Playing the "PC" Card

vidya vidya at
Sat Dec 9 01:36:58 UTC 1995

Dr. Tartakov says:

>And one of the things most often
>mistaken in common discussion is to call the Turkish and Afghan
>invasions Muslim, as if they were religious invasions.  Clearly these and later
>invasions were by Islamic peoples and Islam had great effects on
>subsequent history, but they were not simply or even primarily religious invasio
>My reasons for this are the same as I have for not considering the
>Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French invasions of the Americas,
>Africa, Asia, and Australia simply or primarily Christian invasions,

Does this mean that in your view, there are *no* "religious invasions"? 
To be sure, an invasion is driven by a combination of factors, economic,
political and cultural, but it seems to me that religion (or more accurately,
religious differences) played an important part in the whole scenario. 

The Turkic and Afghan invasions into India differ qualitatively from the 
European invasions of the Americas in one important respect. The Afghans 
knew a great deal about India, and could have invaded deep into Indian
territory centuries before they were Muslims. But they don't seem to have
done that to any significant extent. But after they became Muslims, there 
was a spurt of martial activity. What was the reason? 

It may not be very diplomatic to point it out, but the example of the 
prophet himself was a significant driving force for the Arab, Turk and 
Afghan peoples in their invasions into other lands. For centuries before
the prophet, the Arabs were trading with India and th rest of the world,
by land and sea. It is very difficult not to attribute the sudden rise in
invasions by the Arabs and the Turks to the growth of Islam. As for the 
Afghans, they were being pushed by the Arabs on the west, and turned to 
eastern lands to invade them. This might have been the reason in the 
beginning, but soon it took a strongly religious hue. Mohammed of Ghazni
certainly sold his repeated forays into India to his own clergy as 
being motivated by religion. 

Getting back to the difference between Afghans invading India and the 
Europeans invading America, it lies in the fact that while the Afghans 
certainly knew much about India, America was discovered by accident. Once
that initial discovery was done, the papacy certainly got into the act. 
It was organized religion supporting organized and not so organized armies
in the case of Spain and Portugal invading America and also to a smaller
extent, India. The motivation to win souls for the "true religion" was
a very important component in this case also. The records certainly
show that religion played a very important, perhaps the most important
part, in motivating these invasions. 

The same story goes for the much touted Crusades. 

Like it or not, differences in religion did and continue to play significant
roles in invasion. One only has to remember the recent Oklahoma city
bombings. The all-too-convenient Islamic threat was easily invoked throughout
the US and people were ready to go to war if a Muslim was found guilty. 



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