How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism

koran-kalashnikov-500x332How important, really, is history to current affairs?  Do events from the 7th century—or, more importantly, how we understand them—have any influence on U.S. foreign policy today?

By way of answer, consider some parallels between academia’s portrayal of the historic Islamic jihads and the U.S. government’s and media’s portrayal of contemporary Islamic jihads.

While any objective appraisal of the 7th century Muslim conquests proves that they were just that—conquests, with all the bloodshed and rapine that that entails—the historical revisionism of modern academia, especially within Arab and Islamic studies departments, has led to some portrayals of the Muslim conquerors as “freedom-fighters” trying to “liberate” the Mideast from tyrants and autocrats. (Beginning to sound familiar?)

Today’s approach to teaching the history of the Muslim conquests of the 7th century is something as follows: Yes, the Mideast was Christian, but local Christians helped Arab Muslims invade and subjugate their countries in preference to Christian Byzantine rule, which was oppressive due to doctrinal disagreements over the nature of Christ.  Hence, the Muslim conquerors were actually “liberators.”

This perspective, as with many modern Western perspectives concerning Islam, is a product of modern day epistemic distortions, chief among them: 1) repackaged narratives of the “noble savage” myth—yes, 7th century Muslim invaders were coarse, but had elevated ideals, including a fierce love for freedom and religious tolerance in comparison to Christians of the time (not to mention now); and 2) entrenched political correction that seeks to whitewash the true history of Islam followed by the uncritical acceptance of Islamic apologetics, some of which border on the absurd.

Of course, before the Islamic “liberator” thesis had become mainstream, historians such as Alfred Butler, author of The Arab Conquest of Egypt, had this to say about it:

Even in the most recent historians it will be found that the outline of the story [of the 7th century conquest of Egypt] is something as follows:… that the Copts generally hailed them [Muslims] as deliverers and rendered them every assistance; and that Alexandria after a long siege, full of romantic episodes, was captured by storm. Such is the received account. It may seem presumptuous to say that it is untrue from beginning to end, but to me no other conclusion is possible. (emphasis added; pgs. iv-v).

In fact, one of the major themes throughout Butler’s Arab Conquest of Egypt—which, published in 1902, is heavily based on primary sources, Arabic and Coptic, unlike more modern secondary works that promote the Islamic “liberator” thesis—is that “there is not a word to show that any section of the Egyptian nation viewed the advent of the Muslims with any other feeling than terror” (p. 236).

Butler and other politically incorrect historians were and are aware of the savage and atrocity-laden nature of the Islamic conquests.  The Coptic chronicler, John of Nikiu, a contemporary of the Arab conquest of Egypt and possibly an eyewitness, wrote:

Then the Muslims arrived in Nikiu [along the Nile]…  seized the town and slaughtered everyone they met in the street and in the churches—men, women, and children, sparing nobody.  Then they went to other places, pillaged and killed all the inhabitants they found….  But let us say no more, for it is impossible to describe the horrors the Muslims committed…”

Nonetheless, today’s accepted narratives do not come from antiquated historians or primary historical texts; they come from the Saudi-funded ivy league— Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Harvard, Princeton, etc.—all of which peddle pro-Islamic propaganda (I personally had direct experience at Georgetown), including the “freedom loving jihadis” vs. “oppressive tyrants” thesis.

Percolating out of liberal academia to liberal mass media, the effects of this well-entrenched but false narrative have taken their toll, ultimately helping to create a disastrous U.S. foreign policy.

Put differently, the Islamic terrorists waging jihad against autocratic (but secular, religiously tolerant) governments—most notably in Syria today—are easily portrayed in the West as “freedom fighters” against oppressive tyrants and thus deserving of U.S. support in great part because this motif has permeated the social consciousness of America—as molded by Hollywood and the news rooms—thanks to the academic distortion of events that took place nearly fourteen centuries ago.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Islamic “freedom fighters” are slaughtering, raping, beheading, persecuting and plunderingjust as they have been for nearly fourteen centuries.

That is the only unwavering constant in this sad story.


Don’t miss Jamie Glazov’s video interview with Raymond Ibrahim about how Obama enables Islam’s new war on Christians:

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Sunray

    Thank you, from all of the study of authors pre 9/11, as far as I can see, Muhammad actually demonstrated with the sword on live enemies, on the battlefield, what was required of the faithful when dealing with the infidel. Because of the sword, he would have been literally covered in blood. Enough said!


      Muhammad and his followers live by the sword. Too bad Western elites and too many of the population are so blinded by “tolerance” and liberal white guilt they can’t see the forest for the trees.

      • Dyer’s Eve

        Well said! Thank you!

  • john spielman

    Muhammud was a demon possessed mass murderer thief liar mysogynist and pedophile and considered the “perfect man” by muslims. Tells a lot about Islamic theology and history.

    • Demetrius Minneapolis

      Perhaps we can substitute “theology” with “ideology” as it’s more of a social/political order than a religion. Just my 2 cents.

      • herb benty

        Your 2 cents says a million.

  • 3rdjerseyman

    I have had the same experience. The Crusader’s sacking of Jeruselem seems to be the central event in their mythology and goes along with the mythical era of tolerance in Moorish Spain as primary reference points in the tale of Islamic good Christian bad that informs the assumptions of teachers and students.


      Moorish Spain was probably closer to Iran or Saudi Arabia than some Shangri-La of harmony and brotherhood. And the Crusaders? Western self-defense against an aggressive Islamic world that had invaded and nearly conquered Europe for Dar-al-Islam. Thank God for Charles Martel at the Battle of Poitiers. The Moros were expelled for good in 1492 and the Ottoman Turks were turned back centuries later following the siege of Vienna. Western Christian civilization was given a reprieve until recently thanks to another Islamic invasion of millions of invader immigrants and a secular Western religion of “tolerance.” Heaven help the West and Christianity to survive.

      • defcon 4

        Moorish Spain featured the mass murder of Jews in Grenada, upwards of ten thousand unarmed Jews are estimated to have been killed.

      • ziggy zoggy

        Imagine walking alone through an islamopithecine area in London, Paris, Oslo, Berlin, etc., for an idea of what it was like to live in Moorish Spain.

  • Demetrius Minneapolis

    “…but local Christians helped Arab Muslims invade and subjugate their countries…” 2013 – Talk about reliving history.


      I doubt that. History is being remade into anti-Christian, pro-Islamic propaganda.

      • ziggy zoggy

        Read a school “history” textbook and get back to me. Or just read one covering whatever social studies are called right now.

  • margstar

    This article is why I read everything Raymond Ibrahim writes: I learn about history in a relevant relation to today’s news.

  • Jake-a-runi

    A religion for pirates.


    Christianity in any form is demonized, denounced, ignored, and rejected in every quarter of academia, the media, Hollywood, the judiciary, and the military. If Islam were given the same treatment, there would be calls for worldwide Jihad, fatwas, and people in hiding the rest of their lives. History has been replaced with a vast propaganda machine.

  • Dyer’s Eve

    Jesus Christ was sent by God. Muhammad was sent by Satan. Let us not forget this fact.
    Islam is not ‘of the book’. It is the true serpent. How can the toilets of Islam say that it is a religion of peace when the central tenet of Islam is war? Warfare and booty and ‘what your right hand posesses’. Have I got it right?
    Peace under Islam is about as likely as the Martians landing in the carpark.

  • Hass

    What a blight on humanity.

  • Gee

    What Arabs would invent ‘history’ – say it’s not so.

    Why would they do something like that? Aren’t they among the most honest people in the world?

    My bubble is bursting

  • T.L. Winslow

    The religion whose adherents slaughter each other daily will kill you for saying that it’s not a religion of peace :) Iscream is the mirror image of Christianity, and the third pair of the triad with Judaism, meaning that if Muhammad never lived they would have had to invent him :) Which is what you can also say about Moses and Christ :) All that was left for the doubting Thomases was to recast paganism as evolution to explain life as coming from death, and tada, the coming Armageddon :) Try spending time with my Modern Muslimscope to see the size of the coming Big A and see if you can predict how it will come out:

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    Well…Steven Runciman, in “A History of the Crusades-Volume 1,” begins by describing the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem, in 638 AD. He describes how the Caliph Omar entered the city from the east, and received the city’s surrender from Sophronius, head of the church of the Holy Sepulcher. The terms were that the people of the Book–the Jews, and the Christians, would be permitted to keep their places of worship, but were forbidden to ride on horseback, to drink wine, and to build their houses higher than those of the Muslims. And they had to pay a capitation tax–the JIZYA. It was there in 638 AD, and is still there today. Some things never change.

  • defcon 4

    It’s strange how muslime freedom fighters inevitably take away the freedoms and liberties of the najjis kaffir. Thanks for another excellent article Raymond.

  • Jay

    This white washing of Islam in history did not only happen in the West but also in India. Raymond Ibrahim I bring your attention to this review

  • A Z

    Damascus was given over to the Muslims so a spurned suitor could have a woman against her will.

    The spurned suitor opened th gates of Damascus to the Invading Muslims and the Christian woman was given to the suitor.

    “The Greek, Jonah, who had helped Khalid enter the city by the East Gate, showed him a short-cut to Antioch.

    According to chronicles, the Greek man Jonah, who guided Khalid on the short cut to Antioch, got his fiance, but she committed suicide.”

    • Jay

      Sounds like a woman of honor who was right to reject him in the first place, preferred to die than to live life with a traitor.

  • Jason

    Primary sources are much more useful to determine the attitudes of the time than any secondary source. In fact, I would say to those academics that claim Copts viewed Arabs as liberators, give me one primary source stating this. Liars. Any history highschool history teacher (At least at my highschool, where if you gave something without a source, you failed) would fail those papers. Yet, due to entrenched bias, and limited conservative academia, they get a free pass. Let’s stop this, and start criticising them more and more. Good article Raymond. Keep up the good work.

  • vladimirval

    Since Muslims that anyone not accepting Islam is aggressively attacking Muslims, they say that murdering infidels is a means of defense and resistance and that killing innocent civilian men, women, and children even new bornes is honorable.

  • De Doc

    Its bizarre how some self-styled historians keep pushing the “Muslims as Liberators” dogma into early Islamic history. When reading the accounts of John of Nikiu and also Sebeos, it is clear they did not view these Arabs as anything but a plague to their civilized worlds. They were also largely seen as punishments from God (similar to the Huns from earlier times in the Western Empire) rather than benign and beknighted liberators. In the few instances where they describe some stories of welcoming the invading Arabs, they are always followed by accounts of a falling out and oppression at the hands of their newly acquired Hagarene masters.