University of Florida professor Ken Chitwood wrote Wednesday in the Associated Press’ commentary section, “The Conversation,” that “the Islamic State tries to boost its legitimacy by hijacking a historic institution.” He then provided a drive-by overview of the history of various Islamic caliphates, so whitewashed as to rival the Washington Post’s famous characterization of Islamic State (ISIS) caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in misleading duplicity. Even worse, Chitwood tells us that “as a scholar of global Islam, every time I teach my ‘Introduction to Islam’ class,” he teaches this nonsense to his hapless University of Florida students. No surprise there, given the fact that most universities today are little more than Antifa recruitment centers.
“Under Umar,” Chitwood writes blandly, “the caliphate expanded to include many regions of the world such as the lands of the former Byzantine and Sassanian empires in Asia Minor, Persia and Central Asia.”
Yeah, uh, Professor Chitwood, how exactly did that “expansion” occur? In reality, beyond the pseudo-academic whitewash and fantasy that Chitwood purveys, the caliphates always behaved much like the Islamic State, because they were all working from the same playbook. The true, bloody history of the caliphates can be found, detailed from Islamic sources, in the only complete history of 1,400 years of jihad violence, The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS.
The word khalifa means “successor”; the caliph in Sunni Islamic theology is the successor of Muhammad as the military, political, and spiritual leader of the Muslims. The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS demonstrates that the great caliphates of history, from the immediate post-Muhammad period of the “Rightly Guided Caliphs” to the Umayyads, Abbasids, and Ottomans, as well as other Islamic states, all waged relentless jihad warfare against non-Muslims, subjugating them under the rule of Islamic law and denying them basic rights.
These weren’t the actions of a “tiny minority of extremists,” abhorred by the vast majority of peaceful Muslims for “hijacking” their religion, as Ken Chitwood would have you believe. This was, for fourteen centuries, mainstream, normative Islam, carried forth by the primary authorities in the Islamic world at the time. The accounts of eyewitnesses and contemporary chroniclers through the ages show that in every age and in every place where there were Muslims, some of them believed that they had a responsibility given to them by Allah to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers under the rule of Islamic law.
And so it is today: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi enunciated that responsibility more clearly and directly than most Muslim spokesmen do these days, but he is by no means the only one who believes that it exists.
What is noteworthy also about The History of Jihad is something that it does not contain. As the jihadis move against non-Muslim states without any letup, pause, period of coexistence, period of tolerance, reformation, or reconsideration, there never appears any force of Muslims to oppose them. While it is undoubtedly true that not all Muslims in any given age have ever waged jihad, there has never been in Islamic history an Islamic entity or organization that was opposed to waging jihad and dedicated to stopping those who were waging it.
So it is today. Islamic groups in the West issue pro-forma condemnations after every jihad terror attack, but are doing little or nothing to try to prevent the next one. There is still no mosque or Islamic school in the United States that teaches young Muslims why they should reject the understanding of Islam taught by al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other jihad terror groups.
Ken Chitwood doesn’t mention a word of any of this, but if he is really a “scholar of global Islam,” then he is either incompetent if he is unaware of it, and dishonest if he is. But his rose-colored fantasies are the dominant, mainstream view in the propaganda factories that are known as universities today. Not just in universities, either: AP says: “This story was supplied by The Conversation for AP customers. The Associated Press does not guarantee the content.” But would it ever run a view that dissented from this one? Not on your life.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.