Slate Wants You to Think Columbus Was 'Driven by Islamophobia'

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Yes, the author of this article in the far-Left propaganda organ Slate is apparently really named Rebecca Onion, but this is not The Onion. Christopher Columbus was a “genocidal murderer,” something that Onion’s interviewee Alan Mikhail claims, to which the intrepid Onion replies: “Oh! Of course, I assumed the ‘genocidal murderer’ part was understood, but thank you for making that clear.” Even worse, Columbus – or so Mikhail and Slate would have you believe – was motivated to sail the ocean blue in 1492 by the paranoid fear that “Islam is everywhere; Muslims are all around us.You are reading this in North America today, you see, because of “Islamophobia.” For shame, infidel! Start packing.

In the entire interview, Onion and Mikhail both behave as if Columbus set out for the New World because of what Mikhail calls “anti-Muslim sentiment,” while doing their best to give the impression that this sentiment was a baseless prejudice, “an ideological extension the Crusades.” Mikhail discusses the fall of Constantinople in 1453 as a cause of this fear, without mentioning the fact that, as The History of Jihad shows, the warriors of jihad entered the great city on May 29, 1453, they made the streets run with rivers of blood. Muslims raided monasteries and convents, emptying them of their inhabitants, and plundered private houses.

In this course of this plunder, pillage, and wanton murder, the jihadis entered Hagia Sophia, which for nearly a thousand years had been the grandest church in Christendom. The venerable old building was filled with Orthodox Christians: the faithful had gathered within its hallowed walls to pray during the city’s last agony. The Muslims halted the celebration of Orthros (morning prayer), while the priests, according to legend, took the sacred vessels and disappeared into the cathedral’s eastern wall, through which they shall return to complete the divine service one day. Right in the church, the jihad warriors then killed the elderly and weak and led the rest off into slavery.

The Byzantine scholar Bessarion wrote to the Doge of Venice in July 1453, saying that Constantinople had been:

…sacked by the most inhuman barbarians and the most savage enemies of the Christian faith, by the fiercest of wild beasts. The public treasure has been consumed, private wealth has been destroyed, the temples have been stripped of gold, silver, jewels, the relics of the saints, and other most precious ornaments. Men have been butchered like cattle, women abducted, virgins ravished, and children snatched from the arms of their parents.

When the slaughter and pillage were finished, Mehmet II ordered an Islamic scholar to walk through the blood-soaked nave of the Hagia Sophia and mount the high pulpit, where he was to declare that there was no God but Allah, and Muhammad was his prophet. This was how the Hagia Sophia “switched”: according to Islamic belief and practice, the proclamation of the Islamic faith in the magnificent old church, over the anguished cries of the wounded and enslaved and the still-warm bodies of those who had been murdered, immediately turned the cathedral into a mosque. Hundreds of other churches in Constantinople and elsewhere suffered the same fate. In the ensuing months and years, millions of Christians joined the ranks of the subjugated dhimmis; others were enslaved, and many more were killed.

Mikhail says that as a result of the conquest of Constantinople, “the Ottomans, or so they thought, were poised to invade” Europe, apparently leading “Islamophobic” anti-Muslim bigots to try to find an escape route from the doomed continent.

“Or so they thought”? In fact, the Ottomans did invade Europe. The History of Jihad demonstrates that after they conquered Constantinople, the Ottomans made more or less continual war against Europe, and conquered and occupied large portions of Eastern and Southern Europe for hundreds of years.

Mikhail and Onion, however, give the impression that the Europeans’ fear of Islam was baseless — an irrational “Islamophobia” that right-thinking people must eschew. Nor does Mikhail mention that the Ottomans had closed European trade routes to India, which is why Columbus had the idea of sailing west to find new ones in the first place.

This article is yet another in the apparently endless series of articles marking the West’s cultural suicide. All of them are based on the assumption that the West has been uniquely violent, even genocidal, and hateful, while the (largely Islamic) East has been more sinned against than sinning, and encapsulates a wisdom and nobility that we have lost. And thus we are guilt-tripped into accepting mass Muslim migration into the West, without any attempt at assimilation, and a good deal more.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.