Posted by panch from pool0045.cvx20-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net (188.8.131.52) on Friday, June 28, 2002 at 8:59AM :
Funny what happens when you read history without caring which side wins. All we've ever heard is that Christians are people of Peace and the Muslims of War...that Christians are meek and tolerant and Muslims rage aginst everyone and slaughter etc. When you point out Christian atrocities, you're told those aren't "real" Christians...when you hear a Christian tell you of Muslim atrocities he insists that's typical of all Muslims.
And the Jews? Well they had their chance way back then and sure enough they not only killed everyone they could lay their hands on, "even he that pisseth against a wall"...but their looney god went after his own son with a vengence. I think Muslims can be forgiven for wondering about a God who hounds his unoffending son to death and whose followers celebrate the "happy" event by eating their young god's body and drinking his blood. Jews had their teeth pulled for 2000 years and only recently were supplied with a set of new ones by the Christians and told to go kill more Muslims.
If you think about it, and that disqualifies most of us...the Muslims were far more tolerant...they at least tried to live up to their Prophet's creed and get along with people who viewed things differently...even when they were the conquerors and could have killed them all.
When Muslim armies captured Jerusalem they didn't engage in wholesale murder. Instead Ibn Khalid, the Sword of Islam, invited the Patriarch, who hadn't remained behind to be martyred, back for a tour of the city. He guaranteed the Christians freedom of worship, allowing them to build churches and live in peace...and the Jews were well treated as well. They paid a tax of course...but come on now, who doesn't?
By contrast when the first Crusaders took Jerusalem they killed every Muslim man woman and child, and locked all the Jews in their Synagogue and burned them all to death,
When the Muslim armies conquered Baghdad they allowed freedom of worship to all, relieving the Jews instantly from the harsh cruelties of the Christians, and finally stepping between the Christian factions to ensure peace.
In any lands conquered by Christians, not only Jews and Muslims were dispatched quickly, it's true they wanted no converts and no taxes either... but other competing Christians were in just as much danger... and stole everything. When the Muslims took Jerusalem, when they conquered Iraq, and Spain... and when the Ottomans captured Constantinople, they all tried to maintain a society where all creeds could live in harmony, with the Muslims playing the part of the ruling elite, of course. Even there however they welcomed Christians into their service. The most extreme case being the Ottomans where for centuries the Sultan's main military force, the Janissaries were taken exclusively from the Christian population as were several advisors.
The Muslims actually tried to integrate the several religions they found living in the lands they conquered. It was the Christians who wiped out everyone else....and turned their swords on each other when no one else was left to kill. Orthodox Christians escaped by the thousands into Muslim lands to get away from the ravages of their own Christian lords and competing prelates.
Of course there was bound to be tension...but the Muslims DID try and they achieved remarkable levels and periods of peace and prosperity for all their people of whatever religion.
Trouble began when the Europeans arrived on the scene, once again, during the 18 th century when Russia demanded and received permission to act as a guardian of the Christians within the Sultan's own territories...they insisted on it, not because they loved the Sultan's Christians, but as a way to wield influence with those Christians, who sure enough began to blame all their troubles on their neighbors and government, and believe the Russian Tsar was their especial friend...when he routinely murdered and oppressed his own people.
The Brits and French were right behind, insisting that they spoke for the interests of the latin Christians...so even here, in someone else's lands the tension between warring Christians that has plagued us all for centuries was revived with these two powers "defending" the rights of the latin Christians...and the Russians looking out for the interests of the Greek or Orthodox ones. This gave the Sultan the headache as he gave concession after concession to the Europeans who now started their old games among the Sultan's people and in his lands
By then the Ottomans weren't in a position to throw them all out and the inevitable happened...resentment between Christian and Christian and Christian and Muslim flared up and was fertile ground for Europeans to exploit the turmoil for their own gain. They used Christianity as a wedge issue to meddle more and more...leading right up to a reaction against them all, not hard to imagine happening, in which all Christians were seen to be allied with foreigners who made no secret of how they lusted for the lands of this "sick man"...the Ottoman Empire.
But they tried...to their eternal credit they tried to do something the Christians never bothered with...to live in peace even when they were the conquerors and had the dismal example of the Christians to go by...refusing to kill, instead, and trying for centuries to allow all faiths to live in peace...and successding more often than not. At least they tried.
Never take your history from the church...or lessons in sex education....or manners or morals and never ever turn your back on a priest...unless you like that sort of thing and don't mind it being done to your child...at either end.
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