It has been fourteen years since Muslim terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the religion of Islam was made visible to the American public. At the time, there were already many small and medium-size Muslim-only enclaves in many major western European cities – places where if a non-Muslim entered, he would most likely not return. The Internet was still young and far from ubiquitous. YouTube did not exist. Neither did Facebook or Twitter. Cell phone video was still a few years off, which is why we have so little footage of the actual events of that morning. Considering the blood-drenched deluge of social-media driven ISIS propaganda we face today, it’s hard to believe how minimal our exposure to Islamic terror actually was on that fateful day. But as we watched the planes crash into the World Trade Center, as we watched the towers fall again and again on cable news, then-president George W. Bush declared that America “saw evil” and would hunt down terrorists wherever they could be found.
In the decade-and-a-half that has elapsed since that fateful September day, much has changed. America has invaded or stationed troops in nearly every country in the Muslim middle East, with the notable exception of Iran. Our government has engaged in two wars, partaken in the overthrow of over half a dozen foreign governments, and our Ambassador and other US personnel in Benghazi were left to die for deeply suspicious reasons that are still being investigated, but have been alleged by some to be related to our manipulations in the region. And those manipulations are real. Declassified documents show that we have aided and abetted those guilty of the ongoing genocide against Iraq’s former Chaldean Catholic people by funding, training, and giving weapons to violent Islamist groups like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to destabilize the Syrian government – groups which later coalesced into the so-called “Islamic State.” And the ubiquitous presence of photos and videos of the horrors committed by ISIS is all but inescapable in our online activities.
The world is reaping what has been sown. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are on the move, a massive sea of humanity flowing into Western Europe. They are also threatening to overrun the borders into Eastern European nations. The American and Western European governments are saying this is a “refugee crisis,” and the news media, like good propagandists, run images of a few poor women and children, while neglecting to show us the rest of the situation. Not displayed is the mass of overwhelmingly young, healthy, well-dressed males, carrying the latest smart phones. Far from the starving widows and orphans one might imagine upon hearing the word, “refugee,” these men have come to riot, rampage, and destroy.
Lest anyone allow themselves to be deceived, this is not a normal migration – it is a hijra.
“Hijra” does mean “migration “ in Arabic. But it carries a deeper connotation. In Islamic history, the hijra was the event in 622 AD, when Muhammad and his small cult fled the city of Mecca to Yathrib, both of which are in what is today Saudi Arabia, and the latter which Muhammad renamed “Medina,” which means “the city.” This act marks three of the major events in Islam, which are:
- The beginning of the Islamic calendar
- The creation of the first Islamic government
- The prolific use of violence and torture to propagate Islam
At the time when Muhammad made the hijra with his followers, Medina was a city with a Jewish majority, which had peaceable relations with the other pagan Arabs. By the time Muhammad launched his band of raiders from that same city eight years later to conquer Mecca in 630, most of the pagan and Jewish populations were either converted to Islam, had fled, or were dead. The few survivors were forced to pay an extortion tax — called a jizya — to Muhammad and his followers. This was the only way they would be granted permission for their continued existence under Muhammad’s new Caliphate.
In Islamic law and applied theology, the idea of the hijra pertains to the movement of a group of Muslims from a predominately Muslim area to a predominately non-Muslim area, with the goal of establishing Islam’s dominance in it. After Muhammad’s death, Muslims have counted two great hijras in the West. The first was the great Islamic expansion from 632 to 750, when Islamic armies conquered all of the territory from what is today central France to Uzbekistan. The second hijra included the Turkish migrations that resulted in the fall of Constantinople, and reached its zenith with Islamic armies besieging the gates of Vienna in 1683. It was during this last encounter that the horde was driven back by Polish Catholic forces into the Balkan Peninsula, breaking the strength of the Ottoman Empire.
The battle began on September 11th, 1683.
After the Battle of Vienna, European regimes began to rapidly colonize the Middle East, and the remains of the Ottoman Empire diminished, eventually being formally abolished by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 – but not before purging over a million Armenian, Assyrian, Pontic Greek, and Turkish Christians from its lands between 1915 and 1917. Muslim “revivalists” beginning as early as the 18th century reminisced about a return to the practice of “orthodox” Islam, and posited that in so doing, they could bring about a revival of the same bestial force which conquered so much of the world and subjected so many countless peoples under Islam’s burdensome yoke. The first hijra conquered Jerusalem in 638. The second hijra conquered Constantinople in 1453. Two of the three oldest and holiest cities for Christians were conquered by Muslims.
Except for Rome.
This, now, is the third hijra. According to certain voices in the Islamic world, it will be the final hijra, the one that will conquer Rome.
In Islamic circles, there has been a long-held belief that Christianity — and specifically, the Catholic Church — is the main obstacle impeding Islam’s domination of all humanity under one religious and political system. Therefore, in order to realize this vision, the Christian faithful must not only be converted to Islam, but their sacred spaces must be taken from them and given to the dar Al-Islam – “the house of Islam.” If the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem led to the end of Christianity as the dominant religion in the Holy Land, and the same was true in the Byzantine Empire with the fall of Constantinople, the conquest of Rome and the Islamization of St. Peter’s Basilica would mean the effective destruction of the Church worldwide, and its replacement with Islam.
I have written extensively about the Catholic faithful and Islam. I have constantly stressed that we must pray and make sacrifice for the souls of the Muslims, and must continue to do so. But as the example of the Church teaches clearly, despite the current reticence from our prelates, there are times when the Church’s members must fight in military combat against their enemies, not least of whom may be the armies of Ishmael. We did so before, and Europe was saved. If we are tested again and fail, many of our churches and faithful may fall under the cruel dominion of Islam. We are seeing this now in the areas dominated by the Islamic State. It is a reality that will only continue to spread if left unchecked.
The armies of ‘Abd Ar-Rahman crossed the Pyrenees in France in 732 and were repelled by Charles Martel. The armies of Mehmet the conqueror were defeated by St. John Capistrano at Belgrade in 1456. The armies under Karamustafa Pasha that were defeated by Jan Sobieski and his Catholic forces in 1683 at Vienna. Since then, Islam has been quiet. Slumbering. Regaining its strength.
I have quoted Hillaire Belloc — the great 20th Century Catholic Historian — in previous essays. His prescience on this matter, however, bears repeating. In 1929, he predicted that Islam would rise again:
We shall almost certainly have to reckon with Islam in the near future. Perhaps, if we lose our Faith, it will rise. For after this subjugation of the Islamic culture by the nominally Christian had already been achieved, the political conquerors of that culture began to notice two disquieting features about it. The first was that its spiritual foundation proved immovable; the second that its area of occupation did not recede, but on the contrary slowly expanded.
In my own youth the decaying power of Islam (for it was still decaying) in the Near East was a strong menace to the peace of Europe. Those old people of whom I speak had grandparents in whose times Islam was still able to menace the West. The Turks besieged Vienna and nearly took it, less than a century before the American Declaration of Independence. Islam was then our superior, especially in military art. There is no reason why its recent inferiority in mechanical construction, whether military or civilian, should continue indefinitely. Even a slight accession of material power would make the further control of Islam by an alien culture difficult. A little more and there will cease that which our time has taken for granted, the physical domination of Islam by the disintegrated Christendom we know.
We are witnessing the beginning of the next great Islamic invasion. It may well represent an existential crisis for the West.
When the time comes, will we be ready to fight them? Everything we know and love is at stake.
Andrew Bieszad has an MA in Islamic Studies from Hartford Seminary with concentration in the Islamic equivalent of Dogmatic Theology. He is the author of Lions of the Faith: Saints, Blesseds, and Heroes of the Catholic Faith in the Struggle with Islam. He is a sought after writer and speaker on Islamic topics.