One of the longest conflicts of all time has been that between the West and the Islamic world. Spanning almost 1400 years, from the seizure of the Byzantine controlled Levant by the Rashidun Caliphate to the modern Combined Joint Task Force’s Operation Inherent Resolve, a military campaign against the Islamic State, the two sides have rarely known peace.
Alongside its long-standing grudge with Europe, the Islamic world has made enemies from all across the world, due to its widespread conquest of territory and subjugation of those living in it. At its height, the Islamic Empire (or Caliphate) was spread across North Africa, Iberia, the Middle East and Western Asia:
This conquest-driven ideology comes straight from the Qur’an itself, believed by Muslims to be the word of God revealed to Muhammad, his messenger.
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
The ‘Jizya’ refers to a compulsory tax levied upon non-Muslims living in Islamic lands. These individuals, known as dhimmi, are permitted to live as second class citizens and worship their own faith. While the dhimmi was initially only applicable to ‘People of the Book’, meaning those of Abrahamic faiths (Judaism and Christianity), the contract was later extended to pagan faiths such as the Hindus and Buddhists of the East. This contract governed most non-Muslims living in the Caliphate, though with exceptions such as the Musta’min or the Hudna, groups of people who had signed a peace treaty with the Islamic State.
The concept of freedom of religion was at the time largely unrecognized in Christian Europe. As such, the treatment of conquered people under Islam was relatively humane, compared to their treatment under Christianity. Upon conquering Jerusalem from the Byzantines, the Caliphate returned to Jews the right to live and pray in Jerusalem, a right long denied to them by the Christian Byzantines.
Religious minorities were still heavily discriminated against, however, in accordance with Islamic teaching. While Islam usually proscribes the death penalty for murder, this does not apply should the accused be a Muslim and the victim a non-Muslim:
Narrated Abu Juhaifa: I asked ‘Ali “Do you have anything Divine literature besides what is in the Qur’an?” Or, as Uyaina once said, “Apart from what the people have?” ‘Ali said, “By Him Who made the grain split (germinate) and created the soul, we have nothing except what is in the Quran and the ability (gift) of understanding Allah’s Book which He may endow a man, with and what is written in this sheet of paper.” I asked, “What is on this paper?” He replied, “The legal regulations of Diya (Blood-money) and the (ransom for) releasing of the captives, and the judgment that no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for killing a Kafir (disbeliever).”
Sahih Bukhari is a collection of sayings and deeds of the prophet Muhammad, known as Sunnah (for actions) and Hadiths (for sayings).
Muhammad also encouraged Muslims to discriminate against dhimmi in daily life:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it.
Sahih Muslim is another collection of Hadiths.
Because of these restrictions on dhimmi, conversion to Islam was common. Before Islam, the Arabian Peninsula had been one of the more religiously tolerant corners of the earth, with Jews, Christians and Pagans living together in relative harmony. After the surrender of the Quraysh (the Arab tribe who at the time controlled Mecca, holiest site in Islam) and the conquest of Mecca in 630, Muhammad ordered his troops out into the surrounding countryside to destroy any pagan temple they found, and slaughter any pagans found there. Jews and Christians were told to either submit to the new religion and pay Jizya, convert to Islam, or die.
Muhammad would die two years later, and his death would spark a bitter feud between Muslims as to who should succeed him – his son-in-law, Ali, supported by the Shia Muslims, or his father-in-law, Abu Bakr, supported by the Sunni Muslims. In the end, Abu Bakr was victorious, sparking a conflict between the Caliphate and the scattered Arab tribes, who claimed they had submitted to Muhammad only, and owed nothing to Abu Bakr.
The term ‘Caliphate’ has significant meaning. It means claiming authority over all Muslims worldwide, collectively known as the Ummah. With this claim comes the adjunct that any Muslim who does not pledge allegiance to the Caliphate is committing apostasy, for which the punishment is clear:
Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn ‘Abbas, who said, “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’”
Caliphates have not been limited to the Arabs. Following the Siege of Baghdad and large-scale collapse of the Arab caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, also known as the Ottoman Empire, followed soon afterwards.
The Ottoman’s made significant territorial gains in Europe, conquering Turkey, Greece and most of the Balkans during their territorial expansion. While the Ottomans retained the title of Caliphate up until 1924, the Ottomans did not make use of the same dhimmi system that governed non-Muslims in their territory, preferring instead to use the system of Millet.
Millet was a system by which Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim communities under the control of the Ottomans were given the freedom to follow their own customs and laws, including setting and collecting their own taxes, as long as they swore loyalty to the Empire.
From the period of 1839 to 1876, the Ottoman Empire underwent a period of reformation known as Tanzimat, literally meaning ‘reorganization’. During this period, the Ottoman Empire became a more secular, western state, undergoing reforms such as:
- Equal status for Muslim and non-Muslim citizens.
- Establishment of a Parliament.
- Use of paper banknotes.
- Introduction of a codified constitution.
- Decriminalization of homosexual acts.
- The end of the death penalty for Apostasy.
Following the collapse of the Caliphate in 1924, the new leader of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, established a new, secular state with no official state religion, bringing an end to the last of the Caliphates.
Centuries of conquest have spread Islam far beyond its home in Mecca. Islam is now the world’s second largest faith, with an estimated 1.6 billion followers worldwide, spread across its historical territory. Islamic countries are also not well-known for their tolerance of western values:
Muslims who come to the west bring these values with them. According to a 2015 survey about the beliefs and values of Muslims living in the UK:
- One in three (33%) believe boys and girls should be educated separately.
- One in three (31%) believe it is acceptable to have more than one wife.
- 39% believe a wife should always submit to their husband.
- Over half (52%) belive homosexuality should be illegal.
- Almost four in five (78%) believe printing images of the prophet Muhammad should be illegal. Almost nine out of ten (87%) believe printing images mocking the prophet should be illegal.
If Britain were a Muslim-majority country, it would look very different from the way it is today. Thankfully, the UK is not a majority Muslim country – in fact, it is less than 10% Muslim. This figure, however, is projected to change. Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe, and is estimated to make up 10% of the continent’s population by 2050, a growth attribuitable to immigration and higher birth rates amongst Muslim women. According to the same report, two majority-Christian states, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are projected to be Muslim-majority states by 2050. By 2070, the global Muslim population is expected to be the largest religious group in the world.
America’s Muslim population, while relatively small at around 1%, is still expected to double by 2050. Unlike in Europe, a large chunk (25%) of the American Muslim population is of African descent. One of the most famous Black Muslim groups is the Nation of Islam, a radical Black Supremacist organisation with its own armed paramilitary wing, the Fruit of Islam.
Should Islam ever succeed in displacing the values and indigenous population of Europe with its own, it will be nothing short of its greatest military victory yet. All it needs to win is for us to do nothing, to simply pull up the drawbridge to the invaders. Because with the current immigration policy of most of the world’s white nations, that is exactly what we are doing.