Bericht des unabhängigen Expertenkreises Antisemitismus. Unterrichtung durch die Bundesregierung.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
Rep. Tom Rooney (Rep) on SOPA
Thank you for taking the time to write me regarding the H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011” (SOPA). Your input is invaluable to me as I try to do my best representing your interests in Washington.
As you are aware, H.R. 3261 was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) and was designed to target foreign websites that sell stolen or pirated content to U.S. consumers. The bill would allow the Attorney General to seek injunctions against foreign “rogue” websites proven to be wholly dedicated to the sale of pirated or counterfeit U.S. innovations and products.
Rogue websites—those websites dedicated to the sale and distribution of counterfeit and pirated products—have become common-place on the web. Consumers are lured to sophisticated and well-designed websites, complete with corporate advertising, credit card payment options and other false indicators of legitimacy. However, these sites tempt unsuspecting consumers to download or purchase unauthorized, copyrighted material—including the latest movies, music or even counterfeit products, such as pharmaceuticals to luxury goods.
These rogue websites cost American jobs by counterfeiting products and pirating content. Importantly, they put innocent consumers at risk by selling fake, unsafe products such as pharmaceuticals. And they often lead to identify theft and the spreading of malicious viruses onto computers. Online counterfeiting and piracy is theft, plain and simple, and if left unchecked, it will have detrimental effects on our economy and our safety.
Some technology companies have raised concerns that the legislation may expose law-abiding U.S. internet and technology companies to additional liability and requirements that they monitor websites. Other groups question whether there is a need for the federal government to interject itself and new regulations into the Web and that any regulations could stymie innovation and job growth in this sector. I certainly appreciate the important role the internet plays in our economy and in creating jobs and believe that Congress should develop a targeted solution to stop foreign rogue websites.
H.R. 3261 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet where it awaits further action. House Congressional Hearings have been postponed and no vote is scheduled for the bill. Changes to the legislation may either be proposed in the form of amendments during a markup of the bill in Committee, or could be included in a new bill altogether.
Bewunderte Nietzsche den Islam?
In seinem “Antichrist” lesen wir ab Kapitel 59 das:
Man lese nur irgend einen christlichen Agitator, den heiligen Augustin zum Beispiel, um zu begreifen, um zu riechen, was für unsaubere Gesellen damit obenauf gekommen sind. Man würde sich ganz und gar betrügen, wenn man irgend welchen Mangel an Verstand bei den Führern der christlichen Bewegung voraussetzte: – oh sie sind klug, klug bis zur Heiligkeit, diese Herrn Kirchenväter! Was ihnen abgeht, ist etwas ganz Anderes. Die Natur hat sie vernachlässigt, – sie vergass, ihnen eine bescheidene Mitgift von achtbaren, von anständigen, von reinlichen Instinkten mitzugeben … Unter uns, es sind nicht einmal Männer … Wenn der Islam das Christenthum verachtet, so hat er tausend Mal Recht dazu: der Islam hat Männer zur Voraussetzung …
Das Christenthum hat uns um die Ernte der antiken Cultur gebracht, es hat uns später wieder um die Ernte der Islam-Cultur gebracht. Die wunderbare maurische Cultur-Welt Spaniens, uns im Grunde verwandter, zu Sinn und Geschmack redender als Rom und Griechenland, wurde niedergetreten – ich sage nicht von was für Füssen – warum? weil sie vornehmen, weil sie Männer-Instinkten ihre Entstehung verdankte, weil sie zum Leben Ja sagte auch noch mit den seltnen und raffinirten Kostbarkeiten des maurischen Lebens! …
Die Kreuzritter bekämpften später Etwas, vor dem sich in den Staub zu legen ihnen besser angestanden hätte, – eine Cultur, gegen die sich selbst unser neunzehntes Jahrhundert sehr arm, sehr “spät” vorkommen dürfte. – Freilich, sie wollten Beute machen: der Orient war reich … Man sei doch unbefangen! Kreuzzüge – die höhere Seeräuberei, weiter nichts! –
Der deutsche Adel, Wikinger-Adel im Grunde, war damit in seinem Elemente: die Kirche wusste nur zu gut, womit man deutschen Adel hat… Der deutsche Adel, immer die “Schweizer” der Kirche, immer im Dienste aller schlechten Instinkte der Kirche, – aber gut bezahlt … Dass die Kirche gerade mit Hülfe deutscher Schwerter, deutschen Blutes und Muthes ihren Todfeindschafts-Krieg gegen alles Vornehme auf Erden durchgeführt hat! Es giebt an dieser Stelle eine Menge schmerzlicher Fragen. Der deutsche Adel fehlt beinahe in der Geschichte der höheren Cultur: man erräth den Grund … Christenthum, Alkohol – die beiden grossen Mittel der Corruption …
An sich sollte es ja keine Wahl geben, Angesichts von Islam und Christenthum, so wenig als Angesichts eines Arabers und eines Juden. Die Entscheidung ist gegeben, es steht Niemandem frei, hier noch zu wählen. Entweder ist man ein Tschandala oder man ist es nicht … “Krieg mit Rom auf’s Messer! Friede, Freundschaft mit dem Islam”: so empfand, so that jener grosse Freigeist, das Genie unter den deutschen Kaisern, Friedrich der Zweite. Wie? muss ein Deutscher erst Genie, erst Freigeist sein, um anständig zu empfinden? – Ich begreife nicht, wie ein Deutscher je christlich empfinden konnte …
Gott war für ihn tot, Allah anscheinend nicht. (Die Punkte sind keine Auslassungszeichen, sondern Stilmittel, es wurde nichts ausgelassen.)
Rick Perry suggested it might be time to kick Turkey out of NATO
Texas governor and U.S. presidential hopeful Rick Perry suggested it might be time to kick Turkey out of NATO, saying the country was being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists during Fox News’ South Carolina debate.
“Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then […] not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong in NATO but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it,” the Mediaite website quoted Perry as saying.
In addition to asking whether Turkey still belonged in NATO, moderator Bret Baier had asked the Republican hopeful about the Turkey’s “Islamist” governing party Justice and Development Party (AKP) and outlined many of the problems going on in the country, including the high number of women who have been murdered, worsening press freedom and deteriorating relations with Israel and Greek Cyprus since the AKP came to power.
Reaction from Turkey
Turkey has “moved far away from the country it once was in the 1970s,” Perry said, referring to the time when he was stationed in Turkey as a pilot. Ömer Çelik, deputy leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), slammed Perry’s comments. “It seems that Perry hangs ‘wanted poster’ wherever he sees Muslim statement and sing pleasently “dead or live.” “The statements are utterly ignorant.”
Victoria Coates, foreign policy advisor to Perry, explained the governor’s remarks, saying some view the leaders of Turkey as “Islamic terrorists” due to their support of Hamas and the 2010 Gaza flotilla.
“The governor was responding to the questioner’s references to violence against women and to association with Hamas, I think both of which are things that many people do associate, as he said, with Islamic terrorists,” Coates told reporters, ABC News website reported.
Asked if Turkey’s leaders had performed any actions which placed them in the category of Islamic terrorists, Coates said: “What he said was that many people associate that kind of behavior with that of Islamic terrorists. I also think of their support for the flotilla against Israel [in 2010].
It’s deeply concerning, and I think it’s something any future American president needs to be aware of.” In May 2010, six ships led by the Turkish Mavi Marmara tried to reach the coastal strip but were intercepted by Israeli commandos, who stormed the boats, killing nine Turkish activists and sparking a diplomatic crisis with Ankara.
Alevis Not Hopeful On Turkey’s New Charter
Alevi leaders have expressed pessimism over Parliament trying to produce a truly democratic constitution, charging that the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, was not sincere in pledges to respect all religious and ethnic groups.
Speaking at the Second Grand Alevi Congress Sunday, Ercan Geçmez, chairman of the Hacı Bektaşi Veli Anatolia Culture Association, stressed that the government had failed to meet basic Alevi demands despite initial promises of reconciliation.
“We would have expected that the issue of cemevis be resolved before the new constitution is drafted. They have not done that; they do not want to do it. Those who are holding us in contempt are now shouting at rallies that they will bring democracy and a new constitution to this country,” he said.
The cemevi, or house of gathering, is the main Alevi place of worship, but they are not officially recognized as such and, therefore, lack the state assistance that mosques receive.
Geçmez also urged Parliament to issue a formal apology for the killing of thousands of Alevis in Dersim in the 1930s. Other participants underlined the need for the Alevi faith to be included in school textbooks, while others expressed worries of lingering divisions among the Alevi community.
In a final declaration issued at the end of the Congress, the participants stressed that the constitution-making process should go hand-in-hand with government efforts to reconcile with Alevis, Kurds, Armenians and other ethnic groups, including the restoration of the original names of their settlements and permission for relocated people to repair properties they had left behind. The declaration also called for an end to judicial onslaughts on Kurdish politicians, journalists and civic activists.
“All legislation pertaining to the freedoms of thought, speech and organization must be urgently reviewed, and preclusive reforms should be undertaken in the democratic and liberal spirit that the constitution is said it will have,” it said.
Members of Alevi associations from Europe and representatives of Syrian Alevis participated in the congress, along with Republican People’s Party, or CHP, lawmakers Hüseyin Aygün, Kamer Genç, Ali Hatipoğlu and Refik Eraslan.
In comments on the unrest in Syria, Geçmez said the turmoil was part of the United States’ Greater Middle East project and intended to drive a rift between Alevis and Sunnis.
“We won’t allow such a conflict to happen in Turkey,” he said.
Fatah’s Top Religious Authority Calls for Genocide of Jews
Last week, the principal Palestinian Authority religious leader, the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, presented the killing of Jews by Muslims as a religious Islamic goal. At an event celebrating the 47th anniversary of the founding of Fatah, he cited the Hadith (Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad) saying that the Hour of Resurrection will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them:
“The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews.
The Jew will hide behind stones or trees.
Then the stones or trees will call:
‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'”
Palestinian Media Watch reported regularly during the PA terror campaign (Intifada, 2000-2005) on the repeated use of this Hadith by PA clerics on official PA TV to motivate Palestinians to terror attacks, preaching that Muslims had an Islamic obligation to kill Jews. The fact that the Mufti quotes this now indicates that this may have remained part of the PA’s religious establishment’s teachings, even though it is less frequently promoted on PA TV.
The last time official PA TV broadcast a sermon during which this Hadith calling to kill Jews was quoted was in 2010.
The years of PA promotion of killing Jews and PA religious leaders’ citing this Hadith to justify it, may have contributed to the high acceptance of it in PA society. A poll sponsored by the Israel Project last year found that 73% of Palestinians “believe” this Hadith. [July 2011, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.]
The moderator who introduced the Mufti at the Fatah event last week reiterated another Islamic belief; that the Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs:
“Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith.”
The Mufti did not distance himself from this hate statement that Islam is in a religious war with the Jews, but added to it that Islam’s goal is to kill Jews.
There are numerous collections of Hadith, some of which are not accepted as reliable. However, the Mufti stressed that the Islamic belief that Jews will be killed by Muslims as a precursor to Resurrection, is an authentic Islamic belief because it appears in “the reliable” and trusted Hadith collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
This Islamic tradition asserts that as the killing of Jews will progress, Jews will hide behind stones and trees, but even they will expose the Jews and call out: “Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” One tree however, called the Gharqad, will hide the Jews from the Muslims. The Mufti in his talk at the Fatah event claimed that in response to this Islamic belief, Israelis have been planting Gharqad trees around their cities and towns, in order to have a place to hide from the Muslims who will be coming to kill them.
This is not the first time the Mufti has incited to hatred against Jews in the name of Islam. In a sermon at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2010, he preached that the Jews are the “enemies of Allah..“
The Mufti is appointed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He voiced this latest hate speech, that Jews are to be killed by Muslims, at an official Fatah celebration. Abbas is also the Chairman of Fatah.
The following is an excerpt from the Fatah ceremony broadcast on PA TV:
Moderator at Fatah ceremony:
“Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith. Long Live Fatah! [I invite you,] our honorable Sheikh.”
PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein comes to the podium and says:
“47 years ago the [Fatah] revolution started. Which revolution? The modern revolution of the Palestinian people’s history. In fact, Palestine in its entirety is a revolution, since [Caliph] Umar came [to conquer Jerusalem, 637 CE], and continuing today, and until the End of Days. The reliable Hadith(tradition attributed to Muhamma
d), [found] in the two reliable collections, Bukhari and Muslim, says:
“The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews.
The Jew will hide behind stones or trees.
Then the stones or trees will call:
‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’
Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent].”
Therefore it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees] surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies..”
[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 9, 2012]
Muslims Converting Empty European Churches into Mosques
Muslims in Europe are increasingly converting empty Christian churches into mosques.
The proliferation of mosques housed in former churches reflects the rise of Islam as the fastest growing religion in post-Christian Europe.
There are now more practicing Muslims than practicing Christians in many parts of Europe, not only in large urban centers, but also in smaller towns and cities across the continent.
As Islam replaces Christianity as the dominant religion in Europe, more and more churches are set to become mosques, which increasingly serve not only as religious institutions but also function as the foundational political building blocks for the establishment of separate, parallel Muslim communities in Europe that are based on Islamic Sharia law.
The latest churches destined to become mosques are located in Germany, where the Roman Catholic Church has announced plans to close up to six churches in Duisburg, an industrial city in northwestern part of the country, due to falling church attendance.
Duisburg, which has a total population of 500,000, is home to around 100,000 mostly Turkish Muslims, making it one of the most Islamized cities in Germany.
Muslims in Duisburg are now clamoring to turn empty churches in the city into mosques, according to the Germany daily newspaper, Der Westen.
All of the churches slated for closing are located in the gritty Hamborn and Marxloh districts in northern Duisburg where Islam has already replaced Christianity as the dominant religion, and where several Catholic churches have already been abandoned in a previous round of church closings.
In Marxloh, all eyes are set on the Church of Saint Peter and Paul, which is the last remaining church in a part of Duisburg that is now almost completely Muslim. The church may be closed as early as the end of January 2012.
Marxloh also happens to be home to the Duisburg Merkez Mosque, the largest mosque in Germany. Completed in 2008 at a cost of more than €7.5 million ($10 million), the Ottoman-style mega-mosque can accommodate more than 1,200 Muslim worshippers at a time.
Merkez now wants to turn the churches in Hamborn and Marxloh into mosques and prayer centers that would serve as extensions of the mega-mosque. According to the chairman of the Merkez Mosque, Mohammed Al, “Regardless of whether it is a church or a mosque, it is a house of God.”
In addition to Roman Catholic churches, some Protestant churches have also been converted into mosques in Germany, where the Muslim population has jumped from around 50,000 in the early 1980s to more than 4 million today.
In Germany as a whole, more than 400 Roman Catholic churches and more than 100 Protestant churches have been closed since 2000, according to one estimate (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchenschließung).
Another 700 Roman Catholic churches are slated to be closed over the next several years.
By contrast, there are now more than 200 mosques (including more than 40 mega-mosques), 2,600 Muslim prayer halls and a countless number unofficial mosques in Germany. Another 128 mosques are currently under construction, according to the Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv, a Muslim organization based in Germany.
In neighboring France, mosques are being built more often than Roman Catholic churches, and there now are more practicing Muslims in the country than practicing Catholics.
Nearly 150 new mosques are currently under construction in France, home to the biggest Muslim community in Europe.
The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during just the past ten years, according to a research report, “Constructing Mosque
s: The Governance of Islam in France and the Netherlands.” The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, has called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again — to 4,000 — to meet growing demand.
By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church in France has built only 20 new churches during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to research conducted by La Croix, a Roman Catholic daily newspaper based in Paris.
Although 64% of the French population (or 41.6 million of France’s 65 million inhabitants) identifies itself as Roman Catholic, only 4.5% (or 1.9 million) of those actually are practicing Catholics, according to the French Institute of Public Opinion (or Ifop, as it is usually called).
By way of comparison, 75% (or 4.5 million) of the estimated 6 million mostly ethnic North African and sub-Saharan Muslims in France identify themselves as “believers” and 41% (or 2.5 million) say they are “practicing” Muslims, according to an in-depth research report on Islam in France published by Ifop.
Taken together, the research data provides empirical evidence that Islam is well on its way to overtaking Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion in France.
In Britain, Islam has overtaken Anglicanism as the dominant religion as more people attend mosques than the Church of England. According to one survey, 930,000 Muslims attend a place of worship at least once a week, whereas only 916,000 Anglicans do the same.
Muslim leaders are now claiming that, given such a rise of Islam in Britain, Muslims should receive a share of the privileged status of the Church of England.
Overall, at least 10,000 churches have been closed in Britain since 1960, including 8,000 Methodist churches and 1,700 Anglican churches. Another 4,000 churches are set to be closed by 2020, according to Christian Research, an organization that tracks religious trends in Britain.
By contrast, there are now more than 1,700 official mosques in Britain, many converted from former churches. In addition, there are an estimated 2,000 Muslim prayer halls and unknown thousands of unofficial mosques in garages or warehouses scattered throughout the country.
Islam is set to displace Christianity in Britain even further in the years ahead. The number of Muslims in Britain is forecast to double to 5.5 million, or 8% of the total British population, by 2030, according to the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a December 2011 speech in Oxford on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, said Britain is a “Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so.”
But the official Citizenship Survey published on December 21 found that the number of people who call themselves Christians in England and Wales fell by nearly 10% over the past five years.
Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.
U.S., E.U. Spearhead Islamic Bid To Criminalize Free Speech
by Soeren Kern (January 6, 2012).
The European Union has offered to host the next meeting of the so-called Istanbul Process, an aggressive effort by Muslim countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.
The announcement comes less than one month after the United States hosted its own Istanbul Process conference in Washington, DC.
The Istanbul Process – its explicit aim is to enshrine in international law a global ban on all critical scrutiny of Islam and/or Islamic Sharia law – is being spearheaded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a bloc of 57 Muslim countries.
Based in Saudi Arabia, the OIC has long pressed the European Union and the United States to impose limits on free speech and expression about Islam.
But the OIC has now redoubled its efforts and is engaged in a determined diplomatic offensive to persuade Western democracies to implement United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 16/18, which calls on all countries to combat “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.” (Analysis of the OIC’s war on free speech can be found here and here.)
Resolution 16/18, which was adopted at HRC headquarters in Geneva in March 2011, is widely viewed as a significant step forward in OIC efforts to advance the international legal concept of defaming Islam.
However, the HRC resolution – as well as the OIC-sponsored Resolution 66/167, which was quietly approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011 – remains ineffectual as long as it lacks strong support in the West.
The OIC therefore scored a diplomatic coup when the Obama Administration agreed to host a three-day Istanbul Process conference in Washington, DC on December 12-14, 2011. In doing so, the United States gave the OIC the political legitimacy it has been seeking to globalize its initiative to ban criticism of Islam.
Following the Obama Administration’s lead, the European Union now wants to get in on the action by hosting the next Istanbul Process summit, tentatively scheduled for July 2012.
Up until now, the European Union has kept the OIC initiative at arms-length. But Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the OIC, says the EU’s offer to host the meeting represents a “qualitative shift in action against the phenomenon of Islamophobia,” according to the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the OIC’s official news/propaganda organ.
According to the IINA, “The phenomenon of Islamophobia is found in the West in general, but is growing in European countries in particular and in a manner different than that in the US, which had contributed to drafting Resolution 16/18. The new European position represents the beginning of the shift from their previous reserve over the years over the attempts by the OIC to counter ‘defamation of religions’ in the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The IINA report continues: “Officials in the Cultural Affairs Department of the OIC said that the European Union’s offer to host the third meeting (the first was in Istanbul in July and the second in Washington, DC in December) is considered a promising new possibility of solving this problem. The ‘Istanbul Process’ will have an added momentum by holding the meeting in Europe, which is more affected by the phenomenon of Islamophobia and hostility towards Islam.”
The OIC is especially angry over its inability to silence a growing number of democratically elected politicians in Europe who have voiced concerns over the refusal of Muslim immigrants to integrate into their host countries and the consequent establishment of parallel Islamic societies in many parts of Europe.
According to the IINA, “Ihsanoglu said that the growing role of the
extreme right in politics in several European countries has become stronger than the capacity of the Organization [OIC], explaining that the extreme right, who [sic] hates Muslims, became leverage in the hands of politicians. He added that the rise of the extreme right through elections has become an issue that cannot be countered, considering the democratic way in which these extremists reach their positions. He pointed out to the referendum held in Switzerland, as an example, which resulted in suspending the construction of minarets there following a vote by the Swiss people.”
In other words, the OIC is now seeking the support of non-elected bureaucrats at the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels to enact pan-European hate speech legislation to limit by fiat what 500 million European citizens – including democratically elected politicians – can and cannot say about Islam.
To be sure, many individual European countries that lack First Amendment protections like those in the United States have already enacted hate speech laws that effectively serve as proxies for the all-encompassing blasphemy legislation the OIC is seeking to impose on the European Union as a whole.
In Austria, for example, an appellate court in December 2011 upheld the politically correct conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, for “denigrating religious beliefs” after she gave a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam. The ruling showed that while Judaism and Christianity can be disparaged with impunity in postmodern multicultural Austria, speaking the truth about Islam is subject to swift and hefty legal penalties.
Also in Austria, Susanne Winter, an Austrian politician and Member of Parliament, was convicted in January 2009 for the “crime” of saying that “in today’s system” the Islamic prophet Mohammed would be considered a “child molester,” referring to his marriage to Aisha. Winter was also convicted of “incitement” for saying that Austria faces an “Islamic immigration tsunami.” Winters was ordered to pay a fine of €24,000 ($31,000), and received a suspended three-month prison sentence.
In Denmark, Lars Hedegaard, the president of the International Free Press Society, was found guilty by a Danish court in May 2011 of “hate speech” for saying in a taped interview that there was a high incidence of child rape and domestic violence in areas dominated by Muslim culture.
Hedegaard’s comments, which called attention to the horrific living conditions of millions of Muslim women, violated Denmark’s infamous Article 266b of the penal code, a catch-all provision that Danish elites use to enforce politically correct speech codes. Hedegaard has appealed his conviction to the Danish Supreme Court, where the case is now pending.
Also in Denmark, Jesper Langballe, a Danish politician and Member of Parliament, was found guilty of hate speech in December 2010 for saying that honor killings and sexual abuse take place in Muslim families.
Langballe was denied the opportunity to prove his assertions because under Danish law it is immaterial whether a statement is true or false. All that is needed for a conviction is for someone to feel offended. Langballe was summarily sentenced to pay a fine of 5,000 Danish Kroner ($850) or spend ten days in jail.
In Finland, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, a politician and well-known political commentator, was taken to court in March 2009 on charges of “incitement against an ethnic group” and “breach of the sanctity of religion” for saying that Islam is a religion of pedophilia. A Helsinki court later dropped the charges of blasphemy but ordered Halla-aho to pay a fine of €330 ($450) for disturbing religious worship. The Finnish public prosecutor, incensed at the court’s dismissal of the blasphemy charges, appealed the case to the Finnish Supreme Court, where it is now being reviewed.
In France, novelist Michel Houellebecq was taken to court by Islamic authorities in the French cities of Paris and Lyon for calling Islam “the stupidest religion” and for saying the Koran is “badly written.” In court, Houellebecq (pronounced Wellbeck) told the judges that although he had never despised Muslims, he did feel contempt for Islam. He was acquitted in October 2002.
Also in France, Brigitte Bardot, the legendary actress turned animal rights crusader, was convicted in June 2008 for “inciting ra
cial hatred” after demanding that Muslims anaesthetize animals before slaughtering them.
In The Netherlands, Geert Wilders – the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party who had denounced the threat to Western values posed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants – was recently acquitted of five charges of inciting religious hatred against Muslims for comments he made that were critical of Islam. The landmark verdict brought to a close a highly-public, two-year legal odyssey.
Also in The Netherlands, Gregorius Nekschot, the pseudonym of a Dutch cartoonist who is a vocal critic of Islamic female circumcision and often mocks Dutch multiculturalism, was arrested at his home in Amsterdam in May 2008 for drawing cartoons deemed offensive to Muslims. Nekschot (which literally means “shot in the neck,” a method used, according to the cartoonist, by “fascists and communists to get rid of their opponents”) was released after 30 hours of interrogation by Dutch law enforcement officials.
Nekschot was charged for eight cartoons that “attribute negative qualities to certain groups of people,” and, as such, are insulting and constitute the crimes of discrimination and hate according to articles 137c and 137d of the Dutch Penal Code.
In an interview with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, Nekschot said it was the first time in 800 years in the history of satire in the Netherlands that an artist was put in jail. (That interview has since been removed from the newspaper’s website.) Although the case against Nekschot was dismissed in September 2010, he ended his career as a cartoonist on December 31, 2011.
In Italy, the late Oriana Fallaci, a journalist and author, was taken to court for writing that Islam “brings hate instead of love and slavery instead of freedom.” In November 2002, a judge in Switzerland, acting on a lawsuit brought by Islamic Center of Geneva, issued an arrest warrant for Fallaci for violations of Article 261 of the Swiss criminal code; the judge asked the Italian government either to prosecute or extradite her. The Italian Justice Ministry rejected this request on the grounds that the Italian Constitution protects freedom of speech.
But in May 2005, the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy (UCOII), linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, filed a lawsuit against Fallaci, charging that “some of the things she said in her book ‘The Force of Reason‘ are offensive to Islam.” An Italian judge ordered Fallaci to stand trial in Bergamo on charges of “defaming Islam.” Fallaci died of cancer in September 2006, just months after the start of her trial.
Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.
The Golden Age of Islam – A Second Look
The period from the death of Muhammad through the 13th Century marks the glory days of the Islamic empire. It was a period of commerce, industry and intra-cultural synergies and a flourishing of the sciences, art, medicine and architecture. It was the epitome of what civilization should be. Just ask Obama. In his 2009 Cairo speech the president said that Islam “carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment,” and praised the “innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.”
While Central Europe languished in the Dark Ages of ignorance, fear and superstition following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century (so the story goes), it was the Islamic world that carried the torch of Classical civilization to a Europe finally stumbling out of the Dark Ages in the 15th century.
By contrast the Islamic world flourished during the Dark Ages: by the 13th century, both Africa and India had become great centers of Islamic civilization, and soon after, Muslim kingdoms were established in the Malay-Indonesian world while Chinese Muslims flourished throughout China.
Islam therefore is a religion for all people from whatever race or background they might be: Islamic civilization is based on a unity which stands completely against any racial or ethnic discrimination. Such major racial and ethnic groups as the Arabs, Persians, Turks, Africans, Indians, Chinese and Malays in addition to countless smaller units embraced Islam and contributed to the building of Islamic civilization.
Moreover, so the story goes, Islam was not opposed to learning from the earlier civilizations and incorporating their science, learning, and culture into its own world view. Each ethnic and racial group that embraced Islam made its contribution to the one Islamic civilization to which everyone belonged.
The global civilization created by Islam also succeeded in activating the minds and thoughts of the people who entered its fold. As a result of Islam, the nomadic Arabs became torch-bearers of science and learning. The Persians, who had created a great civilization before the rise of Islam, nevertheless produced even more science and learning in the Islamic period than before. The same can be said of the Turks and other peoples who embraced Islam. The religion of Islam was itself responsible not only for the creation of a world civilization in which people of many different ethnic backgrounds participated, but it also played a central role in developing intellectual and cultural life on a scale not seen before.
Quite a story. And it is a story being fed to US students from k-12 on through graduate schools. Quite a story? More like a fairy tale.
Victor Davis Hanson has taken down Obama’s version of the Golden age of Islam:
In his speech last week in Cairo, President Obama proclaimed he was a “student of history.” But despite Mr. Obama’s image as an Ivy League-educated intellectual, he lacks historical competency in both facts and interpretation. … Obama … claimed that “Islam . . . carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.” [In fact] medieval Islamic culture … had little to do with the European rediscovery of classical Greek and Latin values. Europeans, Chinese, and Hindus, not Muslims, invented most of the breakthroughs Obama credited to Islamic innovation. … Much of the Renaissance, in fact, was more predicated on the centuries-long flight of Greek-speaking Byzantine scholars from Constantinople to Western Europe to escape the aggression of Islamic Turks. Many romantic thinkers of the Enlightenment sought to extend freedom to oppressed subjects of Muslim fundamentalist rule in eastern and southern Europe.
Andrew Bostom has skewered the myth that Cordoba was a model of ecumenism:
Expanding upon Jane Gerber’s thesis about the “garish” myth of a “Golden Age,” the late Richard Fletcher (in hisMoorish Spain) offered a fair assessment of interfaith relationships in Muslim Spain and his view of additional contemporary currents responsible for obfuscating that history:
The witness of those who lived through the horrors of the Berber conquest, of the Andalusian fitnah[ordeal] in the early eleventh century, of the Almoravid invasion — to mention only a few disruptive episodes — must give it [i.e.: the roseate view of Muslim Spa
in] the lie.
The simple and verifiable historical truth is that Moorish Spain was more often a land of turmoil than it was of tranquility. … Tolerance? Ask the Jews of Granada who were massacred in 1066, or the Christians who were deported by the Almoravids to Morocco in 1126 (like the Moriscos five centuries later). … In the second half of the twentieth century a new agent of obfuscation makes its appearance: the guilt of the liberal conscience, which sees the evils of colonialism — assumed rather than demonstrated — foreshadowed in the Christian conquest of al-Andalus and the persecution of the Moriscos (but not, oddly, in the Moorish conquest and colonization). Stir the mix well and issue it free to credulous academics and media persons throughout the Western world. Then pour it generously over the truth … in the cultural conditions that prevail in the West today, the past has to be marketed, and to be successfully marketed, it has to be attractively packaged. Medieval Spain in a state of nature lacks wide appeal. Self-indulgent fantasies of glamour … do wonders for sharpening its image. But Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.
Serge Trifkovic also has a general take-down of the overblown account of the accomplishments and comity of the Islamic Golden Age in his FrontPage article, The Golden Age of Islam is a Myth.
And now we have Emmet Scott, in a soon to be released study, Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: An Introduction to the History of a Controversy, advancing the thesis that Rather than preserving the Classical heritage, the expanding Islamic empire destroyed it and brought about the Dark Ages.
Armed with new archaeological evidence, Scott makes the compelling case, originally put forward in 1920 by Henri Pirenne, a Belgian historian, that Classical civilization did not collapse after the fall of the Roman empire but was gradually attrited by the onslaught of Arab armies and raiders. The Islamic Golden Age came close to permanently destroying the classical humanistic culture of the West.
Hanson has pointed out the factual errors in Obama’s paean to Islam’s Golden Age. Andrew Bostom has skewered the myth that Cordoba was a model of ecumenism Trikovic has shown that the continuation of learning, science, technology of the “Golden age of Islam” prospered in spite of Islam and not because of Islam and now we have Emmet Scott skewering the myth that the Golden Age of Islam saved Classical humanistic Western culture. What is next? The glory of Sharia?
MOHAMMED AND CHARLEMAGNE
Comments by Bob Corbett (February 2004) on: MOHAMMED AND CHARLEMAGNE by Henri Pirenne (Translated from the French by Bernard Miall, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1956 from 1935 original, 293 pages.)
Five years ago I read Henri Pirenne’s earlier book MEDIEVAL CITIES and found it just fascinating. There his fundamental thesis concerned the Medieval world and centered around his contention that the control of water ways, the rivers and the Mediterranean Sea, shaped the nature of the cities.
In this more mature work Pirenne takes a broader historical claim, arguing that, as the editor claims:
“This last work of the great Belgian scholar Henri Pirenne offered a new and revolutionary interpretation of the evolution of Europe from the time of Constantine to that of Charlemagne. Pirenne’s major thesis is that it was the advance of Islam rather than the Germanic invasions that caused the break with antiquity and the consequent decline of Western civilization in the Middle Ages.”
The first section investigates the question of western civilization after the Germanic invasions. Pirenne is at pains to show that while there were important military victories scored by the Germanic tribes, there was little lasting shift in the fundamental culture of Rome. He shows how within a relatively short period of time Germanic peoples were co-opted into Roman culture, intermarried and that the Latin language(s) remained dominant. He argues that fundamentally the Germanic peoples had little desire to destroy the empire, but much preferred to just have a share of the benefits.
He next details several features of life in the European sector of the empire after the invasions to further support the general thesis. The key to the thesis is not that the Germanic tribes were fully absorbed, but that there was no essential change in the structure and culture of the empire, nor any significant decline of economy. He certainly allows some changes including a degree of self-governance and economic independence. He argues that in the Merovingian period (500-751) and the years from the success of the Germanic invasion until Charlemagne that the empire survived in an uneasy union of the original peoples and the invaders and that only very gradually was there any noticeable decline in economy.
To bolster this thesis Pirenne investigates land ownership and administration systems. He contends that while the Roman owners were often replaced by German owners the system of agriculture and land management remained unchanged. More importantly production continued at virtually the same rates not appreciably lessening the wealth of the empire.
The eastern potion of the empire continued to dominate trade via shipping, mainly in the Mediterranean, but even inland served by the rivers. It is important to note the desperate need for imports to the west. Wines, food stuffs, spices and olive oil (for both cooking and lighting) were in desperate need. These things came from Asia and Africa. In exchange the Europeans traded slaves, primarily barbarians from north of the Rhine and textiles and wood for building. Syrians and Jews were the key to this marine tine trade. Trade was centered in the towns, but not in markets, just in the ports.
Critical to this trade was gold since the dominant nature of trade continued to be with money, not barter. Pirenne claims that gold must also have been an important import since there just wasn’t enough gold in circulation to support the trade, and there were no gold mines in the West.
The essential point for him is that life went on much the same as it had before the Germanic invasions, just a change in some of the key players.
To bolster his thesis he turns our attention to intellectual life in the west. Pirenne uses several arguments in this section to conclude his argument that there was relatively little long-term CAUSAL impact on the fall of the empire from the Germanic invasions. The first sentence of this section did cause me a great sense of hilarity. He says:
“It is needless to insist upon the increasing decadence of intellectual life and of the ancient culture after the 3rd century.”
That cracked me up: as though this information is on the tip of the tongue of most of us so much so that it is “needless to insist…” He goes on to make the case intellectual life was in sort of a middle ground between a debt to classical antiquity and a new and somewhat emerging Christian consciousness. His concern is that:
“The Germanic invasions in the West could not and did not in any way alter this state of affairs.”
Though he allows the decadence continued at a somewhat accelerated pace. Nonetheless he cites the significant achievement of Boetius in both his translations of Aristotle and his major work, Consolations of Philosophy which had an impact well into the Middle Ages.
Cassiodorus was another important figure who seems to have first conceived the idea of having the monasteries being centers which would collect and preserve literary works of classical antiquity.
The church also continued a process of change by using Latin more and more in a colloquial manner (as opposed to classical Latin) which allowed the people to better understand Christianity. And art was dominated by a trend toward orientalization rooted in the commercial contacts with Persia, Syria and Egypt. Even the Germanic tribes contributed to this trend with art that they had long had contact with in Russia before the invasions of the south. Another intellectual force that contributed to the maintenance of Roman culture was the legal, governmental and commercial system which required a significant number of people capable of writing in the cursive informal Latin style to manage and maintain those institutions.
In this first half of defense of his thesis Pirenne concludes:
“What the Germans destroyed was not the Empire, but the imperial government in partibus occidentis.”
Britain was a key expectation to this claim, There, Pirenne argues, the changes were much more dramatic and it was Anglo-Saxon culture and life forms that were followed, not Roman ones.
As a parting shot to the more classical view of the role of the Germanic invasions as being the dominant cause of the collapse of the Empire is his view that such historical theses have confused the Merovingian with the later Carolingian period to which he now turns his attention. His has argued in this early part of the book that up to the 7th century there was nothing to really announce the collapse of the culture and significance of the Roman Empire.
Finally Pirenne gets to the pivotal point of his argument with the meteoric rise of Islam and how this changes everything for Europe. He points out that the Byzantine empire and Rome had no fears of an attack from the south. There were no signs. There was nothing in Africa or the Middle East
(as we call it today) that would suggest an attack. There was no Hadrian’s wall. If anything it was Byzantine’s important fleet and control of the Mediterranean which assured unfettered trade and transportation.
However, by 634 the Empire was in a depleted situation. It had just concluded a war with Persia and was neither expecting nor prepared for an Islamic attack. The onslaught was fast and massive in territory and power relations quickly changed hands.
Pirenne raises the question: why weren’t the Arabs co-opted and assimilated like the Germans? His reply is that Islam was faith and one that spread with great rapidity. The Muslims didn’t convert. They didn’t even try. Rather, they conquered and imposed their own systems of administration and justice and with them their own language. They did incorporate into their world the science, learning and art of Byzantine, but on their own terms.
Within a short period the Mediterranean became the frontier of Christianity, not the middle of it. Africa was lost and so were Syria and Egypt and all the trade which that represented. In less than 200 years the Mediterranean was completely in the hands of Islam and its northern coast was what was left of the Roman Empire, but in the western Mediterranean not even the coast was in Christian hands.
Constantinople continued to have a great fleet and controlled the Adriatic, and was able to hold Sicily, but the rest was in Muslim hands. As long as the Mediterranean had been open there was a great flow of trade and all the wealth and comfort that went with it. By 700 virtually the entire western Mediterranean and Aegean Sea were closed to the Christian world and Arabian/Syrian/Egyptian and African trade ceased.
“As Ibn-Khaldoun says (with the necessary reservation as regards Byzantium: ‘The Christian could no longer float a plank upon the sea.’”
Papyrus was one of the first things to disappear, only slowly to be replaced by parchment. Spices quickly followed and they, along with perfume, became very dear commodities. African wines and African olive oil ceased to be available and silk was a rarity. In Gaul coins were first adulterated with silver because of the lack of gold, and soon became 100% silver. What was perhaps even more important for economic development was the decline of a professional merchant class with loans at interest which drove economic advancement. Only Jewish merchants, whom the Muslims didn’t bother, were any link to trade. The Byzantine position, while greatly reduced did not suffer the full collapse that Europe did. It still had its fleet and Asian trade.
Extremely important to Byzantium was Venice. It carried on trade with Islam, especially trading Slav slaves and later even Christian slaves for African and Middle Eastern goods. Both Venice and Sicily were allied with Byzantium and traded with Muslims as well as with the Balkans, yet they were bitter enemies of each other.
At the end of this section Pirenne sums up the situation after the rise of Islam:
“The Christian Mediterranean was divided into two basins, the East and the West, surrounded by Islamic countries. These latter, the war of conquest having come to an end by the close of the 9th century, constituted a world apart, self-sufficing, and gravitating toward Baghdad. It was toward this central point that the caravans of Asia made their way, and here ended the great trade route which led to the Baltic, by way of the Volga. It was from Baghdad that produce was exported to Africa and Spain. The Musulmans themselves did not trade with the Christians, but they did not close their ports to the latter. They allowed them to frequent their harbors, to bring them slaves and timber, and to carry away whatever they chose to buy.
“Christian navigation, however, continued active only in the Orient, and the furthermost point of Southern Italy remained in communication with the Orient. Byzantium succeeded in preventing Islam from obtaining the mastery of the sea. Ships continued to sail from Venice along the Adriatic coast and the coast of Greece to the great city on the Bosporus. And further, they did not cease to frequent the Musulman ports of Asia Minor, Egypt, Africa, Sicily and Spain. The ever-increasing prosperity o£ the Musulman countries, once the period of expansion was over, benefited the maritime cities of Italy. Thanks to this prosperity, in Southern Italy and in the Byzantine Empire an advanced civilization survived, with cities, a gold currency, and professional merchants: in short, a civilization which had retained its ancient foundations.
“In the Occident, on the contrary, the coast from the Gulf of Lyons and the Riviera to the mouth of the Tiber, ravaged by war and the pirates, whom the Christians, having no fleet, were powerless to resist, was now merely a solitude and a prey to piracy. The ports and the cities were deserted. The link with the Orient was severed, and there was no communication with the Saracen coasts. There was nothing but death. The Carolingian Empire presented the most striking contrast with the Byzantine. It was purely an inland power, for it had no outlets. The Mediterranean territories, formerly the most active portions of the Empire, which supported the life of the whole, were now the poorest, the most desolate, the most constantly menaced. For the first time in history the axis of Occidental civilization was displaced towards the North, and for many centuries it remained between the Seine and the Rhine. And the Germanic peoples, which had hitherto played only the negative part of destroyers, were now called upon to play a positive part in the reconstruction of European civilization.”
The classic tradition was shattered, because Islam had destroyed the ancient unity of the Mediterranean. With the eruption of the Islamic invasions power relations were dramatically changed. Gaul was cut off from the sea and weakened. In Italy the Lombards had more space since Byzantium was concerned with its eastern and southern fronts. Thus the Lombards could withdrawn more and more from Rome. Yet, at the same time life in the heavily Germanic north and west life was basically a life of antiquity in Europe, albeit in a declining fashion. The Merovingian order was collapsing. With the significant trade and wealth which the Mediterranean trade had allowed, the Merovingian kings had dominated. But with the loss of Spain and the Mediterranean trade was cut and wealth lost. More of the economy rested in the land and the landed aristocracy had more power than the kings. The Merovingian kings tried to form an alliance with the church, but the church itself was in disorganization and was of little help. After the decline of Rome in the West the papacy gave allegiance to the emperor in Constantinople. The papacy in Rome recognized the emperor and in exchange the pope was regarded as the highest level of religious authority in the Empire, superior to any of the eastern religious leaders of Christianity. From 725-726 on a theological/political struggle profoundly weakened the papacy in the Empire. Emperor Leo in Constantinople proclaimed the doctrine of Iconclasty, a doctrine forbidding images. Pope Gregory II rebelled and denounced Iconoclasty as heresy and Byzantine Italy revolted. However, Gregory pulled back from a complete break with Byzantium. In 731 Gregory III excommunicated the image destroyers and the Emperor took away all non-Italian jurisdiction from the papacy reducing it to the status of the bishop of Rome. Still Gregory III did not break with Constantinople.
741 marked a major shift as three key leaders died:
- Pope Gregory III died and was replaced by Pope Zaccharis.
- Charles Martel, effective leader in the west, died and was replace by Pippin.
- Emperor Leo III, Byzantium’s emperor died and was replaced by Constantine V.
In the meantime St. Boniface had been having huge success in converting large numbers of people to Christianity in the west and north of Europe. Pippin made appeal to the pope to recognize him as the ruler in the west and Pope Zaccharies did, instigating a fuller break with Constantinople and bringing about a final break between Byzantine Christianity and Roman Christianity.
The ascendancy of Pippin marked the end of the Merovingian ear and the rise of the Carolingian period. It involved the alliance of Rome and the Germanic de facto power. In 754 Pippin agreed to protect Rome from the Lombards and the pope issued a decree that all Carolingian kings must descend from Pippin. Pippin then moved on the Lombards, defeated them and became the protector of Rome.
Charlemagne, son of Pippin, became king in 768 upon the death of his father and inherited his father’s Roman policy. In 774 he not only again defeated a rising Lombard threat but declared himself their king. Charlemagne remained in northern Europe and gave the Lombards a significant degree of home rule. The Carolingian world gravitated toward the north and west, though it included Italy, and away from the (lost) Mediterranean.
On Dec. 25, 800 Charlemagne was crowned emperor of Christianity. This crowning was not quite on the Byzantine model. There the emperor was acclaimed by the people. Charlemagne was acclaimed by Rome. It was in the church’s acclamation, not the people of Europe in which his power rested.
By 812 Charlemagne concluded peace with Byzantium and he ceded Venice and Sicily, thus effectively creating an empire with no access to the Mediterranean.
“The Empire of Charlemagne was the critical point of the rupture by Islam, of the European equilibrium.”
This was all made possible by three key factors:
- The rupture of east and west.
- The pope becoming strictly the Christian leader in the west.
- The loss of Africa and Spain to Islam.
“It is therefore strictly correct to say that without Mohammed Charlemagne would have been inconceivable.”
“Germanism began to play its part in history. Hitherto the Roman tradition had been uninterrupted. Now and original Romano-Germanic civilization was about to develop.
“The Carolingian Empire, or rather, the Empire of Charlemagne, was the scaffolding of the Middle Ages. The State upon which it was founded was extremely weak and would presently crumble. But the Empire would survive as the higher unity of Western Christendom.”
Having taken the argument all the way to the reign of Charlemagne, Pirenne now turns the last chapter toward the transition to the Middle Ages. His thesis has always centered in the economic relations and again he begins there. In the entire book he is on the offensive, attacking what are at his time the received views of this transition. He points out that it is often held that there was an economic revival in the early days of the Carolingian era. He denies this and claims such views are based on a misunderstand or misanalysis.
He argues that the typical situation was such that there was the loss of Mediterranean trade and virtually all marinetine trade. Life became much more local and centered on land and local trade. However, he allows there were two areas which were slight exceptions and that too much attention to these areas could lead scholars to misrepresent the entire period. These exceptions were:
- Northern Italy, especially around Venice which benefited from the trade in the Byzantine world which extended to Venice. However, this was soon hampered by Arabs and turmoil in Italy and the results were not contrary to his larger thesis.
- The second area concerns the northern sea routes which put traders in touch with Islam via Russia and more importantly with Great Britain. This short-lived exception came to an end with the Normal invasions.
The factors Pirenne thinks were decisive were:
- The minting of gold has ceased.
- Lending money at interest was prohibited.
- There was no longer a class of professional merchants.
- Oriental products (papyrus, spices, silk, African olive oil) were no longer imported.
- Circulation of money was reduced to the minimum
- Laymen could no longer read or write.
- Taxes were no longer organized.
- Towns were merely fortresses.
- The existence of only local markets with local goods and crafts is a sign of a deteriorating culture.
Thus we have the background for understanding the serious economic changes that made the conditions ripe for the emergence of a totally new age. Even when the Carolingians got a foothold in the Gaulic Mediterranean they couldn’t really exploit this as an economic advantage. They didn’t have a fleet and couldn’t deal with pirates.
Pirenne is also dissatisfied with the common view among scholars that the Carolingian era was merely a continuation of the Frankish epoch. He gives five main reasons why this is not so.
- The Merovingian period belongs to a milieu entirely different from that of the Carolingian period. In the 6th and 7th centuries there was still a Mediterranean with which the Merovingians were constantly in touch, and the Imperial tradition still survived in many domains of life.
- The Germanic influence, confined to the vicinity of the Northern frontier, was very feeble, and made itself felt only in certain branches of the law and of procedure.
- Between the more glorious Merovingian period, which lasted until nearly the middle of the 7th century, and the Carolingian period, there was a full century of turbid decadence, in the course of which many of the features of the ancient civilizations disappeared, while others were further elaborated; and it was in this decadence that the Carolingian period had its origin. The ancestors of the Carolingians were not Merovingian kings, but the mayors of the palace. Charlemagne was not in any sense the successor of Dagobert, but of Charles Martel and Pippin.
- We must not be confused by the identity of the name regnum Francorum. The new kingdom stretched as far as the Elbe and included part of Italy. It contained almost as many Germanic as Romanic populations.
- Lastly, its relations with the Church were completely modified. The Merovingian State, like the Roman Empire, was secular. The Merovingian king was rex Francorum. The Carolingian king was Dei gratia rex Francorum! and this little addition indicates a profound transformation.
Thus, the two monarchies — the second of which, as I have endeavored to show in these pages, was due in some sort to the submersion of the European world by Islam — were far from being continuous, but were mutually opposed.
In the intellectual life there are important innovations. Latin died as a living language. In Africa it was replaced with Arabic. In Spain it was not taught in the schools and people imitated an Italian patois which developed into Spanish. Similarly in Gaul only the clergy continued to speak it. It was not taught in scho
ols and ceased to exist as a living language. What replaced it were local dialects which later gave rise to the various national languages.
The north replaced the south of Europe as an intellectual and literary center. In Great Britain the Anglo-Saxon language dominated, but so did Roman Christianity. Latin was introduced as a sacred and learned language and was taught and learning shifting the intellectual center from the south to the north.
There was in fact a significant intellectual Renaissance in Carolingian times, but it was strictly for the clergy and in great contrast with Merovingian times, was accompanied by illiteracy among the masses of laity.Bob Corbett firstname.lastname@example.org Source: http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/personal/reading/pirenne-mohammed.html