At a time when ISIS and Boko Haram commit unspeakable acts of barbarism in the Middle East and Nigeria, passions are running high on all sides and offense is taken when none is intended. I experienced that in the reaction of a reader to my previous post. I said that ISIL aspires to hold sway over the same, vast territory that was under Islamic rule 11 centuries ago. I certainly did not intend to imply that there was any equivalence or similarity between the cult of today’s Islamist assassins and the Islamic civilization of the early Middle Ages, but I wasn’t clear because the inference was made.
I did say that one of ISIL’s objectives is to restore the Caliphate. I should have emphasized that I meant only the geographic territory of the Caliphate, the land ruled by the Caliph, and nothing more. The sadistic brutes of ISIS and the Taliban, with their disdain for education, could never recreate the Islamic civilization that valued and created art, literature and science. It was the medieval Muslims — and also Jews — who illuminated the so-called Dark Ages of Western Europe with their knowledge and culture.