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HomeIllinois NewsShehab: Islamist Candidate Ignores Ottoman Armenian Genocide and Anti-Christian Programs

Shehab: Islamist Candidate Ignores Ottoman Armenian Genocide and Anti-Christian Programs




By Hesham Shehab - 

Last December, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to officially recognize the Ottoman Empire's genocide against Armenians, as a matter of American foreign policy. But a single Democrat Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar voted only "present."

Omar said that she disapproved of the politicization of the vote, and that her qualm is not with the content of the resolution, but with its timing and intent.

In a statement, Omar said that a "true acknowledgement" of genocide must also include atrocities committed by the U.S.

Istanbul has become the Mecca of global Islamists, and American Islamists, in particular, are coordinating their efforts with President Tayyip Recep Erdogan government. According to the American Thinker, “Turkish operations in Illinois are just a small part of Turkey’s bid to create a global network of Islamists intended to create a virtual “Ottoman Empire”, that answers to Istanbul. In 2015 Former Justice and Development Party (AKP) Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey “will re-found the Ottoman state.”

This is why most Islamists would have the same position as Omar’s on the atrocities perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire or any other Islamic state in history.

Take for example the president of the Muslim Bar Association of Illinois, Mr. Azam Nizamuddin, who is running for the position of Circuit Judge in Dupage County, Illinois.

In an interview on the Chicago-based podcast “Lawyers for Jesus,” Nizamuddin reveals his duplicity and skewed Islamist worldview towards Christians and other minorities in the Middle East and Asia.

John Mauck, an associate of the Mauck and Baker law firm, ran a couple of interviews with Nizamuddin on that podcast. In the last one, Mauck boldly asks him a critical question: “In our last show, (…) we were talking about a persecution of Christians, today, throughout the Islamic world where, it seems that Muslims are clamoring for religious liberty and the end of discrimination that they experience in America, Europe and other places. But, Christians and Jews have certainly been pushed out of most Muslim countries. Give us some historical perspective on that and what you see is going on now.”

Nizamuddin replied: “So, (…) both doctrinally and historically, Christians and Jews and other minorities enjoy [-ed] relatively peace and stability within Muslim lands. And that is because Islam considers Christians and Jews in particular, and later on during the Mogul Empire, Hindus too, to be protected peoples. So as long as they paid a tribute [Jizya], they were fine. And people did not have mass exodus from Muslim lands, whether it was Indonesia, South Asia, or the Middle East. However, this begins to change a little bit after the rise of European colonialism in Muslim lands, and particularly after World War I and II, where as a result of different changes in society, modernity, nationalism, in particular, you do begin to see much more contentious aspects of the role of religion in society. Whether religion should play a role in state government, for example, like in Iran or Sudan, but also as a result of wars.”

To begin with, the “tribute” Nizamuddin mentioned is the Jizya that implied giving a poll tax to the Muslim ruler with humiliation. Quran 9: 29 explicitly states: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

But since theological and doctrinal interpretations are beyond this piece, the focus will be on the historical flaws in Nizamuddin’s argument. As Islamists express blame colonialism for the maladies of the Islamic World.

For example, those religious minorities he talked about were not that much “protected,” and their persecution by radical Muslims predated colonialism.

Starting with pre-colonial India, Nizamuddin’s country of origin, more than 1.8 million people from different non-Muslim minorities were massacred by Muslim rulers and militias between 1202 A.D and 1799 A.D.

In July 1860, in Damascus (today in Syria), with the connivance of the Ottoman authorities and Turkish soldiers, Druze and Sunni Muslim paramilitary groups organized pogroms which lasted three days (July 9-11) and targeted the peaceful Christian population in that town, where twenty-five thousand Christians were killed. The massacre was perpetrated at the backdrop of the sectarian fighting that raged in Mount Lebanon. Just two weeks earlier, on June 23, 1860, thousands of Christians took refuge in a government building in the Druze town Deir al-Qamar, Mount Lebanon, where 4000 Ottoman troops were stationed.  The government troops did not stop the incoming Druze militia that assaulted the government house and proceeded to kill the Christian males taking refuge in it, massacring 2200 people.

Another Christian population in the Ottoman Empire that faced the same fate in the 19th century, in pre-colonial times, were the Assyrians. Like other Christians residing in the empire, they were treated as second-class citizens and denied public positions of power. Many of them were subjected to Kurdish brigandage and even outright massacre and forced conversion to Islam.  This was true in the case of the Assyrians of Badr Khan in the 1840s and also the Massacres of Diyarbakır during 1895–96, where 10,000 Assyrians were killed and thousands were forced to convert to Islam. The Kurdish militias then received assurances from the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid that they could kill Assyrians and Armenians with impunity.

On June 2, 1895, “The New York Times” wrote about the Sultan’s position: “We have the unanimous verdict of the native Christians of Turkey: Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, that the Sultan is personally responsible, not only because he gave direct orders that men, women, and children should be tortured, outraged, and murdered (…)”

About one hundred thousand of the Assyrian population of 245 villages were forcibly converted to Islam.

Thus, atrocity became policy. Its implementation ended in mass killings of the Assyrian population of the Ottoman Empire, whose victims totaled fifty-five thousand.

Concerning the Armenians mentioned above, they mark the date April 24, 1915, when several hundred Armenian intellectuals were rounded up, arrested and later executed as the start of the Armenian genocide, during which 1.5 million were exterminated, and it is generally reported to have extended to 1917. However, there were also massacres of Armenians in 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1909, all in pre-colonial times.

Islamists in office or those candidates running for public office who deny the suffering and massacres against non-Muslims or ignore them should be discredited. They are not fit for any public office in the West. Their Islamic ideologies are detrimental to Western principles of human values of equality and freedom.

Hesham Shehab is a research associate for the Middle East Forum.


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