Anti-Western animus (letter)by Dan KeenanNews Weekly
, July 26, 2003
The views expressed in "Cross-fertilisation the key to a vibrant world" (News Weekly
, July 12, 2003) are an utter distortion of history! Considering the fact that William Dalrymple has repudiated the beliefs of his devout Catholic family, it is surprising that News Weekly
was not on guard against the probable animus of the author to orthodox Christian belief!
The accusation that European Christians were responsible for the Jewish Holocaust should never have been allowed to go unchallenged on the pages of News Weekly
. Did not the Nazis have something to do with it?
Dalrymple places all blame for Islamic extremism on the Wahhabi sect that dominates Saudi Arabia and has access to its oil wealth. He totally ignores the great importance of Jihad (Holy War) in the belief system of Islam; and the system of dhimnitude that Islam imposed on the conquered peoples.
In the amazingly rapid Islamic conquest from 622-750 AD, the vast majority of the people in these conquered lands were Christian or Jewish. The conquerors had no choice but to use the existing population to run the various parts of the newly acquired lands.
The non-Muslim majority could not at all be made slaves (although this was widespread), but were reduced to a subservient state (dhimnitude) where they were heavily taxed (poll tax); and while often being used as advisers and artisans by the conquerors, they had no executive power. No Muslims, under penalty of death, could convert to Christianity - so much for Dalrymple's open exchange of views in the Ottoman Empire.
Gradually, over the thirteen centuries from the Muslim conquest, the Christian populations which initially were in a large majority slowly whittled away by slavery, massacre, forced conversion, and the economic subservience of dhimnitude: so that now Christians and Jews are vanishing from these lands. Dalrymple implies that this is just a recent phenomenon.
A concrete counter example is the genocide against the Christian Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
In 1894-1896 and 1915-1918 at least half a million Armenians were massacred in the Ottoman Empire with no outcry - even to this day - by the Western public.
Another rebuttal of the implication that this is a recent phenomenon is the Church in North Africa: before the Muslim conquest there were about 450 dioceses, now there are none. For liberal unbelievers like William Dalrymple, this would appear to be a positive thing.Dan Keenan,