An eighth-century Anglo-Saxon gold dinar complete with Arabic inscription.
The pervasive reach of Islam into Europe is by no means a new phenomenon.
The above coin is an eighth-century gold dinar from England, used as currency by my Anglo-Saxon ancestors and complete with Arabic inscription which, when translated reads “Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah”.
The coin would likely have been minted to facilitate trade with the Muslim Caliphate of the time, which had spread far and wide from it’s beginnings in what is now Iraq.
Like it or not, the fates of Muslims and Europeans have long been intertwined – and often with explosive results (no pun intended…)
That said, much like the twentieth-century horrors of Marxism, the bloody history of Islam in Europe – and the proud accompanying tradition of revolution and resistance goes largely untaught in our educational systems.
In the current climate, amid the re-emergence of this danger on our continent, it is high time to remedy this travesty!
The Hammer of the Turks
This week, US President Trump – who it is safe to say has become something of a symbol for those Americans who oppose Islamic immigration to their country – visited Poland, a country which can lay claim to having played a vital (and too often forgotten) role in the defence of Europe against the encroachment of Islamic forces.
During his meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Royal Palace in Warsaw, President Trump was seated and photographed beside a portrait of 17th-century monarch, King John III Sobieski.
President Trump photographed beside King John III Sobieski of Poland.
The Royal Palace can boast an impressive and pricey collection of beautiful art making for lavish photography, yet it may be speculated that this choice of setting was planned.
Either way, for those of us who view the President as a step in the right direction with regard to the Muslim problem – the result was more than a little poignant.
In 1683, King Sobieski lead an army to aid the people of Vienna, who had at that point been under siege from Ottoman imperial forces for two months.
The combined forces of Poland and Germany are credited with one of the largest cavalry charges in military history at the Battle of Vienna, and ultimately dealt a blow to the Ottomans which would end centuries of Islamic invasion in the region.
Having captured the standard of the Prophet from the enemy army, Sobieski sent the trophy to the Pope with the message “Veni, Vidi, Deus Vicit” – aligning himself with that other well-remembered European, Julius Caesar.
While certain unfair stereotypes have emerged regarding the French in recent centuries, they too once played a venerable part in the defence of Europe against the pervasive presence of Islam.
In December 2015, following yet another brutal massacre of French citizens at the hands of Islamists, National Interest contributor Michael Peck wrote:
“Before they took on France, perhaps they should have studied their history better. They would have learned that it was the French who stopped the Islamic empire from overrunning western Europe 1,300 years ago.”
Following the speedy taking of the majority of ancient Roman, Byzantine and Persian lands, the Caliphate (in it’s greed) found itself envious of the Christian Kingdoms of Europe.
Spain was already occupied and under Muslim rule (the repercussions of which are a subject we shall return to shortly), and the next conquest seemed likely to be the pillage and overcoming of the warlike Franks.
In 732 AD, an army of up to 80,000 Muslim Moors came up against 30,000 Franks, who Peck describes in his article as having polar opposite approaches when it came to the Battle of Tours (or Poitiers alternatively) – the Moors reliant on light armour and offensive tactics, and the Franks heavily armoured and defensive.
“Does this sound familiar? A heavily armed and armoured Western army versus lightly armed but more mobile Arab troops? In some ways, Tours was a precursor to the fighting we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the sort of tactics that ISIS has successfully used today.”
Despite repeated charges, the Moors could not break the steadfast ranks of the Franks, who saw off the invaders until such a time as they cut their losses and escaped with what spoils they had accrued raiding the Gallic countryside.
Bataille de Poitiers, Charles de Steuben.
400 years later, the tide would have turned to such a degree that Christian Europeans (many the descendants of the Franks) would have beaten the Caliphate back to the point of taking Jerusalem at the climax of the First Crusade.
68 years after the Battle of Tours, a Frankish monarch was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope of the time – the famed to-this-day, Emperor Charlemagne.
As I have mentioned, Muslim Moors (who had a reputation for fanaticism) ruled over Spain for the 286 year period between 711-997 AD.
The ‘Reconquista’ period of Iberian history, which began with Charlemagne’s earliest invasive efforts in the eighth-century, and continued until the fifteenth, left it’s mark on Spanish culture and it’s traces are still to be found.
Jumping forward in time then, in 1492 both Jews and Muslims in the country were given the option to either convert to Christianity or leave Spain for good.
While around 50,000 Jews fled, the number of Muslim former-occupiers who left for North Africa was closer to 300,000.
From this period the tradition of hanging pork legs came about, along with that of ‘Saturdaying’ – the opening of doors and cleaning on Saturdays to prove that families were active and not observing the Jewish Sabbath.
During the time of the Spanish Inquisition (which originated in Rome, despite the moniker), the serving of charcuterie (various pork products served together) was a common precaution designed to weed out any false converts.
A charcuterie plate – bound to weed out the heretical elements of any congregation!
Although the architecture left behind by the Moors is arguably the most obvious legacy of that oppressive period, there is one other which commemorates in grisly poignancy the struggle for Spanish emancipation.
To this day, at least 3,600 Spaniards bear the surname Matamoros, which can be translated as either ‘killer of Moors’ or ‘slaughterer of Moors’.
[As a side note, I recommend the book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything for a hilarious and insightful analysis of the prohibition of pork in Abrahamic religion.]
Eleftheria H Thanatos
Continuing our march through history, following almost four centuries of Ottoman-Turkish rule beginning in 1453 with the fall of Constantinople, in 1821 the Greek Revolution began in earnest and was announced on March 25 of that year.
The Revolution, which is also referred to as the Greek War of Independence had the support of the Russian Empire, France and (I’m proud to say) Great Britain, and had the eventual political effect in 1830 (after a period of civil war) of uniting Greece as it had never existed before: as one Nation.
The flag of a free and united Greece.
The Revolutionary period is commemorated to this day in the very flag of the Greek Nation.
The nine stripes of the flag are said to represent the syllables of the phrase once used as a rallying cry against the Muslim imperialists: “Eleftheria H Thanatos!” (“Freedom or Death!”).
The Church as a Buffer
Returning to the present day, in June this year an American Catholic Cardinal came out in criticism of the relativist attitudes of our politically correct time.
Cardinal Leo Raymond Burke boldly claimed that the God he worships is not the same as the God of Muslims, noting the disturbing pervasiveness which has accompanied Islamic history almost without exception:
“I don’t believe it’s true that we’re all worshipping the same God, because the God of Islam is a governor. In other words, fundamentally Islam is, Sharia is their law, and that law, which comes from Allah, must dominate every man eventually.”
As I’m sure you will have noted, throughout our struggle against Islamic invaders, the armies of Europe have long been united under the flag of Christianity – this is to say nothing of the obvious benefits to both our thought and societies which the Church has contributed.
Given the huge role that the Church and Christian powers have played in the vital defence of this lush continent, in 2010 evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins (who in reality requires no introduction) voiced concern over the decline of Christianity and what it may mean for the defence of the West against Islamism:
“I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
I myself am an atheist (and a shocking materialist, who believes only in matter and it’s potential for movement and modification), yet I can’t help but sympathise with Dawkins’ more recent claim that he is a ‘Secular Christian’ – in other words, one who values the traditions, defence, literature, philosophy and morals of Christianity, inasmuch as they have long been a part of the glue which has held Europe together and held all else out.
[If only Pope Francis were such a Christian as Richard Dawkins, and would end his advocacy for the Liberian horde!]
I will leave you then, with a quote from one of the other great atheists of our time – and one of the most eloquent men ever to turn his quick English wit and wrath against the ‘religion of peace’:
“Islam makes very large claims for itself. In its art, there is a prejudice against representing the human form at all. The prohibition on picturing the prophet—who was only another male mammal—is apparently absolute. So is the prohibition on pork or alcohol or, in some Muslim societies, music or dancing. Very well then, let a good Muslim abstain rigorously from all these. But if he claims the right to make me abstain as well, he offers the clearest possible warning and proof of an aggressive intent.”