Only the times change, it seems. Whatever can be used against your enemy, will be used. Be it US or Kaiser’s Germany. Religion is just a façade to greed.
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He has an argument to put, and he does it convincingly, not least on the question of whether the German aim of promoting an Islam-wide jihad against Britain was a hasty 1914 improvisation or a more circumstantial plan resting on the already decades-long relationship between Berlin and Constantinople, which had begun in the enthusiasm for all things Islamic and Ottoman acquired by Kaiser Wilhelm (“Hajji Wilhelm”) on his state visits to the Sublime Porte and its territories.
Few decisions in world history have been as fraught with consequences as Turkey’s entry into the First World War. From the closing of the Straits [the Bosphorus] for years to Russian commerce – a major cause of the economic upheaval which led to the Russian Revolution – to the creation of the modern Middle East out of the wreckage of the defeated Ottoman Empire, the Turks’ decision to fight in 1914 lies at the root of the most intractable geopolitical problems of the twentieth century, many of which are still with us today.
Under the influence of the irrepressible Middle Eastern scholar and enthusiast Baron Max von Oppenheim, the Germans devised the stratagem of having Jihad, Holy War, pronounced in fatwas (in Turkish, fatvehs) against all infidels except Germans, Austrians, Americans, and any other ally of the Porte or any significant neutral.
Some thought this message was likely to prove confusing to fanatics bent on murdering anyone who did not look Turkish or Arab
Its main aim was to get the huge number of Muslim subjects of the British Empire to rise against their masters, thus saving Germany and its allies the trouble of defeating Britain themselves.
In the words of the American ambassador to the Porte, Henry Morgenthau, “the Kaiser’s desire” was “to let loose 300,000,000 Mohammedans in a gigantic St Bartholomew’s Day massacre of Christians.”
One of the pamphlets distributed by the Germans blamed what it called “the state of degradation to which the World of Islam as arrived” on the European Christians who in India, Egypt and the Sudan had subjugated hundreds of millions of Muslims.
And the worst of these “enemies of God,” said the pamphlet, were “the infidel English”.
The pamphlet told Muslims everywhere “that from today Holy War has become a sacred duty and that the blood of the infidels in the Islamic lands may be shed with impunity (except those who enjoy the protection of the Muslim power and those to whom it has given security and those who confederate with it).
And in a phrase that remains chillingly resonant today, the pamphlet concluded, “The killing of the infidels who rule over the Islamic lands has become a sacred duty, whether it be secretly or openly; as the great Koran declares in its word: ‘Take them and kill them wherever you come across them’.”
As it turned out, the call for universal jihad was very patchily received.
but hopes for a rising of Muslims against their British masters in India and Egypt did not materialize.Read more at bnreview.barnesandnoble.com
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