god who is the first principle of all things, may be compared to things created as the architect is to things designed. – st. Thomas Aquinas (God the Architect of Creation — Frontispiece of la Bible Moralisée – Codex Vindobonensis, circa 1220-1230)
Mario Alexis Portella, a native New Yorker, is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University in New York, as well as a B. A. In Government and Politics from St. John’s University, also in New York. He is the author of several books, Islam: Religion of Peace? — The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up; Ethiopian and Eritrean Monasticism — The Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Two Nations; and Abyssinian Christianity: The First Christian Nation? — The History and the Identity of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians.
On October 15 the US Supreme Court denied a petition — if four of the nine Justices feel the case has value, they will issue a writ of certiorari: a legal order from a high court for a lower court to send the records of the case to them for review — presented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), to hearWood v. Arnold, a case brought by Caleigh Wood, a Christian student in 11th grade at La Plata High School in La Plata, Maryland. Wood refused to take part in a school exercise she felt would deny her faith “by making a written profession of the Muslim conversion prayer known as the shahada – ‘There is no god by Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” The TMLC argues the school violated the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Speech clauses when it ordered Wood to do an assignment that she could not complete without violating her Christian beliefs. The teacher then gave her a failing grade. This is not just a violation of the First Amendment but an ongoing, albeit subtle, diffusion of Islam in our Western society.
Islam is a shining beacon against the darkness of repression, segregation, intolerance and racism;
The Beautiful Quran is guidance for the wise and sensible.
The video ends with an invitation of sorts: “May God help us all to find the true faith, Islam.” One can only imagine the public outcry of today’s anti-Christin society had it were to be the virtues taught by Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead?
In any case, there is a complete contradiction to the left-wing position of the American Civil Liberties Union hat has thus far made it clear that the Christian religion cannot be present in any way in the public school system. This stems from a 1963 US Supreme Court sentence (School District of Abington Township v. Schempp) that ruled unconstitutional for public schools to mandate religious activities — the activity at issue was reading the Bible. “On the other hand,” as Tom Wallace said in his publication How Islam Is Being Introduced In Our Public Schools, “it seems that any other religion is acceptable. Other religions, such as atheism, Buddhism, and Islam are being taught in our public schools. For the most part they do it under the guise of teaching ‘world religion.’ When they teach about Christianity they teach on the persecution of Christians by Christians without any historical context. They teach that the Crusades were a great sin of Christianity. In fact, the Crusades were, for the most part, Christians taking back land that had been taken by the sword of Islam.”
Many “open-minded” Americans who remain willingly ignorant about Islam tend to forget Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s opinion in Lee v. Weisman (1992), which ironically should sustain TMLC’s petition. Kennedy stated: “Even for those students who object to the religious exercise [high school graduation], their attendance and participation in the state-sponsored religious activity are in a fair and real sense obligatory, though the school district does not require attendance as a condition for receipt of the diploma.” In a dissenting opinion Justice Antonin Scalia argued: “The coercion that was a hallmark of historical establishments of religion was coercion of religious orthodoxy and of financial support by force of law and threat of penalty” — and this is exactly what happened to Caleigh Wood.
While disappointing that at least six Supreme Court Justices refused to hear the Wood v. Arnold plea, we should not be surprised given that among the North Wall friezes of the US Supreme Court there is a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad holding a swords and the Qur’an. The sculptor, Adolph Weinman, with government sponsorship, created the image, even tough Muslims generally have a strong aversion to sculptured or pictured representations of their Prophet. The intention was that Islamic law (sharia) could integrate itself into a free and democratic society.
Let us remember that because of sharia law, equity or social development are both negated in Islam. As it has played itself out in its 1,400 year-old history, Islam is nothing else than a theocratic system with Allah alone at its head where there is no room for rational thinking that may conflict with the ruling body with a mandate to Islamize society: It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error. (Sura 33, 36) And the sooner we collectively recognize this and stop this Islamic infiltration, the better.
This past July US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by House Representative Ilham Omar, travelled to Ghana to speak about the 400-year-old slave trade from Africa to the New World. This was in part to appease the surge of interest in the United States about a demand by certain black organizations and politicians, such as Black Lives Matter and US Senator Cory Booker to introduce a slavery reparations billfor a financial compensation by the “white” people. Yet as Mateen Elass says in his blog post Ilhan Omar and the Door of No Return: European slave traders have rightly been pilloried for their central role in the transport and sale of other human beings for profit, and for their inhuman treatment of those they considered less than human. And, of course, Americans of the 17th through 19th centuries have been condemned for being an avid market for the purchase of slaves and maintenance of slavery as an acceptable institution of society.
Pelosi, Omar, Booker, and others omit that the slave trade originated from Africa and simultaneously do not hold those African nations accountable. They thus have put exclusive blame on white men, notwithstanding that Africans willingly captured innocent men, women, and children and sold and transported them to the New World. Just like revisionist historians and terrorist-linked groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), there is also a collective refusal to accept that the protagonists of the slave trade in Africa were Arab Muslims — going back all the way to the time of Muhammad — and that it continues to be prevalent in the Islamic world. This falls right in line with what Pope St. Zachary (741-752) once stated: “Wherever Islam goes slavery follows, and specifically the horrible institution of sex slavery, as that was the primary reason for it.”
TheProphet Muhammad, during the course of installing a tripartite paradigm of Islamic slavery via his military campaigns and raids against the inhabitants of Arabia, enslaved many of the Semitic peoples of the region. The prerequisite for being enslaved in Islam, whether it was for domestic labor or sexual exploitation, was not based on race, as it was with the trans-Atlantic slave trade between the New World and West Africa, but on being a non-Muslim war captive. It is estimated that between 650 and 1900, a minimum of eighteen million Africans had been enslaved by Arab slave traders; over one million Europeans were equally subjugated by the Muslim world during the same period.
From the beginning of the Islamic era, slavers had been staging raids against the coastal tribes of equatorial East Africa. When the Sultanate of Zanzibar was established in the ninth century, the raids shifted inland to present-day Kenya and Uganda. Slaves were taken from as far south as Mozambique and as far north as Sudan.
Many slaves went to the mines and plantations of the Middle East, but many more went to Muslim territories in India and Java. These slaves were used as a kind of international currency, with up to hundreds of them being given as gifts to Chinese diplomatic parties. As Muslim power expanded, Arab slavers spread to North Africa and found a very lucrative trade waiting for them in the Mediterranean. Male African slaves were favored for heavy-duty work in salt mines and on sugar plantations. Older men and women cleaned streets and scrubbed floors in wealthy households. Boys and girls alike were kept as sexual property.
There are numerous Quranic and hadithverses that justify and encourage slavery as a blessing and a profitable enterprise:
And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. — Sura 24, 64
O Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and those your right hand possesses [slave girls] what Allah has return to you as booty. — Sura 33, 50
Narrated Jabir: A man manumitted a slave and he had no other property than that, so the Prophet cancelled the manumission (and sold the slave for him). No’aim bin Al-Nahham bought the slave from him. — Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 42, hadith 598
The issue of slavery in the Islamic world today is thought to be limited to terrorist groups, such as ISIS and Boko Haram. The former has kidnapped mostly Kurdish Yazidi women and girls as sex-slaves; the latter, while it too has abducted females for similar reasons, has placed them on equal par with males by forcing them into inhumane labor or jihadistindoctrination. According to UNICEF, in 2015, thirty-nine of eighty-nine Boko Haram suicide bombings were carried out by women, most of them being under the age of eighteen.
While all Muslim countries, under the impetus of the West, have officially outlawed slavery from their constitutions or civil codes, the truth of the matter is that it still continues to be observed in numerous Islamic states; and it is not just terrorists who are enslaving people:
Pakistan, for example, ranks third in the world in the practice of slavery. According to the executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission, Hyacinth Peter, part of the Pakistani observance includes debt bondage, forced marriages, trafficking, and the exploitation of children.
In Libya, since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Muslim smugglers have taken numerous Africans as slaves. According to the International Organisation for Migration, West African migrants who are seeking to escape repression are captured, bought, and sold in garages and car parks. There have been reports from Libya about organized slave markets and a few years ago, a case of slavery was uncovered in Tanzania, according to Lodhi. “A mine was found in a remote area where 50 to 60 boys were forced to work. They were not paid and lived in a camp guarded by armed men.”
In Nigeria, not just females but men and boys are also captured for physical labor and sexual exploitation. Just a few days ago, police raided an Islamic school in Katsina State — the northwestern home state of President Muhammadu Buhari —and freed nearly seventy men and boys. Lawal Ahmad, a 33-year-old man who was held captive, said he witnessed sexual assault, beatings and the death of other captives during his two years there.
The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, while being the last nation to legally prohibit slavery, doing so in 1981 (although it was not illegal to own slaves until 2007), has now evolved into a racist Arab society that deals in the enslaving and trading of black people. It is believed that in Mauritania, which has the largest population of black slaves today, more than a half-million blacks are coerced into inhumane labor, grotesque sexual practices, and breeding. According to a Human Rights Watch/Africa report, customary abuse of slaves in Mauritania include beatings, denial of food, and prolonged exposure to the sun, with hands and feet tied together.
In North Sudan, slavery was restored in 1983 when the Islamic government began using slave raids as a weapon in its military campaign to put down the southern rebellion against the government’s imposition of Islamic law. “The government armed Arab Muslim militia groups and encouraged them to raid Southern villages, steal their property, and take their women and children as slaves — [t]ens of thousands of [Christians and non-Muslims] were captured and enslaved.” In fact, in the seventh century the Nubian Kingdom of Makuria (North Sudan) signed a treaty with the Arabs who had just conquered Egypt to send 360 slaves a year in exchange for peace — these slaves would then become the backbone of Muslim armies for centuries to come — today the Gulf monarchies continue to rely on to North Sudan to provide enslaved foot-soldiers for their ruthless plans for regional domination.
In Saudi Arabia, in order to make Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s dream of Vision 2030 happen — an economic project to harness natural resources, outside of oil — abusive labor sponsorship system persists, effectively keeping foreign workers at the mercy of their Saudi sponsors and preventing expansion of the foreign workforce. Expatriate workers do not have the right to enter and exit the country freely, and sponsors have the ability to call for their deportation just on a whim. They are not only subject to forced deportation, harassment, and sexual assault, but they are denied their wages, labor rights, and even the right to return home. Some workers have been arrested based on false accusations and held in Saudi prisons for months, or sometimes years, without fair trials.
The tell all of this ongoing tragedy is that while the mainstream media, left-wing politicians, and revisionists continue to chide the crimes of slavery, specifically in America, they should not just take a look that it continues to exist in various Muslim countries but that it is also justified by their religious tenets. As for CAIR, Black Lives Matter, left-wing politicians, and those sustaining their demands, they eventually publicly recognize that Muslims were primarily behind the slave trade they criticize and that they continue to traffic human beings to such an end.
It has been a good week since President Donald Trump began pulling the remainder of American troops out of Syria — roughly 1,000 soldiers that had been partnering with the Kurds, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, to combat the Islamic State in the northeastern part of the country that had also served as a buffer zone from Turkish incursion. Almost immediately after the pullout, Turkey began its incursion, including airstrikes with US-purchased F-16 killing both Kurds and Christians, as well as displacing over 130,000 people; most of them women and children.
President Trump has been blamed by critics, even by some of his closest GOP supporters, such as Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham for the deteriorating situation. Trump says he made his decision because it became ‘too costly’ to keep supporting the US-allied Kurds. This comes off as a self-contradiction because the Pentagon said last Friday it has approved the deployment of 3,000 additional troops and military hardware to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, boosting its defenses after attacks on its oil installations. In reality, the President’s order to withdraw American troops seems to be based on a phone conversation last December with his publicly acclaimed friend Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan, which was meant to pressure Erdogan over a purchase of Russian warplanes in lieu of the US’s fifth-generation aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35. Instead, Erdogan got a pledge from Trump to pull back the troops who had worked alongside the Kurds and Syriac Christians fighting Islamic State.
Observers say Trump may have unwittingly helped Turkey to unleash Islamist fighters against Kurds, Christians and Yazidis. On September 23, he vowed to protect freedom of religion and belief as well as vulnerable religious groups. But the Turkish invasion is likely to destroy the freedom of religion practiced in northeast Syria, the only area in the Arab world permitting people to choose their faith, according to Christian leaders in northeastern Syria. In fact, an Islamist newspaper, Yeni Akit, which supports Erdogan’s ruling party, posted a warning ahead of the invasion, “Go and tell the unbelievers that the army of (Islam’s Prophet) Muhammad is back,” essentially declaring religious war by Turkey.
Erdogan had already permitted foreign jihadists to cross into Syria at the start of the war in 2011. It was also reported in 2015 that his daughter, Sumeyye, ran a hospital located in the southeastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa to help injured ISIS militants. Since last year Erdogan has also employed al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants along with his troops in the 2018 takeover of Afrin, where 300,000 Christians, Yazidis, and Kurds were displaced. According to a high ranking member of the Syriac Democratic Federation, Abdulrahman Hassan: “Our heritage was attacked, the city was destroyed. Villages were plundered, women and girls were taken hostage, men are missing. Also several churches were destroyed and church members arrested.”
What appears to leave the US President in a completely defensive position is that amid rapidly changing dynamics, the US military said in a revised assessment that Turkish artillery deliberately targeted areas within hundreds of feet of American troops on Friday. Nearly one thousand ISIS militants and supporters imprisoned refugee camps were able to free themselves after Kurdish security personnel fled Turkish shelling. In other words, Erdogan chased the Americans away while simultaneously helping liberate the ISIS fighters American troops, paying with their own lives, went in to fight.
Reportedly, Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the Syriac Democratic Forces said that the Kurds struck a deal with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its Russian backers to stem a Turkish military assault, something Trump never wanted since it would give allow the Russians a greater role in the Middle East. As Abdi said: “The Russians and the Syrian regime have made proposals that could save the lives of millions of people who live under our protection.”
Another paradox is that this would put American security further at risk being that it seems that the Trump administration has decided to finally go ahead and allow Lockheed Martin to sell its new F-35 strike fighters to Turkey. Aside that Erdogan has already purchased Russia’s most advanced air defense, the F-35 planes to Turkey would give the Russians access to an intelligence goldmine. That is because President Vladimir Putin will be able to use his relationship with Erdogan to get his hands on the F-35 and learn how to target, track and kill the platform in any future conflict with NATO.
The New Yorker recently stated that Greta Thunberg is “the political leader for the age of Trump.” For those of you who, like myself, have just stumbled upon Greta Thunberg, she is a Swedish sixteen-year-old environment activist who claims that adults are ruining her future because of the man-made global warming that has brought the human species to the brink of extinction. She gained media recognition in August of last year when she began protesting outside the Swedish parliament (the Riksdag) handing out flyers to adults calling for immediate action to combat climate change. Greta has even been encouraged by Pope Francis in her Join the climate strike (Fridays For Future) — it calls for people not to show up for work and children to skip going to classes on Fridays so that they may protest governments on climate change — “Continue, continue,” Francis told her. “Go on, go ahead.”
During her prepared discourse last month to the United Nations Action Summit, Greta practically broke down saying: “People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of the mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?” Greta seems to be just like the Noble Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Muslim human rights activist, who like other Islamists, have personified themselves in the media as victims of religious hatred. With the help of United Nations and philanthropists, such as George Soros, they have orchestrated conditions through public communications utilizing defensive terminology and accusing anyone who questions their intentions or positions as racists.
Malala — as a teenager; she is now twenty-two years of age — is to be commended for her open stance against the Taliban and advocacy of education for girls and women in the Islamic world. Yet in an admonition to UK politicians a few years ago, she said: “The more you speak about Islam and against all Muslims, the more terrorists we create,” which intimidates people into believing it is bigoted to examine jihadist doctrine and other sharia-based oppressive tenets as intimately linked with the Islamic religion. Malala has also never made any direct public refutation of the Quranic teachings and the attributed traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (the hadiths), which subjugate women to a second-class status and place them in the very situation she herself criticizes. Not to mention, while openly backing the Islamic religion, Malala has simultaneously pushed for the dictatorial, repressive, and atheistic politics of Communism as the only hope for peace. In 2013, after expressing her gratitude to Pakistani Marxists for introducing her to Marxism, she declared: “Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”
In like manner, Greta and other young people should also be congratulated for raising environmental concerns. She believes — it is more of her parents’ position she is presenting — that global warming is man-made, cutting global carbon emissions by half in the next decade will solve the the climate problem, despite many scientists arguing that “there is no correlation between rising CO2 levels and increased” climate change. Yes, there are toxics in the environment created by us that have to be addressed. Is that, however, causing climate change? — I am a layman in the science world, even though it is not the thesis of this article, common sense tells me that Mother Nature periodically changes and will take care of herself. That being said, both youngsters have subjectively presented one side of the picture without considering any valid points from a counterposition. Their approach has consequently accused social conservatives for not supporting UN and left-wing policies, which have nothing to do with collective security, let alone the dignity of the human person.
What is to be made of all of this? Greta and the school-striking teenagers, other than glibly mouthing the same solutions as their radical elder brothers do: “Shut down all coal mines immediately,” “Let all fossil fuels remain in the ground,” “All energy supply must come from renewable sources,” etc., have instigated rebellion by encouraging children to take it upon themselves to interrupt their education/schooling at will — parents and teachers are ultimately to blame. This is right in line with Article 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: “Children have the right to think and believe what they want and to practice their religion.” Article 15 not only directly contradicts parents’ right and duty to properly raise their children — regardless of religious denomination — but it segregates them, too.
Yes, youngsters like Greta (and Malala), as well as other children do have a voice and can make a change for the better. However, what is happening with the Greta movement is not necessarily contributing to the common good of society. Instead, what is happening is a manipulation of children. Greta Thunberg and her young followers — as it was with Malala Yousafzai — have fallen into the whimsical traps of those who seek to create social disorder, and this is nothing other than child abuse.
As has been raised by a few, the UN, politicians, and the mainstream media do not raise how Greta’s “own parents and [she] herself have talked of her battle with depression and chronic anxiety. They talk of how anxious she was, Greta couldn’t go to school, couldn’t eat for two months, couldn’t speak at all for long periods.” One can understand why she was frantic during her UN speech. The sad result has thus far been, again, a child who seems to be manipulated in order to promote ecological anarchism , thereby undermining the valor of the human person to physical surroundings. Youngsters should be reminded that they would be more effective by dedicating and sacrificing time to study in order to address the causes of the real human crisis that is presently extinguishing human beings: abortion, Christian persecution and the hands of Islamists, the military conflicts in the Middle East because of oil and other natural resources, and the like. As already mentioned, Mother Nature will eventually take care of herself, whereas human rights violations can only be handle by us.
Many have heard of the Armenian genocide during Word War I, an atrocity that both Turkish and United States governments still refuse to accept. Yet how many are aware of an equally horrible extermination of Christians that began in October 1935 when Italy invaded Ethiopia in which the Italians under Benito Mussolini killed approximately one million Ethiopian Orthodox Christian men, women, and children, in addition to destroying 2,000 churches, 525,000 homes? What made this atrocity worse than the Armenian is that Mussolini’s operations had the approval of most of Italian Catholic churchmen.
Members of the Italian hierarchy and the clergy — most of them being fascists — took a clear position in favor of the Italian war against Ethiopia and gave every possible support, moral and material, to the fascist leaders and the army in their adventure of invading Ethiopia:
The Archbishop of Taranto Ferdinando Bernardi on February 23, 1936, said: “The Italian victory would open Ethiopia, a country of infidels and schismatics, to the expansion of the Catholic faith; therefore the war against Ethiopia should be considered as a holy war, as a crusade.”
The Bishop of San Miniato Ugo Giubbi assured assured Mussolini “for the victory of Italy the Italian clergy are ready to melt down the gold of the churches and the bronze of the bells.”
The Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, speaking in his Cathedral on October 28, 1935, praised the Italian army as: “The gallant army which, in fearless obedience to the command of the fatherland, is opening the gates of Ethiopia to the Catholic faith and the Roman civilization.”
At every opportune occasion they made chauvinistic speeches in favor of Mussolini’s policy of war. The Italian hierarchy not only blessed the departing regiments and their colors, but also delivered war-mongering speeches and wrote circular letters justifying the Italian war in Ethiopia — also known as Abyssinia — and protesting against the League of Nations and Great Britain for imposing sanctions against Italy.
The United States under President Roosevelt distanced itself from the Ethiopian situation. In fact, prior to the invasion, Roosevelt remarked, on 26 July 1935, that the conflict between Ethiopia and Italy was of no interest to America. Claiming to act under the Neutrality Law, he refused to help the victimized country or uphold the sanctions imposed by the League of Nations against Italy, and he did not give any assistance to the Ethiopians against their aggressors. Apparently, in the quest for a balance of power, Nazi Germany offered supplies to the Ethiopian rebels in order to coerce Mussolini to withdraw his support for an independent Austria. The Ducerelented in his position three months after the Germans occupied Austria following the Anschluss of 1938, for which he acquired German recognition of his Abyssinian conquest as legitimate. And even though the Soviet Union condemned the invasion, Stalin supplied Italy with oil, supplies of wheat, coal, oats and timber in support of the Fascists.
In June 1936, Hailé Sellassié gave a speech to the League of Nations, in which he condemned Italy’s use of chemical weapons against Ethiopia. He also accused the League of Nations of violating Article 16 of its Covenant, which states that should any member of the League resort to war “in disregard to its covenants under Articles 12, 13 or 15, it shall ipso facto [automatically] be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other Members of the League.” Sellassié also criticized the League of Nations for permitting Italy to use the Suez Canal to transport troops and war material. He stated that “sprayers were installed on board aircraft so that they could vaporize over vast areas of territory, a fine, death-dealing rain. Groups of nine, fifteen, eighteen aircraft followed one another so that, from the end of January 1936, soldiers, women, children, cattle, rivers, lakes, and fields were constantly drenched with this deadly rain.”
The illustrious Abune Petros also publicly condemned the atrocities committed by the Italians, which included “the use of mustard gas, the bombing of Red Cross hospitals and ambulances, the execution of captured prisoners without trial, the Graziani massacre,the killings at Debre Libanos monastery, and the shooting of ‘witch-doctors’ accused of prophesying the end of Fascist rule.” On 30 July 1936, he was publicly executed by 8 carabinieri in the center of Addis Ababa. Prior to his execution, he took his hand cross and removed the blue cloth that was wrapped around it and blessed the people at the four corners of the world and said the following last words: “My countrymen do not believe the fascists if they tell you that the patriots are bandits; the patriots are people who yearn for freedom from the terrors of Fascism. The bandits are the soldiers who are standing in front of me and you, who come from afar, terrorise and violently occupy a weak and peaceful country: our Ethiopia. May God give the people of Ethiopia the strength to resist and never bow down to the Fascist army and its violence. May the Ethiopian earth never accept the invading army’s rule.”
General Rodolfo, who in 1937 authorized the massacre of 270 monks of the ancient Monastery of Debre Libanos, as well as a large number of pilgrims, who had traveled there to celebrate the feast day of the founding saint of the monastery; its treasures were apparently taken to Italy.
Graziani was replaced as Viceroy of Ethiopia by Prince Amedeo in 1937. After the Italians declared war against the United Kingdom, the British launched a counter-invasion in Ethiopia in January 1941; they pulled out altogether from Abyssinia later that year. Graziani was convicted for war crimes in 1948. He received a sentence of 19 years’ imprisonment, of which he served for only two years; he died in 1955. In 2012, the Italian state built a mausoleum and memorial park in his honor in the village of Affile, south of Rome. The town mayor, Ercole Viri, as well as some state officials, were present for its opening ceremony. Viri exalted the “importance of the sacrifice” Graziani gave for his country and dismissed his criticisms of the Butcher of Ethiopia as “idle chatter.”
Cardinal Schuster changed his position on the war in Ethiopia, but after the tragedies. On April 25, 1945, he met with Mussolini in an unsuccessful attempt to mediate between him and the Allied Forces to end World War II — Schuster was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 12, 1996. Eventually, the only free voice in Italy for the Ethiopians was to be that of Pope Pius XI (1923-1939). Many erroneously have sustained that Pius XI blessed the Italian onslaught because he wanted to expand Roman Catholicism in Abyssinia. It is true that the pope publicly observed neutrality in application of Article 24 of the Lateran Treaty of 1929. If the pope were to betray this neutrality, the Vatican City State could have been forced to forfeit its sovereignty and independence. Neutrality, however, does not mean indifference, and the Pope and Vatican diplomacy concerned themselves over the consequences of the would-be Italian campaign in Ethiopia.
From January 1935, the Vatican knew that Mussolini planned an attack against Ethiopia, which placed the Church in an extremely delicate dilemma. Nevertheless, on August 27, 1935, just a couple of months before the declaration of war and of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, Pius XI made the following declaration in a public audience to a group of about 2,000 international obstetricians: “We already see that, in foreign lands, war of conquest is spoken of as an offensive war: behold, a presumption to which We do not even wish, for it is against free thinking, hence, it is a shortsighted opinion. A war which was only of conquest would evidently be an unjust war. This is a passing thought in every mind, a thing that is unspeakably sad and horrible. We cannot think in favor of an unjust war, we cannot admit its possibility and we deliberately reject it.”
And on October 23, 1938, the pope told his aid Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi: “I am ashamed of being Italian. And you, Father, please tell Mussolini! Not as Pope but rather as an Italian, I am ashamed of myself! The Italian people has become a flock of stupid sheep. I shall speak out, I will not be afraid. I am impelled by the Concordat [Lateran Treaty], but even more by my conscience… I am truly saddened, as Pope and as an Italian.”
Many in the West, whether willfully or not, continue to insist that Islam can coexist in a democratic society, thereby seeing any reasonable disagreement as xenophobic. Perhaps it is because to the curious eye, Islam, which means “submission,” may seem as a mere assent of the individual Muslim to God expressed at times in a most simple cult, while others tend to see it as a set of norms presented by the Prophet Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago that have been misplaced or misrepresented by so-called extremists. For whatever reason, this nescience has convinced numerous Westerners to embrace Islam, failing to see it for what it truly is: a political entity with the global end to Islamize society: It is He [Allah] Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may exalt it above every other religion. Allah suffices as witness. — Sura 48, 28
Last week, American left-wing academics were up in arms about the threat by the Trump administration to cut federal funds for a program promoting Islam that may violate the Constitution, promote anti-Semitism and advance “ideological priorities” that have nothing to do with the purpose of the program.
The program in question is run by the University of North Carolina and Duke University. The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies received $235,000 last year from the government for the program which was to promote foreign language instruction for the purpose of preparing students for careers in diplomacy and national security. Instead, an investigation disclosed that the program unfairly promoted “the positive aspects of Islam” but not Christianity or Judaism. Moreover, a conference put on by the program titled “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities,” featured a rapper who performed a “brazenly anti-Semitic song.”
Islam is a shining beacon against the darkness of repression, segregation, intolerance and racism;
The Beautiful Quran is guidance for the wise and sensible.
The video ends with an invitation of sorts: “May God help us all to find the true faith, Islam.”
The Duke-UNC Consortium and the Chatham Islamic project, aside violating the US First Amendment, are part of a subtle campaign — propelled not too long ago by the European Union (and the United Nations) — to diffuse the religion of Islam, i.e., political Islam in our free Western society.
In June 2015, in an apparent attempt to downplay the incompatibility of a Western and Islamic coexistence, Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated in June 2015, “I am not afraid to say that political Islam. Religion plays a role in politics — not always for good, not always for bad. Religion can be part of the process. What makes the difference is whether the process is democratic or not… The fear of the other can only lead us to new conflicts.”
Part of the Western openness to Islam is based on a pretension that it can be a source of equity since most Islamic states today have adopted a “democratic” style of government. We must remember that democracy, from our Western perception, prevents government from making laws which prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peacefully assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Those states that have a “democratic” body politic, such as Egypt and the Kingdom of Morocco legislate draconian practices, like the death penalty for apostasy, female genital mutilation, or the suppression of the right to speak and press, not unlike that of the Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia where the sharia is the prevailing law. This is because Muslims cannot depart from the exclusive community the Prophet Muhammad established.
The Prophet of Islam did not propose a new social doctrine but rather a moralistic exigency, which was materialized into an Arab civitas — a self-reliant and independent nation-state — with the mandate to proliferate Allah’s kingdom throughout the whole world, to every nation. As a social order, Islam can be understood to be a community (umma) that brings Allah’s message of worship and brotherhood, independent from any specific race, language, religion, nation, or geographic borders. The adherent, therefore, in the act of yielding to the tenets of Allah simultaneously becomes a member of a worldwide faith community established by Allah’s Prophet. By “submitting,” the Muslim incorporates a religious identity that is both individual and corporate, as well as a responsibility or duty to unconditionally obey and implement Allah’s will in their personal and social lives.
As a matter of course, the political rapport that Muhammad established with the individual, actualized in citizenship in the new civitas, became the instrument that forcefully and juridically separated the nonbelievers from the community of believers. This Islamic citizenship, characterized by social strife and the spirit of dominion, granted certain rights only to those who accepted the new governing body. Under the impulse of this religious-political message, which entailed a reciprocal solidarity with the tribes of the time, the new Arab civitas began to expand itself through conquests. Subsequently, its body politic imposed absolute rule of law (i.e., the sharia), in order to maintain a united religious-social structure separating humanity into two parts: in Arabs and non-Arabs.
If Islam is to be a part of the democratic governmental structure of the West, we must realize because of the sharia, equity or social development are both negated. As it has played itself out in its 1,400 year-old history, Islam is nothing else than a theocratic system with Allah alone at its head where there is no room for rational thinking that may conflict with the ruling body: It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error. — Sura 33, 36
The aforementioned Duke-UNC Consortium and the Chatham Islamic project, which seem to have been halted, should serve as a reminder what and how Islam is chipping away at our freedoms because of the futile disposition to embrace it. The sooner we all wake up to that reality, the better.
Last Saturday Saudi Arabia suffered a set of missile/drone attacks at their main oil export processing center in Abqaiq, which took out more than half its oil production and sent crude prices soaring. While the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen claimed responsibility, Saudi Defense ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the evidence showed the attacks were launched from the north and were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”
The Saudis say Iranian-made Ya Ali land-attack missiles, which have a maximum range of 435 miles, were used in the attacks. That range would exclude Yemen, the launch location claimed by Houthi rebels. Col. Maliki said the type was different than those used in previous attacks by Iran-allied Houthi rebels. Most of those attacks were from ballistic missiles; Col. Maliki said about 230 ballistic missiles had been fired on the kingdom in recent years.
The strikes on Saturday were by far the most serious yet in a series aimed at the region’s energy supply. The United States has already accused Iran of orchestrating attacks on six tankers off its southern coast earlier this year, which Tehran denied. Iran also captured a British-flagged vessel in the Persian Gulf after UK forces detained an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. As Gareth Porter author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, stated: “Whether the Abqiaq attack was a combined Houthi-Iranian operation or a completely Iranian one is of a secondary measure of importance. It is obvious that whatever the precise nature of the strike, Iran likely played a role in both creating the drones and/or cruise missiles involved and in the strategic rationale for it. But one can argue that both the Houthis and Iran had legitimate reasons for carrying out such a strike.”
For the Houthis, the strikes were to force the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to stop its systematic and genocidal war war on the civilian population it controls in Yemen and its denial of its ability to obtain basic goods by air and sea. Whereas for the Persians, it was a means to coerce the Trump administration to end its blockade of Iran’s economy through pressure on its customers. Whether for good or for bad, the Ayatollahs are letting the American government know that it cannot continue is forceful tactics after it pulled out of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) without serious repercussions.
While the Iranian regime sponsors international terrorism, such as Hezbollah, we must be aware that Saudi Arabia has violated the most fundamental principles of international law in campaign to change the regime in Yemen, since it was not under attack by the Houthis when it initiated that war over four years ago. Efforts to end the conflict through resistance and strikes on lesser targets in Saudi Arabia had failed to halt the conflict that has no end in sight.
The US, as with the Abqaiq attacks, was apparently taken by surprise when when Iran shot down a high-altitude but slow-moving US prototype naval variant of the 737-size Global Hawk surveillance drone with a 3rd Khordad missile variant of the Ra’ad surface to air missile system first deployed a few years ago. Iran’s air defense system has been continually upgraded, beginning with the Russian S-300 system it received in 2016. Iran also just unveiled in 2019 its Bavar-373 air defense system, which it regards as closer to the Russian S-400 system coveted by India and Turkey than to the S-300 system. Let us also not forget Iran’s development of a fleet of military drones, which has prompted one analyst to call Iran a “drone superpower.” Its drone accomplishments reportedly include the Shahed-171 “stealth drone” with precision-guided missiles, and the Shahed-129, which it reverse engineered from the US Sentinel RQ-170 and the MQ-1 Predator.
Trump has, once more, steered clear of a war footing despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tough-talk: “This is an attack of a scale we’ve just not seen before… It was an act of war against them directly.” Trump had previously called off a retaliatory strike this past June against Iran after Tehran shot down a highly sophisticated American drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz — Washington held that the drone was flying over international water, while Iran claims it entered its airspace. The president revealed that three strikes were planned against targets in Iran but before giving his military the go-ahead. After hearing that 150 would be killed, the president decided that such a price would be too high to pay and disproportional to the destruction of an unmanned drone.
For the record, I (and all of my Persian friends) would favor a change of government in Iran — the forty-year-old regime has been nothing other than an oppression to its people with its sharia draconian law, very much like the Wahhabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia. Yet, as indicated, war with Iran would be futile not just for the Middle East, but it would be a war that the US would not win since America would not have its European allies (Trump has alienated) nor would it have its main ally in the region, Israel, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent electoral defeat. Trump is rightly seeking to build a coalition with its European and Arab partners to tackle the Iranian crisis. However, a number of America’s one-time devoted allies are reminding Trump that they cannot be called upon solely when the US finds itself in a “tight squeeze” while making them feel ignored when they want his support to help their ends.
If Trump wants to find a solution, he must call to line Saudi Arabia for its human rights violations — this includes publicl beheadings and crucifixions, even of children — as he did with Iran. Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University Andrew J. Bacevich says: “[The US] government has been underwriting Saudi and Emirati folly in Yemen for four and a half years. That horrible policy has helped to create the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and caused the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of children, to say nothing of the tens of millions more threatened with starvation and disease as a result of US-backed Saudi coalition policies. When the US “takes sides” in conflicts that have little or nothing to do with us, whole countries and tens of millions of innocent people pay the price for our government’s terrible decision. We know the cost of indulging Saudi Arabia in its regional ambitions, and we should refuse to lift another finger on their behalf.”
Last week marked the 18th anniversary of the September 11 tragedies that killed 2,976 and injured over 6,000 in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Since then families of the victims have sought answers as to how the nineteen Muslims accused of hijacking the four planes to carry out the attacks got that far. And while Osama bin Laden had been accused (and killed) for plotting the terror acts of that day — this led to the American invasion of Afghanistan since the Taliban had given him and fellow al-Qaeda’s operatives sanctuary — the alleged mastermind of 9/11 was his al-Qaeda associate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who, albeit under apparent torture, admitted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the terrorist plot.
Aside that fifteen out of nineteen men who hijacked the planes on September 11 were subjects of Saudi Arabia, there has been near-conclusive evidence showing that citizens from the kingdom, not excluding royal family members, were at least partially behind the 9/11 attacks. Even Donald Trump during the presidential campaign in 2016 indicated that the Saudis were directly involved in the 9/11 attacks: “It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi; take a look at Saudi Arabia, open up the documents.” This would be sustained by facts proving their past and continual involvement in global jihad or holy war, such as:
funding Taliban forces in Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s former financial minister, Agha Jan Motasim, regular travels to Saudi Arabia to raise millions of dollars, and
promoting (along with Kuwait and Qatar) and funding the growth of the jihadist Salafi ideology in Germany, where it has already attracted ten thousand followers and continues to expand, according to a leaked intelligence report from Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency and Federal Intelligence Service;
In 2016 the victims’ families suspecting Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks were authorized through the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act to file suit against the Saudis; the legislation negates the international legal principle of ‘sovereign immunity’ for governments, permitting parties injured by terrorist acts in the United States to sue foreign governments where complicity in an act of terrorism is proven — the bill had been vetoed by President Barak Obama but overridden by Congress.
Under the Obama administration, the government tried to keep a four-page 2012 summary of an FBI inquiry that would have exposed the names of three Saudis suspected of assisting two of the hijackers. Two names, Fahad al-Thumairy and Omar al-Bayoumi, were released; both linked to the Saudi government, according to FBI and congressional documents. The Trump administration, under heavy pressure from the families, decided last Thursday to declassify the name of the third individual but declined to release the name publicly.
The name of the person, which the 9/11 families believe may support their allegation of Saudi involvement in the terror attacks, will be disclosed to the plaintiff’s lawyers under a protective order. The order makes it illegal, however, for those attorneys to release the name to the public, meaning the identity of the individual will remain a secret — at least for now. Yet the conclusive evidence to prove Saudi involvement may rely exclusively on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who indicated a willingness to cooperate in a lawsuit filed by victims seeking damages from Saudi Arabia, providing the US decides not to seek the death penalty against him.
Bruce Fein, former US associate deputy attorney general, said the lawsuit had major financial implications for Saudi Arabia. “If the plaintiffs win in this case, it could be hundreds of billions of dollars. You have over 3,000 plaintiffs, compensatory plus punitive damages and a jury very hostile to Saudi Arabia, it could virtually bankrupt Saudi Arabia. All their assets in the US and elsewhere could be seized,” Fein said. This would create a dilemma for Trump because of his steadfast ties with the effective ruler of the kingdom, Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) notwithstanding his four-year genocidal war in Yemen and the near conclusive evidence provided by the CIA proving that he ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi — a veteran Saudi journalist and American permanent resident who had been writing articles critical of Riyadh — inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.
Whether or not the victims’ families will have a closure to their eighteen-year trauma may ultimately depend if President Trump makes a plea bargain with Mohammad. Fien stated: “So, the incentive for Mr. Trump as opposed to others to waive is not very great. But still, it may be in the year 2020 that the US population in general is not going to be sympathetic to Mr. Trump running and seeking their vote if it looks like he’s taking the side of Saudi Arabia over the victims of 9/11.” Let us hope it is the latter and not the former to succeed.
After a month of negotiations with the Taliban, President Trump cancelled a secret meeting at Camp David scheduled for this past weekend between the U.S. and its Afghan partners: Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, and leaders of the Taliban.
Trump called off the meeting after an attack by the Taliban on Thursday that killed an American soldier and 11 others in the Afghan capital of Kabul. “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” Trump stated. “How many more decades are they willing to fight?”
Wanting to end America’s longest standing war (the U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan for 18 years) as well as bring peace to the region, Trump has accepted the fact that the Taliban – for better or worse — are a political force to contend with and has involved them in the negotiations.
While we can all accept that the Taliban are “the worst,” it is also worth taking a look at the horrific culture of our other Afghani “partners,” who ignore and many times condone the rampant phenomena in the country of the sexual molestation and prostitution of boys.
In what is called Bacha Bazi (boy play), boys are dressed like women and dance for their would-be male predators — primarily Sunni Pashtun Afghan males. The practice often includes child pornography, sexual slavery and prostitution.
It is believed by some that this corrupt behavior stems from “[t]he seclusion of women and the practice of polygamy [which] limit[s] the access of young men to normal heterosexual outlets for their urges, so Islamic societies, particularly in the less developed areas, have come to resemble prison culture with their sexual predators and [defenseless young males].”
Others claim that this normalization of sodomy, despite Islamic teaching prohibiting it, is the result of Pashtuns being “[s]heltered by their pastoral setting and unable to speak Arabic—the language of all Islamic texts—[for which] many Afghans allow social customs to trump religious values, including those Quranic verses eschewing homosexuality and promiscuity.”
Pashtun social norms, which remain “largely misogynistic and male-dominated due to deeply-ingrained Islamic values,” hold that Bacha Bazi does not oppose Islamic teachings on homosexuality or pedophilia, and is far more ethical than defiling a woman. So long as the man does not love the boy, the sexual act is not reprehensible, provided that the perpetrator is the only active partner in the encounter. Some assailants claim that they can have sex with boys, referring to some hadiths that apparently are used to encourage such behavior:
Buhaysah reported on the authority of his father: My father sought permission from the Prophet. (When permission was granted and he came near him) he entered him and his shirt, and began to kiss him and embrace him.—Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 9, Hadith 1665
Usaid ibn Hudair reported: While he was talking to people and telling jokes to make them laugh, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, poked him in the side with a staff. Usaid said, “Let me retaliate!” The Prophet said, “Take retaliation.” Usaid said, “Indeed, you are wearing a shirt and I am not.” The Prophet lifted up his shirt, so he hugged him and kissed his side. Usaid said, “This is all I wanted, O Messenger of Allah.”— Musnad Ahamda, Sunan Abu Dawood, hadith 5224
According to estimates, “as many as 50 percent of the men in the Pashtun tribal areas of southern Afghanistan take boy lovers, making it clear that pedophilia or abuse of males who are still minors is a pervasive issue affecting entire rural communities.” This practice primarily exploits street orphans and poor boys, some as young as 11 years of age, whose parents are paid to hand over their sons to their new “masters.”
Research also shows that many Pashtuns who purchase or kidnap boys for this type of sexual exploitation (among them are local governors, military commanders and police chiefs) do so because for them, it becomes a symbol of their power in the community.
The United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have upheld a nonintervention policy because of the political and international ramifications of those who engage in the practice. Since the Afghan Pashtuns have openly opposed the Taliban, the US-led international community has taken the position to overlook their abhorrent practices for fear of alienating them — at the cost of overlooking the plight of the boys who are being sexually abused by them.
As the U.S. is now engaged in negotiating with both sides in the Afghan conflict, it is time to call out this abuse for what it is and stop the morally unsupportable practice of failing to stand up for abused children.
N. B. This article was originally published by the Clarion Project on September 9, 2019.
Not too long ago I had a conversation with a millennial who criticized the Crusades carried out by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, arguing that they were both unprovoked and immoral. He sustained, without any convincing evidence, that they were launched by the popes against innocent Muslims for the sole means of imposing papal hegemony. There is quite a bit of misunderstanding, especially from revisionist historians and people who willfully choose not to inform themselves, as to the reality of the Crusades and how close the then-civilized world was almost conquered by Muslims.
Raymond Ibrahim in his article Just War vs Plain-Old Jihad states that “[w]herever one looks, the historic crusades against Islam are demonized and distorted in ways designed to exonerate jihadi terror. Unless we get on our high horse,” Barak Obama once chided Americans who were overly critical of Islamic terror, “and think this [beheadings, sex-slavery, crucifixion, roasting humans] is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Islamic scholars and activists who insist that Islam is a religion of peace go so far to say, if not equate, the Crusades to the jihad carried out by ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other Islamic terrorist gourps.
There is, however, a clear and substantial difference between the Crusades and jihad. A jihad is based upon an Islamic political doctrine justifying looting, killing, and conquest of non-Muslims with the aim of imposing the sharia as the rule of law. The Crusades were a collective response to the ongoing conquest that began with the taking of the Holy Land (Jerusalem) by Muslims in 638 and other Christian territories. Even if some of them were unjust, such as the sack of Constantinople of 1215 (which was condemned by Pope Innocent III, not to mention that he also excommunicated the Venetians who carried out the raid), they were not doctrinal in the literal sense, as jihad is to Islam. Also, contrary to popular opinion, when Pope John Paul II made an apology on March 12, 2000, for the sins and crimes committed by those who represented the church in its history, he never offered one to the Muslims for the Crusades.
Ibrahim goes onto say that “[t]he great irony concerning the mainstream condemnation of the historic crusades is that a closer examination of them — what they meant, what inspired them, how they were justified, who could participate — in comparison to the requisites of jihad, not only exonerates the crusades but exonerates the West of any wrongdoing against Islam, past or present.”
The First Crusade, which was called by Pope Urban II in 1095 (457 years after Jerusalem was overrun by Muslim armies), came at the behest of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus. He had asked the pope in Rome for assistance to turn back the Muslim Turks, who were invading what is now Turkey; they took property as they went, turned churches into mosques, and forced Christians to convert to Islam. Approximately two-thirds of the ancient Christian world had been already conquered by Muslims by the end of the 11th century, including the important regions of Palestine, Syria, Egypt, and Anatolia. It was also that time that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the place traditionally held where Jesus Christ was buried, was destroyed by Abu ‘Ali Mansur. Soon thereafter all Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land were cut off by Muslims. While Mansur did not attack Christendom directly, he demonstrated scorn for the religion, in addition to destroying 30,000 churches in the Middle East.
The goal of the Crusades, as already mentioned, was to retake and ensure that Christianity could continue to be practiced without any type of Islamic imposition. Attempting to check this advance, they initially enjoyed success, founding a Christian state in Palestine and Syria, but the continued growth of Islamic states ultimately reversed those gains. By the 14th century the Ottoman Turks had established themselves in the Balkans and would penetrate deeper into Europe despite repeated efforts to repulse them. By the mid 1550s they had slowly conceived of a long-term offensive, a pincers movement first by sea and then by land, to conquer the whole northern shore of the Mediterranean. Their ultimate aim was to take all Italy; then all Europe. It was not until the victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 that, under the coalition of Pope Pius V, the Islamic onslaught began to be turned back as Western civilization was saved — the Crusades were formally over by the 16th century, though the spirit of defending Christendom against Islamic jihad was still in place.
The Crusaders, for their part, kept their military operations within lands that were Christian, for their goal was never to overthrow the Turkish Empire, which is why they never attacked Saudi Arabia, specifically Mecca, unlike what the Muslims had done to Constantinople in 1453. That being said, in order to appreciate the necessity of the Crusades, one has to understand how comprehend the 1,400-year-old Islamic threat of jihad subjugate humanity
Islamic jihad or holy war was initiated on what we today define as terrorism carried out by the Prophet Muhammad. He used terror tactics by ensuring discipline among his followers by making public examples of traitors and backsliders. In Muhammad’s day the penalty for apostasy in Islam was death. He also ordered some of his political enemies assassinated, including poets and singers who had publicly ridiculed him. After Muhammad’s famous victory at the Battle of Badr in 624, the Jewish clan Bani Qainuqa were stripped of their goods and expelled from Medina. In 626, the other two remaining Hebrew tribes, the Bani Nadir and the Bani Quraiza, were besieged. After their unconditional surrender, the Jews were slaughtered, had their riches confiscated, and their women and children enslaved. In 628, surmising that his forces were still not strong enough to overcome the rival and once-native Quraysh tribes, Muhammad agreed to the Hudaybiyya Accord, named after the place in which the ten-year treaty was signed; he reneged on this pact less than two years later, after consolidating his power. The Prophet eventually ordered all the tribe’s adult males, some nine hundred, beheaded in the city square, the women and children sold into slavery, and their property distributed among his Muslim followers.
History demonstrates that as Muslims grew in power, their use of violence changed from skirmishes to outright warfare. We see this during the last nine to ten years of Muhammad’s life, when he personally participated or deputized eighty-six battles: an average of nine-plus battles a year, and they culminated in intensity until he died. According to Patricia Crone, the renowned Islamic historian, after the capture of Mecca in 630, “Muhammad’s God endorsed a policy of conquest, instructing his believers to fight against unbelievers wherever they might be found; and if we accept the testimony of non-Muslim sources, he specifically told them to fight the unbelievers in Syria [the Caravan raids], Syria being the land to which Jews and Arabs had a joint right by virtue of their common Abrahamic descent. In short, Muhammad had to conquer, his followers liked to conquer, and his deity told him to conquer.”
The first legitimate jihad after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, according to various Islamic scholars, occurred when Muhammad’s successor, Abu Bakr, suppressed the many Arab tribes who rejected his authority. Bakr’s intransigent and belligerent response towards those who refused his governance, historically known as the ridda (apostasy) wars (632-33), paved the way for the Arabs to attack and conquer most of the areas bordering the Arabian Peninsula: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc. These jihadist conquests (from 634 to ca. 740) transmuted the Middle East by causing a linguistic shift from Aramaic and Greek to Arabic and transforming Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism to Islam (over a period of centuries), thereby creating an Islamic empire that would last until the fall of the Ottoman dynasty in 1924.
We know from history that the once powerful Roman and Christian North Africa, the land that gave birth to a number of great Catholic heroes and heroines, such as saints Cyprian, Augustine, Felicity, and Perpetua, vanished under Muslim assaults. Except for their moral and intellectual accomplishments, those great figures might as well never have existed in present-day North Africa. Those who still criticize the Crusades should be reminded that discussing peace in the Middle Ages with the Muslim jihadists — as the United States is doing with the Taliban — would have been as effective as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938; a peace treaty the latter reneged just as the Prophet Muhammad did with the aforementioned Hudaybiyya Accord. What followed afterwards on both Islamic and Nazi fronts were onslaughts to “purify” society. Just as it was necessary for America to enter World War II to stop Hitler, had it not been for the Crusades, unsuccessful as many of them were, perhaps Islam would have already taken over the rest of the world since there would have been no opposition to the Muslims’ ambitions of Islamizing society.