Fjordman: Islam, the West and Our "Shared Heritage"

* A lot of nonsense has been written about the “Three Abrahamic Faiths”- Islam is not one of them. But there are many more false Muselmanic claims like this, as we can see here:

Just yesterday at the Coalition to Stop Shariah press conference in Washington, an Al-Jazeera reporter dismissed Shariah finance as innocuous largely because it was, he said, based on the shared values of the “Abrahamic faiths.” Fjordman deals with that assumption here.

Hardly a week goes by without somebody claiming that Muslims and Westerners have a “shared cultural heritage.” I strongly object to this claim. The only “shared history” Europeans have with Muslims is being at the receiving end of more than 1300 years of Jihad warfare. The re-writing of Western history has become so bad that even playwright William Shakespeare has been proclaimed a closet Muslim. “Shakespeare would have delighted in Sufism,” said the Islamic scholar Martin Lings, himself a Sufi Muslim, in 2004. According to The Guardian, Lings argued that Shakespeare’s work “resembles the teachings of the Islamic Sufi sect” in the International Shakespeare Globe Fellowship Lecture at Shakespeare’s own Globe Theatre in London. Lings spoke during Islam Awareness Week.As Robert Spencer commented back then, “Shakespeare is just the latest paradigmatic figure of Western Christian culture to be remade in a Muslim-friendly manner: recently the State Department asserted, without a shred of evidence, that Christopher Columbus (who in fact praised Ferdinand and Isabella for driving the Muslims out of Spain) was aided on his voyages by a Muslim navigator. It is a sign of the times when this kind of thinking is no longer confined to Islamic apologetics websites, but is taken up by the Globe Theatre and the U.S. State Department — hardly representatives of the cultural fringes — and even American textbook publishers. The state of American education is so dismal today that teachers themselves are ill-equipped to counter these historical fantasies. They will become willing propagators of the new history: nothing to fear from Muslims, you see. Shakespeare was one of them. Oh yes, and Goethe. And Abraham Lincoln’s mother.”


The funny part is that the concept of “theater” hardly existed in medieval or early modern Islam. There was no Muslim Shakespeare because there could be no Muslim Shakespeare. It’s yet another part of the Greco-Roman heritage which was not “shared, preserved and passed on to us” by Muslims since they were never interested in it even at the best of times.Hebrew had been dead as a spoken language for centuries already in Roman times, but it was the language of the Hebrew Bible, and a Jew such as Jesus of Nazareth would almost certainly have known some Hebrew. He would most likely also have been familiar with the languages of the two previous empires that had ruled the Levant, the Aramaic of the Persians (and the Assyrians) and the Greek of Alexander the Great’s empire. The one language he didn’t know was Latin. The extent to which he spoke these languages is disputed, but it’s likely that he knew something of all three. Jesus, who founded the religion which was to become Christianity, probably spoke at least some Greek. I’m pretty sure Muhammad did not.

Paul, the person who shaped Christianity more than anybody next to Jesus, was a Jew, but also a Roman citizen. Although the relationship between the Roman state and the adherents of the new religion was complex (some of the early Christians were executed by Roman authorities, including the founder himself), Christianity grew and eventually conquered the Roman Empire from within. Christianity was a Roman religion from the very beginning. It would be fair to say that it was born out of a Jewish conceptual universe, but was shaped in a Greco-Roman environment and baptized in a spring of Greek philosophy and Roman law.

When the American Founding Fathers in the eighteenth century discussed how the shape of their young Republic should be, they were influenced by, in addition to the English parliament and the French thinker Montesquieu (who was inspired by the British political system), descriptions of democratic Athens and the Roman Republic through Aristotle’s political texts and Cicero’s writings, among other things. None of these texts were ever available in Arabic, Persian or Turkish translations. Cicero was extremely influential in European thought from the Renaissance through the Scientific Revolution to the Enlightenment, yet totally ignored by Muslims. Roman law is secular and changeable, unlike sharia which is eternal and institutes a religious apartheid system. Roman law was used by Europeans, but not by Muslims. Of the Greek heritage, Muslims even during the so-called “golden age” were uninterested in the concept of democracy, men ruling themselves according to man-made laws.

One of the reasons why Greek natural philosophy was so quickly assimilated into European universities during the Middle Ages, in sharp contrast to Islamic madrasas, was that the earliest Christian theologians were familiar with Greek philosophy and borrowed from its vocabulary and conceptual universe. For Muslims who came from the Arabian Peninsula, the Greco-Roman legacy was an alien intrusion which their cultural immune system failed to fully internalize and eventually rejected. This does not mean that they never borrowed from it when it suited them. They did; but it was never “theirs.” For Christianity it was one of its two parent cultures, the other being the Jewish spiritual legacy as contained in the Hebrew Bible. This had practical consequences, for instance in the positive Christian view of pictorial art, which came from the Greco-Roman parent culture. This was never shared by Muslims.

Art is never just “art.” It always reflects the world-view of a particular culture. Islamic art has usually been quite sterile. Muslims have created some miniature paintings, but never anything comparable to Western art or ancient Greek art for that matter, and virtually no sculptures. In contrast, the Greek artistic legacy left a major imprint on early Buddhist art and sculpture in the border regions of northern India, after Alexander the Great’s conquests. You could thus argue successfully that Westerners share a “Greek legacy” with Asian Buddhist-influenced cultures more than with Muslims. To me, the Islamic failure to fully internalize Greek science is indicated by their failure to internalize the Greek spirit as reflected in arts and politics.

I could add that Christians and Jews, as well as most of the pre-Islamic peoples of the Middle East, from ancient Egyptians and Sumerians to Phoenicians and Persians, accepted wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages as a part of their culture, even as a part of their religious culture. Muslims never formally did this. The Middle East went from being a global center of civilization to a global center of anti-civilization during its Islamization. This corresponds roughly to the time when wine and beer were enjoyed as an accepted part of the culture, which it was in pre-Islamic times and still is for non-Muslims. The Japanese had drinking games in medieval times. They still have this, only now they call it “karaoke.” I know of virtually no advanced civilization, from the Chinese to the Mayas in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, who did not enjoy some form of fermented beverage. Wine is civilization. Wine and beer.

The idea of a “shared monotheism” is false, too. Christianity with its concept of the Trinity is akin to soft-polytheism from an Islamic point of view. The religious texts are clearly different, not to mention the personal examples of the founders of the two religions, Jesus and Muhammad. Islam became a major world religion through armed conquest and the creation of an empire. Christianity became a major world religion by gradually taking over an already established empire, the Roman Empire. Moreover, the Zoroastrian and Jewish communities in the Middle East (except for Israel) have been all but wiped out by Muslims, and the Christian communities are in serious decline.

A researcher from Denmark, Tina Magaard, has spent years analyzing the original texts of different religions, from Buddhism to Sikhism, and concludes that the Islamic texts are by far the most warlike among the major religions of the world. They encourage terror and fighting to a far larger degree than the original texts of other religions. “The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with,” says Magaard. Moreover, there are hundreds of calls in the Koran for fighting against people of other faiths. “If it is correct that many Muslims view the Koran as the literal words of God, which cannot be interpreted or rephrased, then we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage terror and violence. Consequently, it must be reasonable to ask Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is,” she says.

The main problem with Islam isn’t that it is a stupid religion, as some people say, but that it is a violent one. I personally consider Scientology to be a stupid creed, but I haven’t heard about many people living in fear that Tom Cruise will cut off their head while quoting poems of L. Ron Hubbard and then post a video of the deed on the Internet. Christianity and Judaism are NOT like Islam. The concept of Jihad is unique to Islam among all major religions.

We do have a shared humanity with Muslims, as we do with everybody else, but we do not have a shared heritage with them. Even the Greek scientific legacy was used differently by Europeans, as I will show later in my history of optics.

5 thoughts on “Fjordman: Islam, the West and Our "Shared Heritage"”

  1. Excellent article, Thank you. Here is sometning that I have sent to female elected representatives in Canada and a few in England, with an interesting response from the Prime Ministers office.

    On behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail.

    Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. You may be assured that your comments have been carefully reviewed and are appreciated. For more information on the Government’s initiatives, you may wish to visit the Prime Minister’s Web site, at

    L.A. Lavell
    Executive Correspondence Officer
    for the Prime Minister’s Office
    Agent de correspondance
    de la haute direction
    pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre

    >>> From : Lorenzo Bouchard Received : 04 Nov 2008 12:28:01 AM >>>

    The Right Honorable Prime Minister
    Mr. Stephen Harper.

    Please consider the following petition.

    Ban Islam


    View Current Signatures – Sign the Petition


    To: International citizens





    Tony Maximus
    -Sir Winston Churchill 1899.’How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund,

    William S. Arnott, Ph.D.
    The words of the petition speak loudly for why this ideology/religion must be banned from the earth’s scene. For, besides the reasons presented, this ideology/religion has as its goal — as defined in the Quran — control of the world. It wants to ‘hand’ over the world to their Allah, whom they say is the only god. Their deterministic religion is not for the freedom of anyone but is for control of everyone.

    the muslims are a victim of islam. make no mistake about that. it is time to rescue the helpless victims of islam, aka the muslims, from islam, and help them become a free people. The Muslims deserve no less. No human being, muslim or otherwise, should have to suffer from Islam. It is time to make all muslim countries, specially Saudi Arabia, egalitarian societies.

    L’Islam appelle à l’esclavage des musulmanes envers les musulmans, des Juifs et des Catholiques. Cette religion appelle au génocide par le massacre en masse des athés et des autres religions qui ne sont pas ‘du livre’ (bouddiste, hindou, etc). cette religion impose une loi (la charia) qui est épouvantable pour l’humanité (ex la lapidation des femmes, l’esclavage sexuel des non musulmanes, etc). Cette religion utilise des outils de manipulations psychologiques que l’on retrouve dans les sectes.

    Alexandre Ardelea
    Alexis de Tocqueville on Islam : ‘I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad.’

    M. R.
    Islam took a Hindu/Buddist region (formerly Afghanistan/Pakistan/India) and DIVIDED IT. Hindu/Buddists were tolerant religions and people. Wake up and See that tolerance is suicide when it comes to Islam and people controlled by Islam (out of fear masquerading as pride — STOCHOLM SYNDROME).

    Dena Garcia
    The use of religion to torture, kill, malign,coerce and condone maltreatment of any living creature is heinous. Islam does all of these things.

    Trevor Griffiths
    In the interest of world peace ban islam


    Lorenzo Bouchard

  2. Shared Abrahamic faiths? What a crock-Islamania wants to share nothing. They basically stole all figures from Jews and Christians, then perverted them, then had the gall to say that the Jews and Christians are the ones perverting their own principles! Now we see this sort of nonsense extending into every aspect of life, often with the help of infidels. Today the State Dept. says Columbus had a Koranist navigator-in 10 years it’ll say Columbus himself was a Koranist! It’s as if the Stalinist mania for claiming all inventions and ideas were originally Soviet has now been Koranisized, only this time the victims are aiding the perps.

  3. Sorry guys, I hate to tell you that Islam does share Abraham with the Jews and Christians.
    Genesis 16 tells of Hagar & the birth of Ishmael. Verse 12 says, “He shall be a wild man, His hand shall be against every man and every man’s hand against him and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethern.”
    Genesis 25 verses 12-18 gives the genealogy of Ishmael.
    Christians and Jews accept that Ishmaie is the father of the Muslims.
    (In the bible they are called Ishmaelites, Edomites,Moabites & Hagerites.)
    If there is any interest I could go into this in greater depth.

  4. Excellent article, Thank you. Here is sometning that I have sent to female elected representatives in Canada and a few in England, with an interesting response from the Prime Ministers office.

    They sent some men to your house and they forced you take your medication, yes?

  5. You may, Jenny.

    But Muhammads references to the prophets are so distortet, peripheral and manipulative that we can’t take them seriously. Go ahead if you like, but you’ll find that it doesn’t amount to much…

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