[President Obama may be a self-proclaimed student of history, but like most in the West his understanding of history is severely distorted and even misleading. Just because certain Muslims stole certain texts and adopted the culture of the conquered Romans of the East and merely transported them to the West during their bloody reign in the Middle Ages does not mean they "carried the light of learning" and paved "the way for Europe's Renaissance". An accurate student of history knows that the European Renaissance came from the Roman (Byzantine) Empire of the East and Islam in fact did more to suppress learning than enhance it. -J.S.]
OBAMA-STUDENT OF HISTORY?
William J. Federer
June 1, 2009
In his speech in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009, President Obama stated:
"As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance."
Civilization is indeed indebted to Islam for Europe's Renaissance, but the President's speech was conspicuous in its omission of certain details.
The Renaissance was a revival of interest in Greek art, architecture, sculpture and philosophy, brought about by Greeks fleeing the Islamic invasion of the Byzantine Empire.
It began in the year 1071, when Turkish Muslims defeated the Byzantine army at the Battle of Manzikert and proceeded to invade the Byzantine Empire, which is today Turkey.
First Muslim Seljuk Turks, followed by Muslim Ottoman Turks, turned Byzantine Churches into mosques, melted church bells into cannons, leveled cities, dug up remains of Christian Saints and gave them to dogs.
In fact, civilization is indebted to Islam for Santa Claus, for in 1087, to prevent desecration, Christians moved the bones of Saint Nicholas, the generous 4th century Bishop of Myra, to Bari, Italy, thus introducing his gift-giving traditions to Western Europe.
Later Muslim Ottoman Turks took boys from Christian families and forced them into the Sultan's service as janissary soldiers, and if they were handsome, into Muslim pederasty - "the sodomy of the Turks."
In 1095, the proud Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I Comnenus, humbled himself and sent ambassadors to beg the Roman Catholic Pope for help.
Robert the Monk recorded in the Medieval Sourcebook (Fordham University) that Pope Urban II pled at the Council of Clermont for Europe's monarchs to help their Byzantine brethren, whom Muslims "compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow."
In 1097, Europe sent help - the First Crusade.
In the next 200 years there were nine major Crusades, notable among them were the 3rd Crusade, led by Richard the Lionheart, and the 7th and 8th Crusades, led by Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France, for whom the city of Saint Louis, Missouri, was named.
Toward the end of the Crusades, there arose a Muslim warlord named Tamerlane (1336-1405).
Related to Genghis Khan, Tamerlane killed an estimated 17 million, conquering from the Black Sea to India.
Tamerlane built a grand mosque at his capital of Samarkand and had a Qur'an so large it had to be carried in a wheelbarrow. He insisted his troops observe Islamic prayer, even on marches, which brought complaints from his soldiers.
Tamerlane captured Moscow and the Afghan city of Isfizar, building a tower of bricks, mortar and 2,000 prisoners cemented into it.
He destroyed the city of Kartid, massacred 70,000 in Ishfahan and destroyed Sarai Berke, one of Eastern Europe's largest cities with a population of 600,000.
In his memoir "Malfuzat-i-Timuri," Tamerlane wrote:
"There arose in my heart the desire to lead an expedition against the infidels and to become a ghazi, for it had reached my ears that the slayer of infidels is a ghazi, and if he is slain he becomes a martyr.
"It was on this account that I formed this resolution, but I was undetermined in my mind whether I should direct my expedition against the infidels of China or against the infidels and polytheists of India.
"In this matter I sought an omen from the Qur'an, and the verse I opened upon was this, 'O Prophet, make war upon infidels and unbelievers, and treat them with severity.' (Sura 66:9)
"My great officers told me that the inhabitants of Hindustan were infidels and unbelievers. In obedience to the order of Almighty Allah I ordered an expedition against them."
Tamerlane slaughtered 100,000 in Delhi, leaving pyramids of skulls. His memoirs record that at Hardwar his troops:
"Displayed great courage...slaying the foe (during a bathing festival on the bank of the Ganges)...
"So many of them were killed that their blood ran down the mountains and plain, and thus (nearly) all were sent to hell."
Tamerlane turned west and captured Syrian cities of Aleppo and Damascus, leaving 20 towers of skulls. He bombarded the Christian city of Smyrna with decapitated heads of its fallen defending knights.
Tamerlane buried alive 4,000 Georgian soldiers, and forced their Christian King, Bagrat V, to convert to Islam at sword point.
French Academy member, Rene' Grousset (1885-1952), wrote in his original edition of L'Empire Des Steppes (p. 513), how in 1403, Tamerlane destroyed all the Christian churches in Georgia's capital of Tiflis:
"Mongols were mere barbarians who killed simply because for centuries this had been the instinctive behavior of nomad herdsmen toward sedentary farmers.
"To this ferocity Tamerlane added a taste for religious murder. He killed from Qur'anic piety. ('Il tuait par piete coranique')
"He represents a synthesis, probably unprecedented in history, of Mongol barbarity and Muslim fanaticism, and symbolizes that advanced form of primitive slaughter which is murder committed for the sake of an abstract ideology, as a duty and a sacred mission."
To escape the Islamic invasion, Byzantine Greek scholars fled west to Florence, Italy, bringing with them their architecture, art, sculpture and philosophy, fueling Europe's fascination with Greek culture.
This was called the "Renaissance," which President Obama reminded Europeans they were indebted to Islam for.
Additionally, as Greeks fled west with their ancient manuscripts, scholars began translating the Bible not just from Latin, but from Greek - thus laying the groundwork for the Reformation, - so even Protestants are indirectly indebted to Islam for the Reformation.
In fact, the very concept of "Europe" was a result of Islamic invasion, as previously, Europe viewed itself as innumerable independent kingdoms.
"As a student of history," President Obama did indeed acknowledge "civilization's debt to Islam...paving the way for Europe's Renaissance," though his lack of detail hints of a little intentional ambiguity, or as it has been euphemistically called, "obamaguity."
William J. Federer is author of the best-selling book, What Every American Needs to Know About the Qur'an-A History of Islam & the United States.