Cella's Review
Politics, Culture, the Public Square

“. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Friday, September 22, 2006  

In Andrew Bostom’s excellent column today, he gives us a glimpse of the classical Muslim attitude toward religious dialogue. Ibn Khaldun is considered perhaps the greatest mind the Islamic world ever produced. Here is his opinion of Christians:

We do not think that we should blacken the pages of this book [the Muqaddimah] with discussion of their [Christian] dogmas of unbelief. In general, they are well known. All of them are unbelief. This is clearly stated in the noble Koran. To discuss or argue those things with them is not up to us. It is for them to choose between conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death.

Conversion, subjugation, or death. Three choices.

Today I watched the President of the North American Islamic Association television. She (yes, a burka-clad woman) discussed the Pope controversy, and her points were three: (1) Benedict “has not only apologized but is taking steps now to meet with muslim leaders, to engage in a further discussion” and this “shows that he's serious about his apology.” (2) She had read his speech, “and it was very provocative because he not only spoke in a negative manner or quoted quotation, citation about the Prophet Mohammed that was very offensive, but in fact, he was giving a kind of political framework for Europe. Indicating that he's concerned that Europe is losing its Christian identity, and that somehow Muslims might not quite belong in European society as it should historically be structured, according to his views. That's a very disturbing idea because Muslim minorities in Europe are already under very difficult circumstances.” (3) When pressed on the violence of the reaction: “we have to put these reactions in context” followed by a formulaic condemnation of violence against innocents. (But of course, a defiant dhimmi is no innocent; by his defiance he has violated the dhimma contract, and thus removed himself from its protection.)

In short, she interpreted the apology as the abject capitulation of a dhimmi, assailed the speech for so much as hinting that Europe’s identity may be Christian, and gave no ground — not an inch — on the intransigence of her coreligionists.

Our enemies are maneuvering, and we do not even know who they are. Can there be any doubt about the dangers we run by giving Muslims any further influence in our society?

posted by Paul Cella | 1:39 PM |

Monday, September 11, 2006  


Today at TCS, I have an essay commemorating another September 11, and thus attempting to locate the one we remember today in its proper historical context.

Across Europe news of the bravery of Knights -- outnumbered five to one or more -- rang like a great tocsin. All throughout that brutal summer on the sun-baked isle, the Turks had been repulsed, time after time, in their attempts to take the Christian fortresses of Malta. One such fortress had been reduced to rubble by Turkish artillery, and its garrison (almost every one of them already dead) desecrated by enraged Turks; but the other had held. Casualties among the Sultan's army had been terrible, and disease ran rampant. The stiffness of the resistance, added to the depredations of pestilence and heatstroke, had won for Western Christians their first great victory over the Turk. La Valette's final address to his men has come down to us:

"A formidable army composed of audacious barbarians is descending on this island. These persons, my brothers, are the enemies of Jesus Christ. Today it is a question of the defense of our faith -- as to whether the Gospels are to be superseded by the Koran. God on this occasion demands of us our lives, already vowed to his service. Happy will be those who first consummate this sacrifice." [more]

posted by Paul Cella | 1:08 PM |
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