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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Imperial History of the Middle East

I often read statements that Muslim aggression against the West is not a result of the Qur'anic Verses of the Sword, such as sura 9:5:

So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

(Shakir translation). Instead, it is a result of the West's propensity for meddling in Muslim affairs. "Suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation rather than a product of Islamic fundamentalism." That was the response of one academic to the recently obtained Pentagon briefing which determined that suicide bombers were rational actors who believed the Qur'an's promise that martyrs would receive virgins in heaven and win the favor of Allah.

At the same time I read about that the Islamic notion that the ummah, or community of Muslims, will eventually take over the world. This accords with what I read in another article in which a Jewish scholar said that "there was 'no possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians whatsoever, for ever,' since the Arab and Islamic world viewed the establishment of Israel as a 'reversal of history,' and would never accept Israel."

So then I began to wonder: what is the history of the rule of Islam over the Middle East, and how did that rule come about. This led me to discover this terrific map, which answers the question quite efficiently.

(Courtesy of Maps of War).