Religion of Tolerance

Nathan Newman has some information about the brutality of the Knights Templar in Jerusalem. I'm more interested, however, in his addendum discussing the relative level of tolerance between Islamic civilizations and Christian ones towards communities of the other:

In Islamic lands, large number of Christian communities survived and even florished under Muslim rule-- Copts, Armenians, Orthodox, Maronite -- while Muslim areas reconquered by Christianity-- such as Spain and southern Italy-- were completely crushed or were forcibly converted, leaving almost no surviving muslim religious populations. About the only ancient communities of muslims in 20th century Europe were the Bosnian and Kosovar muslims brought under Christian control from the Ottomans early in the century-- and we know how those populations got treated.

Update: Ah, a little rightwing fisking by Marduk's Babylonian Musings who claims it's a myth that there was "Islamic tolerance for Christians and Jews." Now I of course said, for those who read the post, that Christians and muslims both engaged in a range of barbarism at various points at history, but the fact remains that essentially no muslims survived in Christian-dominated areas, while to this day there are millenium-old Christian communities in Islamic areas. Skip the competing books-- that fact speaks for itself.

It's worth noting that the vision of the Wahabi extremists today is not in line with the tolerant nature of past Islamic civilizations. Under Osama bin Laden's Caliphate, I imagine it would be unpleasant for all non-Wahabis - that goes for Jews, Christians, Shi'a, and even other Sunnis of more reasonable persuasions.

Unsurprisingly, Israeli partisans see all of Islam's history through the lens of their own occupation and conflict. Marduk and Yourish try to rebut Nathan, but are effectively countered:

Well, there goes 75 years of ethnological and anthropological studies on population shifts and cultural dispersions. Let's just "skip the books," and make some asshat uninformed conclusions.

Posted by Marduk at August 25, 2003 03:07 PM

He also knows nothing about the Armenians. The slaughter of Armenians in the 20th century was by--guess who?--Turkish Muslims.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at August 25, 2003 09:49 PM

Much more accurately- the genocide against Armenians was done by Turkish nationalists-- along with the mass murder and expulsion of Greek Christians in the same period.

But the interesting point is that there were so many Armenian Christians to kill at that point in what had been the muslim Ottoman Empire for centuries.

There were no similar muslim populations in Spain or other areas that had once had large numbers of muslims, because they had all been murdered, forcibly converted or driven out centuries earlier from Christian lands.

Posted by: Nathan at August 26, 2003 12:27 AM

I'm always bemused by the manufactured outrage over jizya taxes and the concept of dhimmi (though I'm no fan of Uthman or the Umaiyyad Caliphate either). I wonder how Caliph Judge Roy Moore would adapt those concepts? David Neiwert points out that Moore's supporters are more mainstream than you might imagine. Ah, here's another example.

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