Saturday, March 9, 2013

We Might be Muslim Today if....

A short history of Islamic invasions of Europe and why we're not praying to Mecca.

March 8, 2013

We Might be Muslim Today if....

By Selwyn Duke

The year is 632 A.D., and Muslim hordes have set their sights on the Mideast and North Africa -- the old Christian world. And the Caliphate, as the Islamic realm is called, will not be denied. Syria and Iraq fall in 636. Palestine is next in 638. And Byzantine Egypt and North Africa, not even Arab lands, are conquered by 642 and 709, respectively. Then, just two years later, the Muslims cross the Strait of Gibraltar and enter Iberia (now Spain and Portugal). The invasion of Europe has begun.

And the new continent seems no impediment to Islam. After vanquishing much of Visigothic Iberia by 718, the Muslims cross the Pyrenees Mountains into Gaul (now France) and move northward. Now it is 732, and they are approaching Tours, a mere 126 miles from Paris. The Western world -- what's left of Christendom -- could very well be on its way to extinction.

Europe is currently easy prey, comprising disunited, often belligerent kingdoms and duchies recently decimated by plague. In contrast, the Islamic world is a burgeoning civilization; so much so, in fact, that it views the Europeans as barbarians. The Muslims also command enormous battle-hardened military forces and have enjoyed almost unparalleled breadth and rapidity of conquest, while Europe no longer has standing armies. It largely relies on peasants to do its fighting, men available only when crops aren't beckoning. Yet the Christian Europeans do have one great asset: Charles of Herstal, grandfather of Charlemagne.

Sensing the coming storm as early as 721, Charles realized he was going to need a professional, well-oiled fighting force if he was to tackle the Moorish wave washing across Christendom. So, using Catholic Church resources, he set out to train just such an army. And now, 11 years later, it will be put to the ultimate test.

With a horde of 80,000 men, the Muslims once again start moving north in 732 under the leadership of Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi. And after defeating Odo the Great and sacking his Duchy of Aquitaine, there is nothing standing between Al Ghafiqi and Paris -- except Charles of Herstal and his Frankish and Burgundian army. The two leaders would lock horns in October, on a battlefield between the towns of Tours and Poitier.

When the fateful day arrives, Al Ghafiqi is shocked by what lies before him. The "barbarians" have mustered a force the size of which he isn't used to seeing in these European backwaters. He nonetheless enjoys a great advantage, outnumbering the Christians by perhaps as much as two to one and possessing heavy cavalry, while his adversaries are limited to infantry. The outcome should still be favorable.

But Charles routs the Muslim forces, stopping their advance into Europe cold. He will eventually chase them back across the Pyrenees Mountains, saving Gaul -- and perhaps all of Western civilization -- from the sword of Islam. His miraculous 732 victory becomes known as the Battle of Tours (or Poitier), and it wins him the moniker "Martellus." Thus do we now know him as Charles Martel, which translates into Charles the Hammer.

Article continues HERE.