As I write this, it happened again. This time in Fresno California. Kori Ali Muhammad killed 3 people (one of them in the parking lot for Catholic Charities). When the police apprehended him, he yelled “Allah U Akbar”. Of course, the media doesn’t want to tell you that. They say that he shouted “God is Great” in Arabic hoping you won’t notice. They leave out the religion of the victims hoping you won’t think it is significant. They try to pretend that this isn’t a terrorist act.
Maybe they have a point. Maybe “terrorism” isn’t a term we should be using. This is deeper then that. This is Islam against the West.
From San Bernardino to Orlando, Brussels, London, Paris… The list goes on and on. It is Islam versus the West. Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Egypt, Syria. Islam versus the West. But when did it begin? Schools in the United States tend to be very Eurocentric, so many people don’t understand the whole history of Islam versus the West. Let us go back and look.
Many people will tell you the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2011 where the beginning. Sure, that started the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and began what we think of today as the “war on terror”. But what happened before that?
Throughout the 1990’s the West had serious problems with Islamic countries and movements. From President Bill Clinton’s multiple airstrikes against Iraq, to the infamous battles in Mogadishu portrayed in the movie “Black Hawk Down”. Before that there was the 1st Gulf war. At the same time, Israel and Russia were facing continuous attacks Hamas and the PLO (in Israel’s case) and the Chechnyan Separatists (in Russia).
Islam versus the West is really about Islam versus anyone who isn’t Muslim, and more specifically, Islam versus Judeo-Christianity. Many people do not realize that the Chechnyan Separatists are Muslim. Many people do not consider Russia part of “the West”, (just as many people do not consider Israel part of “the West) so they leave these conflicts out of the equation, and loose sight of the big picture. Israel is predominantly Jewish, and Russia is predominately Christian. This makes them part of the Judeo-Christian “enemy” of Islam, and therefore part of the bigger picture when it comes to Islam versus the West (or Islam versus Judeo-Christianity).
The 1980’s concentrated most of the aggression of Islam into the Russian Afghanistan war, and Israel’s First Lebanon War while America and Europe suffered occasional hijackings, and plane bombings.
In fact, most of the aggression between Islam and the Judeo-Christian West between the end of World War II and the 1970’s stayed in the middle east. In 1973 there was the Yom Kippur war between Egypt, Syria and Israel. From 1967 to 1970 was the War of Attrition. Before that, in 1967, was the Six-Day War, and before that, in 1956, was the Suez Crisis (also known as the second Arab-Israeli war). And before that, in 1948, the 1st Arab Israeli war broke out.
Between World War I and World War II the Middle East was generally quiet as they were under the strong occupation and rule of French and British forces as per the break up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. Jordan became independent of British rule in 1946, the same year that British troops finally left Egypt. Also in 1946, French troops withdrew from Lebanon and France gave Syria back it’s independence.
Most of what we now call the “Middle East” started the 20th century as the Ottoman Empire. On November 14, 1914, in Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares an Islamic holy war (Jihad) on behalf of the Ottoman government, urging his Muslim followers to take up arms against Britain, France, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro in World War I.
The Ottoman Empire also claimed Caliphal authority from 1362 until it’s demise at the end of World War I. As the Ottoman Caliphate, the religious leaders of the Ottoman Empire claimed to be religious successors to the Islamic Prophet and leaders of the entire Muslim community.
This isn’t the place to go over all of the conflicts between the West and the Ottoman Empire, but in quick order we are looking at the Balkan Wars in 1912-13, The Hamidian Massacres from 1894 to 1896, The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, the Bulgarian Uprising of 1876, The Caucasian War of 1817-1864, The Serbian Revolution from 1804-1815. As a side note, from 1801-1816, the young United States of America was involved in the First and Second Barbary Wars. These wars were between the US and Sweden on one side, and the “Barbary States” of Tripoli Algiers and Tunis (provinces of the Ottoman Empire) on the other side.
Prior to that there was The Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–1718. The Great Turkish War of 1683–1699.
During the 1600’s the Ottoman Empire had many successful campaigns restoring Transylvania to their control, conquering Crete in 1669, and expanding into the Ukraine.
In 1571, the Ottoman naval fleet was defeated by a Catholic coalition led by Spain, and in 1565 the Knights of Malta were able to successfully defend Malta from an Ottoman invasion.From 1533 to 1584 the Russians fought with the Ottomans over Volga and the Caspian regions. Between 1488 and much of the 1500’s the Portuguese and Ottomans fought a number of naval wars in the Indian ocean. In the 1520’s, the Ottomans conquered parts of Hungary and unsuccessfully tried to take Vienna in both 1529 and 1532.
In 1492 (the same year Christopher Columbus sailed for the new world), The Muslim Moors were finally expelled from Spain after continuous fighting there since the first Iberian Crusade in 1212.
In 1453, the Ottoman Empire successfully conquered Constantinople and effectively brought an end to the Byzantine Empire (The Eastern Roman Empire).
The 1300’s was the beginning of the Ottoman Empire that started as a coalition of Muslim tribes under the rule of Tribal Leader Osman I (from whom the name Ottoman comes). During the beginning of the Ottoman Empire and it’s expansion, the western Christian countries were fighting against them in what we call today Crusades.
The first Crusades started in 1096, and were an attempt by European Christians to retake the Holy Land that had been conquered by Muhammed and his successors starting in 622. From 622-32 Muhammad conquered much of Saudi Arabia. His immediate successor (the Rashidun Caliphate) fought the Eastern Roman Empire and took control of much of the middle east as well as parts of North Africa from 632 – 661. From 661 to 750, the Umayyad Caliphate conquered the rest of North Africa and most of Spain. During the 730’s, Frankish commander Charles Martel (grandfather of Charlemagne who fought the Muslims from 777-812) was able to stop the Muslim invasion of Europe and hold the Moors to Spain. All through the 700’s 800’s and 900’s Muslims were constantly invading Europe. Sicily was finally free’d from Muslim rule in 1091 (just 5 years before the start of the first Crusade).
This list isn’t an exhaustive one (although it may seem that way). But what I hope it shows you is that the current “War on Terror” is not a new thing. This is a conflict that has been going on for 1300 years.
The Jewish people believe that they are descendent from Issac, the son of Abraham, and that the descendants of Issac are Gods chosen people.
The Christian people believe that Jesus Christ, the prophesied Messiah, and Son of God, from the line of King David, a descendant of Isaac. the son of Abraham, opened up God’s Grace to anyone who believes in Jesus.
The Muslim people believe that they are descendant from Ishmael. The other son of Abraham. They believe that the Jewish and Christian teachings of Abraham are lies. That Ishmael was the son that God promised to Abraham.
Whereas Genesis tells the Judeo-Christian world that an angel said of Ishmael (16:12) He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.
Contradictory to that, Islam believes that an angel tells the pregnant Hagar to name her child Ishmael and prophesies, “His hand would be over everyone, and the hand of everyone would be against him. His brethren would rule over all the lands.” according to the Muslim Scholar Ismail ibn Kathir.
So at the very roots of Islam is the idea that the Judeo-Christian people are not God’s Chosen people. The Islamic belief is that we stole that title from them. They are supposed to be the great nation that God promise Abraham, and they should rule the world.
On the other hand, the book of Genesis tells us that they Islam will always be a violent adversary.