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John Quincy Adams Knew Jihad By: Andrew G. Bostom
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Professor John Lewis Gaddis’ recent provocative analysis of the origins of “unilateralism” in American foreign policy highlights the pivotal role of John Quincy Adams. With candor and humility, Gaddis further reveals that his own contemporary assessment,  “…is not a new interpretation. If you go back and read the famous Samuel Flagg Bemis, the very distinguished Yale diplomatic historian from half a century ago, Bemis was certainly making this argument about the importance of John Quincy Adams.

But I think this has been lost somewhat in intervening years. So, to an extent, I am trying to rediscover John Quincy Adams, in that sense.” Bemis extolled Adams’ seminal contribution to the formulation of U.S. foreign policy:

“Adams grasped the essentials of American policy and the position of the United States in the world more surely than any other man of his time. He availed himself of matchless opportunities to advance the continental future of his country and the fundamental principles for which it stood in the world. Nothing is clearer than that the fourteen fundamentals (above reviewed) remained the main tenets of American foreign policy during the century following…we may surmise that he and the fathers of American Independence as well, had they lived to share the troublous times beyond the British Century in the science-shrunken smallness of the globe, and to experience the extraordinary vicissitudes, combinations, and wars of global politics would have joined the diplomatic revolution rejecting Isolation, and that he [Adams] would say, as he did say at the time of the Congress of Panama: ‘I do not recollect any change in policy; but there has been a great change in circumstances.’…Even if  John Quincy Adams was not to have another great career, as a crusader against the expansion of slavery, this first and mighty achievement, of no less than continental proportions, in laying the foundations of American foreign policy, would have been great enough for one lifetime.” 1


Bemis’ landmark 1949 review also included a vague footnote referring to a work which I located formally in a comprehensive annotated bibliography of John Quincy Adams’ writings, compiled by Lynn H. Parsons 2:


“Unsigned essays dealing with the Russo-Turkish War, and on Greece, written while JQA was in retirement, before his election to Congress in 1830” [Chapters X-XIV (pp. 267-402) in The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29. New York, 1830.]


A brief contribution appeared in the Claremont Review in December, 2002, purporting to summarize the contents of John Quincy Adams’ 136 pages of analysis (although, curiously, never providing the citation, above, for the original essays). Upon reading Adams’ full set of essays, however, it is apparent that this rather uninformed, sanitized Claremont Review piece missed the mark widely.


John Quincy Adams possessed a remarkably clear, uncompromised understanding of the permanent Islamic institutions of jihad war and dhimmitude. Regarding jihad, Adams states in his essay series,


“…he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.”


Confirming Adams’ assessment, the late Muslim scholar, Professor Majid Khadduri, wrote the following in his authoritative 1955 treatise on jihad, War and Peace in the Law of Islam :


“Thus the jihad may be regarded as Islam’s instrument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers, if not in the prophethood of Muhammad (as in the case of the dhimmis), at least in the belief of God. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have declared ‘some of my people will continue to fight victoriously for the sake of the truth until the last one of them will combat the anti-Christ’. Until that moment is reached the jihad, in one form or another will remain as a permanent obligation upon the entire Muslim community. It follows that the existence of a dar al-harb is ultimately outlawed under the Islamic jural order; that the dar al-Islam permanently under jihad obligation until the dar al-harb is reduced to non-existence; and that any community accepting certain disabilities- must submit to Islamic rule and reside in the dar al-Islam or be bound as clients to the Muslim community. The universality of Islam, in its all embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.”3


And Adams captured the essential condition imposed upon the non-Muslim dhimmi “tributaries” subjugated by jihad, with this laconic statement,


“The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute.”


Indeed, the famous Shafi’i jurist of Baghdad, al-Mawardi (d. 1058), highlights the most salient aspect of the consensus view of classical Islamic jurisprudence regarding the vanquished non-Muslims “tribute”, i.e., the   jizya: the critical connection between jihad and payment of the jizya. He notes that “The enemy makes a payment in return for peace and reconciliation.” Al-Mawardi then distinguishes two cases: (I) Payment is made immediately and is treated like booty, however “it does, however, not prevent a jihad being carried out against them in the future.”. (II). Payment is made yearly and will “constitute an ongoing tribute by which their security is established.” Reconciliation and security last as long as the payment is made. If the payment ceases, then the jihad resumes. A treaty of reconciliation may be renewable, but must not exceed 10 years.4 The nature of such “protection”, i.e., a blood ransom, is reinforced in this definition of jizya written by E.W. Lane, based on a careful analysis of the etymology of the term:


“The tax that is taken from the free non-Muslim subjects of a Muslim government whereby they ratify the compact that assures them protection, as though it were compensation for not being slain5


Adams’ staunch anti-imperialism, one of the “fourteen fundamentals” of U.S. foreign policy which Samuel Flagg Bemis states, “…we may connect with the name of John Quincy Adams more than with that of any other man” 6, is consistent with Old Man Eloquent’s support for the struggle of the Greeks 7 to liberate themselves from the yoke of centuries of dhimmitude, imposed by the imperialism of Ottoman jihad 8. At minimum, in light of the global war on jihad terrorism, John Quincy Adams’ candid, timeless ruminations should be required reading for all contemporary U.S. diplomats and politicians.  


Key annotated excerpts from John Quincy Adams’ remarkable series of essays, are provided below.


Adams on Jesus Christ and Christianity, Relative to Muhammad and Islam


"And he [Jesus] declared, that the enjoyment of felicity in the world hereafter, would be reward of the practice of benevolence here.  His whole law was resolvable into the precept of love; peace on earth – good will toward man, was the early object of his mission; and the authoritative demonstration of the immortality of man, was that, which constituted the more than earthly tribute of glory to God in the highest… The first conquest of the religion of Jesus, was over the unsocial passions of his disciples.  It elevated the standard of the human character in the scale of existence…On the Christian system of morals, man is an immortal spirit, confined for a short space of time, in an earthly tabernacle.  Kindness to his fellow mortals embraces the whole compass of his duties upon earth, and the whole promise of happiness to his spirit hereafter.  THE ESSENCE OF THIS DOCTRINE IS, TO EXALT THE SPIRITUAL OVER THE BRUTAL PART OF HIS NATURE." (Adam's capital letters)….[pp. 267-268]


 “In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of  Hagar [i.e., Muhammad],  the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth.  Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle.  Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion.  He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind.  THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST:  TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE (Adam's capital letters)….Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged.  The war is yet flagrant…While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.” [p. 269]


Adams on Jihad War, Dhimmitude, and the Muslim View of Non-Muslims; Examples of the Perfidy of Muslim States, Including the Ottoman Turkish State


“As the essential principle of his faith is the subjugation of others by the sword; it is only by force, that his false doctrines can be dispelled, and his power annihilated.


They [The Russians] have been from time immemorial, in a state of almost perpetual war with the Tatars, and with their successors, the Ottoman conquerors of Constantinople.  It were an idle waste of time to trace the causes of each renewal of hostilities, during a succession of several centuries.  The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.  The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective.  The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.  Of Mahometan good faith, we have had memorable examples ourselves.  When our gallant [Stephen] Decatur ref had chastised the pirate of Algiers, till he was ready to renounce his claim of tribute from the United States, he signed a treaty to that effect: but the treaty was drawn up in the Arabic language, as well as in our own; and our negotiators, unacquainted with the language of the Koran, signed the copies of the treaty, in both languages, not imagining that there was any difference between them.  Within a year the Dey demands, under penalty of the renewal of the war, an indemnity in money for the frigate taken by Decatur; our Consul demands the foundation of this pretension; and the Arabic copy of the treaty, signed by himself is produced, with an article stipulating the indemnity, foisted into it, in direct opposition to the treaty as it had been concluded.  The arrival of Chauncey, with a squadron before Algiers, silenced the fraudulent claim of the Dey, and he signed a new treaty in which it was abandoned; but he disdained to conceal his intentions; my power, said he, has been wrested from my hands; draw ye the treaty at your pleasure, and I will sign it; but beware of the moment, when I shall recover my power, for with that moment, your treaty shall be waste paper.  He avowed what they always practised, and would without scruple have practised himself. Such is the spirit, which governs the hearts of men, to whom treachery and violence are taught as principles of religion.” [p. 274-275]


“Had it been possible for a sincere and honest peace to be maintained between the Osmanli and his christian neighbors, then would have been the time to establish it in good faith.  But the treaty was no sooner made than broken.  It never was carried into effect by the Turkish government.” [p. 276]


“From the time when the disaster of Navarino ref had been made known to him, the Reis Effendi [Ottoman diplomat assigned to Russia] had assumed the tone of the aggrieved party, and made formal demands of indemnity, and the punishment of the offending admirals.  He still manifested however, a solicitude to prevent the rupture of the negotiations by the departure of the ambassadors…” [p. 298]


“Upon the departure of the ambassadors, the Sultan, who must have been, however, unwillingly preparing his mind for that event, immediately determined upon two things; a war with Russia alone – and a dallying attempt to protract the negotiation, and gain time of preparation for the conflict.” [p. 298]


[From the Ottoman Reis Effendi, to his Russian counterparts] ‘The present friendly letter has been composed and sent, to acquaint your excel­lency. with the circumstance; when you shall learn, on receipt of it, that the Sublime Porte has at all times; no other desire or wish than to preserve peace, and good understanding ; and that the event in question has been brought about, entirely by the act of the said minister, we hope that you will endeavor, do every occasion, to fulfil the duties of friendship.’ But precisely at the time when this mild, and candid, and gently expostulary epistle was despatched for St. Petersburg, another state paper was issued, addressed by the Sultan to his own subjects-this was the Hatti Sheriff of the 20th of December, sent to the Pashas of all the provinces, calling on all the faithful Mussulmen of the empire to come forth and 'fight for their religion, and their country, against the infidel despisers of the Prophet. The comparison of these two documents with each other, will afford the most perfect illustration of the Ottoman faith, as well as of their temper towards Russia.


The Hatti Sheriff commenced with the following admirable com­mentary upon the friendly profession, which introduced the letter to count Nesselrode. ‘It is well known (said the Sultan) to almost every person, that if the Mussulmen naturally hate the infidels, the infidels, on then part, are the enemies of the Mussulmen : that Russia, more espe­cially, bears a particular hatred to Islamism, and that she is the principal enemy of the Sublime Porte.’


This appeal to the natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels, is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran. The document does not attempt to disguise it, nor even pretend that the enmity of those whom it styles the infidels, is any other than the ne­cessary consequence of the hatred borne by the Mussulmen to them—the paragraph itself, is a forcible example of the contrasted character of the two religions. The funda­mental doctrine of the christian religion, is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. There is no denomina­tion of christians, which denies or misunderstands this doctrine. All understand it alike—all acknow­ledge its obligations ; and however imperfectly, in the purposes of Divine Providence, its efficacy has been shown in the practice of christians, it has not been wholly inoperative upon them.  Its effect has been upon the manners of nations.  It has mitigated the horrors of war – it has softened the features of slavery – it has humanized the intercourse of social life.  The unqualified acknowledgement of a duty does not, indeed, suffice to insure its performance.  Hatred is yet a passion, but too powerful upon the hearts of christians.  Yet they cannot indulge it, except by the sacrifice of their principles, and the conscious violation of their duties.  No state paper from a Christian hand, could, without trampling the precepts of its Lord and Master, have commenced by an open proclamation of hatred to any portion of the human race.  The Ottoman lays it down as the foundation of his discourse. [p. 299-300]


“The last appeal of the Sultan to the fanaticism of his people, and to the protection of his prophet, has been vain.  He told them, that since the happy time of their great prophet, the faithful Mussulmen had never taken into consideration the numbers of the infidels.  He reminded them, too truly reminded them, how often they had put millions of Christians to the sword; how many states and provinces they had thus conquered, sword in hand.” 9 [p. 302]


“[More from the Ottoman Sultan’s pronouncement to his subjects]...‘all infidels are but one nation…This war must be considered purely a religious and national war.  Let all the faithful, rich or poor, great or little, know, that to fight is a duty with us; let them then refrain from thinking of arrears, or of pay of any kind; far from such considerations, let us sacrifice our property and our persons; let us execute zealously the duties which the honor of Islamism imposes on us – let us unite our efforts, and labor, body and soul, for the support of religion, until the day of judgement.  Mussulmen have no other means of working out salvation in this world and the next.’”


Those provinces are the abode of ten millions of human beings, two thirds of whom are Christians, groaning under the intolerable oppression of less than three millions of Turks.  Those provinces are in some of the fairest regions of the earth.  They were Christian countries, subdued during the conquering period of the Mahometan imposture, by the ruthless scymetar of the Ottoman race; and under their iron yoke, have been gradually dwindling in population, and sinking into barbarism.  The time of their redemption is at hand.” [p. 303]


“With regard to the Hatti Sheriff of the 20th of December, summoning the whole Ottoman nation to arms against Russia, the sultan now thinks proper to say, that it was only a proclamation which the Sublime Porte, for certain reasons, circulated in its states; an internal transaction, of which the Sublime Porte alone knows the motives, and that the language held by a government to its own subjects cannot b a ground for another government to pick a quarrel with it – especially, as the Grand Vizier had, immediately after the departure of the Russian envoy, written a letter to the prime minister of Russia, declaring the desire of the Sublime Porte till to maintain peace.  That if Russia had conceived suspicions, from the Sultan’s address to his subjects, she might have applied amicably to the Porte to ascertain the truth and clear up her doubts.” [p. 311] 


Remonstrating Against the Moral Equivalence of Britain and the European Powers


“In the kings [British King, George IV] speech, at the opening of the session of Parliament, on the 29th of January, he said that, ‘for several years a contest had been carried on between the Ottoman Porte, and the inhabitants of the Greek provinces and islands, which had been marked on each side, by excesses revolting to humanity’.” [p. 304]


“Still more extraordinary was it to the ears of Christendom to hear a British king, in a speech to his parliament, style the execrable and sanguinary head of the Ottoman race, his ancient ally; and denominate a splendid victory, achieved under the command of a British admiral, in the strict and faithful execution of his instructions, and untoward event.  But the last member of the paragraph from his majesty’s speech, which we have quoted, to those accustomed to the mystifications of royal speeches and diplomatic defiances, explained these apparent disparates.  He declares the great objects to which all his efforts have been directed, and of which, while adhering to his arrangements, he will never lose sight, are the termination of the contest between the hostile parties; the permanent settlement of their future relations to each other, and maintenance of the repose of Europe, upon the basis on which it has rested since the last general peace.” [p. 305]


“And where is the protection to the commerce of his majesty’s subjects! And where is the determination to launch all the thunders of Britain at half a dozen skulking piratical cockboats, driven by the desperation of famine to seek the subsistence of plunder, assigned in the protocols, the treaty and the communications to the Ottoman Porte, as the great objects of his majesty’s interference between a legitimate sovereign and his revolted rayahs?...In all these documents, issuing from the profound and magnanimous policy of the British warrior statesman, nothing is more remarkable, than the more than stoical apathy with which they regard the cause, for which the Greeks are contending; the more than epicurean indifference with which they witness the martyrdom of a whole people, perishing in the recovery of their religion and liberty…The royal speech of January, 1828 indicates that in the protocol and in the treaty, the government of George IV, had outwitted themselves, and were the dupes of their own policy.  It presents the singular spectacle of a sovereign, wincing at the success of his own measures, and repining at the triumph of his own arms.  From that time the partialities of England in favor of he ancient ally, have been little disguised; and the disposition to take side with the Porte has only been controlled, by the unwelcome necessity of adhering to the faith of treaties.” [pp. 306-307]


“Far from being like the Hatti Sheriff of the 20th December, an appeal to the Ottoman people, a bold and candid avowal of the precepts of the Koran; it is an utter departure from them, and an assumption, equally shameless and hypocritical, of argument on Christian grounds.” [pp. 308-309]


Justice of the Greek Revolution


“If ever insurrection was holy in the eyes of God, such was that of the Greeks against their Mahometan oppressors.  Yet for six long years, they were suffered to be overwhelmed by the whole mass of the Ottoman power; cheered only by the sympathies of all the civilized world, but without a finger raised to sustain or relieve them by the Christian governments of Europe; while the sword of extermination, instinct with the spirit of the Koran, was passing in merciless horror over the classical regions of Greece, the birth-place of philosophy, of poetry, of eloquence, of all the arts that embellish, and all the sciences that dignify the human character.  The monarchs of Austria, of France, and England, inflexibly persisted in seeing in the Greeks, only revolted subjects against a lawful sovereign.  The ferocious Turk eagerly seized upon this absurd concession, and while sweeping with his besom of destruction over the Grecian provinces, answered every insinuation of interest in behalf of that suffering people, by assertions of the unqualified rights of sovereignty, and by triumphantly retorting upon the legitimates of Europe, the consequences naturally flowing from their own perverted maxims.” [p. 278]


“This pretended discovery of a plot between Russia and the Greeks, is introduced, to preface an exulting reference to the unhallowed butchery of the Greek Patriarch and Priests, on Easter day of 1822, at Constantinople, and to the merciless desolation of Greece, which it calls ‘doing justice by the sword’ to a great number of rebels of the Morea, of Negropont, of Acarnania, Missolonghi, Athens, and other parts 10 of the continent.The document acknowledges, that although during several years, considerable forces, both naval and military, had been sent against the Greeks, they had not succeeded in suppressing the insurrection.”  [p. 301]




1. Bemis, Samuel Flagg. John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy, New York, 1949. pp. 571-572.


2. Parsons, Lynn H. John Quincy Adams- A Bibliography, Westport, CT, 1993, p. 41, entry # 194.


3. Khadduri, Majid. War and Peace in the Law of Islam, 1955, Richmond, VA and London, England, pp. 63-64.


4. Al- Mawardi, The Laws of Islamic Governance [al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah], London, United Kingdom, 1996, pp. 77-78.


5. E. W. Lane,  An Arabic-English Lexicon (London, 1865), Book I Part II, Jizya, p. 422.


6. Bemis, S. F. John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy, p. 570.


7. Ackowledging his earlier position of strict neutrality, while Secretary of State, Pappas makes clear how as President (perhaps under the influence of Lafayette), Adams came to support the Greek cause (Pappas, Paul C. The United States and the Greek War for Independence, 1821-1828, New York, 1985, pp. 125-126.):


“The case of the Greek frigates demonstrated once again America’s benevolent neutrality toward Greece. Motivated no doubt by philhellenic zeal, the United States government came to the Greek’s rescue in violation of the nation’s law and the international laws of neutrality.  President Adams and members of the cabinet and of Congress enthusiastically helped Contostavlos [the Greek national seeking warships for his country] and cooperated in passing swiftly and discreetly a bill authorizing the government to purchase one of the Greek frigates.  The American government also cooperated in postponing the purchase of the frigate so that Contostavlos could deal with the houses, which refused to compromise on their high demands.  And finally, when Contostavlos was ready to sail with the frigate Hope to Greece, President Adams temporarily put aside neutrality to allow an armed ship to sail out of New York with American officers and sailors…”


8. Vacalopoulos describes how jihad imposed dhimmitude under Ottoman rule provided critical motivation for the Greek Revolution (Vacalopoulos, A.E. Background and Causes of the Greek Revolution, Neo-Hellenika, Vol. 2, 1975, pp.54-55):


“The Revolution of 1821 is no more than the last great phase of the resistance of the Greeks to Ottoman domination; it was a relentless, undeclared war, which had begun already in the first years of servitude.  The brutality of an autocratic regime, which was characterized by economic spoliation, intellectual decay and cultural retrogression, was sure to provoke opposition.  Restrictions of all kinds, unlawful taxation, forced labor, persecutions, violence, imprisonment, death, abductions of girls and boys and their confinement to Turkish harems, and various deeds of wantonness and lust, along with numerous less offensive excesses – all these were a constant challenge to the instinct of survival and they defied every sense of human decency.  The Greeks bitterly resented all insults and humiliations, and their anguish and frustration pushed them into the arms of rebellion.  There was no exaggeration in the statement made by one of the beys if Arta, when he sought to explain the ferocity of the struggle.  He said:  ‘We have wronged the rayas [dhimmis] (i.e. our Christian subjects) and destroyed both their wealth and honor; they became desperate and took up arms.  This is just the beginning and will finally lead to the destruction of our empire.’ The sufferings of the Greeks under Ottoman rule were therefore the basic cause of the insurrection; a psychological incentive was provided by the very nature of the circumstances.”


9. Bat Ye'or summarized the impact of the first two centuries of Arab Muslim conquests on indigenous Jews and Christians of the Middle East, as follows (The Jerusalem Quarterly 1987; Vol. 42, Pp. 84-85):


“Muslim chroniclers described the ongoing jihad (holy war), involving the destruction of whole towns, the massacre of large numbers of their populations, the enslavement of women and children, and the confiscation of vast regions. This picture of catastrophe and destruction corresponds to the period of gradual erosion of Palestinian Jewry. According to [the Muslim chronicler] Baladhuri (d. 892 C.E.), 40,000 Jews lived in Caesarea alone at the Arab conquest, after which all trace of them is lost…".


The six centuries between 640 and 1240 C.E., she further observes:


“. witnessed the total and definitive destruction of Judaism and Christianity in the Hijaz (modern Saudi Arabia), and the decline of once flourishing Christian and Jewish communities in Palestine (particularly in Galilee for the Jews), Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia. In North Africa, the Christians had been virtually eliminated by 1240 C.E., and the Jews decimated by Almohad persecutions… notwithstanding some brighter intervals, these six centuries witnessed a dramatic demographic reversal whereby the Arab-Muslim minority developed into a dominant majority, resorting to oppression in order to reduce the indigenous populations to tolerated religious minorities…”


Professor H.Z. Hirschberg includes this summary of a contemporary Judeo-Arabic account by Solomon Cohen (which comports with Arab historian Ibn Baydhaq’s sequence of events), from January 1148 C.E, describing the Muslim Almohad conquests in North Africa, and Spain (Hirschberg, H.Z.,  The Jews of North Africa, Leiden, Vol. 1, 1974, pp. 127-128):


“Abd al-Mumin…the leader of the Almohads after the death of Muhammad Ibn Tumart the Mahdi [note: Ibn Tumart was a cleric whose writings bear a striking resemblance to Khomeini’s rhetoric eight centuries later] …captured Tlemcen [in the Maghreb] and killed all those who were in it, including the Jews, except those who embraced Islam…All the cities in the Almoravid [dynastic rulers of North Africa and Spain prior to the Almohads] state were conquered by the Almohads. One hundred thousand persons were killed in Fez on that occasion, and 120,000 in Marrakesh….Large areas between Seville and Tortosa [in Spain] had likewise [emphasis added] fallen into Almohad hands.”


Speros Vryonis provides a contemporary Georgian chroniclers account of the Seljuk jihad in Asia Minor and Georgia during the late 11th and early 12th centuries (Vryonis, Speros Jr. “Nomadization and Islamization in Asia Minor”, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 29, 1975, pp. 50-51):


“The process itself is described in its essential details by the Georgian chronicle for northeast Asia Minor and the adjoining Georgian regions.  The process which it describes was not unique to the northeast, for we see it in the west and the south of Asia Minor as well..


‘The emirs spread out, like locusts, over the face of the land…The countries of Asis-Phorni, Clardjeth, up to the shores of the sea, Chawcheth, Adchara, Samtzkhe, Karthli, Argoueth, Samokalako, and Dchqondid were filled with Turks who pillaged and enslaved all the inhabitants.  In a single day they burned Kouthathis, Artanoudj, and hermitages of Clardjeth, and they remained in these lands until the first snows, devouring the land, massacring all those who had fled to the forests to the rocks, to the caves…The calamities of Christianity did not come to an end soon thereafter, for at the approach of spring, the Turks returned to carry out the same ravages and left [again] in the winter.  The [inhabitants] however were unable to plant or to harvest.  The land, [thus] delivered to slavery, had only animals of the forests and wild beasts for inhabitants.  Karthli was in the grip of intolerable calamities such as one cannot compare to a single devastation or combination of evils of past times.  The holy churches served as stables for their horses, the sanctuaries of the Lord served as repairs for the abominations [Islam].  Some of the priests were immolated during the Holy communion itself, and others were carried off into harsh slavery without regard to their old age.  The virgins were defiled, the youths circumcised, and the infants taken away.  The conflagration, extending its ravages, consumed all the inhabited sites, the rivers, instead of water, flowed blood.  I shall apply the sad words of Jeremiah, which he applied so well to such situations: “the honorable children of Zion, never put to the rest by misfortunes, now voyaged as slaves on foreign roads.  The streets of Zion now wept because there was no one [left] to celebrate the feasts.  The tender mothers, in place of preparing with their hands the nourishment of the sons, were themselves nourished from the corpses of these dearly loved.  Such and worse was the situation at the time.’…


By the time [of the late 11th and early 12th centuries, i.e. (1083-1125)]…the nomads had effected permanent settlement in these regions, moving into the abandoned and devastated areas with their tents, families, and flocks of livestock.”


A. E. Vacalopoulos summarized the devastating impact of five centuries of Seljuk and Ottoman jihad campaigns in Asian Minor and the Balkans (Vacalopoulos, A.E. Origins of the Greek Nation-The Byzantine Period, 1204-1461, New Brunswick, N.J., 1970,  pp. 61, 68; 72-73):


“At the beginning of the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks forced their way into Armenia and there crushed the armies of several petty Armenian states.  No fewer than forty thousand souls fled before the organized pillage of the Seljuk host to the western part of Asia Minor.  From the middle of the eleventh century, and especially after the battle of Malazgirt [Manzikurt] (1071), the Seljuks spread throughout the whole Asia Minor peninsula, leaving error, panic and destruction in their wake.  Byzantine, Turkish and other contemporary sources are unanimous in their agreement on the extent of havoc wrought an the protracted anguish of the local population…[The Greek chronicler] Kydones described the fate of the Christian peoples of Asia Minor thus:


‘The entire region which sustained us, from the Hellespont eastwards to the mountains of Armenia, has been snatched away.  They [the Turks] have razed cities, pillaged churches, opened graves, and filled everything with blood and corpses…Alas, too, they have even abused Christian bodies.  And having taken away their entire wealth they have now taken away their freedom, reducing them to the merest shadows of slaves.  And with such dregs of energy as remain in these unfortunate people, they are forced to be the servitors of the Turk’s personal comforts.’


“From the time the Ottoman Turks first set foot in Thrace under Suleiman, son of Orchan, the Empire rapidly disintegrated….From the very beginning of the Turkish onslaught under Suleiman, the Turks tried to consolidate their position by the forcible imposition of Islam. [The Ottoman historian] Sukrullah [maintained] those who refused to accept the Moslem faith were slaughtered and their families enslaved.  ‘Where there were bells’, writes the same author, ‘Suleiman broke them up and cast them onto fires.  Where there are churches he destroyed them or converted them into mosques.  Thus, in place of bells there were now muezzins.  Wherever Christian infidels were still found, vassalage was imposed upon their rulers.  At least in public they could no longer say ‘kyrie eleison’ but rather “There is no God but Allah; and where once their prayers had been addressed to Christ, they were now to ‘Mohammed, the prophet of Allah.’ ”


E.G. Browne (A Literary History of Persia, Vol. III, 1928, p. 196) describes the jihad depredations of Timur [Tamerlane] against the Christian populations of Georgia and Asia Minor, at the outset of the 15th century (A Literary History of Persia, Vol. III, Cambridge, 1928, p. 196):


“The winter of A.D. 1399-1400 was spent by Timur in Qarabagh near the Araxes, and ere spring had melted the snows he once more invaded [Christian] Georgia, devastated the country, destroyed the churches and monasteries, and slew great numbers of the inhabitants. In August, 1400, he began his march into Asia Minor by way of Avnik, Erzeroum, Erzinjan, and Sivas. The latter place offered stubborn resistance, and when it finally capitulated Timur caused all the Armenian and Christian soldiers to the number of four thousand to be buried alive; but the Muhammadans he spared.”


10. John Cartwright, British Consul-General in Constantinople, filed the following report from Constantinople May 25, 1822 (in, Argenti, Philip. The Massacres of Chios, Described in Contemporary Diplomatic Reports, London, 1932, pp. 39-40.) 

“Scio [Chios], with the exception of twenty five of the Mastic Villages, was a complete scene of desolation – the air corrupted by the stench of dead bodies had produced an infectious disorder on board the Turkish Fleet which was daily carrying off its’ victims.  The fate of the unhappy survivors in the Sciote tragedy is miserable indeed – the females and children doomed to slavery from which there will be but little chance of redemption, as all possible means are taken to prevent the sale of them to Christians.  The hostages who were confined in the Castle of Scio as well as those who were here have been put to death.”

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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