From Elsewhere: Remembering the Islamic defeat at the Battle of Tours
Another excellent and thoughtful piece from Raymond Ibrahim at The Commentator.
“Precisely 100 years after the death of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in 632, his Arab followers, after having conquered thousands of miles of lands from Arabia to Spain, found themselves in Gaul, modern day France, facing a hitherto little known people, the Christian Franks.
There, on October 10 or 11, in the year 732, one of history’s most decisive battles took place, demarcating the extent of Islam’s western conquests and ensuring the survival of the West.
Prior to this, the Islamic conquerors had for one century been subjugating all peoples and territories standing in their western march—including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. In 711, the Muslims made their fateful crossing of the straits of Gibraltar, landing on European soil. Upon disembarkation, the leader of the Muslims, Tariq bin Zayid, ordered the Islamic fleet burned, explaining that, “We have not come here to return. Either we conquer and establish ourselves here, or we perish.”
This famous Tariq anecdote—often reminisced by modern day jihadis—highlights the jihadi nature of the Umayyad caliphate (661-750), the superpower of its day. Indeed, as most historians have acknowledged, the Umayyad caliphate was the “Jihadi-State” par excellence. Its very existence was coterminous with its conquests. Its legitimacy as “viceroy” of Allah was based on subjugating lands in the name of Allah.
Once on European ground, the depredations continued unabated. Writes one Arab chronicler regarding the Muslim northern advance past the Pyrenees: “Full of wrath and pride” the Muslims “went through all places like a desolating storm. Prosperity made those warriors insatiable… everything gave way to their scimitars, the robbers of lives.” Even far off English anchorite, the contemporary, the venerable, Bede, wrote, “A plague of Saracens wrought wretched devastation and slaughter upon Gaul.””
And so it comes around again. Again we need to deal with the truculent and violent Saracen, except this time their violence is not being committed on a battlefield far away, but much closer to home.