by Giulio Meotti
Islam is obsessed with overtaking the symbols of Western Christianity.
Islam plans to have the call of the muezzin sound from the historic Christian sites of Europe.
One is Saint-Denis, the religious Christian epicenter of Paris, a few metro stops from the Champs Elysées. It takes the name from Denis and his companion Éleuthère, the martyrs who paid with their lives to Christianize the region. It is also the burial place of Charles Martel, whose victory stopped the Arab invasion in 732 and it is traditionally held to have halted the Islamization of Europe. As the scholar Gilles Kepel wrote, “the ancient city of kings has become the Mecca in Islam of France”. Islamic extremists cultivate many fantasies about the religious takeover at Saint Denis.
Muslim fundamentalists are now busy also in the “reconquista of the mosque of Cordoba”. Local authorities in the Spanish southern city just dealt a blow to the Catholic Church’s claim of legal ownership of the mosque-cathedral. Built on the site of Saint Vincent’s church, it then served as a mosque for over 400 years when Muslim Spain was part of a caliphate stretching from Gibraltar to Persia, before the Christian kingdom of Castile conquered the city and converted it into a cathedral. Now Islamists want it back.
With the fall of Constantinople, imperial Christian tradition was eclipsed. And Istanbul’s church of Saint Sophia, for some thousand years Christianity’s greatest cathedral, was turned into a mosque. A muezzin’s call reverberated inside the sixth-century Istanbul landmark for the first time in 85 years on last July 1.
Vladimir Putin’s new Christian wave is based on the myth of Russia as “the third Rome”, the largest state in Europe for 1,100 plus years, ruled by the longest continuous Christian royal dynasty, never conquered by a foreign power, a bulwark protecting Europe from Islamic and Mongol invasions. That is why the re-Islamization of Central Asia worries the Russians. That is why Putin fought so hard in Chechnya.
There were four capitals of the Roman Empire: Rome, Carthage, Alexandria and Antioch. Only the first still belongs to the West. Islam took over all the rest. That is why the Islamic State (IS) released the first issue of a new magazine called “Rumiyah”, calling in it for lone-wolf attacks in the West. Rumiyah is the Arabic word for Rome.
The Caliphate is obsessed by the idea of raising its black flag over the dome of St. Peter in Rome. In its propaganda videos we have seen the Colosseum in flames and flooded in a sea of blood. Abu Mohammed al Adnani, the late spokesman of the Islamic State, announced that “we will conquer Rome, we will smash your crosses, we will reduce your women into slavery.” The Caliphate would like to see St. Peter’s Basilica meeting the same fate as Mosul’s churches, where the Caliphate erased any trace of Christianity, or the Green Church of Tikrit.
But it is not only the Caliphate. There is a long Islamic tradition that wants to convert Romiyyah to Islam and have it become the base from which Muslims will conquer the Western world. That is why Saudi Arabia financed in Rome the construction of one of the largest mosques in Europe.
The fall of Rome is based on the Islamic myth of Heraclius and a letter that the Byzantine emperor wrote to Mohammed recognizing him as “the messenger of God mentioned in our New Testament: Jesus the son of Mary had announced you.” Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of the Islamic law school Hanbali (now in power in Saudi Arabia), reported that the Prophet of Islam would have predicted that “the city of Heraclius (Constantinople), it would fall first, then Rome.”
In 2003, at the height of the Iraqi war, Osama bin Laden delivered a speech against “the new Rome”. Three years later, in the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s lecture at the University of Regensburg, Al Qaeda urged the Muslims to “conquer Rome as they conquered Constantinople”. On Al Aqsa TV, Hamas’ broadcasting from Gaza, sermons incite to take Rome, while Muhammad ibn Abd al Rahman al Arifi, imam of the King Fahd Military Academy in Saudi Arabia, announced that Islam “will control Rome and introduce Islam”.
The ultimate result of Europe’s extreme secularism could be a European Caliphate in which the fate of its ancient and beautiful cathedrals recapitulates those in Constantinople. A Europe in which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer from the central loggia of Saint Peter’s in Rome, while Notre Dame has been transformed into Hagia Sophia on the Seine, a great Christian church that becomes an Islamic museum.
This has already happened to British cathedrals, which since the 1970s, have begun charging visitors for admission, a sound economic decision, but one that sent the disastrous message that these buildings were museums rather than living places of worship.
Do radical Islam’s fantasies sound so hallucinatory today?
Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.
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