I often fear that the vast ignorance of Americans and others around the world concerning the history of Islam condemns them to be pawns in the hands of the Iranians and other Muslim leaders who reflect why Islam came to be and how it has conducted itself since the death of Muhammad.
The recent “incident” in which 15 British sailors were taken hostage by the Iranians (and you can substitute any radical Islamic group such as Hamas, Hezbollah, or al Qaeda committing other similar acts) and the subsequent “diplomatic” effort totally ignores the fact that these same Iranians took American diplomats hostage in 1979. Our subsequent failure to mete out a severe military retribution has brought us to the current prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.
You may have noticed that, every time the United States leaves a war unfinished, we end up having to deal with the same bad people whether they are the North Koreans, the Iranians, or, in the case of Iraq, the return in 2003 after the botched victory in 1991. The only purpose of war is to leave one’s enemies utterly without the will to repeat their bad behavior. By contrast, we have excellent relations with Japan and Germany.
It should be noted, too, that the Iranians have shown absolutely no regard for the Geneva Convention, having paraded their hostages on television and forced them to make false statements under threat of death. The loudest voices about the proper adherence to the Convention have, of course, been raised against the United States.
The powerful hold that Islam has on the minds and hearts of Middle Eastern Muslims is deeply rooted in its very beginnings. This “religion” that Mohammed invented had as its purpose a justification for looting other towns and tribes in the name of Allah. Thievery, banditry, the sale of slaves, the imposition of taxes and tribute, were all set in motion when in March 632 Muhammed said, “I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah.’”
Islam, which translates “submission”, is all about war, the division of the booty that results, and the subjugation of those who are conquered. This explains why, alone among the three major monotheistic religions, Islam has produced absolutely nothing that one can call progress.
Centuries later, in November 2001 Osama bin Laden announced “I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammed.” Not a single new idea has issued forth from Islam since its founding.
Islam divides the world between itself and what it calls “the world of war” by which it means all others who are not Muslims. The entire early history of Islam under Muhammed was one of looting and pillage as, one by one, those who responded to his banner, calling him a prophet, realized that there were profits to be had in conquering those around them.
On Mohammed’s death, Islam almost immediately divided into warring parties over who would inherit his mantle as caliph. The Sunnis and the Shiites are still fighting one another over that. Islam is one long history of war, treachery and deceit.
In his book, “Islamic Imperialism: A History”, Efraim Karsh relates a story of the struggle between the Abbasids and the declining Umayyads, two Muslim dynasties in 883 AD. The leader of the Abbasids, Abul Abbas, called himself “the bloodshedder.” Karsh relates:
“In an attempt to prevent any backlash from supporters of the fallen dynasty, the Abbasids embarked on a murderous spree. In Mecca and Medina scores of Umayyads were rounded up and murdered in detention. In the Iraqi garrison town of Wasit the governor laid down his weapons in return for a personal guarantee of safe conduct by the caliph, only to be treacherously murdered. In Palestine, the newly appointed governor of Syria invited a group of eighty prominent Umayyads to a banquet, slaughtered them all, then sat calmly among the corpses to finish his meal.”
In the aftermath of the 1991 defeat of the Iraqis who were driven from Kuwait by a coalition led by American forces, Saddam’s generals met in Safwan to accept surrender terms. What they got was a promise of U.S. withdrawal and the right to use their helicopters for “transportation.” What they did was use those helicopters as gun ships to slaughter thousands of Shiites and Kurds who showed any inclination to resist the further rule of Saddam Hussein. The result of that miscalculation were “no-fly zones” over two thirds of Iraq that were maintained for twelve years until the second invasion in March 2003.
Today, as the U.S. media puts the various battles between Shiites and Sunnis on the front pages, Americans wonder why are these two Muslim groups blowing up each other’s mosques? Why are they murdering each other? Why are Iraq’s neighbors, Iran and Syria, maneuvering to secure whatever they can gain from the effort to (1) rid Iraq of the American-led coalition forces and (2) pick up the spoils of a divided and easily conquered Iraqi nation?
An easy reading of Islamic history and a common sense response to today’s events tell us that the Iranians will continue to probe for weakness among its enemies, the Americans, the British, the other members of the European Union, and of course, those Gulf nations who will have to confront an nuclear armed Iran if they are permitted to continue. Any failure to respond to their outrages will earn their contempt and further rumblings of war.
“We will continue to export our revolution throughout the world…until the calls ‘there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’ are echoed all over the world.” Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979.
Want to hear the call to prayer in your neighborhood? All we have to do is leave Iraq.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com His book, “Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy”, is published by Merril Press.
© Alan Caruba, April 2007