320 of 336 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, factual and up to date,
This review is from: The Legacy Of Jihad: Islamic Holy War And The Fate Of Non-muslims (Hardcover)
When we speak of the expanse of the Roman empire, the Persian empire, Alexander, the Isralite nation or the formation of nation states in Europe we do not shy away from dwelling on and in fact reveling in the nature of these movements. Nations don't simply take over parts of the world by mistake or overnight. People in general do not convert en masse to religions other then their own. However when we address the history of Islam we have become conditioned to believe that Islam just existed, it sort of magically came into being and 1/3 of the world magically came under its sway overnight. Then we are told that barbarous Christian's intent only on greed and murder assaulted peaceful Islam through crusades from Spain to the Holy land. This evil crusading didn't stop until colonialism extended over almost all Muslims. This is the classic western and Islamic narrative. But its not the whole story. There was a time when Muslims too reveled in their accomplishments, their great campaigns against infidels and the great booty, then they realized that such stories didn't read well in the new anti-war tolerant secular west and they presented the rise of Islam differently. There was a time when accounts reveled in Mohammad of Ghaznis destruction of thousands of `idolatrous temples' in India and his `200,000 slaves' that he took back with him in the 11th century. Now we are told that Islam is basically indigenous to India, it never colonized India, it just mushroomed up suddenly. History books today wont tell any readers that the ottoman empire was a colonial empire that colonized Arabs in the middle east and Christians in Eastern Europe, instead we are told that the Ottoman empire sort of peacefully conquered ¼ of Europe and then it was the evil Europeans who had designs on carving up that `sick man of Europe' and forcing the ottomans to enact laws that protected minorities and ended slavery.
This book opens our eyes. This book dares to ask the questions "How did Islam expand?" and "what happened to non-Muslims in conquered areas?". In a sense what is being asked also is `how did north Africa and the middle east become Arabic and Anatolia Turkish?' Without war and genocide its not possible that any of these regions would look as they do today. In the 7th century when Islam conquered parts of Persia and Byzantium the region was 90% Zoroastrian and Christian. Today it is roughly 1% of those two faiths. What happened to them.
This book shows that the Islamic treatment of non-Muslims amounted to the fate of those conquered in the new world by Europeans. Non-Muslims were discriminated against, made slaves, raped and then became second class citizens. In an insatiable thirst for slaves and women for harems(places of sexual slavery) Islam declared Jihads deep into Africa and Europe, depopulating Eastern Europe and the coast of Africa. The experience of natives was the same as the fate of native in the Americas...genocide and eventually conversion, with a few hold outs. An excellent sobering account.
Seth J. Frantzman