Robert Spencer on the Crusades and the Golden Age of Islam

Robert Spencer spoke a few days ago at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa. The video below is taken from the question and answer period after the speech. As the clip begins, a member of the audience has just presented Mr. Spencer with a selection of the usual myths about Islam — the “Golden Age” of Islamic tolerance, the evil Crusades, Islamic science, the invention of algebra, etc., etc. His knowledgeable answers thoroughly demolish each of those myths.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for editing and uploading this video:

15 thoughts on “Robert Spencer on the Crusades and the Golden Age of Islam

  1. I think this is the book Robert Spencer refers to in his talk:

    The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain

    But when I retrieved the title with our link embedded** they also recommended this one, which the search results don’t normally do:

    The Impact of Islam

    Long time readers of our website know how much we admire Emmet Scott. I don’t remember if the publisher told us about this one or not – we still have his “Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited”…so I’ll have to do a little digging at New English Review (see them on our blogroll listing at the sidebar).

    Here is the review of “The Myth”

    The publisher of the book is ISI?? No wonder we didn’t hear about it…Well, NER remains an excellent page, rich with resources. It’s the thinking person’s Islamophobic website 😉

    OTOH, I do wish New English Review could get Theodore Dalrymple to do an essay on Tommy Robinson. Dalrymple made his living as a psychiatrist treating the underclass and in his retirement has written extensively on the the phenomenon of this group – the British underclass – but as far as I know, he’s never looked at the soviet system England has become or how it got that way. Nor has he inspected (in writing that I’ve found, anyway) the reasons socialist democracies create this underclass he disdains. The more socialist America becomes, the larger this class grows. Especially with the Entitled Immigrant class being brought in by the State Dept and inflicted on unsuspecting towns.

    The sad fact is that “welfare” kills initiative and curiosity. There ought to be a thousand Tommy Robinsons in England alone – but there aren’t because the system beats them down. How did Tommy remain whole while others got destroyed??

    ***[For those who are not aware, if you go to an Amazon page using any of our links on the sidebar, and you end up purchasing something – it doesn’t matter what – then we get a small credit which adds up to a gift card at the end of the month. Amazon also donates something to the charity one picks. I chose Sderot – also on the sidebar. For those of you who *do* shop from our page, thank you very much. You pay for our vitamins 😉 and socks and some groceries. Amazon is my Walmart – though the Baron does travel to shop at the latter also. I don’t go because the place is too big; wears me out.]

  2. Yes, indeed, Robert Spencer.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve provided some ignoramus with a history lesson about the myths of Islamic ‘tolerance’ and its ‘Golden Age’. There seems to be an almost wilful ignorance in regard to the facts, it’s so much more comforting to believe the myth. Unfortunately people tend to project modern liberal democratic concepts of tolerance into the past, they really don’t understand.

    I don’t need to provide any details on GoV.

    Even those writers who claim that Islam experienced a Golden Age, eg Jim Al Khalil, admit that Muslim cultures ignored significant advances such as printing and algebra, they were even slow to adopt ‘Arabic’ numbers.

  3. It is wilful ignorance. I would love to be there at that moment when a “good Christian” islamofriendly useful realises what all the Muslims have been up to all along. ?

  4. My two cents…my impression has been that the Hindus knew from their beginning how to create prosperity from peace by working. Peace was a natural state for them. The Moslems in contrast, knew only how to cause their own prosperity by taking from the work of others by warfare. Peace was not a time they could understand except when they would otherwise be defeated.

    • Bringing Muslims into a non-Muslim society is an example of importing into a closed ecosystem a species used to competition and predation. The newcomers are used to fighting for their turf, while the native species have adapted to the circumstances and occupy a unique niche without having to compete for it.

      The end result is that the imported species completely blocks out the native species.

      Civilized society has enforced unique niches, otherwise known as private property and individual rights, to give creative individuals the opportunity to develop businesses and a relatively secure society. However, the entire system is vulnerable to imported species (Muslims) who do not recognize any constraints in the rapacious drive to appropriate all resources to themselves.

      Fortunately, the technology of border control is far enough advanced that human predators (Muslims,Mexican welfare illegals) can be largely kept out if the will is there. Unfortunately, the weakest point seems to be the presence of leaders who knowingly demolish the border controls which might preserve their societies.

        • To RonaldB & Alec MacColl,

          Hi Chaps, we haven’t spoken for a while, was rather busy. ‘Hope you’re OK.

          Golden age of Islam? Very simple: They stole all the gold they could lay their hands on.

          My all time favorite is Andalusia/Cordoba. Bunch of backward Moroccan Muslims bring civilization to Europe? The library was designed by Christian slaves and build by Christian slaves. The books that went in there are those that weren’t burnt by those savages.

          How many books were written in Morocco, and how many libraries were built there, during that golden age? None!

          Ronald, I am writing on the next part of the upcoming civil wars, will have it ready by next week. Hopefully. Catch you then somehow.

          Regards both of you, DFD

  5. Diophantus
    Diophantus of Alexandria, sometimes called “the father of algebra”, was an Alexandrian Greek mathematician and the author of a series of books called Arithmetica, many of which are now lost. These texts deal with solving algebraic equations.

    As for the crusades?

    Which really were more savage??
    The Christians of the west or Islam?
    They compete in looting,slauhter,looting,rape and generally in the demolition of Konstantinople,in a way that later on the barbarian Turks conquered,not an empire but a corpse.

    The Turks destroyed Hellenism but respected the Parthenon,until one day ,the “civilised”Italian Morozini, did to Parthenon what you see today(he bombarded the Temple) 22 September 1687.

    • I think I’m correct in recalling it had survived for several thousand years, first as temple to Athena, then for a thousand years as a Christian church.
      The Ottomans turned the Parthenon into a mosque and the Erechtheion was used as a harem- the Propylaea was used as a gunpowder-magazine but blew-up, that didn’t stop them using the Parthenon for the same purpose- because the Acropolis was used as an Ottoman fort.
      Sometime after the Parthenon had also been blown up, about half of the remaining sculptures from the ruins of and from the building were sold to Lord Elgin.

      One could go on….not much respect though.

  6. The example of algebra is an ideal case illustrating the role of cultural cross fertilization in the short-lived period of high civilization under the early Pax Arabica. Algebra was derived from a combination of ideas developed by the oriental culture superseded by Islam, the classical learning of ancient Greece, and an impetus from a far-off land, in this instance India that became accessible due to the vast extent of the Arab empire. And, of course, it reached its full development in a land that still contained a majority population of non-Muslims and recent converts who were well versed in their ancient traditions.

    Furthermore, the Hindus had a continuing role in the development of algebra subsequent to al-Khwarizmi as the civilization of the Arabs ossified under the deepening influence of Islam. The “radical sign, and many algebraic symbols” appear to have been invented by the Hindu mathematician Bhaskara in the twelfth century.

    • The Greek Diophantus lived and flourished in the 3rd century(between 200 and three hundred years after the birth of Christ ).He lived in , a Greek speaking community in Alexandria.Alexandria which was formally a Greek colony but at the time of Diophantus was an Egyptian province of the then Roman empire.And thus the development of algebra had nothing to do with Arabic culture in general and Islam in particular.
      Merely because some captured Greek slaves translated copies of his work for their Arab masters after the fall of the Roman Empire ,does not mean that the Arab slavers themselves can claim Mathematical insights by proxy.(In other words Arabs can’t claim vicarious contributions to mathematical advancement just because some of their slaves translated someone else’s work for them)

      • One thing about the historical record is noteworthy; the various golden ages of Islamic civilization always occur early in the first few centuries in which a new territory is occupied. Wherever the various Muslim vanguards invaded, the vast majority of the population was non-Muslim. It would take many years for this population to be converted and assimilated. These non-Muslims or recent converts are the ones who carried on the work which many historians are prone to attribute to “Islamic” civilization. Thus, a distinction must be drawn between the so-called high Islamic civilization and the religion of Islam. Eventually as the process of Islamization proceeds the non-Islamic component of the population becomes a small minority and stagnation sets in. This process is evident in the first centuries of the Arab conquests where the process of Arabization and conversion to Islam took a few centuries to complete; this was the “Arab” golden age, a product of unconverted or recently converted Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. In Spain the golden age lasted longer, perhaps because the process of Islamization was never as complete in Moorish Spain as in the Arab East.

        It is remarkable how closely this pattern was repeated in the subsequent expansions of Islam as a consequence of the Turkish and Mogul conquests. The initial splendors of the Seljuk and Ottoman empires were the result of unconverted or recently converted subjects. When the Islamization of the newly conquered territories was complete intellectual stagnation once again set in. Similarly, an initial flowering as an extension of the ancient Hindu culture followed the Mogul conquest of India.

  7. I love the ‘Golden Age of Islam’ myth when it’s repeated to me. If you’re a salesperson, you know that when you’re thrown a common wishy-washy excuse, you objection handle and work your way back into the sale. People should know the objection to these Islamic canards like the back of their hand, and learn how to properly ingrain the truth of Islam when you’re given such brilliant opportunities.

    Also, mentioned in Spencer’s rebuttal is that of the hospital institution. Our modern conception of a general hospital comes from Byzantine Christianity. There were other pagan concepts of caring for the sick, yes, but if you’ve ever tried Oriental and Indian medicines, you’ll notice how foreign the concept is to us.

    General hospitals in the Christian Empire arose because of the moral imperative to care for your neighbour, combined with the historic knowledge preserved within the age-old Empire. It should be common knowledge that first millenium hospitals in the West started off in Christian churches.

    I don’t say this just to proselytize, but as a further fuel in understanding how religious beliefs can influence a civilization. We live in an agnostic society that believes religion is harmless — it does neither good or bad. On the contrary, they’ve been the biggest driving forces in shaping our lives. You won’t be able to convince someone about the dangers of Islam if you’re of the belief that the other religions are mere cultural window dressings, because that’s what they believe of Islam as well.

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