Some Right-Wing Europeans Say Islam Hasn’t Contributed to Western Culture. Here’s Why They’re Wrong

Taj Mahal is not only a symbol for India but also for Muslim Heritage

Taj Mahal is not only a symbol for India but also for Muslim Heritage

Source: Huffington Post

By ; Chair of Islamic Studies at American University

One of the right-wing tropes about Islam in Europe, which is making alarming inroads into the mainstream, is that it represents a “culture of backwardness, of retardedness, of barbarism” and has made no contribution to Western civilization. Islam provides an easy target considering that some 3,000 or more Europeans are estimated to have left for the Middle East in order to fight alongside the Islamic State. The savage beheadings and disgusting treatment of women and minorities confirm in the minds of many that Islam is incompatible with Western civilization. This has become a widely known, and even unthinkingly accepted, proposition. But is it correct?

Let us look at European history for answers. At least 10 things will surprise you:

1. Contrary to common belief, Muslims did not first arrive in Europe with the intention of conquering it.

A small military contingent landed on the southern coast of Spain in 711 in response to the pleadings of the Jewish community, which faced harsh persecution under the Visigoth rulers. The arrival of the Muslims and their victory prevented what New York University Professor David Levering Lewis terms “the final solution.” Christian leaders like Count Julian, whose daughter had been dishonored at court, had also been requesting Muslim intervention. It is precisely this reason, the support of large sections of local society, that allowed the Muslims to so easily establish their domination over Al-Andalus.

2. By describing Muslims as “backward”, “retarded” and “barbaric,” it is suggested that they are not capable of balancing their religion with rational thought. Yet Muslims had already attained a balance between the two positions centuries before other European societies.

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1 reply

  1. Europe is to be taught that Islam and todays muslims are two different things.Unfortunately they see Islam from the spectacle of the deeds of todays muslims.We should not deny that what some so called muslim groups are doing or propagating , is not Islam . Since there are no strong condemn and denial , savage beheading and disgusting treatment of women and minorities are being considered the outcome of Islam . when there is silence on barberic acts ( remember the attack on shiyya & Qadiyyni mosques , murder of children & women etc. ) and there is no strng protes against these , when those moulvies who openly motivate others to kill Qadiyyani or others kafirs and the world see that they are moving here and there freely , they are being cheered & honoured by mass , how can one believe that muslims were not only civilized but also made others civilized ? Even some books & tafaseers which are very popular among muslims ; are believed true the path towards the revival of Islam goes through those acts what these small muslims are doing very proudly while the world considered those acts barberic and some muslims un-islamic .

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