial period was not really any better, and I think that Muslims need to honestly think about that.

Taking a very rose-coloured view of one's own history is not helpful to understanding how we got to where we are today, or why others may find that same history to be a cause for anger rather than pride = much friction on these pages.

The role of the Muslim conquests in shaping the destiny of Europe is a very large and important part of the historical jigsaw, and trying to fit it in upside-down or leave it out completely will only cause confusion. What drove the Europeans to the West ? The desire to go East, to India and China, and bypass Muslim control of the most direct trade routes. Muslim control of the
Mediterranean would remain a problem, but it could not prevent expansion into the Americas and south /south-east Asia. To a great extent, this process was reactive, and it can be argued that it would never have happened had the most direct trade routes remained open. The possibility of empire was simply not there when this process began, as Cathay and the Great Mughals were still the great empires beyond the Ottoman lands, perceived as fabulously rich and powerful. It was only much later that their weaknesses would be found and exploited by Europeans. Big subject, must use a broad brush to be brief, hope you understand the picture anyway!
Thanks again.

ps it is interesting that the pre-empire European view of India was similar to that of the pre-Islamic Arabs, who had seen it as a great source of trade, but also of learning and culture.

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