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‘He gave them hope single-handedly; in a space of 23 years he brought new peace and hope to Arabia and a new beacon to the world.’ Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, Karen Armstrong, PBS 2002
Islam, the religion Muhammad first brought to Arabia now claims 1.2 billion followers around the world. There are an estimated 7 million Muslims in America. ibid.
It was on one such retreat in the year 610 that Muhammad had an experience that would transform history. ibid.
He was to recite the words of the one true God. ibid.
Muhammad’s message slowly began to attract followers. ibid.
It gave the Muslims limited permission to take up arms in self-defence. ibid.
The prophet put that emphasis on inner development, Jihad, the constant struggle with yourself, to improve yourself and perfect your intent. ibid.
The Muslims set out on their perilous trip to Mecca crossing the vast desert without any arms to defend themselves. ibid.
In response, ten days into the holy month of Ramadan, Muhammad and a Muslim army of 10,000 men set out to take Mecca by force. ibid.
‘At least twelve people have been killed in Paris.’ Panorama: The Battle of British Islam, news report, BBC 2015
Why is it that some Muslims feel justified in killing their fellow citizens in the name of Islam? ibid.
I think there is a massive gulf in the understanding and knowledge between Muslims and non-Muslims – I mean particularly the West and the Islamic world. What we are talking about in reality is a strong minority of people committed to their own particular interpretation of Islam, who seek to impose it on others. I do not believe that the totality of the Islamic world recognizes the Taliban interpretation of the faith as being representative of its own view. There is no unanimity in Islam with regard to this interpretation. Generally you will see as much diversity in the Islam as you do in the Christian world today. But the West does not really understand the pluralism of the Islamic world. Aga Khan IV
Declare your jihad on thirteen enemies you cannot see – egoism, arrogance, conceit, selfishness, greed, lust, intolerance, anger, lying, cheating, gossiping and slandering. If you can master and destroy them, then you will be ready to fight the enemy you can see. Abu Hamid al-Ghazali
I’m a fundamentalist in the true sense. That is to say, I follow the fundamentals of religion ... But for over 1,400 years people have been interpreting and re-interpreting the religion to suit their own purpose! ... These are not Islamic fundamentals any more than the Christians who burned people at the stake are fundamentalist. They are actually deviating from the teachings of the religion! Mahathir Mohamad
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome. Winston S Churchill, The River War
But the Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated by the sword, and ever since, its votaries have been subject, above the people of all other creeds, to this form of madness. In a moment the fruits of patient toil, the prospects of material prosperity, the fear of death itself, are flung aside. The more emotional Pathans are powerless to resist. All rational considerations are forgotten. Seizing their weapons, they become Ghazis – as dangerous and as sensible as mad dogs: fit only to be treated as such. While the more generous spirits among the tribesmen become convulsed in an ecstasy of religious bloodthirstiness, poorer and more material souls derive additional impulses from the influence of others, the hopes of plunder and the joy of fighting. Thus whole nations are roused to arms. Thus the Turks repel their enemies, the Arabs of the Soudan break the British squares, and the rising on the Indian frontier spreads far and wide. In each case civilisation is confronted with militant Mahommedanism. The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. The religion of blood and war is face to face with that of peace. Winston S Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Our war is against evil, not against Islam, or against faith practised by the Muslim people. George W Bush, speech Ontario, California, 5 January 2002
In May 1998 bin Laden and Zawahri invited a group of journalists to this press conference where they announced a new Jihad ... The new Jihad would be against America itself. Adam Curtis, The Power of Nightmares, BBC 2004
So how do you fight the Hindus? You have to bomb the Indian businesses. And as for the Jews, you kill them physically. And then you will overcome them in Kashmir and in Palestine. Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, February 2002
The person who hates kaffirs hates the infidels, and he wants to meet his Lord is the person who carries out this operation. From the first drop of his blood all his sins are forgiven. Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal
A statement calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States has been removed from Donald Trump’s campaign website.
The Trump team appears to have removed the statement, in which Mr Trump said on December 7, 2015: ‘Donald J Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.’ Telegraph online article Helena Horton 10th November 2016, ‘Muslim Ban Statement Removed from Donald Trump’s Website’
Could the West be consigned to history? Without superior science there would be no Western superpower today. But it wasn’t always like this. A thousand years ago it was the Muslim world that was at the cutting edge of science. Niall Ferguson, Civilisation: Is the West History? II Science 2011
For the Ottoman Empire it was the beginning of the end. A moment of imperial overstretch with disastrous consequences. It was actually the first time the Ottomans had had to accept a peace treaty from victorious Christian adversities. ibid.
In stark contrast the Ottomans’ progress was severely hampered by religion. In the words of one Muslim cleric: ‘It is rare that someone becomes absorbed in this foreign science without renouncing religion and letting go the reigns of piety within him.’ ibid.
Muslim scientists could not even access the latest research from Europe. Because their religion now prevented them from reading printed books. For the Ottomans, script was sacred. ibid.
In Ottoman schools science yielded to narrowly religious study. ibid.
Abdul [Hamid] was determined to emulate Western civilisation in every respect. ibid.
Fourteen tons of gold leaf were used to guild the palace ceilings, from which hung a grand total of thirty-six chandeliers ... This place is so wildly over the top it’s like a cross between Grand Central Station and the Grand Paris Opera. But it shows just how far the Ottomans were prepared to go to imitate the ways of the West. ibid.
The Ottomans still didn’t really get it. Because if they were serious with catching up with the West they needed so much more than just a Western-style palace. They needed a new constitution. A new alphabet. A whole new state. And the fact they ended up getting all of these things was thanks in very large part to one man: his name was Kemal Ataturk. His mission was to be Turkey’s Frederick the Great. ibid.
For six centuries the Christian West and the Ottoman empire in the Muslim east had been locked in conflict. Now under the rule of Kemal Ataturk in the early twentieth century that conflict would finally come to an end. For centuries, Ataturk argued, Turks had been walking from the East in the direction of the West. Now under his leadership they would finally reach their destination. Here on the banks of the Bosphorus, East would meet West. Not just geographically but culturally. Central to the Western orientation of Turkey was the introduction of a secular form of government. No longer would religion be allowed to dominate the political arena. There would be secular laws for a secular state. ibid.