Red Beast/Islam/Ottoman Empire
"In the year 565 Justinian died, master of a great empire. Five years later Mohammed was born into a poor family in a country three quarters desert, sparsely people by nomad tribes whose total wealth could hardly have furnished the sanctuary of St. Sophia. No one in those years would have dreamed that within a century these nomads would conquer half of Byzantine Asia, all Persia and Egypt, most of North Africa, and be on their way to Spain. The explosion of the Arabian peninsula into the conquest and conversion of half the Mediterranean world is the most extraordinary phenomenon in medieval history."
Mohammed started it all. Before him there were some minor Arab kingdoms made up of families gathered in clans and tribes, but no overall consolidation. The Greeks grouped these clans under the name of "Sarakenoi, Saracens, apparently from the Arabic sharqiyun, 'Easterners.'" These tribes felt no duty or loyalty to anyone but members of their own family with each group being ruled by the sheik. They pretty much wandered the desert with their flocks and a good part of their lives was spent in tribal warfare. Their religion consisted mainly in worshipping deities in the moon, stars, earth, sacred stones, etc.
The center of stone worship was Mecca. The city was situated in a convenient place along the trade routes and merchants would stop to perform the rituals associated with the Kaaba and its sacred Black Stone.
"Kaaba means a square structure, and is one with our word cube. In the belief of orthodox Moslems, the Kaaba was built or rebuilt ten times. The first was erected at the dawn of history by angels from heaven; the second by Adam; the third by his son Seth; the fourth by Abraham and his son Ishmael by Hagar...the seventh by Qusay, chief of the Quraish tribe; the eighth by the Quraish leaders in Mohammed's lifetime (605); the ninth and tenth by Moslem leaders in 681 and 696; the tenth is substantially the Kaaba of today. It stands near the center of a large porticoed enclosure, the Masjid al-Haram, or Sacred Mosque. It is a rectangular stone edifice forty feet long, thirty-five wide, fifty high. In its southeast corner, five feet from the ground, just right for kissing, is embedded the Black Stone, of dark red material, oval in shape, some seven inches in diameter. Many of its worshipers believe that this stone was sent down from heaven--and perhaps it was a meteorite; most of them believe that it has been a part of the Kaaba since Abraham. Moslem scholars interpret it as symbolizing that part of Abraham's progeny (Ishmael and his offspring) which, rejected by Israel, became, they think, the founders of the Quraish tribe; they apply to it a passage from Psalm 118:22-3: 'The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner; this is Yahveh's doing'; and another from Matthew 21:42-3, in which Jesus, having quoted these strange words, adds: 'Therefore the Kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof'--though the virile Moslems would hardly claim to have fulfilled the ethics of Christ."
The Kaaba in pre-Moslem days held several idols representing different gods. One of these gods was called Allah who was probably the tribal god of the Quraish. It was the duty of this tribe (because they were allegedly descended from Abraham and Ishmael) to appoint the priests and guardians of the shrine and manage the revenues. The civil government of the city was controlled by "an aristocratic minority of the tribe" (descendants of Qusay). Allah was considered the chief god and was considered the Lord of the soil to whom they paid tithes of their crops and the firstborn of their herds. This is one of many, many similarities with the Judeo-Christian ethic which causes Islam to be considered antichrist--a substitute in place of the genuine.
Like in most ruling families, the Quraish fought and divided into 2 factions around the beginning of the 6th century: one led by a rich merchant and philanthropist Hashim; the other by Hashim's jealous nephew Umayya. There would be constant battle between the two and their descendants. After Hashim died, Abd al-Muttalib took over. Abd's son Abdalluh married Amina (both descendants of Qusay) and had Mohammed. Abdallah died two months before the birth leaving Mohammed ("highly praised") some camels, goats, a house and a slave. His mother died when he was six and his grandfather took him in. After his grandfather, Mohammed's uncle Abu Talib raised him.
There is nothing remarkable about his childhood. The next thing of importance is his marriage to Khadija at 25. Mohammed is now introduced to the scriptures of the Jews and Christians (which is evident in the Koran, although adulterated) by way of Khadijah's relatives. He feels "the need of a new religion--perhaps of one that would unify all these factious groups into a virile and healthy nation; a religion that would give them a morality not earth-bound to the Bedouin law of violence and revenge, but based upon commandments of divine origin and therefore of indisputable force." Thus the birth of Islam.
It all started as recorded by Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Mohammed's chief biographer: "Whilst I was asleep, with a coverlet of silk brocade whereon was some writing, the angel Gabriel appeared to me and said, 'Read!' I said, 'I do not read.' He pressed me with the coverlets so tightly that methought 'twas death. Then he let me go, and said, 'Read!'...So I read aloud, and he departed from me at last. And I awoke from my sleep, and it was as though these words were written on my heart. I went forth until, when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'O Mohammed! thou art the messenger of Allah, and I am Gabriel.' I raised my head toward heaven to see, and lo, Gabriel in the form of a man, with feet set evenly on the rim of the sky, saying, 'O Mohammed! thou art the messenger of Allah, and I am Gabriel.'"
Mohammed had many visions (usually coinciding very conveniently with something for his personal gain) which were not written down until much later. Not everyone in his tribe of the Quraish thought Mohammed was a prophet--they thought him a half-wit and laughed behind his back. He did, however, manage to convert some of the men of high-standing in his clan. He tried unsuccessfully for a time before his preaching of the one god, Allah, was accepted.
Jerusalem became the third holiest site in Islam because of Mohammed's vision that "he was miraculously transported in his sleep to Jerusalem; there a winged horse, Buraq, awaited him at the Wiling Wall of the Jewish Temple ruins, flew him to heaven, and back again; and by another miracle the Prophet found himself, the next morning, safe in his Mecca bed."
Because of the infighting between the Hashimites and the Umayyas of the Quraish, Mohammed was forced to flee Mecca to Yathrib (renamed Medina "City of the Prophet"). To commemorate this flight, July 16, 622 was designated the official beginning of the Mohammedan era.
Relations between the Jews, Christians and Moslems was cordial at first with many Jews joining in the new religion, but with the renewal of raiding parties and stress of war, the Jews were disenchanted and started laughing at Mohammed and his interpretations of the Scriptures and his claim to be the Messiah--for he claimed to be the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) promised in the Bible.
After many years in Medina, Mohammed made a ten year truce with those in Mecca, but the fighting started up again after only two years. He entered Mecca unopposed (because of the number of his army), declared a general amnesty, destroyed the idols in and around the Kaaba, but spared the Black stone and sanctioned the kissing of it. He proclaimed Mecca the Holy City of Islam and stated that no unbeliever should ever be allowed to set foot on its sacred ground. After this conquest, all of Arabia submitted to his authority.
During peaceful times, he turned to the governing aspect of the nation. He decided to regulate the calendar which "had consisted among the Arabs, as among the Jews, of twelve lunar months, with an intercalary month every three years to renew concord with the sun. Mohammed ruled that the Moslem year should always consist of twelve lunar months, of alternately thirty and twenty-nine days; as a result the Moslem calendar lost all harmony with the seasons, and gained a year upon the Gregorian calendar every thirty-two and a half years." He also admired the Jews' Sabbath, but changed it to Friday.
While Mohammed was alive there was no official written qur'an ("reading" or "discourse"), but after his death one was formulated. It's a confusing melange of doctrines, prayers, announcements of laws, denouncements of enemies, directions, stories, rituals, financial info, etc. Apparently some of the things included in it were just a one-time thing, a local occurrence, and was probably not meant to be added to his writings. All chapters ("suras") except the first are written as if Gabriel or Allah is speaking because Mohammed believed that the only way to get everyone to obey his teachings was to make people believe they were utterings directly from God. The Koran is the perfect antibible for antichrist.
Some teachings contained therein:
The first article of Moslem belief is "there is no god but Allah" which is the counterpart to the beginning of Judaism's Shema (Deut 6:4-9, 11:13-21; Num 15:37-41): "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD."
Throughout the Talmud are many, many instances of the refrain "The Holy One, Blessed be He" with the counterpart in Islam being "Allah" (or "Mohammed"), "Blessed be He." There are just too many parallels to mention them all but suffice it to say that Mohammed took Jewish theology, ethics and rituals and added Arab demonology, pilgrimage and the Kaaba ceremony to create Islam. He taught that all other books had become corrupted and that what he was teaching was the final word from God.
After Mohammed's death Islam was ruled by Caliphs ("representatives") and there were a succession of those who went out and either converted the vanquished, made them pay tribute or slaughtered them--those were the 3 choices. At the beginning (630s), Syria was the base of the spreading Moslem empire. A few of these caliphs seem to have favored dying their white beards red (with no explanation why). The Hashimite and Umayyad clans were still feuding and around 661 the Umayyad were victorious and took over the caliphate until 750.
The Abbasid caliphate ran from 750-1058 with the founder, Abu al-Abbas al-Saffah (the Bloodthirsty), ruling an empire "extending from the Indus to the Atlantic: Sind (northwest India), Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Turkestan, Persia, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, Crete, Egypt, and North Africa. Moslem Spain, however, rejected his authority..." This caliphate built a new capital at Baghdad. Thirty-four of the 37 Abbasid caliphs had slave mothers.
An interesting caliph during this period was called Harun (supposedly the inspiration for the Thousand and One Nights). He had a vizier named Jafar and "loved [him] so well...had a cloak made with two collars, so that he and Jafar might wear it at the same time, and be two heads with but a single breast..."
As the Abbasid caliphate ran down, many "Turks were employed in the armed forces of the state, as Germans had replaced Romans in the armies of Rome; and from al-Muntasir [a caliph] onward it was Turkish captains that made and unmade, commanded and murdered, the caliphs." The caliphs were forced to do the bidding of others and the "Commander of the Faithful became little more than the head of orthodox Islam."
The Turks, in turn, overran Islam: "Moving westward from Lake Baikal, the Turks of north central Asia organized themselves in the sixth century under a khan or chagan. Forging iron found in their mountains, they made weapons as hard as their code, which punished not only treason and murder, but adultery and cowardice, with death. The fertility of their women outran the mortality of their wars. By AD 1000 a branch of Turks known by the name of their beg or leader Seljuq dominated Transoxiana as well as Turkestan. Mahmud of Ghazni, thinking to halt this rival Turkish power, seized a son of Seljuq, and imprisoned him in India. Undaunted and enraged, the Seljuq Turks under the stern but masterful Tughril Beg took most of Persia, and paved their further advance by sending to the Caliph al-Qaim at Baghdad a deputation announcing their submission to him and Islam. The Caliph hoped that these fearless warriors might free him from his Buwayhid overlords; he invited Tughril Beg to come to his aid. Tughril came and the Buwayhids fled; al-Qaim married Tughril's niece, and made him 'King of the East and the West.' One by one the petty dynasties of Asiatic Islam crumbled before the Seljuqs, and acknowledge again the supremacy of Baghdad. The Seljuq rulers took the title of sultan--master--and reduce the caliphs to a merely religious role; but they brought to the government a new vigor and competence, and to Mohammedanism a new fervor of orthodox faith. They did not, like the Mongols two centuries later, destroy what they conquered; they rapidly absorbed the higher civilization, unified into a new empire what had been the scattered members of a dying state, and gave it the strength to endure and survive that long duel, between Christianity and Islam, which we know as the Crusades."
The Arabs did not disdain the office of merchant; they were adept at getting goods from producers to consumers: "...caravans bound China and India to Persia, Syria, and Egypt; and ports like Baghdad, Basra, Aden, Cairo, and Alexandria sent Arab merchantmen out to sea. Moslem commerce dominated the Mediterranean till the Crusades, plying between Syria and Egypt at one end, Tunis, Sicily, Morocco, and Spain at the other, and touching Greece, Italy, and Gaul; it captured control of the Red Sea from Ethiopia; it reached over the Caspian into Mongolia, and up the Volga from Astrakhan to Novgorod, Finland, Scandinavia, and Germany, where it left thousands of Moslem coins; it answered the Chinese junks that visited Basra by sending Arab dhows out from the Persian Gulf to India and Ceylon, through the Straits and up the Chinese coast to Khanfu (Canton); a colony of Moslem and Jewish merchants was well established there in the eighth century. This vitalizing commercial activity reached its peak in the tenth century, when western Europe was at nadir; and when it subsided it left its mark upon many European languages in such words as tariff, traffic, magazine, caravan, and bazaar...[one of the Caliphs] describes a kind of promissory note for 42,000 dinars addressed to a merchant in Morocco; from the Arabic word sakk for this form of credit is derived our word check."
One of the underpinnings of their economic structure were slaves. "They were probably more numerous in Islam in proportion to population than in Christendom..." A "brisk trade developed in slaves captured in raids--Negroes from East and Central Africa, Turks or Chinese from Turkestan, whites from Russia, Italy, and Spain. The Moslem had full rights of life and death over his slaves..."
"Five Pillars of Islam": belief in Allah and Mohammed, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and pilgrimage.
At dawn, shortly after midday, in late afternoon, at sunset, and at bedtime the muezzin (Muslim crier) mounts a minaret (tower attached to a mosque) to sound the adhan, or call to prayer: "Allahu Akbar (God is most great)! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. I bear witness that Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah. I bear witness that Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah. I bear witness that Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah. Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to success! Come to success! Come to success! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! There is no God but Allah!"
"A few months after settling in Medina he [Mohammed] saw the Jews keeping their annual fast of Yom Kippur; he adopted it for his followers, hoping to win the Jews to Islam; when this hope faded he transferred the fast to the month of Ramadan." Seeing that the calendar is never corrected, Ramadan falls throughout the year in a 33 year cycle.
Mecca ("seat of the ancient Arab shrine and birthplace of the Prophet") and Medina (the prophet's "refuge and home") were both considered holy cities. At one time (680s), the primary focus of worship was to be redirected to Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock, but this strategy failed and the Kaaba retained its primary role. Again, Jerusalem became a holy city to Islam because supposedly "Mohammed had met Abraham, Moses and Jesus and had prayed with them; near by he had seen the rock (reckoned by Israel to be the center of the world) where Abraham had thought to sacrifice Isaac, and Moses had received the Ark of the Covenant, and Solomon and Herod had built their temples; from that rock Mohammed had ascended into heaven; if one but had faith he could see in the rock the footprints of the Prophet...Over that historic stone artisans (691) raised in Syrian-Byzantine style the famous 'Dome of the Rock'...It was not a mosque, but a shrine to house the rock...Upon an octagonal building of squared stones, 528 feet in circuit, rises a dome, 112 feet high, made of wood externally covered with gilded brass...Running around the cornice of the outer colonnade, in yellow letters on blue tiles, is an inscription in Kufic...Saladin had it set up in 1187...Abd-al-Malik's plan to make this monument replace the Kaaba failed; had it succeeded, Jerusalem would have been the center of all the three faiths that competed for the soul of medieval man."
Another important city was Damascus. As the Arab empire swept East this location was deemed more central than Mecca or Jerusalem. At one time there were 572 mosques in the city including "The Great Mosque" built over where the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist had stood (built in 379). The ruling caliph at that time remodeled the Cathedral into a mosque which was considered "the most magnificent structure in Islam." The mosque has been burnt, rebuilt, burnt again and replastered and to this day "on one wall of the mosque may still be seen the inscription that had overhung the lintel of the Christian church, and which the Moslems never erased: 'Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth forever.'" This is interesting in light of the fact that the Lord is not through with Damascus--it has a role to play in the endtimes (that is a whole study in itself).
Moving eastward from Damascus, the next "jewel" you would find would be Baghdad. Situated close to the old city of Babylon, in 762 the governmental offices were moved there from Kufa. Baghdad ("Gift of God") was renamed Medinat-al-Salam ("City of Peace") and the caliph built a palace called either the "Golden Gate" because of its gilded entrance, or the "Green Dome" because of its gleaming roof. The caliph also built a summer residence called the "Palace of Eternity" where "from the windows of these palaces one might see a hundred vessels unloading on the docks the wares of half the earth." Both sides of the Tigris were built up and in the 10th century it was the largest city in the world and housed many different religions within its narrow streets.
The bounty of riches held within the confines of the city are hard to imagine as the same area which is now shown on TV filled with beggars and the poor writhing under the sanctions of the Gulf War due to the mismanagement of Saddam Hussein. Of course, the gulf between the rich and poor is as wide as ever and we are not usually allowed to see the palaces and grand homes of the dictator, but history provides us a bit of information on just what the city was and will be again if Saddam has his way. The rich lived amidst much opulence--"simple without, but 'within, nothing but azure and gold.'" One man (caliph?) spent 400,000 dinars ($1,900,000 in 1960s) to build a "Palace of the Pleiades" with a stable that housed 9000 horses, camels, and mules; another built a "Palace of the Crown" which covered 9 square miles; yet another built the "Hall of the Tree," "so named because in its garden pond stood a tree of silver and gold; on the silver leaves and twigs perched silver birds, whose beaks piped mechanical lays." "When Greek ambassadors were received by al-Muqtadir in 917, they were impressed by the the palaces of the Caliph and his government, the porticoes of marble columns, the number, size, and beauty of the rugs and tapestries that almost covered floors and walls, the thousand grooms in shining uniforms, the gold and silver saddles and brocaded saddlecloths of the emperor's horses, the variety of tame or wild animals in the spacious parks, and the royal barges, themselves palaces, that rode on the tigris, waiting the Caliph's whim."
Baghdad was a place of luxury where the upper classes engaged in horse racing, polo games, drank precious wine, ate foods brought from all over the world, wore silk and gold brocade, perfumed their hair, clothing, beards, wore jewelry on their heads, ears, necks, wrists, ankles. "About 790 we hear of a club of ten members: an orthodox Sunni, a Shi'ite, A Kharijite, a Manichean, an erotic poet, a materialist, a Christian, a Jew, a Sabaean, and a Zoroastrian; their meetings, we are told, were marked by mutual tolerance, good humor, and courteous argument. In general Moslem society was one of excellent manners; from Cyrus to Li Hung Chang the East has surpassed the West in courtesy. It was an ennobling aspect of this Baghdad life that all the permitted arts and sciences found there a discriminating patronage, that schools and colleges were numerous, and the air resounded with poetry."
(All quotes from The Story of Civilization, Will Durant)
The Seljuks were a branch of the great Turkic peoples who dominated the grasslands of Asia from Mongolia to western Russia. During the tenth century a group of Turks under a chieftain named Seljuk settled in Transoxania, north of what is today Afghanistan, converted to Islam, and became incorporated into the frontier forces of the local rulers. The Seljuk servants soon became masters and embarked westward on a career of conquest.
[The Seljuk divided into Ghazi states.] The modern Turkish state descends from one of the ghazi principalities. The founder of the state's greatness, Osman (1259-1326), presumably inherited from his father, Ertogrul, a petty principality on the southeast border of the Byzantine Empire... Since Osman was the first ghazi of his line, the state adopted his name and has gone down in Turkish history as the Osmanli Empire. The name "Osman" is a Turkish version of the Arabic "Othman," a name which Italians could not pronounce and corrupted to "Ottoman," so that Europeans speak and write of the Ottoman Empire.
Murad I conquered the heart of the Balkans, and in 1389 he defeated the Serbian king at the Battle of Kossovo...
Technically living as slaves of the sultan, the Janizaries provided the Ottoman rulers with a highly disciplined standing army of trained and well-equipped infantrymen, superior to any similar force in Europe until the advent of the French army under Louis XIV.
Bayazid (Bajazet) I, who succeeded his father Murad I at the Battle of Kossovo in 1389, immediately gave orders that his brother Yakub should be strangled...This act became customary among the Ottoman rulers until the seventeenth century, when imprisonment instead of strangling was the fate of the brothers and nephews of a successful sultan...Bayazid crossed over to Asia so speedily and won a brilliant battle near Bursa so decisively that he became known thereafter as "Yilderim" or "Lightning"...He became addicted to wine and unnatural vices and advocated a kind of eclectic religion, even naming his sons after Moses (Musa), Solomon (Suleiman), Jesus (Isa), Muhammad (Mehmed). Most distressing of all were his attacks upon other Turkish ghazis and Muslims in Asia minor.
A successful naval war from 1499 to 1503 against Venice...decisively established the naval supremacy of the Ottomans in the Mediterranean.
Perhaps one of Bayazid's [II] most tolerant acts was the opening of the Ottoman Empire to more than 100,000 Jews who were driven from Spain in 1492. For his piety he was called Veli, "the Saint."
Known as kizilbash, or wearers of the red hat, the Shiites [a Molsem sect] were inundating eastern and southern Asia Minor with their mystics and missionaries.
Suleiman [Solomon], tenth sultan of the Ottomans. [His father Selim I] in a short eight years had almost doubled the size of the empire and had added to it significant parts of the older Muslim and Arab world. Certainly after 1517 Selim I and his Ottoman successors for several centuries were the most powerful Muslim rulers, and as such were the ones most likely to be responsible for the enforcement of Muslim law. Although Selim I and his immediate successors did not adopt the title of caliph, others did address him as caliph and rendered him the respect usual to that position. Henceforth until the demise of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, the sovereign carried the titles of sultan, ghazi, shah, padishah, khan, and caliph.
The reign of Suleiman I "the Magnicifent" (1520-1566) is considered the Golden Age of Ottoman rule...Great wealth poured into Istanbul, enabling the rulers to build splendid mosques and public institutions, and to patronize literature, science, and the arts...Suleiman was a cultivated man who enjoyed music, poetry, the beauties of nature, and philosophic discussions. Yet the military apparatus of the Empire forced him to pursue a warlike policy...In 1534...captured Baghdad, incorporating Iraq into the Ottoman Empire...Part of the intrigue which had devastated Suleiman's family can be attributed to the jealousy of his wife Roxelana, a former slave girl of either Russian or Polish origin. She interfered in matters of state so much that no Ottoman sultan thereafter ever took a wife [although they maintained huge harems].
Ziya Gokalp, Turkish nationalist, journalist, and philosopher, and some of his close friends were the intellectual leaders of the Young Turkish movement [late 19th, early 20th century]. They were dedicated European modernists who sought to Westernize Turkey in one generation. Some preached Ottomanism, in which all peoples of the Empire, whether Turk, Arab, Greek, Armenian, Slav, Jew, or Albanian, would be melted into one nationality--Ottoman. Another group thought in terms of Pan-Islamism, uniting all Muslim peoples into one nation; but his had the defect of omitting the many Christians and Jews in the Empire. Some preached Pan-Turkism, which emphasized the Central Asian origin of the Turks and argued that all in the Empire should become Turks, especially since the Turkish language was spoken widely and generally by non-Turks.
On August 2, 1914, Enver [self-proclaimed Turkish minister of war] and other officials signed a secret agreement with Germany to enter the war on the German side...An armistice was signed by the Ottoman representatives and a British Admiral off Mudros in the Aegean Sea on October 30, 1918, giving the Allies the right to "occupy any strategic points" in the Ottoman Empire and to have free access and control of the Straits. The Turkish forces were to be demobilized.
OTTOMAN EMPIRE, the name applied to the Turkish state from 1289 to 1922...The Ottoman Empire reached its zenith in the reign of Suleiman [Solomon] the Magnificent (1520-1566), extending from Hungary to Mesopotamia and thence soutwestward to Egypt, Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers, which were vassal states. The sultans of the Osman family held power until the close of the seventeenth century; after them, the administration of the Empire deteriorated in the hands of the viziers, so that Turkey came to be described as "the sick man of Europe."
(Collier's Encyclopedia, 1964)
The Treaty of Sevres, negotiated on August 10, 1920, between the Ottoman government on the one hand and the Allied powers on the other, deprived Turkey of Thrace, the islands of Imbros (Imroz Adaya) and Tenedos (Bozcaada), the Dodecanese, Smyrna, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Egypt, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and the Hejaz.
This drastic dismemberment of the Turkish Empire served to rally the people to the Nationalist Party of Mustafa Kemal, better known as Kemal Ataturk, who repudiated the Treaty of Sevres and took energetic steps to clear Turkey of foreigners. On November 20, 1922 a fresh treaty was signed at Lausanne, Switzerland, between the new Turkish government, headed by Kemal Ataturk, and the late Allies, by the provisions of which eastern Thrace and Anatolia, including Smyrna, were returned to the Turks. A Turkish republic was proclaimed on October 29, 1923, with its capital at Ankara; Kemal Ataturk became the first president. Soon thereafter the Turkish caliphate was abolished and the abandonment of Islam as the state religion was decreed. The program of revolutionary reforms inaugurated by Ataturk also included the suppression of polygamy, the abolition of the ancient Mohammedan code of law and the adoption of a Western legal system, the prohibiton against wearing the fez, and the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in place of the Mohammedan calendar.
Turkey was invited (September, 1951) to become a signatory of the North Atlantic Treaty, a mutual-defense pact among the US, Canada, and ten West European democracies.
(Universal Standard Encyclopedia)
The seven churches in Revelation are in modern Turkey and were once part of the Ottoman Empire. The churches Paul wrote to in Thessalonica, Colosse, Philippi, Ephesus, Galatia and Corinth were also all once part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Dynasty was the longest lasting dynasty in the world--641 years.
Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, much of the land that had formerly belonged to the Ottoman empire was divided and given to the Britain and France in the form of mandates that would prepare these newly created countries for independence.
The Husayn-McMahon agreement was made during World War I between the British high commissioner, McMahon, and Sharif Husayn, the governor of the Ottoman province in Mecca. The Arabs agreed to revolt against the Ottoman Turks in Arabia and Syria ,and in return Britain would support the creation of an independent Arab state in former Ottoman lands after the end of the war.
Iraq's Borders and Territory:
Following World War I Britain was given a mandate over the former Ottoman provinces of Mosul, Baghdad, and part of Basra. This mandate incorporated the borders of the traditional geographical region of Mesopotamia. This mandate emerged as the independent kingdom of Iraq in 1932 Iraq bitterly complained about its borders at the head of the Persian Gulf which had been created by Britain. Its complaint was two-fold: One; that its access to the Gulf was too narrow, especially in comparison with its width further north, and two; that the land that had been used to create Kuwait, should have been given to Iraq since it had been officially included in the former Ottoman province of Basra, most of which had been included in the Iraqi mandate. Although Iraq accepted the 1932 borders, it was not happy with them, and periodically threatened military action. In 1961 when Kuwait became independent and was no longer a British protectorate, Iraq announced its plans to annex Kuwait. Threats from the Arab League and Britain prevented this from taking place, but in the 1970's, Iraq again attempt to take control of two islands in the Persian Gulf that belonged to Kuwait: Warba and Bubiyan. But as before, Iraq dropped its claim and withdrew the military threat. Again, in 1990, Iraq moved into Kuwait. This action led to what became the Gulf War.
Lebanon and Its Territory
Lebanon is a tiny country not much larger than the state of Connecticut. It is only 135 miles from north to south, and only about 40 miles from the Mediterranean Sea to Syria. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, France was given a mandate over the area that today is represented by the countries of Syria and Lebanon. Living in this area were a group of Maronite Christians. These "Christians of Mount Lebanon" had, under pressure from the European powers, been granted a privileged status under the Ottoman Empire. Thus, French diplomats separated the area know as Mt. Lebanon administratively from Syria, and expanded it into a region considered to be the minimum size necessary for autonomous status (Partner 38). This expanded region therefore, included more than just the Maronites and eventually led to a 16 year civil war.
A map of Asia shows no country called Kurdistan. But many Kurds are determined that there should be such a country. There are an estimated 22-23 million Kurds; they are the largest ethnic group in the Middle East without their own government. Most live in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Armenia where these countries converge.
Following World War I, the Treaty of Se'vres was signed between Turkey and the Allied Powers on August 10, 1920 (the Treaty of Se'vres). This treaty arranged for a commission to mark the borders of Kurdistan, and Article 64 called for the independence of the Kurdish people within the established areas. However, this treaty was never implemented.
The Kurds: A Nation without a State
The Kurds are people of Indo-European origin who live mainly in the mountains and upland where Turkey, Iraq, and Iran meet. They have their own language, and are predominately Sunni Muslim. The Kurds have traditionally resisted subjugation by other nations. In the 16th century the Ottoman and Persian Empress allowed the Kurdish tribes almost total autonomy in return for keeping peace on the borders of the empires. At the end of the First World War, the Kurds living in the former Ottoman Empire found themselves divided between three different countries: Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. In each of these countries, the Kurds found themselves to be discriminated against. They were expected to learn the language of the state in which they found themselves, and to abandon their Kurdish identity. The Kurds, being traditional in their ways and tribal oriented began to feel their culture undermined and many Kurdish groups attempted to resist their new governments.
Since World War I the Kurds have struggled unsuccessfully in various countries in which they live for self-determination and independence.
(Geopolitical Issues in the Middle East, Margaret A. Doyle)
The Red Crescent
The Red Crescent is the symbol of the Islamic organization.
The Crescent with the Star "is the well-known ideogram found on for instance the flags of Turkey and Pakistan. Positioned in various ways it appears on several of the Islamic countrie' national flags. This ideogram is a general symbol for the Islamic faith. It combines the pictorial sign for the waning moon and the sign for the planet Venus as the Morning star. The five points of the Venus star are in this context said to represent the five pillars of Islam..."
The Crescent "was the symbol of Constantinople, the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium (now Istanbul). When the Turks, led by Muhammed II, conquered Constantinople in 1453, they also adopted the city's symbol but changed its position so that it was clearly a picture of the waning moon (for people living on the northern hemisphere). According to some sources, however, the Turks already used the crescent as their symbol at this time. Now it became the symbol for the Ottoman-Turkish Empire. As such it was used until around the end of the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the nineteenth century a star was added to it. At first it was not five- pointed, but soon became so. From the beginning of the twentieth century this combined crescent and five-pointed star symbol began to appear on other Islamic countries’ flags."
"The fivepointed star is also a symbol of ideologies and appears together with other structures to denote different creeds and belief systems: with the hammer and sickle it represents Communism; with palm leaves, Scientology; with the crescent moon, Islam..."
(Symbols '98 Encyclopedia)
A Muslim Inconsistency
The importance of Jerusalem popularly accepted by today's Muslims derives from the belief that within the Dome of the Rock lies the sacred site from which Mohammed allegedly ascended to heaven. That tradition, however, though now firmly established in the Muslim mind, is of very recent origin. It is, in fact, a fabrication invented by Yasser Arafat's uncle, Haj Amin el-Husseini, past Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He promoted this myth in the 1920s and 1930s in order to arouse Arab sentiment against the growing Jewish presence in Jerusalem and to justify the location of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple site.
That such an idea was not the actual reason for the construction of this monument to Islam by Abd-al-Malik in 691 is evident from the fact that the one verse in the Koran (Surah 17:1) which, it is now claimed, alludes to this alleged event is not to be found among the verses from the Koran which are inscribed inside the Dome. The absence of that key Koranic passage speaks volumes. Obviously the interpretation now given to that verse was unknown in earlier times, and with good reason. The fact is that any normal reading of the verse, assigning normal meaning to the words, fails to suggest the tradition of Mohammed visiting that site and launching from there into heaven. The Koran doesn't say that at all, but its meager statement has been stretched into a now-accepted Islamic tradition. Here is the verse:
"Glorified be He who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant Place [al Aqsa] of Worship the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, and only He, is the Hearer, the Seer."
The accompanying commentary states that the "Inviolable Place of Worship" is Mecca and that the "Far Distant Place of Worship" is Jerusalem. The first is, of course, true because Mecca had held that position from the beginning. The latter, however, has no substantiation because Jerusalem had never been the scene of Islamic worship to that time, nor would it be for centuries thereafter. As we have already noted, Jerusalem is not even mentioned by name in the Koran, either in this verse or anywhere else. So how could it be a place of worship for the Muslim who was never directed to it?
Quite obviously, the magnificent Dome of the Rock was erected on that particular spot not only in an attempt by Abd-al-Malik to gain potentially vast revenues from pilgrims, but also to prevent the Jews from ever rebuilding the Temple. No doubt it was thought that without that sacred structure the Jews would have no reason for regathering in Jerusalem. Thereby the stage was set more than a millennium ago for a future conflict which today threatens us all with a Third World War--a war over Jerusalem from which earth might very well never recover. (Jerusalem is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible.)
Vatican II makes this surprising statement: "But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."
Islam is fighting a holy war for control of the world! That war was begun by Mohammed himself in the seventh century and is still carried on today by his faithful followers through terrorism. The terrorists are not radicals or extremists, as the media continually labels them. Instead, these are Islamic fundamentalists who are true to their religion and the teachings of the Koran and who follow faithfully in the footsteps of their great Prophet, Mohammed. As one former Muslim and Islamic scholar has said:
"We must never imagine that such Muslims are being unnecessarily wicked. They are simply being faithful to their religion. The fact is never hidden as to the attitude a good Muslim should have towards Christians and Jews. In fact, much of the incitement to violence and war in the whole of the Quran is directed against the Jews and Christians who rejected what they felt to be the strange god Mohammed was trying to preach."
The Islamic world is one of constant unrest, double crosses, uprisings, and wars. Arab leaders distrust one another and fight among themselves. Only Islam and the passion to destroy Israel unite them.
Libya's Moammar Kadafi speaks for millions of Muslims when he says, "The solution to all human problems is Islam." And when Kadafi urges Muslims in Zaire to engage in Jihad to overthrow the government and says, "He who kills this man [Mobutu] will go to paradise," he is not merely expressing one man's fanaticism but the teaching of Islam itself.
Islam is not merely a religion but a way of life. The idea of the separation of church and state, taken for granted in the West, is anathema in Islam. A secular government is a scandal to a Muslim, and Islamic fundamentalists are actively trying to overthrow such governments in Arab nations and install Shari'a (Islamic law) in their place. As Islamic scholar Abd-al-Masih explains:
"Islam not only means a religion for man's head, soul and heart; it is an all-encompassing culture, a theocentric society in which every area of life, education, economy, family, and politics relate to Allah. There is no question of separation between throne and pulpit or between politics and religion."
...Islam claims superiority over Christianity and is as unalterably opposed to it as it is to Judaism. One Arab writer declares:
"Muslims claim they respect Jesus. Yet many of us know by experience that Islam is the most anti-Christian religion on earth. It is more antagonistic to the Christian faith than Communism ever was...With all the persecutions Christians suffered in the former Soviet Union, the Church of Christ still continued, though underground. In Communist China today, Christianity still thrives. But confess of Christ by a national in an Islamic country is regarded as high treason [for which the penalty is death]. No Church is allowed--not even an official Church that a Communist government could allow is permitted to operate openly in an Islamic country!"
It is commonly imagined by non-Muslims that Allah is simply the Arabic word for God, like Dieu in French or Dios in Spanish. Not so. Allah is a contraction of al-Ilah, the personal name of the moon god, chief of the gods in the ancient Kaaba. That fact is still reflected in the crescent moon on the minarets and shrines and mosques and national flags of Islamic countries. If Allah were merely the Arabic word for God, then the Muslims would not hesitate to use the word for God in other languages. But in each language it is insisted that the name Allah be used; it would be blasphemy to call the Muslims' god anything but Allah.
(A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy, Dave Hunt)
The word "Islam" means "submission." The ultimate aim of Islam is to make one umma of the people of the world, an Islamic people in submission to Allah.
Islam sees the world as being divided into two parts. That which is "in submission" is called Dar-al-Salaam (House of Peace). That which is not yet in submission is called Dar-al-Harb (House of War). To put it another way, those of us in the West who have not yet been brought into "submission" are subject to Jihad. This term does not simply mean the subjection of unbelievers to some kind of violent confrontation; Jihad implies everything which furthers the cause of Allah.
According to Islam there are three "holy books": the Law (tawrat) and the Psalms (zabur), the New Testament (injil), and the Qur'an. For Muhammad the Qur'an was the revelation of final and absolute truth. It replaced the Old and New Testaments and corrected the errors which had supposedly crept into the revelation that Allah had previously given to the Jews and the Christians.
In asserting that the Jews had twisted the words of God, Muhammad was specifically referring to the promises given to Abraham and recorded in the Scriptures. These include the promises which God has fulfilled through the line of Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Israel, as well as those which await fulfillment. But, according to Muhammad, the major promises from Allah were not given to Isaac but to Ishmael.
It was largely in the twentieth century, with the discovery of oil under the desert sands and all the new opportunities this created, that revival came to the Muslim world. The impetus for much of this revival came from spiritual leaders like the Ayatollah Khomeini, who pointed out that it was Allah who had now given Muslims a new chance of winning the world for Islam.
Oil, and the enormous wealth it created, gave Islam the power to influence the whole of the Western world. Money was readily available, and, as one of the most convenient agents of power, it played a crucial role in the change of the fortunes of Islam.
Islam is today experiencing a revival in every aspect of its life, whether political, cultural, or social. This is no accident. The revival which started in the 1970s, in which Khomeini was partly instrumental, is connected with the Islamic understanding of the "end of the age."
Islam dates its inception from 570 AD, so it is now at the beginning of its fifteenth century.
For centuries, the ultimate hope of the Jews has been the coming of the messianic kingdom, a kingdom which has to do with the appearance of the Messiah-King and with both the revival and renewal of Israel. Christians should realize that the Bible points in many places to God's millennial, thousand-year kingdom on earth (Isa 2:1-4; Rev 20:4, etc.). Islam also thinks in terms of specific time-spans, but these are in hundred-year rather than thousand-year cycles. Behind this way of thinking lies the idea that the world, as far as time is concerned, goes through a kind of cyclical motion in which time is constantly returning to its starting-point.
According to this idea, the course of the world in history is not to be seen as one of forward movement. The idea of "progress" does not receive much attention in the political and philosophical thinking of Islam. Instead, as we shall see more fully, the course of world events is based on the idea of a wheel in motion, an idea which was very real to Muslims of the Middle Ages. While less stressed today, the concept is still a significant part of Islamic thought.
According to Islam, the path followed by mankind may be compared to that of a wheel turning on its axle. During the movement of turning there is always a point on the rim of the wheel which is at the top. This upper point may be considered as being at the best and most favorable position in the wheel's cycle. As the wheel goes on turning, the point which was on top now proceeds downward until it finally reaches the lowest point in the cycle. When this happens the low point has been reached, and this may be considered as representing the worst possible moment in time.
Until the recent Islamic revival, Islam tended to go along with the forward movement of humanity, but such movement is not considered to represent either progress or improvement but rather deterioration. For Islam there is only one way to bring about improvement, and that is to go backward in time.
The further back the wheel goes the better things will become because, it is argued, you will find yourself back at the top of the cycle all the sooner. A parallel may be drawn with the face of a clock in which the big hand is not allowed to go beyond the quarter-past mark.
So what is to be done when Islam suffers a military defeat or a political or economic setback? What is to be done when even Muslim believers seem to be losing their faith? Shall Islam go forward with the tide of history into an ever more modern way of life? Or shall it go backwards into the past? Islam answers, "Go back!" For in turning back to the past the high point in the cycle of the wheel will be reached all the more quickly.
In Islam, the time-cycles last for a hundred years. It is at the end of such a period that Islam finds itself at its lowest ebb, and it is at these times that there is increased expectancy concerning a messiah...
Because there is still no messiah in Islam, the answer must be to turn the wheel back so that its crucial point can once again be at the highest point of the cycle. No time in history can surpass that of the prophet Muhammad himself, and the message of Islam for the faithful today is this: "Let us return to the best of the past, to the word of the prophet, to the word of Allah and to the Qur'an. Let us turn back to the tradition, back to everything which is truly of Islam."
(Islam, Israel and the Last Days, Elishua Davidson)
The Future of Jews Lies in the Re-establishment of Caliphate
Palestine Times, December Issue (1998)
A Jewish historian from Tel Aviv has called on Arabs and Muslims to re-establish the Islamic caliphate "in order to bring about a genuine, durable and just resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians."
Professor Meyer Kaplan said in an interview with Palestine Times that the future of Jews in Palestine would look doubtful and precarious if the current state of Zionism remained unchanged, which he said necessitated the establishment of an umbrella Islamic caliphate transcending geopolitical borders and covering Palestine. He said that Jews would accept in principle Islamic sovereignty over Palestine "provided that the caliphate rules according to the law of the Prophet." He cited the "law of Medina" as the most appropriate law of the land in a prospective Islamic State where "Jews, Muslims, Christians and others are considered citizens of the Islamic State."
Kaplan lashed out at the current peace process, saying it is "nothing" from the historical point of view, and that, historically speaking, it is not worth the paper on which it is written. "Neither Jews nor Arabs are satisfied with it, so each party will wait until the time is ripe to leap on the other," he said.
(Israeli & Global News [http://www.cmep.com], December 6, 1998)
See Gog and Magog