~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
“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, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.” –Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248– 50).
Muhammad was born in 570 AD in the Arabian city of Mecca (present day Saudi Arabia). He was orphaned at an early age and raised by his Uncle. He worked primarily as a merchant until age 40, when he claimed to have been visited by the angel Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. Three years later he began to preach these revelations publicly. Initially he didn't gain many followers and was generally treated with hostility. Eventually he and his small band of followers were forced to leave Mecca for their own safety and relocated to Medina. There he gained many Jewish followers who converted to Islam. Soon he would seek revenge on Mecca for expelling him.
The Battle of Badr in 624 marks the first major battle between the Muslims and the Meccans, which ended in a decisive victory for Muhammad. The two forces would engage in several more battles over the years, which eventually culminated in a 10 year peace treaty, only to be broken in two years by Muhammad and Mecca was conquered without a fight. The fall of one the richest and most powerful cities in Arabia marked a shift in power and the rise of Islam. Meanwhile the alliance with the Jewish tribes began to break down as many Jews would not accept Muhammad as a prophet. After the Battle of the Trench in 627, Muhammad accused the Jews of treachery so the men were beheaded and the women and children were sold as slaves. Muhammad discovered it was far easier to spread his religion through violence than through peace. Soon after his conquest of Mecca, he conquered the majority of Arabia in just two years. It is of interest to note that the same black flag that Muhammad flew in his time, is the same black flag that Jihadists use today, including ISIS.
In the last ten years of his life he ordered 65 military campaigns alone. Before his death in 632, his final words were said to have been "I was ordered to fight all men until they say 'There is no God but Allah'". His followers were quick to continue where he had left off. Starting with what is present day Iraq, Islam began to systematically conquer the entire middle-east. By 700 AD they had conquered half the territory that had previously belonged to Christendom. From there Islam set it's sights on North Africa. In Alexandra, Egypt philosopher John Philoponus tried to save the famous Alexandrian library from the Muslim conquerors, but Caliph ‘Umar had had it destroyed, saying the Qur’an was sufficient, because those books agreeing with it are useless and those disagreeing are pernicious. After three forays into North Africa, it was finally conquered and remains a Muslim stronghold to this day.
A mere 80 years after Muhammad's death, Islam had spread as far East as China and the Indian Ocean, and as far West as Morocco. It then spread into Europe through the Iberian Peninsula and into Spain and southern Italy, as well as many major Mediterranean islands including Sicily, Corsica, Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete, Malta, and Sardinia. These events set the stage for the next chapter. In part 2, Christendom strikes back.