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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Medieval and contemporary acts of torture, genocide, war crime, ethnic cleansing and crime against humanity through religion (part 3)

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Armenian Christians seemed to have suffered from particularly severe Muslim persecution. In 704 – 705, the caliph Walid I gathered together the nobles of Armenia in the church of St Gregory in Naxcawan and the church of Xram on the Araxis and burned them to death. The rest were crucified and decapitated, while their women and children were taken as slaves. The Armenians are believed to have suffered more between 852 and 855.

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Each century has its own, full account of the horrors. In the eight century there were the massacres in the Sind. In the ninth century, there were the massacres of Spanish Christians in and around Seville.

In the tenth, the persecutions of non – Muslims under the Caliph al – Hakim are well known. 

In the eleventh, the Jews of Grenada and Fez met the fate similar to that of other victims; it might be said that Mahmud destroyed the Hindus and their temples during the same period.

In the twelfth, the Almoshads of North Africa spread terror wherever they went. 

In the thirteenth, the Christians of Damascus were killed or sold into slavery, and their churches burned to the ground. The Sultan Baibars, whom Sir Steven Runciman calls “evil”, not respecting his own guarantees of safety to the garrison of Safed if they surrendered to the Muslims, had all the population decapitated when they did surrender. A narrator wrote of Sultan Baibars: “From Toron he sent a troop to destroy the Christian village Qura, between Homs and Damascus, which he suspected of being in touch with the Franks. The adult inhabitants were massacred and the children enslaved. When the Christians from Acre sent a deputation to ask to be allowed to bury the death, he roughly refused, saying that if they wished for martyrs’ corpses they would find them at home. To carry out his threat he marched down to the coast and slaughtered every Christian that fell into his hands”.

As for Baibars and the Muslims’ capture of Antioch in 1268, a narrator says: “Even the Muslim chroniclers were shocked by the carnage that followed”.

In the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries the infamous ‘Timur the Lame’, otherwise known as Tamerlane or the “bloody and insatiate Tamburlaine” spread terror. He is known to have constantly referred to the Koran and tried to turn every one of his battles into a holy war, even though in many instances he is said to have been fighting his fellow Moslems. He is said to have at least give his campaign the color of a jihad in Georgia. He is said to have devastated the country in and around Tifflis in 1400. And in 1403, he is said to have returned to ravage the country again and destroyed seven hundred large villages and minor towns, massacring the inhabitants and razing to the ground all the Christian churches of Tifflis. A narrator summed up that Tamerlane’s peculiar character by saying that whereas the Mongols of the thirteenth century had killed simply because for centuries this had been the instinctive behavior of nomad herdsmen towards sedentary farmers, Tamerlane killed out Qur’anic piety. That to the ferocity of the ‘cruel Mongols’, Tamerlane added a taste for religious murder, adding; “Tamerlane represents a synthesis, historically lacking up to now, of Mongol barbarity and Muslim Fanaticism, and symbolises that advanced form of primitive slaughter which is murder committed for the sake of an abstract ideology, as a duty and a mission”.

In terms of non – Muslims, it is noted that he destroyed the town of Tana, at the mouth of the Don, where all the Christians were enslaved and their shops and churches destroyed. 

According to the “Zafer Nameh”, the main source of information for Tamerlane’s campaign, written at the beginning of the fifteenth century, Tamerlane set forth to conquer India solely to make war on the ‘enemies of Moslem faith’. That he considered the Moslem rulers of northern India far lenient towards pagans, that is to say the Hindus. The Zafer Nameh further recounted that: “The Koran emphasizes that the highest dignity to which man may attain is to wage war in person upon the enemies of faith. 

Under the pretext that a hundred thousand Hindu prisoners at Delhi presented a grave risk to his army, Tamerlane is said to have ordered their execution in cold blood. He is said to have killed thousands, and had victory pillars built from the severed heads. That on his way out of India, he sacked Miraj, pulled down the monuments, and flayed the Hindu inhabitants alive, “an act by which he fulfilled his vow to wage holy war”, this strange champion of Islam, as he is called by a narrator, plundered and massacred “through blindness or close mindedness to a certain set of cultural values”.

Tamerlane is said to have systematically destroyed the Christians, and as a result the Nestorians and the Jacobite of Mesopotamia have never recorded. At Sivas, 4,000 Christians are said to have been buried alive; and at Tus there were 10,000 victims. Historians are said to estimate the number of death at Saray to be 100,000 at Baghdad 90,000, at Isfahan 70,000. 

Armenian Christians again, have been subject to persecution by the Muslims for centuries. There are the massacres of 1894, 1895 and 1896, against the background of hostilities between Russia and Turkey, Armenians looked to Russia for protection, which did not prevent the massacre of more than 250,000 Armenians in Sasun, Trapezunt, Edessa, Biredjik, Kharput, Niksar, and Wan. Many villages were burned down, and hundreds of churches plundered. Further massacres followed in 1904, and in 1909 when thirty thousand Armenians lost their lives at Adana. Scholars are known to quote an article that appeared in Revue encylopedique in 1896, that the massacres in 1894 to 1896 were deliberately planned and executed.

As scholars put it, unable to support the idea of another nationality on Turkish soil, the Turks began the liquidation of Armenians, which ended in the infamous mass murders of 1915. These murders of 1915 have been described as the first case of genocide in the twentieth century. Much polemic is said to have surrounded the events of 1915, with historians like Bernard Lewis denying that it was “genocide” or “planned”. Lewis is indeed said to have been standing trial in France for his position. Other historians and many Armenians are said to insist more than a million Armenians were systematically exterminated in cold blood, thousands were shot, drowned (including children), and thrown over cliffs; that those who survived were deported or reduced to slavery. This is surely nothing less than genocide, a genocide that seems to have deeply impressed Hitler, and that may well have served as a model for the genocide of the Jews carried out by him.

The Armenian genocide is said to have been the natural culmination of a divinely sanctioned policy toward non–Muslims. That is was less than a jihad perpetrated by Muslims, who alone benefitted from booty, the possessions and houses of the victims, the land, and the enslavement of the women and children.  It was then strangely believed that it was not an isolated incident, but a deliberate policy to eliminate any nationalism among ‘dhimmis’ and to keep the conquered territory under Islamic jurisdiction. As one scholar says, “the inner logic of jihad could not tolerate religious emancipation. Permanent war, the wickedness of the Dar al-Harb, and the inferiority of the conquered harbis constituted the three interdependent and inseparable principles underlying the expansion and political domination of the umma”.  

The Sepoy Mutiny – the ominous power of religious taboos was demonstrated in India in 1857. Both Hindu and Moslem taboos combined to trigger the Sepoy Mutiny, which took thousands of life. 

The Baha’i – the youngest worldwide faith began a century and a half ago has suffered horribly at the hands of Muslims in Iran ever since, the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect also suffered and suffers in the hands of Muslims in Pakistan and other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia where they are discriminated against to perform the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

 

By Ebou Sohna 

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