CHAPTER XXXV

THE EXAMPLE OF MOHAMMED

 

THOUGH there have boon great Mohammedan civilizations that have contributed much to the world’s progress and have left imperishable monuments, they have not lasted. They have arisen through the fundamentally noble character and intelligence of the peoples that have founded them, and have flourished for a relatively short time rather in spite of their creed than because of it. And, as is the case in all religions, the example set by the originator has had a greater influence on his disciples than his book. The Prophet is deeply reverenced by all Mohammedans, who regard even one hair from his beard as having miraculous power.

The main facts of his life and his general character are known to them. These salient facts will now be set forth without bias of hostility or irreverence. They are authentic and well established. The reader is invited to confirm them and determine for himself whether or not they are correctly stated:

1.    Mohammed was a polygamist;

2.    After leaving Mecca and proceeding to Mesina, where he established himself for a time, he organized and conducted raids against caravans, which he robbed to replenish his depleted treasury;

3.    He besieged and plundered towns for the booty, which acts he justified by “revelations”;

4.    He ordered eight hundred Jewish prisoners to be separated from their wives and children and butchered and their bodies thrown into a trench. Their wives and families were sold into captivity. This was the first Mohammedan massacre. (Draycatt’s Mahomet, page 234 et eq)

5.    He ordered ferocious and inhuman punishments to be inflicted ; (Draycott, 253-254)

6.    He removed his enemies by murder and assassination.

We have seen how faithfully this example has been followed by the Turks throughout the years, since the fall of Constantinople, and especially by the Young Turks since their accession to power. But although other branches of the Mohammedan race have shown conspicuous qualities of heart and of head, yet a general study of the spread of that religion from its inception reveals only too clearly the influence of the Prophet’s example as well as of his teachings. Says Pears, already quoted:

The history indeed, of Egypt, of Syria and of Asia Minor had been a long series of massacres, culminating perhaps in that of Egypt where in 1354, when the Christians were ordered to abjure their faith and accept Mohammedanism and refused, a hundred thousand were put to death.”

Adrian Fortescue, in his work, “The Lesser Eastern Churches”, has this paragraph:

In 1389, a great procession of Copts who had accepted Mohammed under fear of death, marched through Cairo. Repenting of their apostasy, they now wished to atone for it by the inevitable consequence of returning to Christianity. So as they marched, they announced that they believed in Christ and renounced Mohammed. They were seized and all the men were beheaded in an open square before the women. But this did not terrify the women; so they, too, were all martyred.”

Regarding the Armenian massacres of our own time, Doctor Johannes Lepsius, to whose masterly “Secret Report” reference has been made in earlier pages, makes the following statement:

We have lists before us of 550 villages whose surviving inhabitants were converted to Islam with fire and sword; of 568 churches thoroughly pillaged, destroyed and razed to the ground; of 282 Christian churches transformed into mosques; of 21 Protestant preachers and 170 Gregorian (Armenian) who were, after enduring unspeakable tortures, murdered after their refusal to accept Islam. We repeat, however, that these figures reach only to the extent of our information, and do not by a long way reach to the extent of the reality. Is this a religious persecution or is it not?”

Christianity, then, has been cleaned out of North Africa and the old Byzantine Empire, the home of the early Fathers of the Church and of the Seven Cities, largely by massacre; the Turk, when he burned Smyrna and made Asia Minor solidly Mohammedan, finished a work that has been going on for centuries.

Not only have these methods been used for propagating Mohammedanism, but the “Law of Apostates” prescribes death, forced separation from wife and family, and loss of property and legal rights for any Moslem who forsakes his faith and adheres to another. The fear of these dreadful punishments is one of the reasons why there are so few converts from Mohammedanism to Christianity. Doctor Samuel M. Zwennner, the learned writer on Mohammedan matters, gives many examples of the application of this law in his recent work, “The Law of Apostasy in Islam”.

An example which came within my personal observation, the murder of the convert of the International College at Smyrna, has already been referred to. This is probably the same case as that cited by the Reverend Ralph Harlow, one time pastor of the International College at Smyrna, in a pamphlet: “Outside the Walls of Smyrna his body was found, stabbed in many places.”

The Law of Apostasy, according to Zwemmer, is signed up by the Mohammedan law-givers in the folloing words:

As for Apostates, it is permitted to kill them by facing them or coming upon them from behind, just as in the case of Polytheists. Secondly, their blood, if shed, brings no vengeance. Thirdly, their property is the spoil of true believers. Fourthly, their marriage ties become null and void.”

The educated, Europeanized Turk of Constantinople is a shrewd and polished gentleman of seductive manners; but one thing must never be forgotten by those interested, financially or otherwise, in the future of Turkey; that country has been made “homogeneous” by a series of ferocious massacres carefully planned and relentlessly carried out by just such polished and seductive gentlemen, who have exploited Moslem fanaticism for their purposes, and it is on that fanaticism that their power rests.

 

 

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