Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Few things are as reliably consistent as Muslim behavior—particularly the sort we are regularly assured has “nothing to do with Islam.” Otherwise, why does one find the same “disquieting” behavior in regions that widely differ in both time and space?
Consider this new report:
A 12-year-old Jewish student was forced to kneel down and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate, while a five-year-old boy was allegedly called a “Jewish cockroach” and repeatedly hounded in the school toilets by his young classmates.…
The older boy’s act of kissing another student’s shoes, under threat of being swarmed by several other boys, was filmed, photographed and shared on social media [image above]….
One of the boys who watched on was later suspended for five days for assaulting the Jewish student in the school locker room.
What caught my eye was this foot kissing business: I’ve been reading The Adventures of Thomas Pellow, an Englishman (d.1747) who wrote of his experiences as a slave in Morocco; and only last night I came across a reference to European slaves being compelled to kiss their Muslim master’s feet.
Sultan Muley Ismail—who enforced sharia and regularly prayed—went one step further: Slaves were required to “pull off their shoes, put on a particular habit they have to denote a slave, and when they approach him fall down and kiss the ground at his horse’s feet.” Those not conforming to such abject behavior—the “lucky” ones—instantly lost their heads; the rest were slowly tortured in ways that beggar belief.
Surely (it may be protested) this is a mere reflection of premodern Oriental despotism, with no special connection to Islam—certainly not to what the aforementioned Jewish boy was compelled to do?
Unfortunately, the parallels go above and beyond feet kissing. For example, just as the Muslim persecution of Christians is one of the worst (though unmentioned) human rights tragedy of the modern era, so too does it permeate Pellow’s narrative. As he and other chained English slaves were marched to the sultan, “We were met and surrounded by vast crowds” of Muslims, “offering us the most vile insults, and they could scarcely be restrained from knocking us on the head.”
As the Muslim mob beat them, to the acquiescence of the guards herding them, they were “calling on us Caffer Billa Oarasole, which signified in English that we were ‘Hereticks,’ and knew neither God nor Mahomet.” (More literally, kuffar bi-Allah wa rasoulahu, “rejecters of Allah and his messenger.”)
One of the sultan’s sons pressured Pellow to convert to Islam. At first, the Muslim prince tried to bribe him, so that, “if I would [embrace Islam], I should have a very fine horse to ride on, and I should live like one of his best esteemed friends.” When, day after day, Pellow continued to decline the “invitation” to Islam—he “was thoroughly resolved not to renounce my Christian faith, be the consequences what it would”—the frustrated Muslim emir declared, “Then, prepare yourself for such torture as shall be inflicted on you, and the nature of your obstinacy deserves.” Thereafter Pellow was imprisoned and savagely tormented—with whip, iron, and fire—for months.
Aside from the obvious hate, forced conversion, and slaughter that Christian minorities regularly experience today throughout the Muslim world—see my “Muslim Persecution of Christians” reports which I’ve been compiling every month since July 2011—one need look no further than to the otherwise limited Australian vista for another recent parallel.
A couple weeks before the Jewish student’s abuse, James Michael Waugh, 28, an Australian convert to Islam was arrested for making posts saying, “I’m going to kill every single one of you dog polytheist c—…. [E]very coward dog church in Canberra…. I’ve bought a scimitar and intend to cut their heads off in my front yard as reprisal.”
Pellow and other European slaves in Africa were regularly called “Christian dogs”—including before they were decapitated by scimitars. This characterization of subhuman “infidels” as animals remains a fixture of today, and for the same reason. Indeed, another persecuted Jewish pupil in Australia, aged 5, was called a “Jewish cockroach.”
One can go on and on: just as the modern Australian convert to Islam instantly became a hater of Christians, so too did many “renegades”—that is, Europeans inclined to criminality who apostatized to Islam—exhibit extreme hate for and terrorized their former coreligionists along the coasts of Europe, as Pellow’s and other accounts makes clear.
Such is the great irony: even in the minutest of details, and whether in word or deed, the negative behavior that Muslims exhibit today has a long and unwavering paper trail, one that crosses centuries and continents.
The only difference—the only discontinuity—between now and then is how the West responds. The Australian school where the Jewish boys were abused would not admit that an ideological factor motivated their persecutors. As for the Australian convert to Islam turned Christian-hater, he has “since been diagnosed with a delusional disorder.”
The disconnect is evident in other ways: whereas Muslims have long forced non-Muslims under their power to kiss their feet, both figuratively and literally, today the man who holds an office that for centuries spearheaded Europe’s staunch resistance to Islam—the Catholic pope—willingly prostrates himself before and kisses Muslim feet.
Note: For many more examples of continuity between past and present Muslim behavior, see author’s book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, which CAIR did everything it could to prevent the U.S. Army War College from learning about.