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The Islamization of Europe (Continued) By: Andrew G. Bostom
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, December 31, 2004


Bat Ye’or summarizes the bitter harvest Western Europe is now reaping from the sociopolitical and cultural changes it has sewn:  

Arab and Islamic anti-Israeli propaganda, barely disguised in academic and cultural packaging…disseminated by organs of the Euro-Arab Dialogue operating under the highest state authorities and imposed in universities, the press, and cultural centers. Dissidents, whether in religious, political, or cultural circles…marginalized or reduced to silence…Within this Europe transformed into a Euro-Arab continent hostile to the United States and Israel, transnational, transcontinental Judeophobia is structured in the fusion of two hatreds-European Antisemitism, and Arab-Muslim Judeophobia. This incendiary mixture formed the pillars of the Euro-Arab alliance against both Israel and the United States. The dialogue committees condition European mentalities to the new cult of Palestinianism. This ideology of hate melds Christian and Islamic Judeophobia, including the principles of replacement theology, expressed as both Christian, and finally Islamic supersessionism against Israel, which is condemned to disappear…Israel[‘s] usurped history and identity are projected onto the Palestinians. Traditional European Antisemitism and Islamic jihad are fused within the structures and geopolitics of Euro-Arabism; in this process, European anti-Americanism and Judeophobia come together within the Euro-Arab ideology.

 

Europe’s hidden war against Israel is wrapped in the Palestinian flag, and is part of a global movement that is transforming Europe into a new continent of dhimmitude within a worldwide strategy of jihad and da’wa, the latter being the pacific method of Islamization…this policy of dhimmitude for the Euro-Arabian continent…entitled “Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean Region” was accepted by the European Union in December 2003. Unfortunately, the policy of “Dialogue” with the Arab League nations, willfully pursued by Europe for the past three decades, has promoted European dhimmitude and rabid Judeophobia.

 

Transcending the "Pundits"

 

The widening Trans-Atlantic policy divide which separates Western Europe and America was examined by the Carnegie Endowment’s Robert Kagan (in mid-2002, initially and elaborated slightly,  in 2003 ). Much puffery from Washington, DC elites accompanied Kagan’s analysis of Europeans as “Kantians” (or “Venutians”), versus Americans as “Hobbesians” (or “Martians”).  But his glib conception is mere think tank palaver, devoid of any understanding of how the resurgent Islamic institutions of jihad and dhimmitude have radically altered Western European societies over the past three decades, shaping in tangible ways, events witnessed each day.

 

More recently, Middle East Studies doyen Bernard Lewis predicted Europe’s inexorable Islamization by no later than the end of the 21st century, during a July 28, 2004 interview published in Die Welt. He also emphasized the crucial role of shared European and Arab Muslim “envy” towards the US in driving the poor relations between the Americans and the emerging Euro-Arab bloc of nations. Despite his iconic status, which caused these remarks to reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic, Lewis’ utterances lacked substance, and their foreboding tone oddly contradicted sentiments he has expressed repeatedly in his writings. Lewis has extolled the scientific and cultural achievements of Islam 22, and he is a champion of Ottoman ecumenism 23. Why then wasn't  his prediction about Western Europe's transformation into predominantly Muslim societies accompanied by an air of enthusiastic impatience, as opposed to gloomy resignation? Surely the fact that ecumenical Turkey's looming entrance into the EU will accelerate this process should be a source of particular joy, even pride, for Lewis.

 

There are logical, if not particularly flattering explanations for Lewis' simplistic (i.e., compare Lewis’ Die Welt interview, to these recent interviews here and here, by Bat Ye’or) and at the same time, paradoxical statements. Bernard Lewis remains oblivious to the reality that the Euro-Arab alliance he refers to vaguely is in fact a formal polity, not some ill-defined group of nations coming together informally due to a shared “envy” of America. Instead, Eurabia- a bona fide political entity- operates with the assumption of superiority- cultural, intellectual, and moral- abetted in no small measure by the writings of historians like Lewis himself, with their exaggerated claims of Muslim cultural and scientific contributions, and their invented, roseate narrative of Ottoman “tolerance”. Does Lewis really think that Ottoman or Persian miniature art is anything other than crude when compared to contemporary paintings and sculptures created in Western Europe, from the Renaissance, onward?  Is he not cognizant of this unassailable truth (established by leading historians and sociologists of science) about the origins of modern science-an organized, empirically directed effort to explain natural phenomena through theory construction and testing? – “…it is indisputable that modern science emerged in the seventeenth century in Western Europe and nowhere else”. 24

 

Why did the Tanzimat reforms, designed to abrogate the Ottoman version of the system of dhimmitude, need to be imposed by European powers through treaties, as so-called “capitulations” following Ottoman military defeats, and why even then, were these reforms never implemented in any meaningful way from 1839, until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I 25 ? Why was there never a significant “Shari’a-inspired” slavery abolition movement within the Ottoman states, comparable to the courageous and successful campaigns lead by Western Christian statesmen (such as the Evangelical Parliamentarian,William Wilberforce 26 ) in Europe and America, throughout the 19th century? Deliberately limited and ineffectual firmans issued by the Ottoman Porte failed to discourage East African slave trading 27, and even British naval power, so successful in the Atlantic and Indian oceans 28, was unable to suppress the Red Sea slave trade to the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century 29. Regardless, as Professor Reuben Levy notes 30 :

 

At Constantinople, the sale of women slaves, both negresses and Circassians [likely for harem slavery and/or concubinage], continued to be openly practiced until…1908.

 

Bernard Lewis, in stark contrast to Bat Ye'or, is simply not a serious historian of dhimmitude. His lone work devoted to this subject was a brief, superficial (self-admittedly based on a short lecture series given in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1981), and rather sanitized analysis limited exclusively to the Jewish dhimmi condition 31. More importantly, throughout his lengthy career, Lewis has essentially ignored the vast history of Christian dhimmitude, in particular, those Christian populations subjugated by the Ottoman Empire 32. Even the Turcophilic 19th century travel writer Ubicini acknowledged the oppressive burden of Ottoman dhimmitude in this moving depiction 33 :

 

The history of enslaved peoples is the same everywhere, or rather, they have no history. The years, the centuries pass without bringing any change to their situation. Generations come and go in silence. One might think they are afraid to awaken their masters, asleep alongside them. However, if you examine them closely you discover that this immobility is only superficial. A silent and constant agitation grips them. Life has entirely withdrawn into the heart. They resemble those rivers which have disappeared underground; if you put your ear to the earth, you can hear the muffled sound of their waters; then they re-emerge intact a few leagues away. Such is the state of the Christian populations of Turkey under Ottoman rule.

 

And during the past two decades, Lewis' writings and lectures (including those for more general audiences) have embraced unacceptable themes of negationist history. Two quite egregious examples demonstrate this point. The cruel and brutal Ottoman devshirme-janissary system, which, from the mid to late 14th, through early 18th centuries, enslaved and forcibly converted to Islam an estimated 500,000 to one million 34 non-Muslim (primarily Balkan Christian) adolescent males, was characterized by Lewis, in a hideous reductio ad absurdum, as a benign form of social advancement, jealously pined for by "ineligible" Ottoman Muslim families:

 

The role played by the Balkan Christian boys recruited into the Ottoman service through the devshirme is well known. Great numbers of them entered the Ottoman military and bureaucratic apparatus, which for a while came to be dominated by these new recruits to the Ottoman state and the Muslim faith. This ascendancy of Balkan Europeans into the Ottoman power structure did not pass unnoticed, and there are many complaints from other elements, sometimes from the Caucasian slaves who were their main competitors, and more vocally from the old and free Muslims, who felt slighted by the preference given to the newly converted slaves. 35

 

Not surprisingly, scholars who have conducted serious, detailed studies of the devshirme-janissary system, do not share Lewis' hagiographic views of this Ottoman institution.  Speros Vryonis, Jr. for example, makes these deliberately understated, but cogent observations 36,

 

…in discussing the devshirme we are dealing with the large numbers of Christians who, in spite of the material advantages offered by conversion to Islam, chose to remain members of a religious society which was denied first class citizenship. Therefore the proposition advanced by some historians, that the Christians welcomed the devshirme as it opened up wonderful opportunities for their children, is inconsistent with the fact that these Christians had not chosen to become Muslims in the first instance but had remained Christians…there is abundant testimony to the very active dislike with which they viewed the taking of their children. One would expect such sentiments given the strong nature of the family bond and given also the strong attachment to Christianity of those who had not apostacized to Islam…First of all the Ottomans capitalized on the general Christian fear of losing their children and used offers of devshirme exemption in negotiations for surrender of Christian lands. Such exemptions were included in the surrender terms granted to Jannina, Galata, the Morea, Chios, etc…Christians who engaged in specialized activities which were important to the Ottoman state were likewise exempt from the tax on their children by way of recognition of the importance of their labors for the empire…Exemption from this tribute was considered a privilege and not a penalty…

 

…there are other documents wherein their [i.e., the Christians] dislike is much more explicitly apparent. These include a series of Ottoman documents dealing with the specific situations wherein the devshirmes themselves have escaped from the officials responsible for collecting them…A firman…in 1601 [regarding the devshirme] provided  the [Ottoman] officials with stern measures of enforcement,  a fact which would seem to suggest that parents were not always disposed to part with their sons.

 

‘..to enforce the command of the known and holy fetva [fatwa] of Seyhul [Shaikh]- Islam. In accordance with this whenever some one of the infidel parents or some other should oppose the giving up of his son for the Janissaries, he is immediately hanged from his door-sill, his blood being deemed unworthy.’

 

Vasiliki Papoulia highlights the continuous desperate, often violent struggle of the Christian populations against this brutally imposed Ottoman levy: 37

 

It is obvious that the population strongly resented…this measure [and the levy] could be carried out only by force. Those who refused to surrender their sons- the healthiest, the handsomest and the most intelligent- were on the spot put to death by hanging. Nevertheless we have examples of armed resistance. In 1565 a revolt took place in Epirus and Albania. The inhabitants killed the recruiting officers and the revolt was put down only after the sultan sent five hundred janissaries in support of the local sanjak-bey. We are better informed, thanks to the historic archives of Yerroia, about the uprising in Naousa in 1705 where the inhabitants killed the Silahdar Ahmed Celebi and his assistants and fled to the mountains as rebels. Some of them were later arrested and put to death..

 

Since there was no possibility of escaping [the levy] the population resorted to several subterfuges. Some left their villages and fled to certain cities which enjoyed exemption from the child levy or migrated to Venetian-held territories. The result was a depopulation of the countryside. Others had their children marry at an early age…Nicephorus Angelus…states that at times the children ran away on their own initiative, but when they heard that the authorities had arrested their parents and were torturing them to death, returned and gave themselves up. La Giulletiere cites the case of a young Athenian who returned from hiding in order to save his father’s life and then chose to die himself rather than abjure his faith. According to the evidence in Turkish sources, some parents even succeeded in abducting their children after they had been recruited. The most successful way of escaping recruitment was through bribery. That the latter was very widespread is evident from the large amounts of money confiscated by the sultan from corrupt…officials. Finally, in their desperation the parents even appealed to the Pope and the Western powers for help.

 

Papoulia concludes:

 

…there is no doubt that this heavy burden was one of the hardest tribulations of the Christian population.38

 

But the most notorious example of this negationist trend is Lewis' ahistorical and self-contradictory "analysis" of the late 19th through early 20th century jihad genocide of the Armenians. His renowned The Emergence of Modern Turkey, originally published in 1962 (reissued in 1968 and 2002), includes these characterizations of the mass killings of the Armenians by the Turks in 1894-96, 1909, and 1915:

 

(1894-96, p. 202) The Armenian participants mindful of the massacres of 1894-96, were anxious to seek the intervention of the European powers as a guarantee of effective reforms in the Ottoman Empire [in the 20th century].

 

(1909, p. 216) With suspicious simultaneity a wave of outbreaks spread across Anatolia. Particularly bad were the events of the Adana district, which culminated in the massacre of thousands of Armenians…While Europe was appalled by Turkish brutality, Muslim opinion was shocked by what seemed to them the insolence of the Armenians and the hypocrisy of Christian Europe. The Turks were, however, well aware of the painful effects produced by these massacres in Europe, which had not yet forgotten the horrors of the Hamidian repression [i.e, the 1894-96 massacres]

 

(1915, p. 356) Now a desperate struggle between them [i.e., the Turks and Armenians] began, a struggle between two nations for the possession of a single homeland, that ended with the terrible holocaust of 1915, when a million and a half Armenians perished. 39

 

Thus when Lewis wrote his authoritative history of modern Turkey, he understood, and made explicit, that the Armenians had been massacred under successive Ottoman governments in 1894-96, and 1909. Moreover, he maintains that the Armenians were subjected in 1915 to a “holocaust”, during which 1.5 million “perished”. By 1985, however, Lewis was the most prominent signatory on a petition to the US Congress protesting the effort to make April 24- the date the Armenians commemorate the victims of the genocide 40 – a nationwide Armenian-American memorial day, which would include the mention of man’s inhumanity to man. 41 Both this petition drive and a simultaneous high profile media advertisement campaign were financed by the Committee of the Turkish Association. 42 Professor Speros Vryonis, Jr. has raised, unabashedly, the appropriate questions and accompanying concerns regarding Lewis’ actions:

 

When was Professor Lewis expressing an objective opinion: when he wrote the book [i.e., The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 1962/68 versions], or when he signed the political ad? To phrase it more bluntly, what shall we believe? Certainly, the data available to him in the writing of the book were sufficiently clear and convincing for him to proceed to these three clear and unequivocal statements [i.e., describing the 1894-96, and 1909 events as massacres of the Armenians by the Turks, and the 1915 slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks as a holocaust]. What had changed? The subject had entered the sphere of politics, and Prof. Lewis, along with so many other signers of the ad, had decided to take sides where their economic, professional, personal, and emotional interests lay: with the Turkish government, and not with history. 43

 

Furthermore, during the past decade, as Yair Auron has observed, when Lewis was requested,

 

…to make available the academic research published in recent years, which, in his professional opinion, constitute the basis for the change from his original position to his new position that there was no state-planned or administered genocide/mass murder of the Armenians…Lewis did not respond to this demand, even though he noted that letters to him and his reply would be published. 44

 

Auron’s final assessment is apt:

 

Lewis’ stature [has] provided a lofty cover for the Turkish national agenda of obfuscating academic research on the Armenian Genocide. 45

 

Lewis’ historical negationism aside, a consensus among bona fide genocide scholars has emerged 46 which is consistent with Richard Rubenstein’s conclusion from 1975, that the 1915 Turkish massacre of the Armenians was,

 

…the first full-fledged attempt by a modern state to practice disciplined, methodically organized genocide. 47

 

A seminal analysis by Professor Vahakn Dadrian published in 2001 validates the conclusion that the Ottoman Turks committed a centrally organized mass murder, i.e., a genocide, against their Armenian population.48 Relying upon a vast array of quintessential, primary source documents from the World War I allies of the Ottoman Empire, Germany and Austria- Hungary, Dadrian obviated the intractable disputes surrounding the reliability and authenticity of both Ottoman Turkish, and Armenian documents. Amassed painstakingly by Dadrian, the primary source evidence from these German and Austro-Hungarian officials- reluctant witnesses- leads to this inescapable conclusion: the anti-Armenian measures, despite a multitude of attempts at cover-up and outright denial, were meticulously planned by the Ottoman authorities, and were designed to destroy wholesale, the victim population. Dadrian bolsters this assessment with remarkable testimony before the Mazhar Inquiry Commission, which conducted a preliminary investigation in the post-war period to determine the criminal liability of the wartime Ottoman authorities regarding the Armenian deportations and massacres. The December 15, 1918 deposition by General Mehmed Vehip, commander-in-chief of the Ottoman Third Army, and ardent CUP (Committee of Union and Progress, i.e., the "Ittihadists", or "Young Turks") member, included this summary statement:

 

…The murder and annihilation of the Armenians and the plunder and expropriation of their possessions were the result of the decisions made by the CUP…These atrocities occurred under a program that was determined upon and involved a definite case of willfulness. They occurred because they were ordered, approved, and pursued first by the CUP's [provincial] delegates and central boards, and second by governmental chiefs who had…pushed aside  their conscience, and had become the tools of the wishes and desires of the Ittihadist society…49

 

Dadrian's own compelling assessment of this primary source evidence is summarized as follows:

 

…Through the episodic interventions of the European Powers, the historically evolving and intensifying Turko-Armenian conflict had become a source of anger and frustration for the Ottoman rulers and elites driven by a xenophobic nationalism. A monolithic political party that had managed to eliminate all opposition and had gained control of the Ottoman state apparatus efficiently took advantage of the opportunities provided by World War I. It purged by violent and lethal means the bulk of the Armenian population from the territories of the empire. By any standard definition, this was an act of genocide50

 

Despite " advent, and accompanying comparisons to the ideals of the French Revolution, the CUP's "Young Turk" regime eventually adopted a discriminatory, anti-reform attitude toward non-Muslims within the Ottoman Empire. During an August 6, 1910 speech in Saloniki, Mehmed Talat, pre-eminent leader of the Young Turks disdainfully rejected the notion of equality with “gavours” (non-Muslim infidels) , arguing that it “…is an unrecognizable ideal since it is inimical with Sheriat [Shari'a] and the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of Muslims…”.51 Roderick Davison, a respected Ottomanist notes that in fact "..no genuine equality was ever attained..", re-enacting the failure of the prior Tanzimat reform period. As a consequence, he observes, the CUP leadership "…soon turned from equality…to Turkification…" 52

 

During the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid, the Ottoman Turks massacred over 200,000 Armenians between 1894-96. This was followed, under the Young Turk regime, by the Adana massacres of 25,000 Armenians in 1909, and the  first formal genocide of the 20th century, when in 1915 alone, an additional 600,000 to 800,000 Armenians were slaughtered.53 The massacres of the 1890s had an "organic" connection to the Adana massacres of 1909, and more importantly, the events of 1915. As Vahakn Dadrian argues, they facilitated the genocidal acts of 1915 by providing the Young Turks with “a predictable impunity.” The absence of adverse consequences for the Abdul Hamid massacres in the 1890s allowed the Young Turks to move forward without constraint.54

Contemporary accounts from European diplomats make clear that these brutal massacres were perpetrated in the context of a formal jihad against the Armenians who had attempted to throw off the yoke of dhimmitude by seeking equal rights and autonomy. For example, the Chief Dragoman (Turkish-speaking interpreter) of the British embassy reported regarding the 1894-96 massacres:

 

…[The perpetrators] are guided in their general action by the prescriptions of the Sheri [Sharia] Law. That law prescribes that if the "rayah" [dhimmi] Christian attempts, by having recourse to foreign powers, to overstep the limits of privileges allowed them by their Mussulman [Muslim] masters, and free themselves from their bondage, their lives and property are to be forfeited, and are at the mercy of the Mussulmans. To the Turkish mind the Armenians had tried to overstep those limits by appealing to foreign powers, especially England. They therefore considered it their religious duty and a righteous thing to destroy and seize the lives and properties of the Armenians…55

 

Bat Ye'or confirms this reasoning, noting that the Armenian quest for reforms invalidated their "legal status," which involved a "contract" (i.e., with their Muslim Turkish rulers). This

 

…breach…restored to the umma [the Muslim community] its initial right to kill the subjugated minority [the dhimmis], [and] seize their property…56

 

An intrepid Protestant historian and missionary Johannes Lepsius, who earlier had undertaken a two-month trip to examine the sites of the Abul Hamid era massacres,  traveled again to Turkey during World War I. Regarding the period between 1914-1918, he wrote :

 

… Are we then simply forbidden to speak of the Armenians as persecuted on account of their religious belief'? If so, there have never been any religious persecutions in the world…We have lists before us of 559 villages whose surviving inhabitants were converted to Islam with fire and sword; of 568 churches thoroughly pillaged, destroyed and razed to the ground; of 282 Christian churches transformed into mosques; of 21 Protestant preachers and 170 Gregorian (Armenian) priests who were, after enduring unspeakable tortures, murdered on their refusal to accept Islam. We repeat, however, that those figures express only the extent of our information, and do not by a long way reach to the extent of the reality. Is this a religious persecution or is it not?...57

 

Finally, Bat Ye'or places the continuum of massacres from the 1890s through World War I in an overall theological and juridical context, as follows:

 

…The genocide of the Armenians was the natural outcome of a policy inherent in the politico-religious structure of dhimmitude. This process of physically eliminating a rebel nation had already been used against the rebel Slav and Greek Christians, rescued from collective extermination by European intervention, although sometimes reluctantly.

 

The genocide of the Armenians was a jihad. No rayas (non-Muslim dhimmis under Ottoman rule) took part in it. Despite the disapproval of many Muslim Turks and Arabs, and their refusal to collaborate in the crime, these masssacres were perpetrated solely by Muslims and they alone profited from the booty: the victims' property, houses, and lands granted to the muhajirun, and the allocation to them of women and child slaves. The elimination of male children over the age of twelve was in accordance with the commandments of the jihad and conformed to the age fixed for the payment of the jizya. The four stages of the liquidation- deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and massacre- reproduced the historic conditions of the jihad carried out in the dar-al-harb from the seventh century on. Chronicles from a variety of sources, by Muslim authors in particular, give detailed descriptions of the organized massacres or deportation of captives, whose sufferings in forced marches behind the armies paralleled the Armenian experience in the twentieth century…58

 

To finish reading this review, Click Here.


Andrew G. Bostom is a frequent contributor to Frontpage Magazine.com, and the author of The Legacy of Jihad, and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.



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