Why the Battle of Tours

9-11 was a wake-up call to the world.  Islam speaks.  You better listen.

I still remember  George W Bush cutting a fine figure in the rubble, saying that "these folks" (odd word, that, "folks"...) will not get away with it. We will hunt them down and they will pay. Fine fine....  Then W said something that stuck in my mind "Islam is a religion of peace", he said.  So these people (these "folks") who have done this don't represent Islam.

Well, at that time, I'd had nothing much to do with Islam.  I'd travelled to many Islamic countries. Let's see: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia.  And since to Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia. But I'd not taken much notice of Islam as their religion.  Sure, the burkas in Afghanistan were a bit weird to a 24 year old me.  But weird, not threatening.

And then 9-11.  And W saying that the perpetrators -- who we pretty quickly knew were Muslim -- did not represent this "religion of peace".

So...  I thought I'd better have a closer look at this religion. To see how it was that a "religion of peace" could lead 19 men to hijack planes and slam  them into skyscrapers all in the name of their religion of peace. ("I slam, Allah, I slam them for you")

So I bought Koran, Dawood's Penguin edition. And read it cover to cover. Which one can do pretty promptly because it's not long.  Not like the Bible.  It's less than the size of the New Testament, I'd reckon. And then I read the Hadith, the sayings and doings of Muhammad. And the Sirah, by Ibn Ishaq, which is the authorised biography of Muhammad.  I read them all.

Anyway, I can still remember that first reading of the Koran The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I thought: if this is what we're dealing with, we've got a problem.

Because the Koran is pretty much cover to cover a manual for terrorism. It's no wonder, I thought, that those 19 did what they did. They were bound to do so if they were pious and believed that the Koran was the literal word of God, which they do.

(I still keep that Dawood copy of the Koran by my sofa-side.  I dip into it, at random, to see if I randomly come across a peaceable verse.  Nope.  It's pretty much horror, cover to cover.)

The more I read about Islam, the more concerned I got.  So I started to collect links and books.  All along I wanted to make sure that I read around the subject, not just the critical side, but the side that supports Islam.  That's led me to a library, now numbering in the 1000's with books on all sides of Islam, from Karen Armstrong to Richard Spencer.

But overall, one can't escape the conclusion that Islam is very problematic, to say the least.  Tody of doctrine -- the Trinity of Koran, Hadith and the Sirah (the Life) of Muhammad -- is profoundly in contradiction to our traditions of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, equality of women and minorities.  Of course not all Muslims are against the rights and freedoms of the west.  But the core ideology of Islam is.
And then, I wanted somewhere to keep my research and links.

Hence this Blog.  As for the name of the Blog, well...

The Battle of Tours (October 732) was a battle between Frankish (Charles Martel) and Muslim (Abdul Rahman) forces near Poitiers and Tours in north-central France.  The Frankish forces were victorious.  Gibbon saw the battle as the high tide of Muslim advance into Europe and Leopold von Ranke as "the turning point of one of the most important epochs in the history of the world".

Many today see a similar battle -- for hearts and minds -- in the world today.  Hence "The Battle of Tours."

I'm also posting on other bits and pieces that grab my interest, such as on China and Hong Kong, climate change, the war on drugs, and general miscellanea and ephemera.

I have not turned on “comments” setting, but I’m happy to have comments to my email, and I’ll ask you if I propose to post your comment.

This Page is an update of my earlier post on 18 August 2009.