Without Firing a Shot: How Islam Overcame the West
In his well-known history of Western civilization, Edward Gibbon (1737–1794) offered an interesting "what if" scenario concerning the pivotal Battle of Tours (732 A.D.). Then and there, a massive Muslim army — which had terrorized, slaughtered, and enslaved every Christian in its path — was finally halted and defeated by the Franks in the middle of France.
Had the Muslims actually won, Gibbon predicted that
[p]erhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people [meaning Brits would now be Muslim] the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Muhammad.
Today, of course, not only is the "revelation of Muhammad" being taught and honored at Oxford, but Christianity is increasingly being canceled for its sake. Most recently,
[a] decision by an Oxford university college not to celebrate St George's Day with a formal dinner has been branded 'barking mad.' Magdalen College has decided against continuing an annual pre-pandemic banquet celebrating the English saint that drew together Oxford students, dons and fellows. Instead, the only occasion the college will observe on the day is Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic festival marking the end of Ramadan. The college will hold a formal dinner marking Eid on April 23, honouring a request made by its Muslim students. An email from college vice president Professor Nick Stargardt ... outlines plans for a 'festive dinner' celebrating the occasion. The invitation, sent to hundreds of students and their lecturers, adds the meal will 'follow Muslim customs.' Cooks will prepare a halal meat dish with no alcohol served to diners.
Oxford had for years celebrated Saint George's Day. Once the pandemic arrived in 2020, however, the day was ("temporarily") suspended, and now, following that "reset," Islam has taken its place.
This move, incidentally, is meant to appease Islam in more ways than one. Although the patron saint of England for some seven centuries, Saint George has increasingly been a cause of concern because he "offends" Muslims. For example, according to a 2013 report,
[a] town [in England] has voted not to fly the flag of St George in case it offends Muslims. Radstock in Somerset has a population of 5,620, 16 of them Muslim [meaning 0. 3% of the population is Muslim.] ... But a Labour councillor said the red and white cross could upset people because of its links to the Crusades.
Even the Church of England distances itself from Saint George, whom it characterizes as "too warlike and offensive to Muslims."
How did things come to such a pass? Once loved and venerated by England, the dragon-slaying saint is now canceled. And once feared and abhorred, the things of Islam — including now a "sacrificial" dinner — are being honored in his place.
To be sure, this was always Islam's intention; century after century, Muslims waged jihad after jihad to conquer all of Europe.
Although England was — unlike Spain, the Mediterranean, and the Balkans — never conquered, it too experienced its share of Muslim raids, including for slaves. Indeed, from 1627 to 1633, Lundy, an island just off the west coast of Britain, was actually occupied by Muslim pirates from North Africa, who pillaged England at will.
Back then, when Islam was a formidable force, Englishmen — not a few inspired by George and other saints — fought tooth and nail to repulse the terrorists and safeguard their homeland's faith and heritage. Today, however, when Islam is weak and easily confined, the United Kingdom finds itself bending over backwards to take in and cater to more and more Muslim migrants — many of whom, rather than show gratitude, display Islam's traditional contempt for and prey on "infidels."
Returning to the Battle of Tours, another historian (Godefroid Kurth, d. 1916), described it as "one of the great events in the history of the world, as upon its issue depended whether Christian Civilization should continue or Islam prevail throughout Europe."
At one point during the heat of battle, the Frankish leader, Charles "the Hammer," was surrounded by jihadists, but "he fought as fiercely as the hungry wolf falls upon the stag. By the grace of Our Lord, he wrought a great slaughter upon the enemies of Christian faith," wrote a chronicler. "Then was he first called 'Martel,' for as a hammer of iron, of steel, and of every other metal, even so he dashed and smote in the battle all his enemies."
Not only are such men who sacrificed everything to preserve their heritage largely gone from the Western landscape, but now, even the symbolic Defenders of Christendom's storied past, such as Saint George, have been targeted for termination.
In short, Muslims finally prevailed in the West, not by force of arms, but because Christians lost — including themselves.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West and Sword and Scimitar, is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.