In reporting on the refusal of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Ankara) to vote for a House resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide, NBC News quoted Van Krikorian, the co-chair of the Armenian Assembly of America, saying that Omar’s “votes and actions…do not represent the best of American or Muslim values. Innocent people were and are being slaughtered, and there is a universal need to defend the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing, not to stand with or defer to the murderers.”
Although his statement reflects the dominant view in the United States and all over the West about how Islam is really a cuddly religion of peace if you just get to know it, Van Krikorian is wrong. The Armenian Genocide was carried out in accord with “Muslim values,” and that may be why Ilhan Omar, who makes a public show of her devoutness in Islam by wearing the Sharia-mandated hijab, would not vote to condemn it. The History of Jihad from Muhammad to ISIS reveals the shocking truth about 1,400 years of jihad activity, including the genocide of Anatolia’s Christians.
In 1894, the Ottoman sultanate began massacring Armenians ruthlessly, committing mass rapes, killing even children, and burning Armenian villages. The chief dragoman (Turkish interpreter) of the British Embassy wrote that those who committed these atrocities were “guided in their general action by the prescriptions of Sheri [Sharia] Law. That law prescribes that if the ‘rayah’ [subject] Christian attempts, by having recourse to foreign powers, to overstep the limits of privileges allowed to them by their Mussulman masters, and free themselves from their bondage, their lives and property are to be forfeited, and are at the mercy of the Mussulmans. To the Turkish mind, the Armenians had tried to overstep these limits by appealing to foreign powers, especially England. They, therefore, considered it their religious duty and a righteous thing to destroy and seize the lives and property of the Armenians.”
The jihad against the Armenians went on even in Constantinople, after Armenian revolutionaries seized the Bank Ottoman in 1894. In retaliation, Muslim mobs for two days bludgeoned Armenians to death with cudgels wherever they found them. The British chargé in Constantinople wrote that the “Turkish mob” was aided by “a large number of softas [student of Islamic theology] and other fanatics…individuals wearing turbans and long linen robes rarely seen in this part of the town. They mostly carried clubs which had evidently been carefully shaped after a uniform pattern; some had, instead of these, iron bars…there is nothing improbable in the stories current that the clubs and bars…were furnished by the municipal authorities.”
At Urfa in December 1895, the Armenians gathered in their cathedral and requested Ottoman government protection, which the officer in charge granted, surrounding the cathedral with troops. Then other Ottoman troops, along with local Muslim civilians, rampaged through the city, slaughtering Armenians and plundering their houses. A large group of young Armenians was taken to the local imam, who ordered them to be held down. An eyewitness said that the sheik then recited some verses of the Qur’an and “cut their throats after the Mecca rite of sacrificing sheep.”
The German historian Johannes Lepsius visited the devastated areas at the time and chronicled the atrocities. He referred to the cover-up of these horrific events that had already begun: “Are we then simply forbidden to speak of the Armenians as persecuted on account of their religious belief? If so, there have never been any religious persecutions in the world… We have lists before us of 559 villages whose surviving inhabitants were converted to Islam with fire and sword; of 568 churches thoroughly pillaged, destroyed and razed to the ground; of 282 Christian churches transformed into mosques; of 21 Protestant preachers and 170 Gregorian [Armenian] priests who were, after enduring unspeakable tortures, murdered on their refusal to accept Islam. We repeat, however, that those figures express only the extent of our information, and do not by a long way reach to the extent of the reality. Is this a religious persecution or is it not?”
Lepsius also reported that the Muslims had destroyed 2,500 Christian villages and 645 churches and monasteries, and that the number of those who had been forced to convert to Islam was fifteen thousand. Three hundred twenty-eight churches were converted into mosques, and 508 more were plundered.
There is much more of this in The History of Jihad, as well as a huge mass of evidence to show that for all its savagery, the Armenian Genocide was no outlier, but was a manifestation of a will to violence that has played out all too often in Islamic history. If we had any actual journalists in America today, they would be asking Omar hard questions about what she thinks of that bloody history. But we don’t.
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 History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.