Western governments have persistently affirmed since 9-11 that Islam is not a violent religion. They have done it so systemically and have asserted it so emphatically, that for those who are not experts on the field, it seems as an undeniable truth.
The facts nonetheless, say something very different.
History reveals that over the centuries, Islamists have systemically attacked any nation that did not practice their religion. The simple fact that a country was not Islamic was enough to justify launching an assault on it.
It started with the birth of the religion in the seventh century, for Mohammed violently imposed his will on Arabia. In the immediate decades after his death, Muslim armies subdued the rest of the Middle East.
Then, they attacked the fringes of the Western world as they tried to overrun the Byzantine Empire in the mid seventh century.
After that, they set their sights on southern Europe and in the eighth century, Arab armies invaded Spain and Portugal. That aggression went on for almost 800 years.
In the ninth century they attacked Italy and took over Sicily. Fortunately, their presence there did not last as long as in the Iberian Peninsula and a century later they were expelled.
Almost simultaneously to the attacks on the West, were those in the East. In the early eighth century, they invaded the north of India and during the following centuries they pierced further into the South Asian subcontinent.
Since that creed ultimately demands from its followers that all the inhabitants of the world be converted to Islam, Muslim leaders were not satisfied with South Asia. Soon after, their armies were once again on the march and they went into Central Asia, China, and Southeast Asia.
From the fourteenth century onwards, the Ottoman Turks overtook the Arabs in their enthusiasm to spread Islam by the sword and rapidly conquered lands beyond their homeland in present day Turkey. At the height of their power in the 16th and 17th centuries, their empire spanned three continents, controlling much of Southern Europe, the Near East, North Africa, parts of Eastern Europe, and parts of Central Asia. Their empire lasted for many centuries and came to an end only until the twentieth century.
From the sixteenth to the twentieth century nonetheless, the biggest empires were not Muslim, but European. European countries took over the world in that period, but it was not to impose a religion. Although the Christian religion ended up displacing the local ones in the American continent, Oceania and much of Africa, that was not the prime goal of the conquerors. Eventually, religion stopped playing even a minor role in the colonial policies. On top of that, Western penetration brought more advanced technology to those lands, which improved living conditions.
That was not the case with the Muslims. Through history, their only goal was to brutally impose a religion that has no scientific credibility. Islam is not the only creed without scientific credibility. All religions are equally brutish and have always conspired against progress. However, Christianity has been for some time sidelined by secularism and is no longer capable of significantly hampering progress.
Islam on the other hand still does. It still demands total control over policy making and frequently succeeds in running governments. When that happens, the effects on development are deleterious.
Up to the Western invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, that nation was the most Islamic of Muslim countries. It was also the most technologically backward, the poorest in the world, and the one that worst treated women.
Charles Sabillon did High School in Texas and has undergraduate degrees in Philosophy, Economics and Law as well as a masters and a doctorate in International Relations. After the PhD, he undertook post-doctoral research in the fields of History, Economics, and Ecology. He has taught Economic History at a university in Switzerland and speaks fluently English, Spanish, French and German.
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