How War with Islam Shaped and Defined Us

Thomas Lifson reviews another important book about Islam, this time how it defined the West:

Every once in a while, I come across a book that I can say changed the way I understand the world I live in. Raymond Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen centuries of war between Islam and the West, altered the way I understand the development of our civilization — I mean the one that America inherited from Europe and made our own. It drove home to me how little I knew about the way Islam — in the form of attempted and often successful conquest — really changed the way our civilization evolved and the way it grew to understand itself.

For one thing, prior to Mohammed, our predecessors didn’t think of themselves as part of “Western” or even “European” civilization. Back when Mohammed kicked off the promise of eternal jihad in 630 (recorded in Koran 9:29), our civilizational forebearers thought of themselves as part of Christendom, an area that included North Africa, much of the Middle East, modern Turkey, and more. Mohammed and his successor jihad warriors over the next centuries cut Christendom down to Europe, the western flank of the dar al-harb, where more secular geographic and cultural identities eventually thrived. They became “Western civilization” because they were west of the Islamic heartland in Arabia and beyond.

Sword and Scimitar takes the form of a military history of eight key battles between Muslims and the Christian world over the course of almost a millennium and a half, in which a variety of Islamic military leaders of very different ethnic and racial backgrounds — Arab, Berber, Mongol, Tartar, and Turk — carried out Mohammed’s injunction of eternal jihad. They understood jihad not as a spiritual quest to be better, but as armed conquest, followed by plunder, enslavement, mass torture and execution, and repopulation, with mass conversion under threat or advantage, helped along, I might add, by systematic rape of the nubile female population to produce Muslim babies.

Read more: American Thinker