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July 29, 2011

Europe: The Muslims are coming?

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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The Muslims are coming is an Islamophobic propaganda that has inspired Oslo terrorist Anders Behring Breivik and is advanced by the extreme right and Zionists to mean that Western Muslims will turn the West into a worse place - more Western initiated wars, more debt, less morality, less social justice, less freedom and less education and health care. But how was one Muslim-ruled European country and how was the rest of Europe at that time?

From 711 to 1492 Muslim Spain was a beacon for a new Western European civilization, an oasis of peace and tranquility where advances in science, mathematics, philosophy, theology, music, arts, literature and medicine were being made.

European Muslims were civilization builders for some 800 years. The best schools and universities nourished the scholarly work of Muslims, Christians and Jews.

The question is what other Europeans outside Muslim Spain were doing from 711 to 1492?

The short answer is this: their annals were filled with murders and barbarities of every sort. Ravage of whole countries was the norm. War time between nations and civil wars were measured in twenty, thirty or 100 years. Everyone was fighting, the Popes against the Kings, the Kings against the Nobles, causing death, destruction and misery.

Charles the great (Charlemagne – 768-812) at the height of his power ordered the decapitation of 4500 Saxons, a pagan German tribe dwelling between the Rhine and the Elbe. As a result they accepted him as a sovereign and Christianity as their religion.

His plan was to found a Germanic World Empire modelled after the ancient Roman Empire. But instead he had himself crowned on Christmas day in the year 800 as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire which lasted until its abolition by Napoleon in 1806.

After a series of wars three of his grandsons divided the Empire by the treaty of Verdun. But the dark ages of Europe had to continue for several centuries.

The ancient Germanic dwellers in Denmark and Scandinavia used to sail on annual expeditions to the shores of England and France pillaged the cities even as far inland as Paris and return home with their booty. The Danes in 1016 conquered the eastern part of England and the king of Denmark became also of England. After 26 years of war the English royal family regained the throne.

Europe of that time had for three centuries (the eleventh to the thirteenth) a social system based on land tenure called the feudal system or feudalism. It is based on the thesis that God gave the country to the king (lord or suzerain) and he could give parts to nobles (vassals) who are absolute lords of their territory (fief). The lord of a feudal estate was an absolute ruler over his land and its inhabitants were his subjects. He could tax them, punish them be kind or cruel towards them.

France during the eleventh century was divided into about 200 great fiefs and about 70,000 smaller ones. In the thirteen century Germany was divided into 276 virtually independent states.

The lords regarded themselves as higher beings than the rest and through taxation, extortion and robbery they lived in luxury.

The high priests of the Roman Catholic Church were holders of feudal estates. A young noble could be either enter the Church or become a knight.

For a knight the only proper pursuits were war, hunting, or military games. These games, called tournaments, consist in mock fights on horseback, in full armour. Many combatants were killed during the games. Many times the knights descended to highway robbery.

The straggle between the Emperors and the Popes claimed many lives. But most of the European sovereigns in the thirteenth century accepted the Pope as their overlord and the Kings were the vassals of the Roman Pontiff (derived from the ancient Roman Pontfex, the highest priest in Rome.)  But in Northern and Central Italy some 200 independent and self governing city states owed only nominal allegiance to the Emperor or to the Pope.

The Church used its religious and political power to launch a series of wars eastward (the Crusades, 1095 – 1291) which lasted for some 200 years resulting in the killings of millions.

Back in Germany for example the nobles carried endless civil wars (1256 – 1273) and Italy was divided even more than Germany. The many petty city republics were jules of one another as the ancient Greek cities used to be and like their Hellenic models they waged constant wars for self-aggrandizement.

Scotland and Wales long remained independent of English rule. But in 1282 Wales became part of the English kingdom. Since then the heir-apparent bears the title ‘Prince of Wales.’ The Scots maintained their independence after a series of wars (1296-1328).

From 1336 to 1453 France was engaged in the Hundred Years War with England. Another thirty years of war (the wars of the roses, 1455-1485) erupted this time between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians of England.

When the Christians took over Muslim Spain in 1492 they ethnically cleansed the country from all the Muslims and the Jews and then used the know-how of the Muslim European Civilization in navigation to colonize millions of natives in Africa, India and the Americas. But this is another story.

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