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Freedom of Speech, Religion, and Islamic Jihad: Who Should Apologize?

In Memory of the Victims of September 11, 1922:
Let us study the history so that we do not repeat past mistakes.

Tasty dessert or sacrilege?
Burger King ice cream cone
Click to see why this ice cream cone was banned.

From "The Religion of Peace":

"Should the Pope apologize for saying that Islam isn't always a Religion of Peace, or should Muslims apologize for having let their religion become what it is?  Let's look at the numbers:

Since we've been keeping track, at least six priests, 14 pastors and thousands of Christians have been murdered in the name of Islam in just the last five years. This even includes 382 who were slain by Muslims in or on the grounds of a church in countries like Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Turkey and Bangladesh.

By contrast, we can't find a single incident since 9/11 when a mosque leader or ordinary Muslim was murdered in the name of Catholicism."

[I would also note that most of the churches bombed in the Palestinian territories since the pope's speech were not even Catholic; "any infidel will do" in their view I suppose]

"So, please excuse us for not getting worked up over someone's hurt feelings.  Islam will become a Religion of Peace when Muslims decide to make it so.  Stop the killing.  Stop the self-indulgent whining and excuse.  Earn our respect by stepping up and taking responsibility."

We cannot tolerate a militant intolerance that seeks to subvert and subjugate:

The last highway exit before Mecca, Saudi Arabia. First, they changed the transliteration from "Mecca" to "Makkah" because "infidels" were using the word "Mecca" too much. Non-muslims are obligated to take the exit so they don't defile Mecca with their "najis" uncleanness. Imagine if the U.S. tried to ban people from a city based on religion. But in the Wahabi state this is necessary to keep non-Muslims "in their place".

Roadway apartheid in Saudi Arabia

(they even put the word "Muslim" in uppercase and "non muslim" in lowercase, in case we didn't get the message to keep our "unclean" selves away)

Some people have been deriding the U.S. for its "Crusade" in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is silly. Just like in Kosovo and Bosnia, the end result of our intervention will be the perpetuation of a Muslim state, and the future for both Iraq and Afghanistan will belong to hardline fundamentalist Muslims who can implement their idea of theocratic utopia. Our interventions help the cause of jihad; they don't hinder it, though I doubt people would want to admit that. In Kosovo, we intervened because Muslims were being massacred. What did the Muslim government and people commence when they had power? Kill and persecute the Christians, Jews and Gypsies. Jihad fi sabil Allah. ("fighting for the sake of God").

From Iraq's website, this "moderate" which the U.S. hopes will help usher in a peaceful democracy in that country. Sistani is perhaps the most moderate of the major religious figures vying for power.

He gets right to the point. Click here to see his site's discussion of uncleanness. It is not merely his view. On the Faith Freedom site, we find a Shi'ite Muslim in Iran amazed that a Christian's house was clean, while his Muslim friends' houses were not. The reason for this is that he had been brought up to consider non-Muslims as "najis", dirty people one should not have contact with. We also find one writer's grandmother who could not hate anyone because of her "sweet" nature, but nevertheless could not shake hands or otherwise have contact with a non-Muslim because of the rules.

You will undoubtedly notice the word "kafir" recurring in sites such as this; it must be something uniquely heinous, or at least as dirty as alcohol, pigs and dogs. Some may be familiar with its use in South Africa under apartheid, a nasty term of abuse worse than the English "N-word".

A kafir in Arabic means an "unbeliever", an "infidel". As in "Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them" (Koran, Surah 9:5). When the Muslim armies from Arabia invaded Africa, they referred to the indigenous black population as "kafir" and the name stuck, but as a racial rather than a religious term of abuse.

The following picture is also from "The Religion of Peace". The protester happens to be dressed just like a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member, a terrorist group which is fast receding into the dustbin of history, because people don't tolerate their violence and racism anymore. There is a lesson to be learned there. Terrorists get strength and safe haven from their sympathizers, so we must be uncompromising in never sympathizing with this kind of thing.

striking resemblance to KKK

Who was this Emperor Paleologos who the pope quoted? He was a Byzantine Emperor whose empire was besieged and then subjugated by -- you guessed it -- a violent jihad. Wikipedia has a good article on him. You will note that not only was most of his life spent under the danger of Muslim conquest of his country, but that in fact when he wrote the passage which the pope quoted, he was a hostage of the Sultan. He may well have had a weapon aimed at him, much like today's hostages of jihadis, when he said:

"To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death..."

While the Ottomans forced him to pay tribute later as well, the empire itself did not fall until 1453, when one of Manuel II's sons, Constantine XI, was emperor.


(This and other quotes from Emperor Paleologos can be found in various translations, such as the German one the pope used, and are also available in the original Greek and in Latin translation in J.P. Migne's Patrologia Graeca, vol. 156.)

The next 400 years were a time of great oppression. Of course, Ottoman and Muslim apologists will try to paint a rosy "Gone with the Wind" picture of life as a Christian or Jew under Muslim rule, but in fact it was a "Jim Crow" type of existence which was demanded by the Sharia, Islamic law. Conquered non-Muslims are given an "opportunity" to "embrace" Islam (if they're not killed in the course of battle). If a Hindu or other person deemed a polytheist, then they are to be killed if they refuse. For Christians and Jews, there is the additional "option" of entering into an agreement of protection ("dhimma"), accepting status as a "dhimmi", a second-class status where if one keeps a low profile, keeps in one's "place", wears distinctive clothing marking him/her as a non-Muslim (so Muslims aren't defiled by contact with them) and always acts submissive in the presence of Muslims (there are a lot more humiliating rules), then they theoretically will be left in peace, not harmed, and will be able to practice their faith. Unless they marry, have sex with or convert a Muslim (death penalty). Their testimony is worth half a Muslim's testimony in court (and a woman's is worth half of that), but they are not allowed to defend themselves if struck or abused by a Muslim. Churches and synagogues must be lower than mosques, and building or even repairing them requires special permission that is rarely given, and requires further humiliation. And there is the submission tax, the jizya, the penalty for being non-Muslim. All this is designed to gradually wear the non-Muslims into submission. In some areas like Bosnia it succeeded, whereas in Greece there were very few conversions and the country remains 98% Christian today.

Muslims tell Catholic pope to abide by Muslim limits

If a dhimmi transgresses these limits imposed on him or her, retribution is swift. There does not have to be any actual transgression; the occasional lynching or pogrom is a way of showing who's boss, for example, a Christian man rumored to be having an affair with a Muslim woman. In this context one can see why the above protesters think that the Catholic pope should abide by Muslim "limits". There is a strong resemblance of dhimmitude to the treatment of blacks under the Jim Crow laws in the old South of the U.S., where a lynching could result from the most trivial violation or imagined violation of the discriminatory rules. Perhaps this is why the late Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos marched in the Selma, Alabama civil rights march in 1965. He grew up as a Greek in Turkey under dhimmitude and knew what second-class citizenship was like. In fact, to this day, the current Orthodox patriarch in Constantinople (Istanbul) and the few remaining Christians there are still subject to severe restrictions, enforced more by the threat of mob violence than of law. The patriarch, though a Christian leader, cannot be freely elected but, as during Ottoman times, can only be selected from a list of "loyal" Turkish citizens picked by the Turkish government. And there was no abolition of actual slavery in 19th-century Turkey as there was in the West; African slaves continued to be sold in Constantinople until 1908.

Archbishop Chrisostomos, lynched just before the burning of Smyrna on 9/11/1922
Archbishop Chrisostomos, lynched just before the burning of Smyrna on 9/11/1922

By the early 20th century, the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating. Much of the Balkans had freed themselves, though the Armenians had not. Various justifications are still put forth for the genocides of that period, but the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is the largest, reported to have involved the murder of 15,000,000 Armenians. Dido Sotiriou's book Farewell Anatolia has been acclaimed by Turk and Greek alike as an even-handed portrayal of the last days of the dhimmi in this period of Turkey's history, culminating with the Great Fire of 1922. The ancient city of Smyrna had been a major Christian city since New Testament times, and still on the eve of its destruction it was known to the Turks as gavur Izmir which means "infidel Smyrna", gavur being the same as the Arabic word kafir discussed above, and remaining a very derogatory word. Smyrna had earned that title because despite nearly 500 years of harassment, forced conversions, jihad and discrimination, it was still a Muslim-minority city. Most of the inhabitants were Greeks, Armenians and Jews. Until the city was set ablaze, while soldiers butchered those trying to escape. At least in the Christian and Jewish quarters. The small Muslim quarter was untouched. The archbishop (Chrisostomos) was literally chopped to pieces, first his eyes, then ears, nose and hands. He was lynched on September 9, 1922, and the entire non-Muslim part of the city burned down on -- you guessed it -- September 11, 1922. To this day, people throw about theories about "Armenian terrorists" staging it all, or the Greek army doing it -- as if they would kill their own people? (Of course, it is only five years since September 11, 2001 and there are already some crackpot theories about what happened, even from New Yorkers who witnessed it with their own eyes.)

Smyrna still in flames on September 14, 1922
Smyrna still in flames on September 14, 1922
New York City on September 14, 2001 (also still in flames)
New York City on September 14, 2001 (also still in flames)

My grandfather was from Smyrna and he was one of the lucky ones who escaped in time and came to the U.S. The refugees from this calamity made Astoria, New York the Greek community which it remains today, and Athens, Greece also took in a lot of refugees, so that what had been a small town for centuries now became a large city.

Those who say that there is no such thing as violent jihad need to brush up on their history.

But what about the Crusades? Well, we Orthodox Christians know well about the Crusades; the pope's armies committed atrocities on our ancestors just as they did to the Muslims, including killing and raping inside churches. (While the Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox were one church for the first millenium of Christianity, they split in the Great Schism of 1054, so that we were "schismatics" in the eyes of Rome for refusing to accept universal jurisdiction of the pope and the addition of the "filioque" phrase to the Nicene Creed.)

We are certainly no fan of the Crusades, and are glad that there has been no Crusade for many centuries. Why, though, don't the Muslims apologize for having taken the Holy Land (and the Balkans, and Syria, and a large swath of Africa, and so on) by force, damaging and destroying churches there and building Al-Aqsa mosque over the Jewish Temple? Why is it that we always "have" to apologize, while they can do whatever they please and most people don't have the backbone to call them on it? If not for the Muslim armies, there would have been no need for the Crusades, and as atrocity-filled as the Crusades were, the Anatolian conquests and genocides were no picnic either. The Holy Land itself suffered greatly from two waves of Muslim pillaging; first the Arab armies of the 7th Century, then later the Turks. Those were morally and materially just like Crusades. We're still waiting for the apology.

Most of the "Crusader" churches bombed in the Palestinian terroritories since the pope's comment are not even Catholic. And as we all know, Catholics don't go on Crusades nowadays, nor do other Christians. The lame arguments of the bin Laden sympathizers that our Iraq, etc. interventions are Crusades are silly. We have greatly helped the jihadi cause by propping up the Wahabi rulers in Saudi Arabia, and by getting rid of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein so a new fundamentalist Islamic republic can be established. Actually, Karzai in Afghanistan seems to be no extremist, but he can only do so much with his limited control of the country. But there is no question that these are and will all be Islamic governments, in both cases putting Sharia Islamic law into the constitution just as with the Islamic Republic of Iran which took our embassy personnel hostage. In former Yugoslavia we bombed Christians during their Easter services, and why? Certainly, Slobodan Milosevic was an opportunistic butcher who committed atrocities, but the war did not remedy the problem of ethnic tension. The peacekeepers there are the only thing preventing the Muslims from executing the few remaining old ladies and other non-Muslims who have not been able to leave yet. Atrocities are still being committed, but the politically correct view is apparently that only Christians have to apologize for their actions; if a Muslim does it it must be right.

Page created: September 24, 2006
Last updated: September 25, 2006

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