September 29, 2015
Syrians fleeing the war rush through broken down border fences to enter Turkish territory illegally, near the Turkish border crossing at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province. (AFP/BULENT KILIC)
The world as understood by Islamic nations varies wildly from the Western nations’ understanding of the world. Whereas Muslims see the world through the lens of history, the West has jettisoned or rewritten history to suit its ideologies.
This dichotomy of Muslim and Western thinking is evident everywhere. When the Islamic State declared that it will “conquer Rome” and “break its crosses,” few in the West realized that those are the verbatim words and goals of Islam’s founder and his companions as recorded in Muslim sources — words and goals that prompted over a thousand years of jihad on Europe.
Most recently, the Islamic State released a map of the areas it plans on expanding into over the next five years. Not only are Mideast and Asian regions included, but the map includes European lands: Portugal, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, parts of Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, and Cyprus.
The reason for this is simple. According to Islamic law, once a country has been conquered (or “opened,” as the euphemistic Arabic words it), it becomes Islamic in perpetuity.
This, incidentally, is the real reason Muslims despise Israel. The motivation is not sympathy for the Palestinians — if it was, neighboring Arab nations would’ve absorbed them long ago, just as they would be absorbing all of today’s Muslim refugees. No, Israel is hated because the descendants of “apes and pigs” — according to the Koran — dare to rule land that was once “opened” by jihad and therefore must be returned to Islam. (Read more about Islam’s “How Dare You?” phenomenon to understand the source of Islamic rage.)
All of the aforementioned European nations are seen as being currently “occupied” by Christian “infidels” and in need of “liberation.” This is why jihadi organizations refer to terrorist attacks on such countries as “defensive jihads.” One rarely hears about Islamic designs on European nations because they are large and blocked together, altogether distant from the Muslim world. Conversely, tiny Israel is in the heart of the Islamic world, hence it has received most of the jihadi attention: it was a more realistic conquest. But now that the “caliphate” has been reborn and is expanding before a paralytic West, dreams of reconquering portions of Europe — if not through jihad, then through migration — are becoming more plausible, perhaps more so than conquering Israel.
Because of their historical experiences with Islam, some central and east European nations are aware of Muslim aspirations. Hungary’s prime minister even cited his nation’s unpleasant past under Islamic rule (in the guise of the Ottoman Empire) as a reason to disallow Muslim refugees from entering. But for more “enlightened” Western nations — that is, for idealistic nations that reject or rewrite history according to their subjective fantasies — Hungary’s reasoning is unjust, inhumane, and racist.
To be sure, most of Europe has experience with Islamic depredations. As late as the 17th century, even Iceland was being invaded by Muslim slave traders. Roughly 800 years earlier, in 846, Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled by Muslim raiders.
Some of the Muslims migrating to Italy vow to do the same today, and Pope Francis acknowledges it — yet he still suggests that “you can take precautions, and put these people to work.”
We’ve seen this sort of thinking before: the U.S. State Department cited a lack of “job opportunities” as reason for the existence of the Islamic State.
Perhaps because the UK, Scandinavia, and North America were never conquered and occupied by the sword of Islam — unlike the southeast European nations that are rejecting Muslim refugees — they feel free to rewrite history according to their subjective ideals. Specifically, they stress that historic Christianity is bad and all other religions and people are good. Indeed, books and courses on the “sins” of Christian Europe from the Crusades to colonialism abound. (Most recently, a book traced the rise of Islamic supremacism in Egypt to the disciplining of a rude Muslim girl by a Christian nun.)
This “new history” – which claims that Muslims are the historic “victims” of “intolerant” Western Christians — has metastasized everywhere, from high school to college and from Hollywood to the news media, institutions which are becoming increasingly harder to distinguish from one another. When U.S. President Barack Obama condemned medieval Christians as a way to relativize Islamic State atrocities — or at best to claim that religion, any religion, is never the driving force of violence — he was merely being representative of the mainstream way history is taught in the West.
Even good, authoritative books of history contribute to this distorted thinking. While such works may mention “Ottoman expansion” into Europe, the Islamic element is omitted. Turks are portrayed as just another competitive people, out to carve a niche for themselves in Europe with motivations no different than, say, the Austrians, their rivals. That the “Ottomans” were operating under the distinctly Islamic banner of jihad, just like the Islamic State is today, is never made clear.
Generations of this false history have led the West to think that being suspicious or judgmental of Muslims is unacceptable, and that Muslims need to be accommodated. Perhaps then, they’ll like the West.
Such is progressive wisdom.
Meanwhile, in schools across much of the Muslim world, children are being indoctrinated into glorifying and reminiscing about the jihadi conquests of yore — conquests by the sword and in the name of Allah. While the progressive West demonizes European/Christian history — when I was in elementary school, Christopher Columbus was a hero, when I got into college, he became a villain — Mehmet the Conqueror, whose atrocities against Christian Europeans make the Islamic State look like boy scouts, is praised every year in “secular” Turkey on the anniversary of the savage sack of Constantinople.
The result of Western fantasies and Islamic history is that today Muslims are entering the West unfettered in the guise of refugees. They refuse to assimilate with the “infidels,” and form enclaves — in Islamic terminology, ribats – that serve as frontier posts to wage jihad against the infidel one way or another.
This in not conjecture. The Islamic State is intentionally driving the refugee phenomenon, and has promised to send half a million people — mostly Muslims — into Europe. It claims that 4,000 of these refugees are its own operatives:
Just wait. … It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah.
It is often said that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. What happens to those who rewrite history in a way to demonize their ancestors while whitewashing the crimes of their ancestors’ enemies? The result is before us. History is not repeating itself; sword-waving Muslims are not militarily conquering Europe. Rather, they are being allowed to walk right in.
Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum; and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.