Monday, October 10, 2005


The Arabic term jahaliyya translates roughly as "ignorance" or "era of ignorance." It is a term used to describe all of human history prior to the advent of Islam in about 610 A.D. The result of viewing all pre-Islamic history as being of little consequence has had significant ramifications, as the following article touches upon.

As is well known, in Islam there has been an almost total indifference to the non-Islamic or pre-Islamic world. Many of the artifacts of that world have been destroyed over 1350 years of Muslim conquest and subjugation of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists. In India, the Muslim conquerors destroyed as much of the Buddhist and Hindu heritage as they could, sometimes in order to quarry the stone, sometimes to destroy statuary. The Indian historian K.S. Lal has provided a meticulous list of tens of thousands of identified Hindu temples destroyed by the Muslim invaders, for example. The recent destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas was not an aberration; those Buddhas were virtually the last remnants of the Greco-Buddhist civilization that Afghanistan had once possessed.

The systematic assault by the Palestinian Arabs on all sorts of significant sites, some of them regarded as holy, was on display again in 2002, when the systematic and
complete destruction of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus (that destruction can be seen on-line), took place. This was no aberration. Even El-Haj had to mention the matter in her book (knowing that if she omitted it altogether, reviewers might notice), but she justified it as the uncharacteristic, but understandable reaction of desperate people, brought to the end of their collective tether by the diabolical behavior of the Israelis.

In Egypt, members of the Muslim Brotherhood even muttered about destroying the Pyramids, but cooler heads prevailed. It was not out of Egyptian nationalism, save among the Copts and a small sliver of the Egyptian elite, nor out of any respect for the pre-Islamic past, but rather the fact that too many Egyptians depend for their livelihood on tourist dollars, that managed to prevent attacks. Similarly, the tourist attraction of Petra seems safe, precisely because it is a money-maker, not out of some deep conviction that these Roman-era ruins are otherwise of note.

In Iraq, the old Sunni elites, trained by
Gertrude Bell and others, did acquire a certain taste for preserving the pre-Islamic artifacts, and that seems to be the one exception – and an exception only among a very small sliver of Iraqi society – to the general indifference to any artifacts except those representing the time of Islam, not that of the pre-Islamic Jahiliyya.

For some reason this article failed to mention the ongoing Islamic assault on the Temple Mount, where the Waqf has been systematically destroying and dumping tons of material dug from beneath the al-Aksa Mosque. This rich archaelogical material includes artifacts from the original Jewish temples, as well as the subsequent Roman and Christian structures that were built after 79 A.D. This is an assult not just on Jewish history, but on world history.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zak, the more I research the more I recognise the similarities between Muslims and Mormons. Polygamy, armed rebellion, cult leadership, brainwashing, bogus "new" version or revelation of the Bible, silencing of criticism and our worst nightmares, America will become a nuclear battleground between the followers of Mohammed and those of Joseph Smith.


11:16 AM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

I'll take Mormons any day over extremist Muslims.

5:45 PM  

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