One can well understand the dreams of grandeur that yet reside in the heart of Islam. The early history of this faith is remarkable and undeniable. We can say this without giving any credence whatsoever to the truth of its doctrines. Likewise we can admire some aspects of past Islamic culture and still wish that the thing entire had never been born.
The spread of Islam from its desert redoubts in the early 7th century was the most rapid military and theological conquest in history. By 732 Islam ruled most of what had been Eastern Christianity and had pushed far into the West. It had also spread eastwards into Persia, Afghanistan and India. The map below shows this astounding expansion. All of the territory to the West and North had been Christian, alas.
What is equally astonishing is that most of those lands under the control of Islam have remained under Islam. Keep this in mind when you read of the glories of Alexander who likewise conquered to the Indus. All the Greek culture he carried with him and all those cities he founded were fairly swept away a few years after his death (332 BC). And not even he could carry his phalanxes to the West, a region Islam overcame easily—and against the arms and heritage of Eastern Rome.
We tend to forget that much of Islam until the 12th century demonstrated a cultural magnificence as brilliant as Constantinople and Paris during the same era. True, Muslim ruling classes could be as tyrannical and bloody as anything in Europe, but Islam—especially in Spain—presented to the world at least the façade of tolerance, learning and poetry.
This has all vanished, replaced with a grim list of poverty, violence, obscurantist theology, disease, honor killings, suicide bombings, illiteracy, ignorance and bizarre delusions of grandeur—and all of this presented to the world through the mentality of a ragged mob. Every other civilization in history that has risen so high and fallen so far has simply vanished. But Islam remains, surrounded by reminders of glory long lost. One visits the Blue Mosque of Istanbul and stands with mouth agape at the sublime culture that could build such a thing.
Yet Islam did so 400 years ago. Even the most materially and intellectually destitute Muslim knows that his culture could no more build its like than it could design a light bulb.
Such knowledge creates psychological tension and dysfunction in the Muslim mind. We see this every day as some Imam or Muslim ‘scholar’—whatever that means—babbles about the coming of a new Caliphate, about how Islam will conquer the West, about how Islam will one day rule the world. Such a fantasy is a staple of whoever masquerades as Osama bin-Laden, prattling on and on with dreary harangues about the future glory of Islam.
Here is just one example of such a deluded fellow. He is—but of course—a Muslim ‘cleric.’ His rants are not at all unusual.
We will rule the world, as has been said by the prophet Mohammed.
His raving is sprinkled with the ordinary Jew hatred common to the Muslim world. Once you read a dozen of such things you can easily write all the rest that will be ever appear in the world. Nothing new here, and nothing at all new under Islam.
In a perverse way it is funny. A culture that once conquered so much of the world now is afraid of cartoons.
Funny, that is, if the entire messy thing were not so damn bloody. For wherever there is Islam there is war—Muslim against non-Muslim or Muslim against Muslim. Really, anyone will do. The blood is the thing. A short history of the blood shed by Islam just in the past six years will show that it kills indiscriminately and has done so on every continent except Antarctica. Here is a very short list of its recent victims.
Jews and Christians and Hindus and Buddhists and agnostics and surfers and disco habitués and businessman and children and guards and pizza lovers and airline passengers and diplomats and diplomats’ wives and diplomats’ children and teachers and writers and missionaries and stewardesses and professors and journalists and free thinkers.
And we can forget about Islam somehow building anything.
Islam builds nothing yet blows to smithereens busses and restaurants and schools and synagogues and churches and skyscrapers and houses and buildings and embassies and cemeteries and cars and ships and planes and statues.
Not even the wealth displayed in the Gulf states has anything to do with Islam.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example, fewer than 20 percent of the four-million-strong population are Emiratis, while the rest hail from other countries, with more than 1.5 million from India alone.
Americans rightly complain about 12 million illegal Mexican immigrants roaming about, but such a number represents only 3 percent of total US population. Imagine if such a ragged bunch were 80 percent of US population.
Islam can delude itself that it will one day conquer this or conquer that. But conquest is not always—or even most effectively—done with the bayonet.
Arabic is being used less frequently in the Gulf, because of the increasing population of foreigners in these countries, and is in danger of vanishing, a sociology expert says.
We need to remind ourselves that every modern contrivance used in Islam—including those things it uses to kill—comes from the West. And even if the most rabid Muslim cleric saw his fantasies come to pass, those conquered lands would cease to be fruitful and would come to resemble the dismal sterility of Islam.
We see the same thing in our nation. Those areas conquered—yes, that is the right word—by Mexican illegals resemble nothing so much as Mexico—dirty, impoverished, squalid, Spanish speaking and subject to mob rule.
A Muslim can yelp from the Alhambra if his faith ever reconquers Spain, but he will be at a loss when the electricity ceases to function. He might plan to do what the Gulf states do and import foreigners to run things, but he would have no oil money with which to pay them. Any Islamic conquest of non-Islamic lands would simply force those territories into decay and poverty—that is, into a copy of Islam itself.
The victorious Muslim would then be in the same situation he is today—surrounded by machines he does not understand, presented by structures he could neither design nor build nor repair, and burdened with a sordid faith that has as much to do with the modern world as a camel does to an airplane.
Update: Those with an interest in how a Muslim intellectual viewed the world at the height of Islamic greatness must read The Muqaddimah, by Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406). From no less than Arnold Toynbee:
Undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever been created by any mind in any time or place . . . the most comprehensive and illuminating analysis of how human affairs work that has been made anywhere.