In the aftermath of the horrific murder of 50 Muslims in Christchurch by an Australian right wing nationalist, the conservative Australian politician Fraser Anning declared (straight out of the West’s medieval playbook), “The entire religion of Islam is simply the violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader, which justifies endless war against anyone who opposes it and calls for the murder of unbelievers and apostates.” Any violence against Muslims, he suggested, was therefore their own fault.
Anning has been roundly condemned for his statements by both sides of politics.
Militarily, early Islam was undoubtedly successful. Since that time, for the Christian West, regardless of the Islamic precept and practice of religious tolerance (at least as long as non-Muslims did not criticise the prophet), Islam has remained often threatening, sometimes enchanting, but ever-present.
Indeed, the West created its own identity against an Islam that it saw as totally other, essentially alien, and ever likely to engulf it.
He is clearly wildly out of step with mainstream public opinion in Australia.
A petition with more than 1.4 million signatures has been delivered to Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Australia’s first Muslim senator.
Even at its most benign, it is perceived as threatening Western values by virtue of the Muslims in its midst, stubbornly refusing to acquiesce to Western values. In December 2015, to the outrage of many Americans, then presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the US.
Better the enemy kept outside the wall than the enemy within.
This was, of course, part of an argument about the relative truth of Christianity and Islam.
According to this, the success of Islam was due solely to the sword.