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15/01/2020

Rodney Stark – „God’s Battalions „


“In 711 an army of seven to ten thousand Muslims from Morocco crossed the Mediterranean at its narrowest western point and landed on the coast of Spain at the foot of a mountain jutting out into the sea. Later this mountain was named after the Muslim commander, the Berber Tariq ibn-Ziyad, as the Rock of Tariq, hence Jabal Tariq or Gibraltar”.

 “It is true that the Qur’an forbids forced conversions. However, that recedes to an empty legalism given that many subject peoples were “free to choose” conversion as an alternative to death or enslavement. That was the usual choice presented to pagans, and often Jews and Christians also were faced with that option or with one only somewhat less extreme.39 In principle, as “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians were supposed to be tolerated and permitted to fol ow their faiths. But only under quite repressive conditions: death was (and remains) the fate of anyone who converted to either faith”.

 “In 705 the Muslim conquerors of Armenia assembled al the Christian nobles in a church and burned them to death.43 There were many similar episodes in addition to the indiscriminate slaughters of Christians noted earlier in discussions of the Muslim conquests. The first Muslim massacre of Jews occurred in Medina when Muhammad had al the local adult Jewish males (about seven hundred of them) beheaded after forcing them to dig their own graves.44 Unfortunately, massacres of Jews and Christians became increasingly common with the passage of time. For example, in the eleventh century there were many mass kil ings of Jews—more than six thousand in Morocco in 1032–1033, and at least that many murdered during two outbursts in Grenada.45 In 1570 Muslim invaders murdered tens of thousands of Christian civilians on Cyprus”.

 “Western historians have long hailed this as “a turning point in the history of mankind.”2 The Russian-born Byzantine scholar George Ostrogorsky (1902–1976) characterized the attack on Constantinople as “the fiercest which had ever been launched by the infidels against a Christian stronghold, and the Byzantine capital was the last dam left to withstand the rising Muslim tide. The fact that it held saved not only the Byzantine Empire, but the whole of European civilization.”3 Or as the distinguished historian of Byzantium Viscount John Julius Norwich put it: “Had they captured Constantinople in the seventh century rather than the fifteenth, al Europe—and America—might be Muslim today.”

 “Consider mathematics. The so-cal ed Arabic numerals were entirely of Hindu origin. Moreover, even after the splendid Hindu numbering system based on the concept of zero was published in Arabic, it was adopted only by mathematicians while other Muslims continued to use their cumbersome traditional system. Many other contributions to mathematics also have been erroneously attributed to “Arabs.” For example, Thabit ibn Qurra, noted for his many contributions to geometry and to number theory, is usual y identified as an “Arab mathematician,” but he was a member of the pagan Sabian sect”.

 “Avicenna, whom the Encyclopaedia Britannica ranks as “the most influential of al Muslim philosopher-scientists,” was a Persian. So were the famous scholars Omar Khayyám, al-Biruni, and Razi, al of whom are ranked with Avicenna. Another Persian, al-Khwarizmi, is credited as the father of algebra. Al-Uqlidisi, who introduced fractions, was a Syrian. Bakht-Ish ’ and ibn Ishaq, leading figures in “Muslim” medical knowledge, were Nestorian Christians. Masha’al ah ibn Athar , the famous astronomer and astrologer, was a Jew”.

“Even many of the most partisan Muslim historians, including the famous English convert to Islam and translator of the Qur’an Mar-maduke Pickthal (1875–1936), 28 agree that the sophisticated Muslim culture originated with the conquered populations. But what has largely been ignored is that the decline of that culture and the inability of Muslims to keep up with the West occurred because Muslim or Arab culture was largely an il usion resting on a complex mix of dhimmi cultures, and as such, it was easily lost and always vulnerable to being repressed as heretical. Hence, when in the fourteenth century Muslims in the East stamped out nearly al religious nonconformity, Muslim backwardness came to the fore”.

“Underlying the belief that the Muslims were more learned and sophisticated than the Christian West is the presumption that a society not steeped in Greek philosophy and literature was a society in the dark! Thus for the past several centuries many European writers have stressed the Arab possession of the classical writers, assuming that by having access to the advanced “wisdom” of the ancients, Islam was the much superior culture. Although medieval European scholars were far more familiar with the “classics” than was claimed, the fact is that because of the persistence of Byzantine/Greek culture in most of the conquered Arab societies, the most-educated Arabs did have greater knowledge of the work of classical Greek authors such as Plato and Aristotle”.

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