As Hilaire Belloc, one of the Big Four of Edwardian Letters, along with H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and G. K. Chesterton, wrote in chapter 4 of "The Great Heresies," Muslims started spreading Islam via the sword immediately after the death of Muhammad in 632. The battles started in Syria and spread to Egypt. In 711, Europe was breached with Spain being the victim. Muslims worked their way east until they reached Gaul, modern-day France. Precisely 100 years after the death of Muhammad, Muslims were finally stopped in the Battle of Tours by Gauls led by Charles "the hammer" Martel. Christians in Europe today owe their freedom of religion to Martel and the men who fought the Muslims almost three hundred years before the first Crusade. Historian Leopold von Ranke wrote that "[the Battle of Tours] was the turning point of one of the most important epochs in the history of the world."
The wars of aggression started by Muslims did not end there. The occupation of the Iberian peninsula continued until 1492 when Muslims were finally thrown out. Eastern Europe also saw its share of battles, with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Siege of Vienna in 1529, and the Battle of Vienna in 1683 being ones perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire. And the legacy of the Ottoman Empire persisted throughout the twentieth century in the Balkan wars. Many people in the Balkans had converted to Islam simply because life is much easier in an Islamic country if one is a Muslim. This explains why people who were neighbors killed each other in large numbers after the collapse of Yugoslavia.
Many people are willfully ignorant regarding Islam. The Quran is full of intolerance regarding slavery, women, and believers in other religions. And given that Muslims believe that Muhammad is the perfect role model and that they should take his actions and sayings as a model of ideal conduct, the Quran is the logical roadmap for groups such as Daesh (Islamic State).
Many people conclude that the roots for Islamic terrorism lie in grinding poverty and lack of jobs, but if that were true, Haiti would be ground central.
The Quran is not arranged chronologically like the Bible and is arranged by size of chapter, from largest to smallest. When one studies the Quran, one realizes that the peaceful verses actually originate from Muhammad's early life and the intolerant ones originate from his later life when he was much more successful. And given the principle of abrogation, where older verses are superceded by newer ones, it becomes clear why devout Muslims ignore the peaceful verses and embrace the violent ones.
The vast majority of Muslims in Africa believe that the Quran is literally the word of God. In the U.S., 50% of Muslims believe the Quran to be the literal word of God.
In the Middle East and South Asia, the percentage of Muslims who believe that sharia, i.e. Islamic law, is the revealed word of God ranges as high as 81% but only drops to a low of 65%, with the exception of Lebanon at 49% with more of a history of secular tolerance. Muslims in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia strongly believe that sharia should be the established law in their country, with Afghanistan ringing in at 99% and only four countries -- Chad, Guinea Bissau, Tanzania, and Lebanon -- falling below 50%.
British Muslims are rather fanatical. 45% believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy by the American and Israeli governments. Almost one in four believe that the London attacks on July 7, 2005, were justified. 30% want to live under sharia. 28% desire for Britain to become a fundamentalist Islamic state. And 68% support the prosecution of people who "insult" Islam via cartoons or other methods.
It is often heard that only a tiny percentage of Muslims are terrorists, but Pew Research's polls do not confirm this conjecture. The percentage of Muslims who believe that sharia should apply to all people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, ranges from 29% to 74%, so the theory that terrorists are somehow misunderstanding Islam is simply not true. And there are between 63 million and 287 million Daesh supporters in just 11 Muslim countries. This was demonstrated in Molenbeek when supporters of Paris murderer Salah Abdeslam threw stones and other missiles at policemen arresting their hero.
The rubber hits the road in Quran 4:24 which allows Muslims to possess sex slaves. This verse gives Daesh the justification to kidnap Yazidi girls and keep them indefinitely, reselling and raping them as they see fit.
The only moderate Muslims are those who have largely abandoned their religion. And it is not easy to distinguish between them and 9/11 / San Bernardino murderers.
* * * * *
The situation in Syria and Iraq is too complicated to understand in one bite and is best grasped by looking at one area in particular. Consider Maaloula, a city situated 40 miles northeast of Damascus. Until recently it was largely populated by Christians speaking Aramaic, the language of Jesus. But in September 2013 it was invaded by various so-called rebel groups, mainly FSA (Free Syrian Army) and Jabhat al-Nusra. Other Islamist groups in the region include Daesh, Jabhat Ansar al-Islam, Jaysh al-Tahrir, the Islamic Front, the al-Fatah Brigade, and the Grey Wolves, a Turkish ultra-nationalist group. FSA is the group with which Senator John McCain famously posed and the one the Obama administration has given a great deal of military aid.
Some people say that the only difference between Daesh and al-Nusra is that the latter does not employ the former's brutal tactics, but then again al-Nusra's franchise owner, al-Qaeda, was responsible for 9/11 and more than a few other mass murders.
Maaloula was first invaded in September 2013. France24 reported that FSA and al-Nusra were the major players in the invasion, calling them a "rebel coalition." The left-leaning BBC News opined that damage had not been done to Christian structures, with Jeremy Bowen pompously declaring: "In fact, I can see a big statue of the Virgin Mary that is very much intact."
That's a lot like saying that because there is at least one structure standing in Palmyra, we can conclude that Daesh did not destroy much of the town. But even BBC News admitted that "Free Syrian Army (FSA) units and members of the jihadist al-Nusra Front occupied Maaloula for several hours on Thursday before withdrawing when their positions were bombed by government warplanes," proving that FSA and al-Nusra were working in close harmony.
As is often the case, Islamists demanded conversions of Christians or else they would be beheaded. This is in line with Sahih Muslim 19:4294 which commands Muslims to offer non-believers three choices: convert to Islam, pay the jizya (a tax on infidels), or be killed.
A few months later, a group of nuns was kidnapped by the fighters when they invaded the city one more time. The nuns were not released until March 2014 when they were set free in a prisoner-exchange deal even though the nuns were never combatants. The Syrian army then took the city in April, with it now being in ruins.
The Obama administration has been consistently clueless regarding FSA. James Foley, a journalist beheaded by Daesh, was initially kidnapped by FSA and given to Daesh, possibly as a token of solidarity. Not to mention the regular occurrence of FSA fighters defecting to al-Nusra or Daesh, bringing the weapons the U.S. gave them. These defections make perfect sense given that the various Islamist groups signed a nonaggression pact with Daesh in September 2014 because they share the same goal, removing the secular dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and installing a suitably Islamic government.
Charles Martel, please report for duty.