We Have Islam to Blame for More than You Think
Getting to this position has taken me a long time. It has taken the activities of IS, The Islamic Republic of Iran, Boko Haram and Anjem Choudary. When I was a teenager, I was cross when my girlfriend was groped in Cairo; I thought then that Muslims qua Muslims had a bad attitude to women – particularly non-Muslim women. I progressed to the attitude that Muslim attitudes are fundamentally flawed. As you will see, I have gone farther than that.
Let’s start with the obligatory admission that Catholics have done bad things and that Catholics do do bad things. Oh, and the other obligatory admission that not all Muslims are bad people.
I think that the Inquisition was worse than the Crusades, even though far fewer died. I hate theocracy (whether Christian or Muslim). To repeat myself, the promises are false and the consequences are diabolical – a word I do not use lightly. Catholics believe in the Devil. We listen to the news. Original Sin is apparent in every item.
Christian Theocracy would create Hell on Earth. Muslim Theocracy is creating Hell on Earth wherever it is being tried.
Our Lord famously said, ‘Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s’. In my view this is equivalent to, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ God’s Kingdom is not a huge all-encompassing state – it exists in each and every Christian heart. Islam always and everywhere aspires to be an all-encompassing state. Islam is not so much a religion as a socio-political system with a dollop of religious teaching mixed in. It has resisted all reform for centuries.
The Crusaders did bad things. On the way to the Holy Land, they killed Jews and Christians and Muslims. But, they believed that they were waging a defensive war – and they were! The Middle East was Christian in the seventh century. It was conquered by Islam. The Crusaders were fighting back. Would that they had succeeded.
Islam’s victories made Islam stronger, politically and economically. Jiziya, the tax paid only by non-Muslims was, unsurprisingly, effective. With every conquest, the Jiziya made the conquerors richer and more militarily triumphant.
Some historians would have us reflect on the so-called Dark Ages. Some of them (the dim ones) would blame Christianity for the darkness. Christian Monasticism preserved much of Classical learning. Christian Monasticism has much for which to be thankful – in technology, in agriculture and in education. Henry VIII destroyed so much of what the monks had created.
Meanwhile, the Muslims were busy creating the Caliphate. Yes, the Muslims had a sort of theology. But compare their theology with that of Augustine and Aquinas. The Caliphate was all about establishing Sharia. In England our forefathers were establishing common law. We were rejecting the idea that law was the King’s law – it was the Law of the Land. Islam clings to the idea that Sharia is God’s law. We Christians do not deny that God tells us how to behave. We do deny that God tells us how to organise society. The conflict is more Christianity versus Sharia than Jesus versus Mohammed. At the same time, we believe that Mohammed is a false prophet and that Jesus is The Logos.
Also meanwhile, Christendom was threatened by Islam. The current threat is not new. Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Muslims out of Spain. Imagine the history of the last five hundred years if we had had a large and threatening Islamic state on Europe’s southern border. There might not have been an Enlightenment (a mixed blessing); there might not have been a Scientific Revolution. Muslim theologians have explicitly denied causality. Nothing happens, according to Islam, without the Creator willing it (inshallah). Perhaps this is why muslim scientists in muslim lands do not get Nobel Prizes for Physics and Chemistry. Aquinas tells us that The Almighty grants to creatures ‘the dignity of causality’. The Islamic position is confused and contradictory.
The Scholastics in Salamanca, sneered at for debating angels and pinheads, preached against the conquistadors for trampling the rights of non-Catholic South Americans. Mohammed ordered the decapitation of 800 people in one day for denying his status as ‘God’s Messenger’. He is exalted as the perfect example of conduct.
All the things that we deplore about Islam are explicitly sanctioned in the islamic texts. Atheists and Muslims pretend that Jewish violence in the Old Testament similarly sanctions violence. This is a gross misreading.