France and Islam from 732 AD to the 21 Centuryby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Explain France's relationship with Islam from 732 AD to the 21st Century.
France's interaction with Islam has changed drastically from trying to defend herself from the Muslim expansion to today's relation with Arab nations as friends. The spread of Christianity and Islam contrasts dramatically. Islam stormed across the Straight of Gibraltar in 711 AD and fought up the Iberian Peninsula. In 732, during the Battle of Tours (also called the Battle of Poitiers), Charles Martel and his Frankish soldiers won a decisive victory which stopped the rapid Muslim expansion into France. By 1095 AD, the defensive battles against expansionist Islam moved into a period of the Crusades for almost two hundred years of on-and-off fighting between the French and the Arab nations. 1 However, France eventually opened its doors to Islam and has supported Arab nations such as Syria. What inspired this change over time from being bitter enemies to resolute allies? Has this diplomatic change been caused by greed for power, money, and oil, combined with a liberal society and tolerant political structure toward France's large Muslim population?
Only one hundred years after Muhammad's death, in the miraculous Battle of Poitiers between the Moors and the Franks, the Franks contained Islamic aggression from moving further up the Iberian Peninsula of Christian Europe.
That Islam did not capture all of Europe and wipe out Christianity is owing in part to the Franks' Mayor of the Palace, Charles Martel, his sturdy Merovingian knights and a courageous infantry. On this day, October 10, 732 Charles met the Islamic invaders between Poitiers and Tours in a battle that lasted either two days (Arab sources) or seven (French sources). The Muslims were mounted and their cavalry employed an innovation--the stirrup. The Franks were on foot. Yet the Franks stood like a wall and the Muslims withdrew defeated. Their leader, Abd-ar-Rahman was killed. In their rout, the Arabs suffered heavy losses of men. Europe would remain Christian territory.2
The Moorish influence upon Spain accentuated Roman Catholic extremism as seen in the Spanish Inquisition during the centuries of the reconquest until 1492 when the last Muslim stronghold of Granada finally fell. The Christian kingdoms of Europe were then divided from the Islamic kingdoms of the Middle East and Northern Africa by the Mediterranean Sea. Orthodox Constantinople served as a geographic division that fell to Ottoman Turks (1453).
Tension existed between France and the Arab states because of their differing cultural backgrounds and religious objectives. The teachings of the Biblical Jesus differs radically from the teachings of Muhammad. While politics and religion are separate in Christianity ("Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17), in Islam, culture and religion are viewed as one and the same and inseparable. "For example, Christianity is 'supra-cultural' in that it allows people to live, dress and eat in accordance with the culture in which they exist. This is not so with Islam. In Islam there is no 'secular realm' that is free of religion. Islam regulates every aspect of life to the point that religion, politics, and culture are inseparable.".3 The main difference was that France was a Christian nation and the Arab states were Muslim. Although Muhammad at first preached a peaceful message, after his own fellow citizens in Mecca, the Jews, and the Christians rejected him and his teachings, he preached a fiercer message calling for jihad against those who rejected Islam. Thus, one hundred years after Muhammad died, his followers (who already controlled most of the Middle East) had embarked on a jihad war to conquer the world for Islam that had led them to the threshold of France. Along the way, they imposed an unbearable economic tax and socially ostracized or even killed those who refused to convert.
All of those who survived Muhammad took up the sword, as directed by the Koran, and devoted themselves to advancing Islam through military might. The resulting spread of the religion was phenomenal. Within a century, Islamic forces had conquered Saudi Arabia, the entire Middle East, Central Asia, and large parts of India. The armies raged through Egypt and across North Africa, destroying corrupt Byzantine Christianity in their path.3
From France's first encounter with Islam at the Battle of Poitiers, through nearly two hundred years of the Crusades, and until France's bloody colonial occupation of Algeria, France has struggled against Islam. France invaded the Islamic nation of Tunisia in 1881 and occupied Morocco in 1901. This enmity began to wane four years later in 1905, when Islam became recognized as a religion in France, thus beginning Islam's prominence in French society.
French Catholicism became increasing corrupted to the point it was destroyed by the French Revolution (1789). Although there was a nominal effort to restore the religious status quo after Napoleon's Waterloo, Christianity, Biblical or not, was never to recover in France. During 21st century post-Christian Europe, France in particular, has accepted Islam's religious culture including anti-semitism.
The relentless French anti-semitism was exposed in the Dryfus affair and catapulted the Zionism of Herzl (1896) to advocate for a Jewish State. There was a secret interlude away from anti-Israel policy from 1957, until French President de Gaulle ended the association in 1960, when France helped Israel develop a nuclear program known as the Dimona project which allowed Israel to produce nuclear weapons. Still, France pursued money and power and looked to the oil rich Arabs.
Many French and Muslims are passionately bound by their mutual anti-Semitism. Lately, the number of anti-Semitic acts in France has risen sharply.
.the Simon Wiesenthal Centre documented and posted on the Internet that there had been more than 500 anti-Semitic incidents in France alone during a span of 14 months. These incidents covered everything from Jewish Rabbis being beaten up on the streets on their way to the Synagogue on the Sabbath to Jewish students being beaten and spat upon at universities. Also, two Jewish schools were burned to the ground, and one Jewish kindergarten was demolished to such a degree that it had to be pulled down. In addition to this, untold numbers of synagogues and gravestones have been desecrated with painted swastikas and the usual dirty words for Jews, so well known from the Nazi propaganda in the 1930's.4
Even France's government activities and laws show favor to the Arabs but spite for the Jews and their traditions. France tends side with the Islamic nations in which it is holds lucrative investments. Because of the government's greed for oil, they side with nations such as Iraq even to the point of their own potential destruction. France condemned Israel for destroying Iraq's French built Osira reactor in 1981 to end Saddam's nuclear weapons program. During the gulf wars, France condemned the USA for eliminating Saddam Hussein's expressed potential to obtain weapons of mass destruction. France gifted Yasser Arafat millions in his quest to destroy Israel even as Arafat diverted $100,000 per month back to his wife in Paris.
A senior advisor at the Pentagon has accused France of trying to thwart the USA's plans for Iraq in order to secure for her commercial companies lucrative oil contracts from Iraq. In an interview with Fox news, the Pentagon advisor, Richard Pearl, said that French President Chirac had a long-standing friendship with Saddam Hussein that went back many years. The French government has many commercial contracts with Iraq it wants to protect, and its possible to sum them all up in one word: oil, said Pearl. 5
France also objected to putting the Islamic Terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the U.N.'s official list of terrorist groups saying that there is no proof justifying such an action.6 One reason for France's support of Islamic terrorist groups and nations could be its large Muslim population with a total approaching five million adherents which is second only to a residual culture of Roman Catholicism with about 45 million nominal followers.7 This alarming trend is only bound to spread in the European Community of which Germany is currently the most populous member. With the immanent acceptance of the even more populous Turkey, with its 99% Muslim population, into the E.U., it will be no wonder that the USA will stand alone in its support for Israel.
France supports Islam as a religion and as a nation even going so far as to protect Islamic terrorist groups while rejecting the Jewish people and their traditions. The French government has tried to cater to its Muslim population with the creation of the Council of Muslim Faith. The Muslim riots of November, 2005 reveal the supercilious government policy of trying to gratify an unruly and unassimilated populace by such positions as refusing to support the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
Even as France forbids the wearing of religious garb and blatant symbols in public buildings and schools (law enforced as of Sept. 2004), this is only an effort to secularize the surface of Islam while still courting the heart. For example, Turkey also forbids women from wearing the veil in government buildings.
Since the French revolution rejected Christianity, there was no longer a hindrance to having economic ties to oil-rich Islamic states that even supported terrorism. With Algerian colonialism came a boost in the Islamic population in France and the renewed rise of anti-semitism and a shared hatred of Jews and distrust of Americans.
Why does France continue to slide toward becoming an insecure nation of little consequence? The history of France and the Islamic nations which strive against God's chosen people, the Jews, suggests the truthfulness of the Bible. Speaking to the father of the Jews, God said: "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:2-3)." This promise passed on through Abraham's son Isaac at the same time the curse of "every man's hand will be against him" was pronounced on the linage of Ishmael, father of the Arabs.
The riots of November, 2005 give a peak into the insecurity of this once strong nation. The psalmist said: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May those who love you be secure'" (Psalms 122:6). Thus, the Lord will judge the nations of Earth partly according to how they treat His chosen people, the nation of the line of Christ, the Savior of the world. Current French policy of patronizing Muslims will continue to be a losing proposition. 2 Peter 2:20-22 makes the frightful implication that "it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them" as their latter history "is worse for them than the beginning".
From the earliest history of France, their relationship with Islam has changed from struggling to keep the Muslims out of France to now embracing Muslims. Islam in France demands autonomy within a democracy without accepting the restraints required of responsible citizens. Like the millet system of the Ottoman Empire, certain religious neighborhoods coerce all women to wear the Islamist hijab and men to grow beards like those that were prescribed under the Taliban theocracy. France is well practiced in pressuring Israel to give away its territory to terrorists. Following this pattern, France will regress into what Spain was during the slow period of reconquest against the Moors. However, it will be worse than a mix of feuding enclaves where communities of Muslims lived in conflict against Christians. Since France is no longer a Christian nation, it has no substance to understand the destructive power at the heart of Islam. In choosing to forget the lessons of history, France will use appeasement to feed what it blindly calls "unemployed French youths".
up2 "October10: Charles Martel Turned Back Islam at Tours," October 10, 732 - Europe in the Balance at Tours, 2004, http://www.gospelcom.net/chi/DAILYF/2003/10/daily-10-10-2003.shtml (November 24, 2004)
up6 “August 25, 2003 – The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc.”, FRANCE: No Proof Hamas and Islamic Jihad are Terror Groups, <http://www.christianity.com/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID306608|CHID556136|CIID1623768,00.html> (November 23, 2004).
up7 "Islam in France - Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia," Islam in France, November 25, 2004, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_France
(December 3, 2004)
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