Those who forget or ignore history are destined to be conquered by those who remember and praise it.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Originally published by PJ Media.
One of the primary reasons Islamic and Western nations are “worlds apart” is because the way they understand the world is worlds apart. Whereas Muslims see the world through the lens of history, the West has jettisoned or rewritten history to suit its ideologies.
This dichotomy of Muslim and Western thinking is evident everywhere. When the Islamic State declared that it will “conquer Rome” and “break its crosses,” few in the West realized that those are the verbatim words and goals of Islam’s founder and his companions as recorded in Muslim sources—words and goals that prompted over a thousand years of jihad on Europe.
Most recently, the Islamic State released a map of the areas it plans on expanding into over the next five years. The map includes European nations such as Portugal, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, and parts of Russia.
The reason these European nations are included in the Islamic State’s map is simple. According to Islamic law, once a country has been conquered (or “opened,” as it’s called in the euphemistic Arabic), it becomes Islamic in perpetuity.
This, incidentally, is the real reason Muslims despise Israel. It’s not due to sympathy for the Palestinians—if so, neighboring Arab nations would’ve absorbed them long ago (just as they would be absorbing all of today’s Muslim refugees).
No, Israel is hated because the descendants of “apes and pigs”—to use the Koran’s terminology—dare to rule land that was once “opened” by jihad and therefore must be returned to Islam. (Read more about Islam’s “How Dare You?!” phenomenon to understand the source of Islamic rage, especially toward Israel.)
All the aforementioned European nations are also seen as being currently “occupied” by Christian “infidels” and in need of “liberation.” This is why jihadi organizations refer to terrorist attacks on such countries as “defensive jihads.”
One rarely heard about Islamic designs on European nations because they are large and blocked together, altogether distant from the Muslim world. Conversely, tiny Israel is right in the heart of the Islamic world—hence why most jihadi aspirations were traditionally geared toward the Jewish state: it was more of a realistic conquest.
Now, however, that the “caliphate” has been reborn and is expanding before a paralytic West, dreams of reconquering portions of Europe—if not through jihad, then through migration—are becoming more plausible, perhaps even more so than conquering Israel.
Because of their historical experiences with Islam, some central and east European nations are aware of Muslim aspirations. Hungary’s prime minister even cited his nation’s unpleasant past under Islamic rule (in the guise of the Ottoman Empire) as reason to disallow Muslim refugees from entering.
But for more “enlightened” Western nations—that is, for idealistic nations that reject or rewrite history according to their subjective fantasies—Hungary’s reasoning is unjust, unhumanitarian, and racist.
To be sure, most of Europe has experience with Islamic depredations. As late as the seventeenth century, even distant Iceland was being invaded by Muslim slave traders. Roughly 800 years earlier, in 846, Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled by Muslim raiders.
Some of the Muslims migrating to Italy vow to do the same today, and Pope Francis acknowledges it. Yet, all the same, he suggests that “you can take precautions, and put these people to work.” (We’ve seen this sort of thinking before: the U.S. State Department cites a lack of “job opportunities” as reason for the existence of the Islamic State).
Perhaps because the U.K., Scandinavia, and North America were never conquered and occupied by the sword of Islam—unlike those southeast European nations that are resisting Muslim refugees—they feel free to rewrite history according to their subjective ideals, specifically, that historic Christianity is bad and all other religions and people are good (the darker and/or more foreign the better).
Indeed, countless are the books and courses on the “sins” of Christian Europe, from the Crusades to colonialism. (Most recently, a book traces the rise of Islamic supremacism in Egypt to the disciplining of a rude Muslim girl by a European nun.)
This “new history”—particularly that Muslims are the historic “victims” of “intolerant” Western Christians—has metastasized everywhere, from high school to college and from Hollywood to the news media (which are becoming increasingly harder to distinguish from one another).
When U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama condemned medieval Christians as a way to relativize Islamic State atrocities—or at best to claim that religion, any religion, is never the driving force of violence—he was merely being representative of the mainstream way history is taught in the West.
Even otherwise sound books of history contribute to this distorted thinking. While such works may mention “Ottoman expansion” into Europe, the Islamic element is omitted. Thus Turks are portrayed as just another competitive people, out to carve a niche for themselves in Europe, no differently than rival Christian empires. That the “Ottomans” (or “Saracens,” or “Arabs,” or “Moors,” or “Tatars”) were operating under the distinctly Islamic banner of jihad—just like the Islamic State is today—that connection is never made.
Generations of pseudo history have led the West to think that, far from being suspicious or judgmental of them, Muslims must be accommodated—say, by allowing them to migrate into the West in mass. Perhaps then they’ll “like us”?
Such is progressive wisdom.
Meanwhile, back in the school rooms of much of the Muslim world, children continue to be indoctrinated in glorifying and reminiscing over the jihadi conquests of yore—conquests by the sword and in the name of Allah. While the progressive West demonizes European/Christian history—when I was in elementary school, Christopher Columbus was a hero, when I got into college, he became a villain—Mehmet the Conqueror, whose atrocities against Christian Europeans make the Islamic State look like a bunch of boy scouts, is praised every year in “secular” Turkey on the anniversary of the savage sack Constantinople.
The result of Western fantasies and Islamic history is that Muslims are now entering the West, unfettered, in the guise of refugees who refuse to assimilate with the “infidels” and who form enclaves, or in Islamic terminology, ribats—frontier posts where the jihad is waged on the infidel, one way or the other.
Nor is this mere conjecture. The Islamic State is intentionally driving the refugee phenomenon and has promised to send half a million people—mostly Muslim—into Europe. It claims that 4,000 of these refugees are its own operatives: “Just wait…. It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah [Allah willing].”
It is often said that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. What does one say of those who rewrite history in a way that demonizes their ancestors while whitewashing the crimes of their forebears’ enemies?
The result is before us. History is not repeating itself; sword waving Muslims are not militarily conquering Europe. Rather, they are being allowed to walk right in.
Perhaps a new aphorism needs to be coined for our times: Those who forget or ignore history are destined to be conquered by those who remember and praise it.