Facebook Bans German Historian for Saying 'Islam Is Not Part of German History'
Last month, Facebook censored a German historian who posted a message about Islam's historic impact on Germany. Facebook banned the historian for 30 days, even though 76 percent of Germans agree that Islam does not "belong to Germany."
Michael Hesemann, a journalist and Vatican historian with an honorary doctorate for his work in uncovering documents from the Armenian Genocide, posted a message that Facebook said did "not correspond to our community standards." The offensive message was an accurate — if overstated — historical statement.
"Islam always plays only one role in the 1700-year-old history of the Christian Occident: the role of the sword of Damocles which hung above us, the threat of barbarism against which one needed to unite and fight," Hesemann wrote, according to NRW Direkt. "In this sense, Islam is not part of German history, but the defense against Islam!"
Facebook argued that it would delete any comment that "attacks persons because of their race, ethnicity, national background, religious orientation, sexual orientation, sexual identity, or physical impairment," the Catholic site OnePeterFive reported.
The historical relationship between Islam and Germany has become a hot topic in the last month, with the rise of the new Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. The former president of Germany, Christian Wulff, declared that "Islam belongs to Germany" -- and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed.
"No. Islam does not belong to Germany," Seehofer declared shortly after taking office. "Germany is characterized by Christianity." Even so, he added, "The Muslims living with us naturally belong to Germany."
In a recent WELT-Trends poll, 76 percent of Germans agreed with Seehofer on this issue, with 61 percent saying they "strongly agree." Only 20 percent of Germans disagreed, insisting that Islam is fundamental to Germany. A mere four percent said they were "undecided."
The historian lamented the forced silence of political correctness on this issue. "It says a lot about the deplorable state of our democracy under Chancellor Angela Merkel, when a historian may not utter simple historical facts," Hesemann told NRW Direkt.
"The question of whether Islam belongs to Germany, as Merkel claims, or not, as Horst Seehofer stated, has a third answer: Yes, it is part of our history, albeit in a way that may be uncomfortable for many," the historian said.
"Islam has contributed significantly to European integration. Without Islam, there would have been no Charlemagne whose grandfather, as hero of Poitiers, grew beyond his role as Hausmeier and laid the foundation for the Carolingian dynasty," Hesemann said. Without Islam, there would be "no crusades and no associated cultural transfer, no Renaissance — the consequence of the fall of Constantinople and the flight of its scholars to the West, no holy league as the first European defense alliance against the Turks, and so much else."
The historian was referring to the Battle of Tours (732 A.D.), when Charles Martel defeated a Muslim army in France after the Muslims had spread north from Spain. That battle united various Frankish tribes, helping to create the nation of France. Charles Martel's grandson, Charles the Great or Charlemagne (742-814), united a vast territory under his rule and fostered a period of learning known as the "Carolingian Renaissance." His "Holy Roman Empire" played a colossal role in European history, and lasted for about 1000 years.eeee
So many pivotal moments in European history, from the Battle of Tours to the Battle of Lepanto (1571) to the Sieges of Vienna (1529 and 1683), resulted from direct conflict with Islamic expansion.
Even the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492 would have been incomprehensible without Islam. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of the united Spanish kingdoms sent Columbus on his voyage after defeating the Muslims in Granada. The Portuguese started European colonialism in response to Muslim control of eastern trade routes, and the Spanish hired Columbus to find another route to the east.
Without the presence of Islam as a perceived "threat of barbarism," Europeans would not have discovered and colonized the Americas, with all the good and ill that came of their expeditions.
In Germany in particular, the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne inspired a separate German identity, eventually uniting disparate kingdoms and city states into the German Empire in 1871. So without Islam, there would be no Germany — but that doesn't mean Germany is Islamic.
Summarizing this tremendous impact, the Vatican historian Hesemann added, "So Islam certainly played an important role in the history of Europe, and especially in Germany, but not as part of our culture, in which it was never integrated — but as a threat against which to unite, and to overcome all borders and disagreements."
"Say: without Islam, a Christian West would never have defined itself in that clarity," Hesemann concluded.
The historian shot back against the idea that he had attacked people because of their religious affiliation. "This analysis of the history of our relationship to Islam in the period between the 7th and 18th centuries does not affect a single living person," Hesemann said.
"It does not attack Islam, even though it states that it was perceived by the Christian West as barbarism, a term that incidentally comes from ancient Greece and means all non-Greek characteristics," he explained. "Islam really does not have Greek roots."
Hesemann explained, "Nobody would resent it when a historian states that the Franks and the Crusaders, in turn, have been understood by many Muslims as 'barbarians' in some ways."
"But here, the historical assessment of Islam is simply censored and unworthy of a free society," the historian quipped. "Obviously, any critical engagement with a religion that has spread through the subjugation of other peoples and still today follows a barbarian 7th-century law that follows Sharia with its brutal corporal and capital punishments, including stoning and crucifixion."
"Apparently, every single critical historian must now shut up," Hesemann said. "I strongly protest and plead for the right of freedom of expression and free discussion of historical facts."
Indeed, recent events in Germany suggest that Islam is becoming something of a state religion. Criticism of the religion is considered unacceptable, and immigrants have gotten away with crimes as horrible as rape because of their cultural heritage.
Last month, a German headmistress reportedly told a Christian girl who had gotten beaten up by Muslim classmates that she should just wear a hijab to prevent further bullying. In the same month, a German judge ordered Volkswagen to rehire a man who was suspected of recruiting for the Islamic State (ISIS). Last year, a Turkish man was acquitted after raping a German woman because his forced violent sex was not "culturally" considered rape.
Where or not Islam is fundamentally barbaric, Michael Hesemann's interpretation of history is correct. Europeans feared Islam and united in order to fight it, forging a Christian identity in contrast to the religion of Mohammed.
Facebook should not ban historians who tell hard truths. If the company would ban Hesemann for this history, would it censor a Muslim who said the Crusaders were "barbaric"? Would Facebook consider it an insult to atheists if a Christian posted that atheist regimes killed hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century? Historical facts should never be censored, and Facebook should be ashamed of this behavior.