ISIS Threatens Jihad Depredations in Italy: A Millennial Past As Prologue?

The brutal beheading of some 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS jihadists on a Libyan beach—captured in a grisly video—was accompanied by this warning:

Today we are south of Rome. We will conquer Rome with Allah’s permission.

Subsequently, an ISIS sympathizer, and “publicist,” Abu Abdullah Britani, opined, crudely, on twitter:

#We Are_Coming_O_Rome with slaughter. #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome, we will conquer & establish the justice of #shariah. We will use your leaning tower of pizza to throw off homosexual’.

In my book, The Legacy of Jihad, I provided first time English translations of full chapters from Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq’s unique scholarship on the unprovoked, aggressive Arab Muslim Islamic jihad campaigns against Christian Western Europe, during the 8th through 11th centuries. These jihadist ravages, and the even more devastating campaigns against eastern Christian societies, precipitated the First Crusade, at the close of the 11th century.

The 17th century Muslim historian al-Maqqari explained that the panic created by the Arab jihadist horsemen and sailors, at the time of the Muslim expansion into the regions subjected to those raids and landings, including Western Europe, often facilitated their later conquest, or submissive payment of tribute.

Allah thus instilled such fear among the infidels that they did not dare to go and fight the conquerors; they only approached them as suppliants, to beg for peace.

Consistent with the timeless pattern of jihad, the mid-9th through mid-10th century campaigns against Christian Italy were animated by religious hatred, and punctuated by massacre, pillage (with targeted destruction of Christian churches, and religious symbols), enslavement, and deportation.

Dufourcq’s 1978 study included this eerily prescient tocsin of looming calamity, observing,

that in the waning years of our 20th century we must ask ourselves if there is a danger of a recurrence, in the immediate future, by other modalities, of the upheaval that occurred more than a thousand years ago by Islamic penetration of our continent.

The translated extract, below, from Dufourcq’s seminal work, captures this brutal jihad dynamic as applied to Italy—and Rome itself—over 1000 years ago. Let this millennial past serve as a warning to prevent, not an acquiescent prologue to accept, renewed, full-scale Islamic jihad depredations in Western Europe, that once again ravage Italy, and Rome.

From the coast of Provence and in Italy, their sailors preceded the cavalry or substituted for them. In 846 they disembarked at the mouth of the Tiber, seized Ostia, went up the river, refrained from attacking the wall of Rome, but pillaged the Basilicas of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which at that time were both outside the walls. This alarm prompted, as a counter-measure, the construction of a new Roman enclosure encompassing Saint Peter‘s and rejoining the old one at the Castello Santangelo, the old mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian. [i.e., the so-called “Leonine Walls”, completed under Pope Leo IV]In 849 the Muslims attempted a new landing at Ostia; then, every year from around 857 on, they threatened the Roman seaboard. In order to get rid of them, Pope John VIII decided in 878 to promise them an annual payment of several thousand gold pieces; but this tribute of the Holy See to Islam seems to have been paid for only two years; and from time to time until the beginning of the tenth century, the Muslims reappeared at the mouth of the Tiber or along the coast nearby.

The whole Italian peninsula was similarly exposed: around 840 Muslim ships followed the Adriatic coasts as far as the Dalmatian archipelago and the mouth of the Pô River. Then, returning South, they dared to attack a city, Ancona, some two hundred kilometers northwest of Rome; a sort of commando dashed ashore: the city was devastated and set on fire. During their conquest of Sicily, when they took Syracuse in 878, after a deadly attack, they were exasperated by the resistance that they met with. When they rushed into the city, they found along their way the Church of the Holy Savior, filled with women and children, the elderly and the sick, clerics and slaves, and they massacred them all. Then, spreading out through the city, they continued the slaughter and the pillage, had the treasure of the cathedral handed over to them; they also took many prisoners and gathered separately those who were armed. One week later all of the captives who had dared to fight against them were butchered (four thousand in number, according to the chronicle al-Bayyan).

In 934 or 935, they landed at the other end of Italy, at Genoa, killed ―all the men they found there, and then left again, loading onto their ships ―the treasures of the city and of its churches. A few years later they settled for a time, it seems, in Nice, Fréjus, Toulon….One could list many other similar facts. Generally speaking, in these Arab raids carried out by a cavalcade or after a landing, the churches were especially targeted, because the assailants knew that they would find there articles used in worship that were made of gold or silver , sometimes studded with precious stones, as well as costly fabrics. And because the churches were considered to be an offense against God, the One God, given that they were consecrated to the ―polytheistic‖ belief in the Trinity, they were then burned down. The bells were the object of particular animosity, because they dared to amplify the call to infidel prayer by resounding through the skies, towards heaven; therefore they were always broken.

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Pope Leo IV

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism ” (Prometheus, November, 2008)

You can contact Dr. Bostom at @andrewbostom.org

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