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The Holy Sepulchre

 

From Aasim 5-26-02

"the christians came to the Holy Land for a reason, which was the destruction by a muslim ruler of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest places of Christendom." - Lewieke

This is not intended to start a debate. I just wanted to clarify something.

Yes, the original Holy Sepulchre was destroyed by a Muslim ruler. But his successor openly apologised and paid for and rebuilt the new Church of the Holy Sepulcre.

In all honesty, there was no real reason for the Crusades. This is why Muslims often discuss the Crusades and its murderous brutality.

Even Christian historians agree that the Crusades are an enduring black mark on the history of the Roman Church. Remember, not only did Muslims suffer, but Jews and other Christians (Eastern Orthodox) suffered as well. It was a horrible thing to happen. But its target was Islam. And its goal was to wipe out the Muslim infedels. And we can't forget, we must never forget that...ever.

Forever in history the German nation will always carry the blight of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, even though it is not their fault.

In my own eyes, Christianity will always carry the blight of the Crusades, even though it is not the modern Christian's fault.

Forgive...but never forget.

-Aasim

 

From Lewieke 5-27

"But his successor openly apologised and paid for and rebuilt the new Church of the Holy Sepulcre."

If this is true, then there was indeed no excuse for the crusades, except for the fact that the apologisies of this successor might have reached the christian world too late or maybe didn't get through at all (considering the fact that communication was bad in those days).

"And its goal was to wipe out the Muslim infedels."

I'm sceptic about this statement. Maybe you're right, but as far as I know, its goal was just to protect the christian interests in the Holy Land - not some kind of ethnic cleansing. But it's true that when the crusaders got there, they went beyond their original objectives and killed many muslims - which is repulsive and should indeed not be forgotten.

Let me explain what irritates me about this topic. It's the fact that muslims show a tendency to portray themselves as eternal victims of the christians. I don't mind them pointing out that the christians committed atrocities against them, but they should also be critical of themselves. As far as I know, until the colonial era (starting in the nineteenth century) the crusades were the only big aggressive event that was initiated by the christians - all other aggressive actions were initiated by muslims (e.g., the attacks on the christian world by the Arabs in the seventh and eight century and by the Turks from the late Middle Ages until the end of the eighteenth century). We shouldn't forget the crusades, but neither should we forget that from the seventh until the eighteenth century (in short, for more than thousand years!) the christian world was almost incessantly being besieged by muslims.

 

 

From Aaron 5-31

Aasim

Peace

It would seem that as of late I find myself in trouble every time I write. And I am afraid that it will not change much with this current posting. I mean no offense Aasim, but because I believe that your description of history is rather one-sided, I feel compelled to make these additional comments for some historical balance.

And I know that you said—"This is not intended to start a debate." No debate is intended, but how about a little reality check?

You write—" Muslims often discuss the Crusades and its murderous brutality.

Even Christian historians agree that the Crusades are an enduring black mark on the history of the Roman Church. Remember, not only did Muslims suffer, but Jews and other Christians (Eastern Orthodox) suffered as well. It was a horrible thing to happen. But its target was Islam. And its goal was to wipe out the Muslim infedels. And we can't forget, we must never forget that...ever."

Is this not the battle cry of Islam? We seem to frequently hear their call to Jihad against the infidels and the Crusaders.

Aasim, I believe that Lewieke made some very sound points concerning the presentation of history. So to be fair in this discussion, do Muslims ever bring-up the fact that it was the Muslims who first wiped out the Jewish/Christian dominance from this entire Middle Eastern region of the world? As Lewieke pointed out—the Muslims were the principle aggressors during and following the seventh century. That is, from their beginning there in the seventh century, it was the Muslims who set out to up-root Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism. So then in our remembering "the Crusades and its murderous brutality", we must also remember the rest of history with all of its brutality as well. Or are you suggesting that the conquering armies of Islam were never brutal towards the so-called infidels that they were conquering?

But then it would seem that the current activities in the Middle East and around the world are keeping many memories fresh in our minds.

And since we are on this subject, I would like to know your thoughts concerning this most recent Muslim incursion into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? Also, what you think about their treatment of this ancient Christian Church and its furnishings? I was also wondering, do you think that the Muslims would have been as forgiving, had a group of Jews or Christians occupied the Dome of the Rock in a similar way?

Finally, if we cannot honestly understand our individual roles within God's universal reconciliation-the Abrahamic Covenant, then we are all destined to these same sorts of religious disputings. We must come to see that God's universal reconciliation is greater then any of its parts.

If I have said anything that is distorted or untrue in this sad commentary, please forgive me?

Aaron

 

From Aasim

Peace to all,

Aaron,

You are partly correct in saying that my historical views are one-sided.

You wrote: ...do Muslims ever bring-up the fact that it was the Muslims who first wiped out the Jewish/Christian dominance from this entire Middle Eastern region of the world?

I think Islamic history would see this "conquest" of the Middle East as being a move to secure a stable and safe environment for the Muslim community.

From the Islamic perspective, many treaties and plans were being made that would ensure the destruction of the young Muslim community. Muhammad(saw) was a proactive leader. Once he was assured of the validity of these plans, he made pre-emptive strikes against his enemies, preserving and protecting the young and vulnerable community.

Nobody said war is pretty. Yes, the Mulsims did exact harsh punishment. But it was carried out on those who would seek the destruction of the Muslim Ummah.

Has President Bush been particularly merciful towards the Taliban? Absolutely not. They are being hunted down and exterminated because they are seen as a continuing threat to peace, stability and national security.

The Crusades continue to be a sore spot for Muslims.

Here is an example:

I went to the movies yesterday to see Episode II. You know how they always have slide-show ads before the movie. Well, one of the ads was for Promise Keepers. Do you know what the ad consisted of?

It bold, magnificent font, it said "The Promise Keepers are Comming!"

Here is the bad part, from a Muslim perspective:

The graphics for the ad depicted Crusaders charging the walls of Jerusalem.

Why do certain groups of Christians still use this imagery? Do they not see how offensive it would be to a Muslim sitting in the audience?

After Sept 11, President Bush used the word "Crusade" in his description of the current "War on Terror." It is interesting that he had to retract this word and apologise for it. When he said "Crusade" and the Muslim community rose against its implied use and meaning, did you stop to wonder why some of us reacted this way?

If we are to live side by side in peace, we really need to be more mindful of history and more considerate of the general audience.

peace,

Aasim

 

From Aasim

I don't agree with Israeli strategies for apprehending "fugitives." It think its rather like swatting a fly with a shovel.

But I also do not agree with a strategy of suicide bombing.

No peace may be gained from either action. It's just fuel for the fire.

I think the Palestinians went into the Church of the Holy Sepulcre because they knew the Israelis would not destroy it with them inside. This provided them with a bargaining chip and a safe place to hide.

The whole situation was a mess. To a degree, I am dissapointed in both sides.

Currently Israel is considering building a great fence to seperate the two communities. I think this is unfortunate. I don't pretend to have any answers, but I think this will only increase Palestinian frustration.

The Israelis have a right to protect themselves. But I hate to see so many innocent Palestinians suffer for the actions of Hamas and Israeli retaliation.

I am for the Palestinian cause. But I am not for the death of innocents on either side and I am not pro-Hamas.

I would like to see equal human rights and considerations for both sides. I would like to see Jerusalem an open and secure city, welcoming pilgrims of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I would like to see Palestinian dignity returned in the shape of official statehood and a secure land to call home. I would like to see the check-points dismantled. And I would like to see Israeli and Palestinian children playing together in the streets of Jerusalem.

Ultimately, I do not see this as an Islamic or a Jewish cause. I see it as a struggle for all of humanity...a great test of our faith in God. I think right now we aren't doing so well at all.

Is this all idealism? I don't think so. Just keep praying!

-Aasim

 

From Lewieke 6-1

"I think Islamic history would see this "conquest" of the Middle East as being a move to secure a stable and safe environment for the Muslim community."

Was it also necessary for the stability and the safety of the muslim community to conquer places as remote as Spain, Southern France, and India?

 

From Angelfriend 6-2

The situation between Israel and Palestine is so very sad and i am pro humanity my heart goes out to both sides especially the innocent. But I would like to know if mr sharon really said all the awfull stuff about the Palestine people I was told he said? things like how it was ok to kill them even the kids because they were only dogs if he is as full of hate for the Palestine people as it is claimed .Then I pray to GOD that GOD either confurts him or takes him out of power, because no one so filled with hate should be allowed to rule anything. If he truley is so cruel than the only differance between him and the terroerist is that he gets by with it. So some one please tell me did he really say such awfull things?


 

From Aasim

Peace to all,

I think history has many lessons for us to learn. Everybody learns their own lessons in their own time.

For me, as a Muslim, it is very important to dispell the popular image of the Muslim with a "sword in one hand and the Quran in another." How would they have steered the horse! ;)

I believe it is a shallow and erroneous stereotype that often causes non-Muslims to have a poor estimation of Islamic history and of Islam as a social and religious movement.

Islam as a whole is so vastly misunderstood in the West. I meet people every day who are very misinformed about Islam. They see it from the eyes of CNN or believe in the words given them by those who seek to destroy Islam or those who have no idea what they are talking about.

Everyday I hear:

"Islamic extremeism"

"Islamic militants"

"Islamic terrorists"

"Islamic fanatics"

Sometimes I feel as if the modern "bad guy" has been personified by these relative and vague terms. Unfortunately, the repeated use of the term "Islamic" is very misrepresentive of true Islam.

During the strife in Northern Ireland, the IRA was not coined "Christian extremeists" or "Christian terrorist." Yet, their agenda carried both political and religious implications.

When dictatorships and regimes of South America brutally torture and murder political activists, there is never a word mentioned about the religious affiliation of the murderous rulers.

Yet, the possibility of a woman being stoned to death under Shaira for adultury rallied a world wide outcry and again an unfair portrait of Islam. Yet, we rarely read about a cultural phenomenon known as "Machismo". Machismo gives a man in Brazilian culture the right to visciously beat or kill his wife for reasons of honor! And this is still happening today!

My main point when discussing the Crusades is this: I do not appreciate Muslims as being pegged the "bad guys" in that particular point in history. When I was in grade school, the Crusaders were portrayed as great heroes who faught bravely against the Saracens. Now that I look back, I think I would have some words for our dear teacher!

I understand that we all have our own views concerning history, and I respect that. But these days I feel as if I was handed a "bad deal" by our public education system...a system I believe is in bad need of revision. The average student graduating from a US public school knows very little about the world beyond our borders.

peace,

Aasim

From Lewieke 6-2

"When dictatorships and regimes of South America brutally torture and murder political activists, there is never a word mentioned about the religious affiliation of the murderous rulers."

That might be because these dictators don't emphasize so strongly that they're christians, whereas many dictators in islamic countries boast that they're such good muslims.

"Machismo gives a man in Brazilian culture the right to visciously beat or kill his wife for reasons of honor!"

Machismo's got nothing to do with christanity, whereas sharia's got everything to do with Islam.

"When I was in grade school, the Crusaders were portrayed as great heroes who faught bravely against the Saracens."

That would indeed be a misrepresentation.

As for the bad image of muslims: to be very honest, I have to say that so far, I've only met a few muslims who are not very orthodox, who do not feel superior, and who do critisize themselves. But I have to admit that I haven't met any muslims 'off-line' (i.e. in real life) yet.

 

From Musa 6-5

Was it also necessary for the stability and the safety of the muslim community to conquer places as remote as Spain, Southern France, and India?

Islam is for any person from any land who wishes to submit his/her free will to God.

Under Muslim rule, these lands flourished culturally, and academically. People are still benefiting in modern times from these Islamic states scientific achievements. Everyone lived in peace and harmony until the powerful and hateful Christians of the time invaded and destroyed what the Muslims, jews, and christians had achieved by the will of God.

Eventually, under christian rule, many people migrated to the United States to escape the corruption and BS. They themselves conquered America and treated the natives the same way the Israelis treat the Palestinians. The Europeans that fled the Christian church attempted to completely anihalate the entire population of native Americans. They called them "heathens" and established a policy the stated that they had to be converted or killed. They take as much land as possible,renig on agreements,then have the nerve to wonder why the people strike back.

Muhammed specifically instructed his troops to leave women, children, and elderly people unharmed by the will of God. He also instructed them to leave trees unharmed, and the ones who work in the fields unharmed by the will of God.

Modern Muslims are bound by these rules just as if they are living in the precence of their beloved prophet Muhammed. But do you hear that on the news or in the conversations of the American people? The question would be: Why?

 

From Lewieke

Musa, that was a nice history lesson, but you didn't answer the question. The question was:

'Was it also necessary for the stability and the safety of the muslim community to conquer places as remote as Spain, Southern France, and India?'

Well? Was it necessary?

 

From Musa

Lewieke

It was necessary for muslim community to conquer places as remote as Spain, Southern France, and India because Allah's dominion extends across the entire globe. People in these places have the right to be guided just as you do now.

 

From Isk 6-7

'It was necessary for muslim community to conquer places as remote as Spain, Southern France, and India because Allah's dominion extends across the entire globe. People in these places have the right to be guided just as you do now.'

Dear Musa bhai, did you not also consider that, for argument's sake, all the people in Arabia, North Africa, Persia, Afghanistan and the Central Asia, et cetera, have the right to be guided by the truths of the Christian gospel, by which they can come to know the power of redemption in Christ ...... but forces at work in those lands have for long time prevented such??

By which we can plainly see that the call to proclaim any particular religious message cannot so easily justify military conquests, right?

And further than this, if as you say 'Allah's dominion extends across the entire globe', then it would be entirely unnecessary for the Muslims to seek to conquer any territory at all, since it already belongs to Allah, right? For should we not distinguish between Allah's dominion, and that of Man (or any particular group of men)?

 

From Musa

did you not also consider that, for argument's sake, all the people in Arabia, North Africa, Persia, Afghanistan and the Central Asia, et cetera, have the right to be guided by the truths of the Christian gospel, by which they can come to know the power of redemption in Christ ...... but forces at work in those lands have for long time prevented such??

The truth of the original Christian gospel is the same as Islam. Jesus was a servant of Almighty God just as Muhammed was a servant of Almighty God. If a person follows the teachings of Jesus, they will submit their wills to God, or become a muslim.

By which we can plainly see that the call to proclaim any particular religious message cannot so easily justify military conquests, right?

A military conquest can only be justified when it is in defense of a religion. If a group of people try to prevent another group of people from worshipping God the way they are supposed to then a military campaign is justified.

if as you say 'Allah's dominion extends across the entire globe', then it would be entirely unnecessary for the Muslims to seek to conquer any territory at all, since it already belongs to Allah, right? For should we not distinguish between Allah's dominion, and that of Man (or any particular group of men)?

Muslims do not have the duty to conquer anything. We are only supposed to tell the world the truth about Islam. Allah revealed to Muhammed that He does not love the starter of wars.

So it's true after all: muslims' goal is to conquer the whole world?

Lewieke your words reveal how your heart really feels. The goal of a muslim who wishes to fulfill the purpose of life is to worship Allah, not to conquer the whole world. We are not Romans or British soldiers, we are servants of the Almighty the same as Jesus, Muhammed, Moses, Abraham, David, Soloman, and so on.

 

From Lewieke

"Lewieke your words reveal how your heart really feels."

Yes, it does. I came to this board hoping that I'd find some counterbalance to the negative news about Islam you often find in the media these days. But unfortunately, part of my hope has been destroyed. And the reason is that I keep reading unbelievable messages like the one below:

"It was necessary for muslim community to conquer places as remote as Spain, Southern France, and India because Allah's dominion extends across the entire globe. People in these places have the right to be guided just as you do now."

I really can't deduce anything else from this message than that according to you, muslims should conquer the whole world, because surely you think that everyone on this planet has the right to be 'guided'.

I could be politically correct, but I prefer to say what I really think: I find your message completely insane and extremely aggressive.

Another thing: you can stop trying to 'guide' me, because it has quite the opposite effect: the more messages like these I read, the greater the distance between me and Islam.

 

From Musa 6-8

Lewieke

The further away you get from Islam has nothing to do with me. Do you really think I as a muslim, plan to conquer any person or country? Do you think I expect the worlds muslim community to conquer anything? You don't understand Islam because of you own personal reasons, and I don't have anything left to share with you.

 

From Lewieke

"The further away you get from Islam has nothing to do with me."

I thought it was your goal to 'save' everybody here?

"Do you really think I as a muslim, plan to conquer any person or country? Do you think I expect the worlds muslim community to conquer anything?"

There was a different question at stake here. The question was: is it Islam's goal to conquer the world? In other words: is Islam supposed to conquer the world?

"You don't understand Islam because of you own personal reasons."

I do understand Islam, but I don't understand people like you. Instead of making you calm and serene, religion seems to have made you angry. Now I'm not saying that it's Islam which did this - any religion can have this effect.

 

From Musa

I do understand Islam, but I don't understand people like you. Instead of making you calm and serene, religion seems to have made you angry. Now I'm not saying that it's Islam which did this - any religion can have this effect.

If you understood Islam you would be greeting me with the salutation of the inhabitants of Paradise. It is obvious that you like to ask questions that you could answer yourself such as questions about muslims conquering the world.

The message of Islam has conquered the world. It forces people to realize the true purpose of life. People who don't heed the call to Islam are not fighting against muslims, they are fighting against there own souls. I don't feel anger because of the messages you post. I admit it can get frustrating at times but I realize that you are in a predicament that only Allah can get you out of. I have known that the entire time I have been posting messages.

I am trying to offer a viewpoint that will make you think deeply about why you reject God's religion because I was also fighting against this message at some point in my early adulthhood.

If you prefer a flowery message then I cannot help. If you want to think about this life and the next life in a serious way then try to be more intelligent and gain knowledge from this community.

 

From Lewieke 6-9

"It is obvious that you like to ask questions that you could answer yourself such as questions about muslims conquering the world."

That may seem so, but it's not what I'm trying to do. I simply don't know if muslims are supposed to conquer the world or not, because you guys keep sending out mixed messages ('yes, we are' - 'no, we're not'). If the question is so easy to answer, why don't you answer it for me in an unambiguous way? Just tell me: are muslims allowed to start wars to spread Islam or not?

"you are in a predicament that only Allah can get you out of."

Is this true for every christian on this board or only for me? (It would be strange if it would only be true for me, because I might be the most 'unitarian' christian on this board, and in this sence, the closest to Islam.)

"I am trying to offer a viewpoint that will make you think deeply about why you reject God's religion."

I suppose God's religion is Islam, or could it be Judaism and Christianity as well? What makes you so sure that it's not Judaism that's God's religion? After all, it is the oldest of the three, and the jews are God's people.

"then try to be more intelligent"

Why don't you try to be more open-minded, and listen to other people instead of trying to convert them all the time?

 

From Isk 6-10

Dear friend Musa,

You wrote:

"The truth of the original Christian gospel is the same as Islam. Jesus was a servant of Almighty God just as Muhammed was a servant of Almighty God. If a person follows the teachings of Jesus, they will submit their wills to God, or become a muslim."

No. Not at all. The Christian message is quite different from the Muslim proclamation. If you have not picked that up by now, then you have not been engaged in dialogue on this forum. Christianity is about submission to God, but not in the way you might see it.

"A military conquest can only be justified when it is in defense of a religion. If a group of people try to prevent another group of people from worshipping God the way they are supposed to then a military campaign is justified."

Are you seking to gain the 'moral high-ground', in the defence of violence?

 

From Musa

are muslims allowed to start wars to spread Islam or not?

Muslims can do whatever they choose. Muhammed taught that Allah does not love the starter of wars.

To put it another way: If a muslim uses violence or the threat of violence to spread Islam then they are not following the example of Muhammed and they are risking a terrible punishment.

Muslims are told to seriously consider if their actions will be harmful to the muslim community before they do it because you could end up being held responsible for more than just the act of violence on Judgement Day. For example, if a person who is blessed with a position of leadership goes astray and leads his people astray then he/she has to suffer a penalty for each person under his/her command.

Is this true for every christian on this board or only for me?

I realize that you have not read the Quran because you don't believe it comes from your Creator but I do. In the Quran Allah says: Do not die except in a state of submission (Islam). That verse is referring to all humans who have ever lived, including you and myself.

I suppose God's religion is Islam, or could it be Judaism and Christianity as well? What makes you so sure that it's not Judaism that's God's religion?

The people who understood and practiced the teachings of Moses and Jesus were following true guidance from God, or Gods religion.

God sent Muhammed to confirm what was before him and as a seal of all the prophets. The practice of Islam was not new only the name "Islam" was new.

 

From Musa

No. Not at all. The Christian message is quite different from the Muslim proclamation. If you have not picked that up by now, then you have not been engaged in dialogue on this forum. Christianity is about submission to God, but not in the way you might see it.

The "Christian" message was to submit your will to God. Jesus was a servant of Almighty God and he taught his followers to obey God's laws, and to fear God. Pauls contrary message has lead you to believe in something other than that of Jesus, the son of Mary.

So you tell me how can I see Christianity any other way. And also maybe you can answer this for me: How come Christians have taken the name of Christ when Jesus never called himself a Christian nor did he instruct his disciples to call them selves Christian. We don't call ourselves Muhammedans and Jews don't call themselves Mosaians. What gives people the right to call themselves Chrisitian?

 

From Lindsey

Musa-that's an intersting question, where the term "Christian" comes from. I have to admit I haven't a clue. I think that maybe it was a term first applied by either the Roman government, or by Jewish authorities, to distinguish the followers of Jesus from traditional Judaism. This is just a guess. DOes anyone have a definitve answer?

And not to get back into the whole trinity debate- (I believe in it, you don't, that's fine with me, it's not for me to judge which of us is right or wrong) But to Christians, Jesus is not only the son of God, but the word of God incarnate, and part of God himself, so maybe it makes more sense when looked at from that point of view. And while I have never heard of Muslims referring to themselves as Muhammedans, I have come across countless references where they are called that by people of other faiths. Maybe that's how the term Christian came to be. I don't know-I'm a bit out of my depth here, obviously.

And as for the Crusades- I don't think too many Christians today would justify those wars on religious, or any other grounds. I think that was one of the things the Pope apologized for when he was apologizing for the Inquisition, and the lack of action by the Church during the Holocaust, etc. It seems that killing people for God just doesn't make a whole lot of sense, period. That is, however just my opinion.

 

From Lindsey

ALso- I wish people in our government would cease using the word "crusade" and builing weapons called "crusader" etc. It seems that this is very inflammatory in the Muslim world, and it's completely unnecessary. Surely they have access to a thesaurus, and could come up with words that didn't have all these painful historical associations. I'm not all that big into the whole political correctness thing, but why antagonize people who we are supposedly trying to win over as our allies when there are dozens of other terms they could use

 

From Isk

"The "Christian" message was ...obey God's laws, and to fear God. Paul's contrary message has lead you to believe in something other than that of Jesus, the son of Mary. So you tell me how can I see Christianity any other way."

No. Paul was converted to Christ, and proclaimed the good news of redemption in Christ. There is no dichotomy between Jesus and Paul. Both were very concerned about the Kingdom of God.

"How come Christians have taken the name of Christ when Jesus never called himself a Christian nor did he instruct his disciples to call themselves Christian."

The Followers of 'the Way', the 'Nazarenes' (ref., The 'Sect of the Nazarene'), were first called 'Christians', meaning 'small, or little Christ(s)', at Antioch in Syria, during the first century CE. Though it may have at first been a term of ridicule, obviously it became accepted as common usage, as meaning the followers of Christ, or members of Christ's church/kahal/congregation. Whether Jesus himself instructed his followers to call themselves by that name or not is rather irrelevant; it suits a purpose, not the least being the facilitation of our communication in this forum.

  

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  All text copyright © 2005 Aaron Randall. All rights reserved.  Photos, unless otherwise credited, are the property of the auth, all rights reserved.  Originally posted February 24, 2004.  Revised: February 20, 2009.