Many textbooks suggest or at least imply that most people who converted to Islam did so under no duress, but rather through peaceful contacts with merchants and traders; that they eagerly opted to convert to Islam for the religion’s intrinsic appeal, without noting the many debilitations conquered non-Muslims avoided–extra taxes, second-rate social status, enforced humiliation, etc.–by converting to Islam. In fact, in the first century, and due to these debilitations, many conquered peoples sought to convert to Islam only to be rebuffed by the caliphate, which preferred to keep them as subdued–and heavily taxed–subjects, not as Muslim equals.
Likewise, the Islamic conquests narrated in the Muslim histories often mirror the doctrinal obligations laid out in Islam’s theological texts–the Koran and Hadith. Muslim historians often justify the actions of the early Islamic invaders by juxtaposing the jihad injunctions found in Islamic scriptures.
It should also be noted that, to Muslims, the Islamic conquests are seen as acts of altruism: they are referred to as futuh, which literally means “openings”–that is, the countries conquered were “opened” for the light of Islam to enter and guide its infidel inhabitants. Thus to Muslims, there is nothing to regret or apologize for concerning the conquests; they are seen as for the good of those who were conquered (i.e., the ancestors of today’s Muslims).

In closing, the fact of the Muslim conquests, by all standards of history, is indisputable. Accordingly, just as less than impressive aspects of Western and Christian history, such as the Inquisition or conquest of the Americas, are regularly taught in U.S. textbooks, so too should the Muslim conquests be taught, without apology or fear of being politically incorrect. This is especially so because it concerns history–which has a way of repeating itself when ignored, or worse, whitewashed.
by:
Raymond Ibrahim

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