Islam is part of Western civilisation

As the arguments about Western civilisation roll on, I’m struck by the assumption, seemingly shared by both sides of this debate, that the Islam and the Islamic world aren’t part of “Western civilization”.

Islam is an Abrahamic religion, standing in essentially the same relationship to Christianity as Christianity does to Judaism. That is, Islam claims to be the completion of the prophetic mission of Christianity, just as Christianity claims to represent the fulfilment of the promise of the Messiah to the Jews. In each case, the older religion rejects this claim [1].

These disputes have occasioned persecution and bloodshed right down to the present day, between and within the religions. On the other hand, all of these religions have promoted learning and encouraged acts of charity. However you weigh up the achievements, follies and crimes of Western civilisation, it is absurd to deny that all three of its major religions have shared in these things.

Ever since Muhammad claimed power as an armed prophet in the 8th century, Islamic states and rulers have been part of the European struggle for control of the Mediterranean and the countries around it. In this context, Muslims appear sometimes as the targets of crusades or the instigators of jihad (the two words have essentially the same meaning), and sometimes in alliance with (further distant) Protestants, such as Elizabeth I, against Catholics.

A striking effect of the exclusion of Islam is that courses on “Western Civilisation” reproduce the discredited notion of a “Dark Age” between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. This period coincides almost exactly with the Islamic Golden Age, which carried the torch of Western civilisation for hundreds of years, giving us algebra, universities and much more.


fn1. In fact, Islam was long regarded by Christians as a new form of the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ, rather than as a separate religion

155 thoughts on “Islam is part of Western civilisation

  1. Svate, thankyou.,Spot on. You are absolutely correct to say my ravelling of the comments Hugo made and your response to them and my comment are; whataboutery.

    I was;
    Protesting at hypocrisy; responding to criticism by accusing one’s opponent of similar or worse faults.

    Protesting at inconsistency; refusing to act in one instance unless similar action is taken in other similar instances.”

    Hugo :”whatabout the neighbor” and “whatabout that documentary I saw” We are all guilty but some can see their reflection.

    “Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument,” wikipedia.

    Disproving your response and Hugo’s comments culminating in its just a joke will take your’s and Hugo’s willpower. Whataboutery is all that is available as a mirror. This is not maths nor science nor opportunity cost.

    So thanks Svante for showing us how well you understand my comment.

    Cousin’s mirror is for you to find.

    And slag me off anytime in such an astute manner. Worthy comment.

    Whatabout Hugo?

  2. You have it all wrong, again. It is not what I said, nor what Hugo said, at all..

    BTW, what earlier on was grouped, I think appropriately, into the so called regressive left could do with exposure to the predominant thread of rational argument running through the commentary on this Islamophobia hyping article though I doubt they’d read beyond the article once having had their manipulated groupthink confirmed…
    https://theconversation.com/christchurch-attacks-show-islamophobia-is-real-deadly-and-spreading-around-the-world-113786

  3. Svate, Hugo and all.

    Apologies if I am unable to parse comments such as;
    “You have it all wrong, again. It is not what I said, nor what Hugo said, at all..
    “BTW, what earlier on was grouped, I think appropriately, into the so called regressive left could do with exposure to the predominant thread of rational argument running through the commentary on this Islamophobia hyping article though I doubt they’d read beyond the article once having had their manipulated groupthink confirmed…”

    Confirmation bias, tribalism, and… Im guilty too. I’ll leave it at this while I reflect into my cousin’s mirror….

    “Each of these passages has faults of its own, but quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. ”

    Politics and the English Language 
    By George Orwell
    1946.

    https://wikilivres.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language

  4. KT2, Well done for trying.
    It seems to me that one is frustrated by Hugo & Svante’s refusal or apparent inability to engage in dialogue and discussion, to form reasond and reasonable arguments, clarify points that are unclea etc.
    However, if their position/believes are indefensible (and they would know, possibly are affraid to voice them openly), as I stongly suspect them to be (if one is to use logic and reason), then they have no choice, but to ‘muddy the waters’.

    So any appeal to reason is inevitably goint to fail. They can only, and will continue to, ‘muddy the waters’.

    I’d love to be proven wrong (but based on what’s been said so far, I highly doubt it).

  5. AleD,

    You muddied the waters on many occasions, for instance when you falsely claimed that gay sex is illegal in China. China legalised gay sex in 1997. In any event, the state of affairs in China has limited bearing on whether Islam is part of Western civilisation, which is the claim made in the OP.

    If you want to argue that cultures X,Y and Z currently belong to civilisation A, as the OP purports to do, then I think it is necessary to establish that X,Y and Z share considerable commonalities and that they are *currently* influencing each other. A transfer of knowledge and influence that occurred a millennia ago is immaterial.

    It is obvious that the Islamic World (with minor exceptions) is so vastly different from Western civilisation that your average Westerner, especially a gay one or a woman, would today feel more at home in Vietnam or Argentina than in the heartlands of Shiite and Sunni Islam, that being Iran and Saudi Arabia respectively.

    It is clear that much of the Sunni world (i.e. 90% of Muslims) faces Saudi Arabia rather than Western Europe. A case in point is Brunei passing sharia laws that mandate death for practising homosexuals and apostates in just the last few weeks.

    Further, there is no mystery as to why this is so, given the flow of Saudi of money, resources, propaganda, imams etc to the rest of the Sunni world. As an example, Saudi customs, like female genital mutilation, have made their way to Islamic communities in SE Asia.

    Your major point, if I understand correctly, is that someone from culture X has no business criticising culture Y, especially if X hasn’t achieved a state of perfection. That is an insidious argument and it is used by brutes to excuse savagery. Such an argument could be used against organisations that do good work and ameliorate human suffering, such as Amnesty International. There should be no roadblocks to compassion.

    I haven’t responded to KT2 because s/he doesn’t express clear ideas in plain English. If s/he chooses at some point to act like an adult, I may engage.

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