Egypt Falls into Darkness

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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The Christians, Jews and pagans living in Alexandria could not have foreseen the crushing dark ages that would come with Islamic rule. And many Persians, Berbers and Copts still resent Islam for what it did to their cultural heritage. New York is the next Alexandria, Paris is the next Constantinople and London is the next Babylon.

When Muslims target our freedom of speech, when they tell us what we can say and think, they are acting as the vanguard of the new conquest. The Ground Zero Mosque is another Mosque of Omar, raised to celebrate the conqueror’s triumph in bringing down our great buildings and erecting their own mosque nearby.

The city of Alexandria once held many of the wonders of the ancient world. The Pharos Lighthouse, the Empire State Building of its day, was turned into a mosque by Muslims and then allowed to decay into ruin. Islamic rulers tore apart what was left of the building for their own projects. According to a story recounted by Al-Suyuti, the Caliph broke the lighthouse looking for the gold that he thought was buried under it and then could not get the lighthouse to work again. An apt metaphor for what Muslims are doing to the modern day wonders of the West.

Alexandria’s former multiculturalism has given way to Islamic dominance after the Arab-Muslim conquerors seized native women and converted them to their religion. Alexandria was once home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. Today it’s down to twenty-three people. But it’s not only the Jews who have vanished from Alexandria.

Life has become increasingly intolerable for Egypt’s Christians. In 2009, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life listed Egypt, along with Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia as having the most restrictions on religion. Of the ten countries that scored “Very High” along with Egypt, only two, China and Burma, were non-Muslim. That was in the Mubarak era, the rise of the Brotherhood means that Copts, Bahai and other minorities will be able to look back on those days with nostalgia before the unfiltered version of Islam held sway over Egypt.

Al-Azhar University’s Islamic Research Council already controls what books may be published. It has succeeded in banning books directly through legal channels or through rioting and threats. Islamic pressure has resulted in the censorship of even the American University library. And the IRC has the power to seize books, magazines and other materials that violate Islamic codes. How long until the IRC’s power extends directly into the Library of Alexandria? Not very long.

Three years before the UNESCO design competition for the new Library of Alexandria began, an Egyptian court confiscated three thousand copies of “One Thousand and One Nights”. If one of the classics of Arabic literature could be seized that way and its publisher prosecuted, then any lesser book could.

The Library is a relic of the Mubarak era and it is easy for Islamists to make the case against an expensive building full of heretical books while the population doesn’t have enough to eat. The question isn’t whether Islam will burn the Library of Alexandria a second time around, but of when it will get around to pouring the gasoline and lighting the flames.

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  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    A country in which not only the religiously incited murderous mobs but also the upper- class educated people view the West and its spiritual as well as material culture as a
    disaster, is ripe for doom .However ' doom ' would be viewed or felt only by the West..
    Egypt, where social , religious and financial inequalty is believed to be sanctioned by
    god ,would not sense any disadvantage.Perhaps the stupid and illinformed meddlers
    in the Wesr should let Egypt be as 'unhappy and poor' as it likes

    • Daniel Greenfield

      As it will be unhappy and poor either way.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    In Israel, men are expected to pin things to their head and enter the synagogue through a separate doorway. Does that warrant racist denigrations of the Technion?

    • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

      Dear Flipside,
      With respect to messianic madness the Israeli orthodoxy is not different from Islam ,but at least not rabidly murderous.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        I agree. Hopefully this lack of murderousness can be contagious.

    • jacob

      FLIPSIDE :
      There goes your braying and biased ignorance…! ! !
      Nowhere do Jewish men "PIN" thigs to their heads.
      If anything (and not all of them) it is sort of a clasp to hold the "kippah" or cap
      to the hair on their heads, preventing it from falling or being blown away by
      the wind…
      And as to men and women separated, only the Orthodox abide by it, as the
      majority Conservatives and Reformed don't..

      And as to your attempt to par Muslim to Jewish Orthodoxy, their difference must
      be measured in years-light as in astronomy.
      As to your comment on "Racist Denigrations" at the TECHNION, it reminds me
      of a stupid "Intellectual" statement accusing of RACISM the Israeli soldiers who
      fought in the "CAST LEAD" operation in GAZA, FOR NOT RAPING THE ARAB
      WOMEN….! ! !

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        Actually, though I don’t need to put hair on my hair, and skin on my skin and a nose on my nose to appease some deity, I do use the Internet a lot. On the Internet there are a lot of interviews with Israeli soldiers who are disgusted with the IDF and have debunked the IDF as terrorist hunter.

      • Raymond in DC

        It wasn't an intellectual statement, but a sociological "study" by a grad student at the Hebrew University, and didn't focus on Cast Lead at all but at soldiers serving in "Palestinian" areas across the Green Line. A patently ridiculous claim, I agree, but one which won an award (!) from the notoriously leftist faculty.

    • Cynic

      Obviously you display your ignorance by attempting a generalization.
      In Israel there are various flavours of religious orthodoxy and some in some the men and women enter through the same door and, shocked pause, sit side by side.

      But why don’t you discuss the Muslim rites of religion?

  • Dispozadaburka

    Flipside.
    Men and women have different energies that are balanced.

  • StephenD

    I fear my friend Chez is right. I expect to see a re-emergence of Turkey as a key player in all of this. I would say it would do us well to get cozy with India. We may find we need even little places like Greece and Crete. Of course, when Europe is ruled by another Ottoman Empire, it will be the Dark Ages all over again before we see this thing extinguish itself. That could take a very long time. I would tend toward the side that would rather fight now and stop this “thing” in its tracks. We should start by exposing it everyway and everywhere we can. The truth is still the most mighty weapon we have.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      If Turkey's economy doesn't implode first.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      According to Erdogan's own government, Turkey will cease being a Turkish majority country in 2038.

      • Daniel Greenfield

        Which probably means we should deduct a decade from that estimate.

  • Danny

    Arab numerals are not Arabic, but Indian. Plagiarism is in the blood.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Conquerors often seize and rename the looted knowledge.

  • ebonystone

    The tale of the Caliph's remarks about the library of Alexandria is of doubtful authenticity. At any rate, the library by his time was a mere shadow of what it once had been. The original one had been burned during Julius Caesar's occupation of Egypt. Caesar ordered it rebuilt and restocked it by seizing the rival library at Pergamum. And the centuries under Byzantine rule had not been kind to the library either; there wasn't much left by Omar's time.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The remarks were verified by a leading Arab historian and were later denied by Western historians. I think I'll take the former over the latter.

      Yes the library had gone through a great deal until this time, but it was still around.

      • David

        It was said there were enough books left to keep the fires of all Alexandria's baths burning 24 hours a day for 6 months.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Which shows what was left. Not to mention the medical texts of Persia.

      • ebonystone

        The first mention of the destruction of the library does not appear until the late 1100's, fully five centuries after the supposed event.
        Will Durant points out: "[1] a large part of the library had been destroyed by Christian ardor under the Patriarch Theophilus in 392; [2] the remainder had suffered such hostility that most of the collection had disappeared by 642; and [3] in the 500 years between the supposed event and its first reporter no Christian historian mentions it, though one of them, Eutychius, Archbishop of Alexandria in 933, desrcibed the Arab conquest in great detail."
        As for "leading Arab historians", well, leading Nazi "historians" found proof that the Aryans had been the founders of all the great civilizations, but no reputable historian accepts this.

    • Raymond in DC

      Whether Ibn Kaldhun's tale is accurate or merely anecdotal or "legend", the sentiments accurately reflect Islam's attitude toward non-Koranic knowledge.

      In contrast, the rabbinic sages taught, "If you hear of wisdom among the Gentiles, seek it out." Not surprisingly, Jews based their calendar on Babylonian and Persian astronomy (the month names are Babylonian in origin); the first Temple was built with help from the craftsmen of Tyre, the second (Herod's) Temple was built using Roman technology; the Jewish method of study and argumentation draws from Greek logic and the Roman symposium; and medicine was learned from Greeks and Assyrians. I'm told that one of the high-numbered Psalms contains a reference to a non-Jewish Egyptian teacher of wisdom. Not surprisingly, we build libraries; we don't burn them down.

  • Rifleman

    Face it, they didn't fall into darkness, they took a flying leap.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      That's true enough.

  • esperantominoria

    What can one say?Muslims in general can not bear a reasonable critique of their religion.They think you are wrong no matter what evidence you bring.Did you know the GRANDSON of the AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI is AGAINST the religious theocracy of IRAN,he wants SECULARISM:
    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/04/20/about-tahaof

    ALSO

    Did you know SOLOMON in the KORAN has SUpERNATURAL OWERS,very strange:
    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/11/09/the-supernat

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Spaces after commas, semi-colons, and periods are your friend.

  • Western Civilisation

    Great article. North Africa was the most fertile area of the Pax Romana. The Arabs – along admittedly with a changing climate [Co2 ! of course....], destroyed it. The Library of Alexandria is emblematic of Islam's complete annihilation of other cultures. I can count 100 truly great Western thinkers from 600 – 1200 AD, active in all areas of life. Moslems can count only 2 who simply adopted and accepted Aristotelian theory. All of the 'Moslem' inventions were already in place or developed by Persians, Greeks, Christians and Romano-Berbers/Visigoths. Algebra is an obvious example [2nd c. AD Alexandria, by a Christian group].
    Yet what do we hear from the pinhead class ? The exact opposite of reality. Islam can't create. It never did. It never will. It is however, world-class at destroying…..

    • Toa

      The photo at the head of the article makes me wonder, for the thousandth time since the start of the "Arab Spring", what will happen to the great structural monuments in Egypt when the world-class destroyers…uuh, I mean "holy warriors" commence with their demolition of all things non-Muslim, which was left unfinished by the megalomaniacal Sultan Sulieman some centuries ago.

      • Guy

        Ever wondered where the limestone outer layer of the Great Pyramid went? To build the mosques of Cairo, that's where. I'm sure that if they could have pulled the whole thing down, they would have done it.
        Similarly, I've long believed the missing nose of the Sphinx was due to moslem rejection of animal/human depiction in art. (you can see evidence of this in Byzantine and Roman architecture and art throughout Anatolia and the middle east.)

  • FriendofGaryCooper

    Very good article. And as the narrator, in the 1966 movie "Khartoum" says at the end, "A world that has no use for the Gordons will surely return to the sands."

  • UCSPanther

    It would probably be wise to smuggle that old literature out of the Library while they still can before it gets destroyed by those Islamic nutjobs.

  • xlent

    Islam was conceived in evil maintained by evil and shall die a truly, gloriously righteous death. The sooner the better.

  • Adam

    None of this should seem like news to any of us. We were shown evidence that nothing good would come of this. We saw that the leaders of these movements were terrorists. Now with the help of the West's leaders, they have evolved from rogue terrorists under-ground, to leaders of Militarized nations. The governments of the West had plenty of Intelligence on these so called freedom fighters, and they assisted them anyways. Seems to be the intention was to help Islamists in their quest for domination.

  • Adam

    A FOX News story from I believe back in June showed that thousands of Middle Eastern Terror suspects were sneaking into our country from the South. The rest of the Media was blacked out on it, and FOX lost interest. So I wonder at this point how many have snuck in, and for how long have they been coming? I fear they are poised to begin the ultimate step in their evil plan and take us out from with in. We already know they have infiltrated the highest office in our country and implanted one of their own in the White House, but how many are out there we don't know about, arming themselves and setting up cells within our boarders?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Quite a few I imagine, but the more serious threat is from the unarmed activists of the Brotherhood in the long term.

  • Amused

    Uh…just in keeping with the title of this article by Greenfield , the "library " is not much to begin with .It featured the "Protocols " , and was never even a shadow of the Great Library destroyed centuries ago . Egypts "descent into darkness" began long ago , when arabs and muslims came to Egypt .

  • Jerry

    Perhaps the common ground between Islam and the Left has been defined by Daniel Greenfield's work here. Both Muslims and left-wing ideologues are opposed to a large range of ideas. In the case of both belief sets, there is no need for additional information to extend the revealed wisdom. Knowledge is complete and proper behavior defined, Everything else can be treated with derision.

  • Irandissident

    One well known reason for the success of the brutal Arab conquest and colonization of Persia was that the Persians did not take the growing Muslim Arab threats seriously. Another reason was a serious internal conflict within the Persian Empire.
    Does this remind you of anybody today?

  • hossam

    muslims destroyed the alexandria library haha i lol'd

    the persons who burned the alexandria library was your brotherhood the cross worshipers some stupid christians and i can proof it with documents . another proof of cross worshipers terrorism

    alexandria library wasn't even in egypt when arabs entered egypt it got burned by romans catholic christians in the year 48 when
    Julius Caesar entered alexandria

    for more read le bon justave book the arab Civilization page 208

    read butler book the arab invade of egypt page 303-307

    lie

    lie

    and lie

    haha

    • PamM

      "it got burned by romans catholic christians in the year 48 when Julius Caesar entered alexandria"

      You wouldn't happen to be referring to the year 48BC, when Julius Caesar entered Alexandria, by any chance; would you? If so, then perhaps you'd like to explain how Roman Catholic Christians were present in Alexandria some four decades before the birth of Christ.

  • Amused

    So who did burn the Library of Alexandria? Unfortunately most of the writers from Plutarch (who apparently blamed Caesar) to Edward Gibbons (a staunch atheist or deist who liked very much to blame Christians and blamed Theophilus) to Bishop Gregory (who was particularly anti-Moslem, blamed Omar) all had an axe to grind and consequently must be seen as biased. Probably everyone mentioned above had some hand in destroying some part of the Library's holdings. The collection may have ebbed and flowed as some documents were destroyed and others were added. For instance, Mark Antony was supposed to have given Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls for the Library long after Julius Caesar is accused of burning it.

    So , who burned it down ? Take your pick , depends on who you ask . One thing is for sure , any attempt to reconstitute or duplicate it which contains or even considers containing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion , is nothing more than a bigoted FRAUD . A sure sign of a society ALREADY in DARKNESS .

  • http://searchformecca.com Roland Muller

    The burning of books also appears in academic books. It is carefully documented from various Islamic and other early sources in Dan Gibson's book Qur'anic Geography.

  • kafirman

    Daniel Greenfield is outstanding!

  • Finious

    One of nown theory suggests that in 391 CE what remained of the Alexandrian Library was held in the Serapeum of Alexandria, a temple built by Ptolemy III and dedicated to Serapis, the syncretic Hellenistic-Egyptian god who was made the protector of Alexandria.
    There is a growing consensus among historians that the Library of Alexandria likely suffered from several destructive events, but that the destruction of Alexandria's pagan temples in the late 4th ad. century was probably the most severe blow and final one. The evidence for that destruction is the most definitive and secure. Caesar's invasion may well have led to the loss of some 40,000 scrolls in a warehouse adjacent to the port.
    Civil wars, decreasing investments in maintenance and acquisition of new scrolls and generally declining interest in non-religious pursuits likely contributed to a reduction in the body of material available in the Library, especially in the fourth century.
    In 391 AD Emperor Theodosius issued a decree banning all religions other than Christianity and Christian Groups under Bishop Theophilus burnt the Serapeum librery in 391 AD. This was the end of the ancient Alezsandria library as a public institution.
    If indeed a Christian mob was responsible for the destruction of the Library

    Ther are also allegations dating to medieval times that claim that Caliph Omar, during an invasion in the 7th century, ordered the Library to be destroyed, but these claims are generally regarded as a Christian attack on Muslims, and include many indications of fabrication, such as the claim that the contents of the Library took six months to burn in Alexandria's public baths. In 391 AD Emperor Theodosius issued a decree banning all religions other than Christianity and Christian Groups under Bishop Theophilus burnt the Serapeum in 391 AD. This was the end of the ancient library as a public institution.
    If indeed a Christian mob was responsible for the destruction of the Library.
    Those that burne books they burne people!
    In 1526 William Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament was burned in London by Cuthbert Tunstal, Bishop of London.
    Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible was burned in Catholic-dominated parts of Germany in 1624, by order of the Pope. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHn77snInbU

  • Byzcat

    Interestingly, in 1878 a Catholic prophetess & mystic by the name of Marie Julie Jahenny predicted that France would be come Muslim.