More often than not, otherwise reasonable commentary by Muslim scholars is concluded with incendiary comments; a recent example is about women’s status in ancient lands. Such comments, in my opinion, in addition to bigotry are based on ignorance of ancient cultures (see references) or may be a result of using imperialist revisionist history. What would it take for such scholars to show mutual respect to ancient faiths and their social, cultural and political values?
By today’s social/cultural values and morality in constitutional progressive democracies all citizens of both genders are constitutionally respected for their faith and accorded equality and certain basic human rights. Those who marry underage brides are considered pedophiles. It wasn’t so centuries ago in autocratic societies. Muslims acknowledge that Prophet Mohammed, following tribal customs of 6th and 7th century took a child bride.
Dr Edward Said (1935 – 2003), a Palestinian was a scholar of English literature at the Columbia University. He was well known for scholarship and the book, Orientalism (1978). As a cultural critique, his works exposed ignorance of imperialist Europeans and how with an imperial political ideology tribal Europeans exploited non-Christian followers in colonies.
European tribal mindset was to implement in colonies a political ideology of ‘laws, rewards and punishments.’ They deprecated social and cultural values and faiths of non-Christian subjects in the colonies by labeling them pagans, barbarians and tribals. Unless it is politically motivated bigotry, comments in the Dawn op-ed are typical example of a Muslim scholar with tribal thinking not used to mutual respect of non-Islamic faith followers. Dawn and other media commentators of Pakistan and Arabs lands in their regular Friday sermons invariably incorporate incendiary comments about followers of non-Islamic faiths.
Islam is not an ancient faith. Koran, in part, is plagiarized Jewish Old Bible and Roman Catholic New Bible. Scholars of the “People of the Book” of two proselytizing religions show a lack of ‘mutual respect’ to followers of other faiths. Christians insist that the New Bible of Roman Catholics just as Jewish (Old Bible) was revealed. Typically followers of the faiths are denied rights to question the scriptures. Muslim take advantage of illiterate, ignorant followers and incredibly, claim Koran was revealed and that Islam was not linked to preexisting knowledge.
The concept of blasphemy was incorporated to inhibit changes to and to punish anyone accused of altering the scriptures as well as conceiving imaginary pictures of Allah and Prophet Mohammed by declaring it was a sign of disrespect for their faith. Judging from the hate towards the Danish cartoonist and some Danish politicians and scholars, who openly questioned Islamic beliefs, we know how ignorant Muslims get emotionally charged and exploited by orthodox clerics by issuing fatwas to murder blasphemers.
Most Christians do not show a similar degree of orthodoxy as Muslim clerics and establishments do. Claiming otherwise (three dimensional idol worship is prohibited) Christian Churches in general adorn a three-dimensional cross, a Jesus on a cross and icons (two dimensional) of Jesus and Mary with and without a baby. Some also display icons of Christian Saints. Christians in Eastern European states including Russia and Greece decorate their churches with a variety of icons in their places of worship to communicate Christian beliefs to illiterate masses. An estimated 97% of Russians were illiterate when Czars adopted Christianity as the state religion. The fanatic orthodox beliefs of Islam were considered incompatible with social, cultural and political values of the mid-10th century Czarist Russia.
Muslims generally showed mutual respect for people of non-Islamic faiths from about 650 to 1,258. The backbone of progressive Islamic political capacity was STEM (Sciences, Technologies, Engineering and Math). The progressive liberals, socially and culturally are inclusive of all. Progressive Muslims liberally borrowed from ancient Greek, Persian and Vedic philosophies and STEM, etc to build their knowledge base and a few libraries. In liberal progressive Islamic faith dominated Caliphates or the Muslim imperial states citizens of different faiths lived amicably. Judging from reasons why Russians found orthodox Islamic faith unacceptable it appears that by mid-10th century Islamic orthodoxy and faith were generally perceived as a rigid.
Starting 1219 and by 1294 Mongol Khans, who were descendents of Genghis Khan of Central Asia, occupied most of Arab lands of Middle East. According to Wikipedia, Khan’s were widely speculated to have been followers of Shamanism and Tengriism religions practiced by nomadic Mongol-Turkic tribes of Central Asia. They were very tolerant religiously, and interested in learning philosophical and moral lessons from other religions. To do so, they consulted Buddhist monks, Muslim clerics, Christian missionaries, and the Taoist monk Qiu chuji.
Starting late 13th and early 14th century Khan’s and their armies converted to Islam and were dominated by Islamic orthodoxy represented by the fundamentalist, radical, conservative (FRC) Muslim clerics. A characteristic of the FRC orthodoxy dominated ruling elites is they close themselves in and close others out. FRC dominate their subjects to force conformance to Islam, just like, before them, Jewish kings did (73 BC to 100+ AD), Romans did (prior to 3rd century) and Roman Catholics did (3rd to 6th century). Rest is history available in any good history book or at Wikipedia. Muslims lost their liberal progressive mooring from mid-12th to 15th centuries once they were defeated in Spanish Reconquista campaigns (711 to 1492) inIberian Peninsula.
Jesus was a son of single Jewish mother and professionally a carpenter. Jesus belonged to a disadvantaged class in the Jewish Kingdoms (73 BC – 100 AD) of King Herod the Great and his descendents. Jesus was born on 7-2 BC and Christianity came to existence when Jesus was about age 30. With his Christian Ministry Jesus promoted “God” of ‘love, mercy and forgiveness’ to counter the “God” of ‘laws, rewards and punishment’ used to instill conformity to power of ruling establishment in the Jewish kingdoms. Romans in 3rd century converted to Christianity, preached nominally gospel of Jesus to African and Middle Eastern tribes that were labeled barbarians and pagans.
Unlike Palestinian Semitic Christians, socially and culturally Catholics remained Europeans, Romans with ambition of dominating the world through extraterritorial conquests. Proselytizing Christianity served their political ideology and ambitions by brutally forcing tribals to convert and accept Roman domination by conformity to Roman Catholicism. Jewish Old Bible was the basis for Roman Catholic New Bible to serve their political agenda.
Mohammed, an Arab nomad in his formative years (teenage to young adult) came into contact with Christians, Jews and Romans in his travels. He saw through the political ideology of Roman Catholic’s and invented Islam by taking selective religious concepts of two Bibles and incorporated with it the Middle Eastern and African tribal social and cultural practices. Once he established himself in Mecca and Medina with a revolutionary armed force, following the prevailing customs his ruling establishment started enforcing concepts of ‘laws, rewards and punishments’ to bring order to a budding nation build by incorporating local tribes and their lands.
His followers than wrote Koran by incorporating faith related teachings of Mohammed with ideals of conformity to the Muslim establishment. Caliphates were built with extraterritorial expansions. Muslim occupation ofIberian Peninsula lasted through 15th century.
Central Asian Khan’s destroyed Arab domination of Middle East, massacred tens of thousands of able bodied teenage and adult males, who were capable of fighting. Once Arab lands were occupied by Mongol Turkic armies, Arab women and Arab lands became their properties. Mongol-Turkic armies and Khans converted to Islam and Muslims armies continued with a life of looters, plunderers and vicious expansionists of Muslim kingdoms through Afghanistan to South Asia.
References and Notes:
This blog is an attempt to present history based on facts to rebut the revisionist history normally referred to by imperialist ideologues. Except in constitutional democracies that guarantee equality under law to all citizens, many ruling establishments in autocratic states, especially Muslim states like Saudi Arabia instead of showing mutual respect skillfully or otherwise use proselytizing methods to convert to the majority faith. Saudi Arabia allows only to Sunni M uslims to build Mosques on public properties.
- Nilofar Ahmed, “Human rights in Islam,” Dawn, July 15, 2011
- Kishan Bhatia, “Non-Violence to Warlordism“, http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Non-Violence-Warlordism/blog-307.htm 09132009); An unabridged version with references and notes of three Part Evolution and Political Paradigms is available upon request. I quote from the article:
- Jesus like Buddha before him was a Messiah of non-violence. In land of Israel at Bethlehem of Judea Jesus (a carpenter by trade) was born (7-2 BC) to a Jewish, single mother, Mary. Jewish orthodoxy insisted on following traditions of “laws, rewards and punishment.” In the Roman clients Jewish kingdoms of Herod the Great (74 BC – 4 AD) and Herod Antipas (4 BC – 39 AD) elites “closed themselves in ….and closed others out.”
- The asymmetric political and social environment of the Jewish state allowed Jesus to launch a successful non-violent movement supported by masses against the establishment and Christianity dedicated to the God was born. In defiance of orthodox traditionalist, Jesus preached God of “love, mercy and forgiveness”.
- Mohammed (570 to 632) at age (age 53 – 55) married 6 year old Aisha and consummated the marriage when she was age 9.
- Muslims armies started invasions ofIndiathroughAfghanistanin 950. Muslims fromCentral Asialooted and plundered northernIndiafrom 950 to early 16th century.
- Invasion of Indiaby Mughal’s was started in 1526 and Mughal Empire lasted from 1556 to 1858. The Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 was contained by the army of the British India Company with the fall of Gwalior on June 20, 1858. Colonization of India by the British India Company was completed with the fall ofGwalior.
- Supplementary Reading: Rajiv Malhotra and Arvindan Neelakandan, “Breaking India,” Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Fault lines, ISBN: 819106378; (2011).
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