Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, September 22, 2006

Having defended Christianity against the charge of being spread by the sword, I might as well defend Islam too. Charles Krauthammer writes:

Islam, of course, spread with great speed from Arabia across the Mediterranean and into Europe. It was not all benign persuasion. After all, what were Islamic armies doing at Poitiers in 732 and the gates of Vienna in 1683? Tourism?

But while Islam's political rule was spread by the sword, the Islamic religion was not. For the most part, Christians and Jews could live peaceably under Muslim rule. As in contemporary America, other religions were taxed to uphold the dominant one (then Islam, today secularism). But unlike in contemporary America, Muslims had legal privileges vis-a-vis other religions. Also, Christians and Jews were not permitted to proselytize, nor were Muslims allowed to convert to these other faiths, on pain of death. (The same was true, with a religious role-reversal, in early modern Spain.) Even today converts away from Islam are subject to death threats.


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