One of the singular and exceptional features of Islam which is based on Mohammed's life, the Koran and Islamic theological documentation; is the absolutely incessant nature of its violence, Jihad and warring. It never stops. Islam is history's oldest-ever imperial project and mankind's most successful as measured by land mass conquered, adherents and virility. The internal dynamics of Islamic intolerance, supremacism and racism, assure that it clashes with any and all civilizations it encounters. The historical record makes this brutally clear.
In order to illustrate Islam's barbarous intolerance, one can simply go through each century and log a list of non-Muslims killed by the Jihad. Contrary to PC nonsense and myth-making there never was a Golden Age of Islamic tolerance [unless you call totalitarian rule by a minority Arab caste over majority Jewish and Christians who were second-class tax slaves, subject to punishing restrictions and regulations and firmly under the Moslem yoke, 'tolerance'.] Islam was and is a political project undertaken by its adherents to control society, impose pre-modern rituals and laws upon subject peoples; and one designed to dominate and exploit women and Kufars. Any other interpretation of Islamic history is chimera and an outrageous lie.
Of course many misinformed Western politicians, TV talk show hosts, authors and historians believe that after an early onslaught of Islamic conquests lasting until about the mid-eighth century, violence subsided and relative calm and peace prevailed throughout the Islamic world for the subsequent centuries [see Saunders, J.J. A History of Medieval Islam. London: Routledge, 1965; p 79 for example]. In truth, such claims of peaceful co-existence are nonsense. In reality, at no time during Islamic domination was there ever a 'peaceful' life for non-Muslim subjects. Muslim terror, as exampled by Islam's founder the military autocrat Mohammed, typically comprised of unprovoked attacks on the unwarned and unprepared infidel territories, exiling or killing the adult male prisoners, taking the females and children as captives (beautiful and young women were used in the harem as sex-slaves, children for raising as Muslims and older females for sale), looting and plundering the infidels of their valuable properties and assets, imposing Jiziyah and Kharaj taxes [poll and production taxes on Kufars, Muslims paid no tax]; and of course, destroying the infidels’ religious institutions. This was Mohammed's legacy in 'liberating' Arabia from Jews and Christians, killing thousands, exiling many thousands more, trading in Black slaves, smashing non-Allah idols, pillaging, engaging in brigandage and theft; and imposing the cult of Submission on those defeated to too weak to defend themselves.
So on to the 7th century. Islamic love, tolerance and peace were of course on full display. Or so the really smart people will tell us.
[Sources: 1. Ibn Warraq, Why I am Not a Muslim 2. KS Lal, Muslim Slave System in Medieval India and Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India 3. MA Khan, Islamic Imperialism 4. Shashi R Sharma, Caliphs & Sultans – Religious Ideology and Political Praxis 5. enjamin Walker, Foundations of Islam.]
After the theological dictator Muhammad and his invention 'Allah' were forced from from Mecca to Medina in 622, the autocrat built up his army. By 628, through a variety of campaigns the Muslims glowing in peace and harmony, had eradicated the 3 major Jewish tribes around Medina. Ironically it had been the Jews who had allowed Mohammed to settle in Medina in the first place. So much for tolerance and repaying good deeds. After completing the extermination and exiling of the Jews of Medina in 628, Mohammed launched a campaign against the wealthy and prosperous Jewish community of Khaybar which lay to the north of Medina. The 'Great Man' also ordered his men to destroy all Jewish temples. Having defeated the small numbers of Jewish defenders, Mohammed tortured the chief of the Jewish tribe a man named Kinana, by setting fire to his chest to find out the whereabouts of his treasures. After extracting the location of the ensconced treasure, Kinana was beheaded, the treasures were looted, and Kinana’s wife Safiyah was rendered to Mohammed as a sex slave. He married and took her to bed on the same night her husband’s dead body awaited burial the next day. [Incidentally, Safiyah’s father belonged to the Banu Quraiza tribe of Medina whom Muhammad had beheaded earlier.] So much for love and respect.
By 630, Mohammed commanded a 10.000 man army and forced his way into Mecca, and immediately captured and then destroyed the most sacred pagan temple of the Ka’ba, establishing Islamic rule. The entire Meccan population was ordered to submit and convert to Islam or face death. So much for inter-faith co-existence. At the same time one of Mohammed's generals [Khalid ibn Walid] massacred the entire Jezima tribe of Arabs for not accepting Islam. This same general would become famous for butchering surrendered Persian soldiers at the Battle of Olayis in Southern Iraq in May 633. Tens of thousands were executed creating what the Muslims ecstatically called the River of Death – long celebrated in Muslim lore as a glorious act.
Mohammed died in 632 – perhaps from being poisoned. But the Jihad did not stop. After arguments about the succession and what to do, the Muslim armies continued their northward thrust. In the campaign of 634, they attacked the entire region between Gaza and Caesarea and devastated it. Four thousand peasants, comprising Christians, Jews and Samaritans, who were simply defending their lands, were massacred. In 637, the Muslim army marched into Jerusalem, with Caliph Omar at its head, destroying synagogues, burning churches, desecrating Crosses and establishing Dhimmi laws of submission for the Jews and Christians of the Holy Land. So much for inter-faith harmony.
In the expeditions against Mesopotamia between 635 and 643, the peaceful Jihadists sacked and slaughtered those troublesome monks who had funny haircuts, murdered Monophysite Arabs and executed anyone who did not submit or convert to Islam. In Elam for example, every single person was put to the sword and at Susa all the dignitaries suffered the same fate. So much for inter-cultural exchange.
It was just as bloody in North Africa. The details of the Muslim descent upon Egypt starting with the capture of Alexandria by Amr Ibn Al-As in 641, comes from the “Chronicle of John” – the Bishop of Nikiu, which was written between 693 and 700 CE. As Amr advanced into Egypt, he captured the city of Behnesa near Fayum, and exterminated the inhabitants. Nobody was spared, irrespective of surrendered or captured, old or young, women or children. Fayum and Aboit suffered the same fate. At Nikiu, the entire population was put to the sword.
The word spread rather quickly. If you oppose the Islamic Jihad you will die. As the Arabs reduced Egypt, many towns already disenchanted with Byzantine rule and the enduring enmity of religious persecution by the Orthodox Greeks against Monophysites [believers in the one-nature of Christ and God]; and early Gnostics, opened their gates to escape certain death. The fact that Byzantium was exhausted from a century of warring with Persia and was unable to adequately defend Egypt is a main reason why the Arab attack which included no more than 30.000 men, was so successful.
In Armenia, the Arabs continued their butchery of the hated Kufar. The entire population of Euchaita was wiped out in 640. Seventh century Armenian chronicles recount how the Arabs decimated the population of Assyria and forced a number of inhabitants to accept Islam and then wrought havoc in the districts of Daron, southwest of Lake Van. In 642, it was the turn of the town of Dvin to suffer. In 643, the Arabs came back with “extermination, ruin and slavery”.
It was the same ghastly spectacle in North Africa, Tripoli was pillaged in 643; Carthage was razed to the ground and most of its inhabitants were slaughtered. Michael the Syrian describes how the first Omayyad Caliph Muawiya, who took power in 661, sacked and pillaged Cyprus and then established his domination by a “great massacre”. In the capture of Istakhar (Persia), 40,000 Iranians were butchered like pigs. Indeed, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Iraq, Iran – all suffered similar fates, spectacles and barbarity.
So much for inter-religious dialogue.
It is impossible to know how many non-Muslims were killed by the Arab conquests between 632 and 660 AD. Given the list of cities which were entirely depopulated through either murder or enslavement, and given the population estimates before and after the Arab wars of imperialism, we can guestimate that some 5 million Jews, Greeks, Christians, and Zoroastrians were either killed, exiled, castrated, or enslaved over a 30 year period. Many women taken as sex slaves were used to breed Muslims and in particular Muslim warriors. Contrary to myth the vast majority of these populations never 'welcomed' the Bedouin savages as saviours. It took Syria 150 years to become Muslimified. Egypt over 400. Persia almost 300. The Levant 250 years. Islamification only occurred through coercion, tax enslavement, and migration. No sentient person living during the Arab conquests would opt for Dhimmi slave status, or slavery. But in order to save their lives, their families, and their wealth, many were forced to. That was Islam's legacy – and this recounts only the first few decades of its existence.
The succeeding centuries saw even worse barbarity.
But I suppose all of this just proves that Islam is peace.