Islam Versus Western Civilisation: Lessons From History

With almost daily Islamic terror attacks, Islam is certainly one of the most discussed news items of the day. An hour does not seem to go by in which Islam is not making headlines somewhere – usually for all the wrong reasons. What just took place in Nice, France is just one of the more obvious examples of this.

Thus we need to learn from history here. Anyone with even a basic understanding of Islam according to its own sources knows that this is an imperialistic political ideology. It is not so much evangelistic (as in getting souls saved), as expansionistic (as in taking over territory or geography).

Islam seeks to dominate the entire world, and it has been moving steadily in this direction throughout its 1400-year history. And its expansion has been primarily by the edge of the sword. Bloodshed, terror and murder are the basic tools of Islamic imperialism.

Thus what we have just seen in France of late is just more of the same. Three massive jihadist terror attacks in France in 18 months alone have shown us the true nature of intolerant and bloodthirsty Islam. And for those who know a bit about history, this is not the first time France has had to deal with murderous Islam.

battle of tours 5One of the most important events in all of history occurred on October 10, 732 – in France. This was a massively decisive event in Europe: it basically meant that Christianity and Western civilisation would continue. Had a different outcome occurred, many historians think that Islam would have taken over all of Europe.

So what happened on that momentous date? Let me backtrack a bit. Exactly 100 years earlier in 632 Muhammad died. For the next century an incredible period of Islamic expansion took place. The decade of 634-644 saw the conquest of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Persia.

By 714 Muslim armies had occupied Spain, and their forces were moving north into the rest of Europe. Thus after just 100 years of expansion, Islam ruled a huge piece of territory, from Spain to Persia. It looked like nothing would stop the spread of Islam, and Europe was in a very critical place.

Thus we must know a little bit about a key battle in history: the Battle of Tours, also known as the Battle of Poitiers (because it was actually fought between these two cities in north-western France). It was one of those dividing lines in human history.

The Frankish military leader Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer) was the hero of the day, defeating the invading Muslim forces of the Umayyad Caliphate which were twice the number of his forces, and stopping Islamic expansion into the rest of Europe.

Noted historian Edward Gibbon had said that if the Franks had lost at the Battle of Tours, “Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet”.

However, historians today debate the significance of the battle, although most seem to still see it as being a pivotal event: vitally positive for Christianity and Europe while quite negative for the Muslims. After Tours the Muslims never again sought such north-ward expansion. Many Muslims today still see this as a tragic failure.

One helpful overview of the historians and their assessment of this battle says in part:

Many historians, including Sir Edward Creasy, believe that had he failed at Tours, Islam would probably have overrun Gaul, and perhaps the remainder of Western Europe. Gibbon made clear his belief that the Umayyad armies would have conquered from Japan to the Rhine, and even England, having the English Channel for protection, with ease, had Martel not prevailed. Creasy said “the great victory won by Charles Martel … gave a decisive check to the career of Arab conquest in Western Europe, rescued Christendom from Islam, [and] preserved the relics of ancient and the germs of modern civilization.”
Gibbon’s belief that the fate of Christianity hinged on this battle is echoed by other historians including John B. Bury, and was very popular for most of modern historiography. It fell somewhat out of style in the 20th century, when historians such as Bernard Lewis contended that Arabs had little intention of occupying northern France. More recently, however, many historians have tended once again to view the Battle of Tours as a very significant event in the history of Europe and Christianity. Equally, many, such as William E. Watson, still believe this battle was one of macrohistorical world-changing importance, if they do not go so far as Gibbon does rhetorically.
Indeed, 12 years later, when Martel had thrice rescued Gaul from Umayyad invasions, Antonio Santosuosso noted when he destroyed an Umayyad army sent to reinforce the invasion forces of the 735 campaigns, “Charles Martel again came to the rescue.”

The piece goes on to look at how modern historians view the battle and its importance. Three camps are examined, and then we read this:

However, it is vital to note, when assessing Charles Martel’s life, that even those historians who dispute the significance of this one battle as the event that saved Christianity, do not dispute that Martel himself had a huge effect on Western European history. Modern military historian Victor Davis Hanson acknowledges the debate on this battle, citing historians both for and against its macrohistorical placement:
“Recent scholars have suggested Poitiers, so poorly recorded in contemporary sources, was a mere raid and thus a construct of western myth-making or that a Muslim victory might have been preferable to continued Frankish dominance. What is clear is that Poitiers marked a general continuance of the successful defense of Europe (from the Muslims). Flush from the victory at Tours, Charles Martel went on to clear southern France from Islamic attackers for decades, unify the warring kingdoms into the foundations of the Carolingian Empire, and ensure ready and reliable troops from local estates.”

As mentioned, it still seems that the majority of historians do place a very high value on the historical and geopolitical significance of the battle. While most folks in the West may have little historical memory, and an event like this is largely lost to them, it seems many Muslims today still remember this defeat.

That in part may motivate some of the jihadists as they continue to cause mayhem in France some 1300 years later. Defeat is never viewed lightly in Islam. So the effort to take over Europe for Islam continues. This is because Islamic terrorists think in terms of centuries: the idea of getting Europe back after its big defeat of so long ago is still part of their consciousness. This is certainly true of groups like IS.

As another article puts it, “The Islamic State is obsessed with history and honor”:

France is an old country with a long history. The Islamic State has a laundry list of grievances against France going back a thousand years. ISIS also hates Europe in general for its colonial past. It blames France, in particular, for the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Caliphate following the First World War. France was one of the leading countries involved in the crusades in the 11th century, and it is where the early Islamic Caliphate’s advance into Europe was halted by French ruler Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732.
The Islamic State is obsessed with seeing itself as the revived Muslim Caliphate. It is therefore essential to its worldview that Europe’s old colonial powers are defeated. For similar reasons, ISIS has long threatened to conquer Rome, which would represent a symbolic victory over the long defunct Roman Empire. Without that, the Islamic State cannot claim to avenge the centuries old grievances with which it is obsessed and thus cannot fulfil its claims to restore the ‘lost honor’ of the immah.

Yes history matters. It matters greatly to Muslims, but most Westerners do not give a rip, and are overwhelmingly historically-illiterate. As a result, we are ill-prepared to take on the challenges of contemporary Islamic terror. Indeed, given such a weak response by most European leaders to the threat of Islam, it looks like it may well be Islam this time that finally prevails.

All the more reason why another leader of the calibre of Charles Martel is sorely needed today.

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17 Replies to “Islam Versus Western Civilisation: Lessons From History”

  1. I never knew this and is explains why Islam is specifically targeting the French. We need to pray that God intervenes and rescues Christianity in Europe.

  2. Very interesting that Charles Martel is buried in the Cathedral of St Dennis, along with all the other kings and queens of France. St Dennis is the most dangerous ‘no go area’ in Paris because of Muslim take over. The French have turned their back on their royalty and their past for secularism and this is the price they pay. Overrun by virile, breeding, muslim warriors who want to take over their land, use their women and enslave their children.

  3. Here is the link to the 10 most dangerous districts in Paris because of muslim take over, St Dennis was the seat of the royal kings of France, is at no 1. This was the major abbey of France, like Westminster Abbey, where all the kings and queens were crowned !

    I have been there it has a horrible atmosphere of decay and death and hatred. I believe the light is going out in France. It is not a coincidence that the largest group of Jews making aliyah to Israel in the past two years have been from France.

    France is not a good place to be spiritually. I believe German and US jews come next in numbers returning to Israel.

  4. End 1,400 Years of Terror.

    There are sensible ways to tackle Islamic terrorism and make the future safer. The problem is not that there are no solutions. The problem is that politicians are NOT bothered. They are unwilling to implement what it takes to end MUSLIM ISLAMIC terrorism once and for all, and undo the profound damage their political policies have caused.

    Here are some ideas to think about put forward by “the Muslim Issue”. I am not necessarily endorsing them but they do give food for thought. The only currency a muslim will understand is humiliation, you can’t reason with him because he thinks he is superior and anyway he will always lie, it is in his faith. He has to be humbled.

    These ideas do take the debate forward.

    1 Islam must be made illegal and defined as a foreign fascist ideology, not a religion.

    2 Ban and demolish all mosques. Every single mosque in the West collect donations ‘for Muslim causes’. Jihad is the core foundation of Islam and a duty for every single Muslim. Each and every mosque goer is expected to contribute.

    3 Joining terrorism, committing terrorist acts, supporting and recruiting for jihad is an act of treason and should be sanctioned by capital punishment as a crime against the state and the peace of the state, being incitement to murder and genocide.

    4 Ban and punish any and all arms trade with Muslim countries.
    Ban all aid contributions to Muslims. There is no need for the West to aid them, think of all the oil revenue.

    5 Ban the Koran and burn them; block the content from being accessed online.

    6 Halal tortured meat, a major funding source towards terrorism, must be fully and completely banned.

    7 Remove all practicing and religious Muslims from the Nation, completely. Deport them by canceling residency, revoking passports, and cancelling visas on basis of incompatibility and ineligibility.

    8 Countries that refuse or block the repatriating of Muslim immigrants back to their own countries need to be fined and sanctioned. Muslims deported to their home countries should be booked on a one-way flight, disembarked in their homeland and left at the airport for local officials to deal with. It is irrelevant if the countries will accept them back or not: that option to choose should not be obligatory. Refusal should be heavily fined.

    9 Ban all trade with and from the Muslim majority ruling countries.

    10 Ban all travels to and from the Muslim world.

    11 All ownership of properties by Muslims in the West needs to be revoked. The properties should be resold at market value. Funds should be used to cover the expenses caused by Muslim immigration (welfare, housing, prison system, healthcare, security) and the massive bill for legal costs, law enforcement, national intelligence, etc., for the removal of Muslims from Western society and the elimination of Islam.

    12 Ban all banking and payments to and from the Muslim majority and ruling countries to other non-Muslim countries.

    13 Ban all investments to and from the Muslim world.

    14 All “charitable” funding and accounts raised by Islamic organizations in the West are to be frozen. Funds should be allocated to the government for tackling Islamic terrorism.

    15 End the entire oil trade with the Muslims. The oil trade continues to be an endless source of Islamic terrorism.

    16 Sanctions on Muslim countries from trading in oil to non-Muslim nations should be made active until a total trade ban is put in place. We need a permanent replacement for oil for all our energy needs.

    17 Muslims who are in prison in the West, before they are deported, must be separated from non-Muslims. No special privileges for gatherings, prayer meetings, food, mingling or religion are to be provided

    18 Muslim charged with plotting, planning or committing terrorism should be executed. As an option, a bilateral agreement can be signed with Saudi Arabia to execute them sharia-style by beheading.

    19 As a first step all Muslims must be permanently banned from any jobs within law enforcement, immigration, government.

    20 Borders must be protected with three levels of boundaries with clear warnings within each boundary. Illegals forcing their way into the third boundary to be shot on forced entry at their own volition.

  5. We have a threat against ‘western’ civilisation as defined by which countries experience muslim violence. Lets not become Zealots or James and Johns to call down fire from heaven, and instead seek the answers God would give us.
    Abraham had a prodigal son named Ishmael who has forever felt disenfranchised. Will Elijah now call Fatherhood from heaven rather than fire? The fields of Islam and Secularist Hedonism are white for harvest – who can harvest them?

  6. Thanks Eddie. As I have often said, we actually should seek to do both: we of course share the gospel with one and all – be they angry atheists or Muslims – but we also have every right as democratic nations to preserve our freedoms and resist expansionist Islam, creeping sharia, amoral secularism, and the like. So there is no need to be forced into choosing one or the other – we should be doing both. See here eg.:

  7. Hi Bill, I found your article on the Battle of Tours very interesting, and for me personally very troubling. Western Europe is in the mess it finds itself in today because it has not learned or embraced the bitter lessons of its history. God is vitally interested on what happens in Europe. Recently I’ve been receiving reports from many churches in the Baltic States of a new hunger to know the Person and the work of The Holy Spirit. My personal prayer is that this move of God would spread on into the Scandinavian Countries, and from there into the rest of Europe.

  8. Hi Bill. Recently I’ve been following the activities and comments of Vladimir Putin, and his personal attitudes to Islam. I know and understand that he has a “colourful history”. Would you consider him to be someone that could be used by God?
    God Bless
    Kelvin Nairn.

  9. To Bill: yes, agreed. When revolution or invasion threatens there is call to national prayer and hopefully repentance, and a call to arms if necessary. John Wesley comes to mind for the former. And we pray for our leaders to set wise boundaries.

  10. Thanks Kelvin. You are really asking two separate questions here. As to Putin, he is a bit of a mixed bag of course. Of late he has taken strong stands against Islam, abortion and homosexuality. But he has recently passed his anti-evangelism law – designed to curb Islamic terrorism, but it has an adverse impact on Christians proclaiming the gospel. But then again the predominant Russian Orthodox Church has long looked down on Protestant minorities there, and their evangelistic efforts. So there is some good and bad here.

    As to God using someone, he certainly can use anyone and anything, from kings to Balaam’s ass! But it all depends on how he uses them. It can be as an instrument of blessing (eg Cyrus for Israel – see Ezra and Nehemiah), or as an instrument of judgment (eg the Assyrians, also in relation to Israel – see Isaiah 10).

  11. I recently read an account of the battle of Tours and when Charles Martel entered the Islamic camp following his victory he found clear indications the fleeing Muslims had fought amongst themselves while attempting to carry off plunder. This might indicate the motive for the Muslim advance into Europe was pillage rather than religious zeal to spread the word, and why they were willing to run away when confronted. A good lesson for today.

  12. From reading this, I can see how in ‘dumbing’ down our history, if not making it mostly completely unpalatable (politically incorrect), that we are unwittingly allowing the atrocities of the past to become our future.
    Surely history means that we learn with a view of moving forward to a better way of life. Not too late to take the blinkers off.
    Thank you for this article, have shared in the spirit that ‘knowledge is the beginning of wisdom’.

  13. A question that is dying to be answered is this: Can the secular post Christian humanism of the West defeat a revived militant Islam? God help us if we don’t return to our Christian roots!

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