Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How Muslim Piracy Changed the World!

Here's a history lesson which explains the reasons behind the sudden collapse of classical European society due to Muslim invasions and the subsequent discovery of the New World by Columbus.  So in the long run, Western society owes its expansion and resurgence to having to find ways around the barbaric Islamic Middle East.


How Muslim Piracy Changed the World!

Thursday, 12 November 2009 08:29
John J. O'Neill
Islamic piracy, especially in the Mediterranean waters and European coastal areas and terrotories, had an impact that went far beyond the economic impoverishment of Europe...

In my recently-published book, "Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization", I have argued that it was the coming of Islam, in the mid-seventh century, which effectively brought the Classical Civilization of Greece and Rome to an end and initiated the Middle Ages. There I showed that the Muslim conquest of the Middle East and North Africa, from the 630s onwards, closed those areas to trade from Europe; and the consequent impoverishment of the latter led to the decline of the urban centers, which had been the powerhouses of Classical culture.

But it was not war alone that brought this about. After all, from the beginning of history, empires had come and gone around the shores of the Middle Sea, yet trade and economic life had continued. With the rise of Islam, it is clear, this did not happen. All trade between the Christian West (and Christian East) and the newly-Islamic East was terminated, definitively. We know this for certain by the data brought forth by Henri Pirenne and others. Why did it happen? Did the Caliphs forbid merchants to trade with infidels?
The truth is far worse.

One of the fundamentals of the Islamic faith was the acceptability, even the duty, of Muslims to wage war against the infidel. Islam divided the world into two starkly opposing camps: that of Islam, the Dar al-Islam, and that of the unbelievers, which was known as the Dar al-Harb. But Dar al-Harb literally means 'House of War'.

Jihad or Holy War, as we have seen, was a fundamental duty of all Muslim rulers. Truces were allowed, but never a lasting peace. (See e.g. Koran 8:40 and 9:124). In the words of medieval historian Robert Irwin, “Since the jihad [was] …a state of permanent war, it excluded] …the possibility of true peace, but it [did] …allow for provisional truces in accordance with the requirements of the political situation” [Robert Irwin, “Islam and the Crusades: 1096-1699,” Jonathan Riley-Smith ed., The Oxford History of the Crusades, Oxford, 1995, pp. 237]. Also, “Muslim religious law could not countenance the formal conclusion of any sort of permanent peace with the infidel” (Ibid). In such circumstances, it is evident that, when the Islamic forces were in a position of strength, almost all contact between them and the outside world was warlike. And this was not war as is waged between two kingdoms, empires, or dynasties: This was total war, war that did not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, and war that did not end. In this spirit, Islamic generals launched attack after attack against the southern shores of Europe during the seventh and eighth centuries; and these “official” actions were supplemented by hundreds, even thousands, of lesser raids, carried out by minor Muslim commanders and even by private individuals: For it was considered legitimate that the Muslim faithful should live off the infidel world. Whatever spoils could be taken, were divinely sanctioned.