I opened “Islam
Upside-Down and Inside-Out
” with “There can’t be too many books like this
one. The
Impact of Islam
, by Emmet Scott, is one of many books that deflate the
whole history, provenance, and character of Islam.  At first glance, as an atheist, I thought that
reviewing a book written by a Christian with an obvious Christian bias against
Islam would be difficult, mainly in segregating the bias from the truth-telling
and facts.”

But I left out
some of the goriest parts of Scott’s opus, parts which explain in some respect
the title of his book, parts which indict Islam as a psychopathic movement, an
“illness” which spread to the rest of Europe.
Islam, for
example, invented the “Inquisition,” not the Catholic Church, which adopted the
institution as a way of identifying and persecuting heretics. Islam’s original
purpose, however, was to test the sincerity of the conversion of Jews and
Christians to Islam. Untold numbers of Jews and Christians were made an offer
they could not refuse: convert or pay the exorbitant jizya or die. Jizya was a
poll tax, or a head tax, on anyone not a “true” Muslim. Theoretically, the tax
offered the infidel, or the dhimmi ,“protection”
from theft, persecution, or death by Muslims and others, much as racketeers
centuries later would extort “protection money” from individuals and
businesses; the extortion was simply the criminals refraining from murder or
dynamiting one’s business.
As Scott and
others have described the workings of jizya,
this did not, as a rule, work out as expected, resulting in massacres of Jews
and Christians, or their deportation from Spain across the Mediterranean to
Morocco. Which leads us back to the Inquisition.

Pope Innocent III, founder of the Christian Inquisition


The high point of the medieval
church’s power came in the early thirteenth century and in the person of Innocent III
(1198-1216)….His two most memorable actions…were the establishment of the
Inquisition and the launching of the notorious Albigensian Crusade, which lead
to the elimination of the Cathar movement….Innocent
III, then the most powerful of medieval theocrats, was a proponent of Holy War,
and an enforcer of absolute doctrinal conformity. Apostasy under Innocent III
became a capital offense. During his time, too, the other Crusades, against Islam
in Spain and in the Middle East, continued to rage. (p. 113)
Sound familiar? Hear echoes of Sharia law in Innocent III’s policies?
….Innocent’s attitude to
apostasy and doctrinal conformity – as well as to “Holy War” – was completely
in accord with Islamic notions, and we must consider to what extent these
extreme positions of the European theocracy were influenced by the Islamic one….And
doctrinal conformity was enforced in Islam from the beginning [with Muhammad] in
a way that it never was in Europe: here apostasy and heresy were always seen as
capital offenses. [“If anyone changes his religion, kill him.” – Bukhari, Vol.9, book
84, no. 57] The most notorious, though by no means the only, example of this is
found in the fate of Mansur Al-Hallaj (858-922), the Persian mystic…who was at
first blinded, tortured, and crucified….And the killing of political and
religious opponents, or those who deviated in any form from orthodox Islam,
continued throughout Muslim history. So it was with  infidels such as Christians and Jews who,
though theoretically dhimmi or “protected,”
were in fact always the subject of violent attack….There even existed, as we
have seen, at least from the time of the Almohads
(early twelfth century), a commission of inquiry , a veritable “inquisition”
for rooting out apostates….. (Square brackets mine, p. 114)
The Almohads were
not strictly Arab, but Berbers from North Africa. They were “fundamentalist” Muslims
who invaded Spain, fought with the Muslims already there and defeated them, and
declared victory. They soon were massacring Jews and Christians, or expelling
them from Spain.  They followed the Almoravids, against
whom the legendary El Cid
fought. El Cid’s history is a very confusing one, and not as simple as its
namesake film portrays it. The Almohads did not tolerate the “benign” rule of
the Almoravids and embarked on a campaign to oust and replace Spain with a “pure”
form of Islam. It was during the reign of the Almoravids that the apocryphal and
wholly unfounded narrative of a “Golden Age” of Islam in Spain was born, in which
Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived side by side in harmonious “peace,” when
the opposite was true. If the Almoravids “tolerated” Jews and Christians, it
was only because they were better off alive as jizya money trees that increased the wealth of the Muslims.
Otherwise, Jews and Christians had to wear distinctive badges, could not build
new churches or synagogues, and had to defer to Muslims in every legal and
social way.
Scott considered
it noteworthy that until the Muslim persecution of the Jews, anti-Semitism and pogroms
did not exist in Europe. Jews and Christians tolerated each other’s existence,
and often became allies against a variety of threats.

….The peculiarly violent
anti-Semitism which characterized medieval Europe seems to have had its origin
in Spain; and the rise of this new and virulent anti-Semitism in other areas of
Europe is intimately connected with the clash between Islam and Christianity.
Christianity was of course
always anti-Semitic, or, more accurately, anti-Judaistic. Christians blamed
Jews for the murder of Christ, and right from the beginning the two religions
were fraught. However, Christianity did not invent anti-Semitism, nor were
Christians, for a long time, a threat to Jews…..From the very beginning, or
course, the Jews, or rather, the Jewish authorities were deeply antagonistic
towards Christianity; a faith they looked upon as little more than dangerous
heresy….
….Anti-Semitism…in fact predated
both the rise of Christianity and Islam. Relations between Gentiles and Jews
were volatile as far back as Hellenistic times….(pp. 99-100)
European anti-Semitism
can be dated roughly around the time of the First Crusade in 1095.
Christians began to blame Jews for helping Muslims capture Jerusalem. “T
he
Crusaders arrived at Jerusalem, launched an assault on the city, and captured
it in July 1099, massacring many of the city’s Muslim and Jewish inhabitants.”
Anti-Semitism has always been present in the Koran
and the Hadith.
Mohammad’s worst enemies were Jews. According to his legend, he went out of his way to massacre Jewish men, capture
their women, and claim Jewish property as his own. The massacres of Banu Quraiza
and Khaybar are regarded
by Muslims as two of his most exalted victories
(pp.  101-103)
Reading through
Scott’s opus, one can’t help but be led to imagine Mohammad as a kind of “proto-Negan,
except as a brute killer on camel, not riding in a stolen mobile home. Mohammad
also wanted all your “stuff,” as well as your wife and anything else that was “no
longer yours,” but his, and he was
prepared to lop off your head if you didn’t submit to his decrees. Mohammad
would have been very handy with a barbed wire baseball bat.

The
Impact of Islam
, by Emmet Scott. Nashville/London (New English
Review Press
), 2014. 200 pp.