Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 11th 1683

On September 11th 1683 a battle began outside Vienna, Austria that would resonate to this day. That Battle and the defeat of the Ottoman Turks began a long slow decline for Islam that culminated with the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, the occupation of so much of the Islamic world by the West, and resentment from the once superior culture, Islam to the new leader Christianity/the West.
Over time the 'evils' of Islam have been augmented in the West and the 'evils' of Christianity have been downplayed . There are literally hundreds of books on Byzantine Anatolia, the Fall of Constantinople, the Armenian Genocide, the Ottoman's and their Janissary's, Islamic Terrorism, the Islamic Threat and on an on but there is relatively little reflexion on the 'evils' of the West.
The fact that the entire financial structure of the West is based on Gold stolen from the New World, Mined by Indigenous slave laborers, African Slavery in the New World, and minerals taken from the New World once the native population had been destroyed is somehow "a fact of life" while the Islamic evils above are somehow more sinister. As the founder of Christianity once said we need to remove the plank from our eye before removing the cinder from our neighbors.
But on September 11th- that most terrible of anniversaries I prefer to think about what joins Islam and Christianity both Children of Abraham. The fact is that there is much that joins us as peoples. A belief in the dignity of the human person, the belief that we are all created individuals in God's Image and called to be more than mere animals. The fact that Dante the greatest poet of the West and Rumi the greatest poet of Islam were alive at the same time and created homages to God and to culture that are still with us makes for solace and confidence in me as a Christian that anything is possible.
When bigoted commentators harp on Islam's weaknesses perhaps we need to examine our own in the Church? But on this September 11th we remember that God is Great and that he/she cried at the evil perpetrated in his name to his Children nine years ago.
Deo Gratia