How Islam came to British Isles, By Naseem Awan

According to the Roman Christian calendar, 15th July 1999 marked the 900th anniversary when Crusaders first captured Jerusalem and slaughtered up to 70,000 Muslims i.e. over four and half centuries after Jerusalem had first fallen to the Muslims without a single loss of life. There has never been a religion in the annals of the world with such a bloody record as Christianity.

Many of the murdering Crusaders were Normans from Normandy in Northern France. One of the Crusaders was William the Conqueror’s eldest son, Robert Curthose – a Norman who took a British contingent with him to the Holy Land where he led assaults on Antioch and Jerusalem. After sacking Jerusalem in July 1099 CE, Robert’s commanders offered to make him the king of Jerusalem, but he declined the nomination to get back to England. William’s son-in-law, Count Stephen of Blois was killed in the Holy Land.

However, Muslims were not the first victims of Christian and Norman terrorism. The first victims were the English / British in 1066 CE i.e. 29 years before the First Crusade, when Pope Alexander 2nd excommunicated king Harold of England and gave papal blessing to Duke William of Normandy, to invade and subjugate England, and tax the English until Doomsday. The Norman Crusade of 1066 changed and determined the history of the British Isles ever after. Thereafter, for the Muslims, the Sceptred Isles became the Islamophobic Isles, playing an adversarial role in the Muslim world, even after the Protestant Revolution, and the introduction of secularism and Parliamentary Democracy.

Islamophobic isles
At the time of the first Christian Millennium (1000 CE), the British Isles was a small backwater and culturally divided island on the northwest fringes of mainland Europe. It had been subject to numerous and brutal invasions for over a thousand years; first by the Romans in 55 BC, and then by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, etc from 367 CE. From 793 CE, much of the British Isles came under the political hegemony of northern Europe e.g. the Danes and Vikings. By 1027 CE, Canute – a Dane, was king of England, Denmark and Norway and part of Sweden. In essence, the British Isles was a weak and backward colony.

However, in 1066 CE the British Isles – a relatively peaceful Christian state, was subject to an unprovoked and brutal conquest by a fellow Christian state – Normandy in Northern France. Normandy had only been Christian for less than two centuries i.e. much less than the British Isles. Under the hegemony of the Dukes of Normandy, the British Isles came into contact with Continental Europe and Muslims. Not only was England’s wealth seized and transferred to Europe to finance the Crusades but the Sceptred Isles was transformed into the Islamophobic Isles, a united kingdom and an organised entity, with the capability of conducting its very first military campaign, one thousand miles away, into Islam’s homeland – Palestine. And so began the alleged English propensity to violence and ethical foreign policy. Unlike Spain and France, which felt the presence of a powerful Islamic neighbour, this was never the case with the British Isles.

The victory of the Normans in 1066 brought revolutionary changes in its wake, not merely for southern Britain but in due course for the rest of the British Isles. Over the next millennium, Britain was transformed into one of the strongest and most influential countries in world history to dominate the world of Islam. The British Empire ruled more Muslim subjects than any other religious denomination.

The Norman Crusade of the British Isles also produced the everlasting ‘Anglo-French Alliance’ against Islam (Crusades, Colonialism, First World War, Suez War); and the introduction of the following into the British Isles, for the first time:

– Institutionalised Islamophobia
– Militant Christianity
– Public houses named Saracens or Turks Head
– Institutionalised Feudalism
– Taxation till Doomsday
– Jews
– The eternal ‘Irish Problem’
– Institutionalised Racism including anti- Semitism against Arabs and Jews; racism against the Irish, Turks and Africans.

– Organisation, stability and administration through new or reformed institutions such as the Church, monarchy, government, army, academia (Oxbridge), etc.

During the global chess game called The First World War (Another Crusade / Great Conspiracy), the Anglo-French Alliance fought against the Ottoman Caliphate on the Eastern Front. Britain and Germany were two theological (Protestant), military, political and royal allies since the time of Martin Luther. Britain’s royal family are descendants of the German House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha and Mountbattenburg (now renamed Windsor – the name was changed during the First World War). Queen Victoria was married to her German cousin, Albert and her favourite grandson was the Emperor of Germany – Kaiser Wilhem 2nd. The Kaiser was also an officer of the British Army until the outbreak of War. The Great War started in Europe and spread into Islam’s homelands.

Towards the end of the War, in 1917, Britain colonised its penultimate colony – Palestine – the ‘Jewel in the Crown’, when General Allenby followed by T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, entered Jerusalem declaring: ‘Today the Crusades have ended’. In Damascus, the French General, Henri Gouraud strode to the tomb of Saluddin Ayyubi and publicly stated: ‘Saladin, we have returned’. At the end of the War, Britain and France effectively controlled all the Muslim lands from the Mediterranean east through India; over the next few decades, western domination over the Muslim world would be nearly complete as Turkey and Arabian Peninsula came under direct western control as a result of the Second World War, Cold War and Gulf War.

Meanwhile, millions were needlessly killed and wounded on the Western Front in a war to end all peace. The Establishment was prepared to oversee the deaths and disruption of millions of peoples’ lives just to meet Zionist objectives. Obviously, these facts are hardly acknowledged in the subject of ‘His story’ – a highly secularised and distorted subject.

The growth of Islam
In the seventh century, the last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad united the Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula to spread the Last Divine Message to the whole of mankind. As a result, the religious, military and later the cultural power of Islam grew enormously in three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. First Iran, Syria, and Egypt, then Turkey, then North Africa fell to the Muslims. When Syria and Asia Minor fell to Muslim rule for the first time, they were welcomed by Christians of those regions as deliverers from the intolerable oppression of the ruling authorities of the Church.

The Muslims overran the tyrannical Byzantium (Eastern Roman) and Persian empires at the same time. During the ten years of Caliph Omar’s (RA) reign, he liberated over forty thousand towns and built two thousand mosques. The Muslims saved more souls from false gods, toppled more idols, exposed more pagan temples in fifteen years than the followers of Moses and Jesus had done in fifteen centuries.

The Muslim advance incorporated three of the five Patriarchates (Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch) and nearly a fourth (Constantinople). When Jerusalem fell to Islamic rule in 638 CE, there was no bloodshed, nor massacres.

Muslims from Africa then made inroads into Southern Europe: Mediterranean islands of Cyprus (649 CE), Crete (654 CE) and Rhodes (654 CE). Muslims from Africa then advanced into the Iberian Peninsula (711 CE), southern France – Toulouse (715 CE); Sardinia (750 CE), Corsica (809 CE), Malta (824 CE) Sicily (827 CE) and southern Italy in 840 CE. Within one hundred years of the death of the Prophet of Allah, the caliphs had established an empire greater than Rome at its zenith.

By the ninth century, Muslims had established trading links with the Americas i.e. six centuries before Naval Crusader, Christopher Columbus. By the time of the first Christian Millennium, Yusuf bin Tachfin – sultan of the Almoravids (bin Yusuf in the film, El Cid) ruled an empire stretching from Senegal in the south; southern parts of the Iberian Peninsula in the north; to the Atlantic in the west, and included Algeria and Tunisia; an area larger than Western Europe.

The growth of disbelieve
In the eighth and ninth centuries, the priesthood that ran Europe i.e. the Church / Vatican / religious Mafia created the Islamophobic Frankish / Holy Roman Empire and used the illegitimate son of a prostitute, Charles Martel (688- 741 CE) and his illiterate grandson, Charlemagne (742- 814 CE) to counter the spread of Islam into Europe. Charles Martel – The Hammer was the first to halt Muslim expansion into Europe, with a Frankish army victory in 732 CE at the Battle of Poitiers in Central France, in which the Muslim leader – the Emir of the Iberian Peninsula was murdered by a treacherous hypocrite. This defeat led to the Franks becoming widely recognised as the real defenders of Christendom.

Charles Martel was advised by an English Benedictine monk / missionary called Boniface who struggled to christianise and civilise the barbarian Frankish / Germanic tribes of Europe, to counter the Muslim advance into Europe. Boniface was also responsible for unifying the church in Germany and organising churches in Bavaria, thereby bringing the Germanic tribes of Europe under papal control. Boniface was killed in 754 CE by pagans who resisted Christianity.

Charlemagne – Charles the great who spent three decades spreading Christianity by the sword by conducting 53 expeditions and wars against 12 different nations (Avars, Slavs, Bretons, Lombards, Saxons, etc), also attacked the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula several times but suffered a humiliating defeat in 778 CE when thirty thousand Moors trapped his army north of Pamplona. He saw his destiny as the evangelical Christian emperor of Europe, the presence of Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula as an insult and considered the war against Muslims as a crusade. When Pope Urban 2nd launched the First Crusade in 1095, he invoked the name of Charlemagne to incite the Crusader knights.

Interestingly in June 2000, Bill Clinton who presided over the Balkan Crusades in Bosnia and Kosova, was the first North American president to receive the Charlemagne prize from the city of Aachen (Charlemagne’s residence), for his contribution to European unity.

Following Charlemagne’s death, the Islamophobic Holy Roman Empire began to disintegrate as a result of: Muslim inroads from the South, weak management by his son and infighting by his grandchildren. The Empire eventually divided into three kingdoms from which emerged France, Germany and Italy.

After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, there was a loss of confidence in the Frankish kings. Islamophobia then moved northwards to Scandinavia. A monk called Anskar (801-865 CE) born in Amiens, France and known as the Apostle of the North moved to Germany and in 826 CE to Denmark, where he christened the king and 400 of his subjects. Anskar then went to Sweden, where he built the first Christian church in Scandinavia, at the Viking centre of Birka, near modern Stockholm. On his return to Germany in 832 CE, Anskar was made bishop of Hamburg, with responsibility for all of Scandinavia, and in 848 CE the Pope appointed him Archbishop of Bremen. Back in Denmark in 854 CE he converted Erik – the king of Jutland.

After Anskar’s death, Denmark and Sweden reverted back to paganism but this would not save the Muslims. Vikings flooded outwards from Scandinavia in every direction, raiding, colonising and establishing bases in the British Isles, Northern France and Northern Germany. Further South, Vikings fleets raided the Iberian Peninsula, and struck deep into the Mediterranean, passing through the Gibraltar Straits and attacking Muslims on the Balearic Island. Whilst they assimilated with the local population that they colonised, the Vikings expelled Muslims from the Mediterranean.

The Vikings also attacked North Africa and fought the Umayyad Emirate of Cordoba. They took Lisbon virtually unopposed; after sacking Cadiz and Medina Sidonia, they sailed up the River Guadalquivir and captured Seville. From there, they raided the surrounding countryside until, five weeks later, they were heavily defeated by a Muslim army: the Muslims destroyed 30 ships, killed 1000 men and taken 400 prisoners. The Vikings were no match for the powerful, well organised and highly motivated Emirate. In the East, they sailed down the rivers of Russia to cross the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea to attack the Abassid Caliphate.

At the turn of the last Millennium, Europe Christianized almost at once including Scandinavia, northern Spain, Russia and the Balkans; and by the end of the First Christian Millennium, the Church owned half of western Europe. The Church then planned the Crusades, but to fight Muslims, the Vatican needed an immense amount of resources. England was a wealthy and flourishing kingdom and its throne a rich temptation. English kings were powerful enough to gather substantial amounts of silver through taxation of the wool trade. That silver was a sign of England’s wealth and its coinage was the most stable in Europe. England had been able to mint its own coinage controlled from the centre; king Offa of Merica had created England’s first proper penny coinage. With such resources and with the means for a ruler to tap them, England was one of the greatest prizes in Northwest Europe.

The Church organised Normandy to extract England’s wealth to fight Muslims, as Islam threatened its very existence, centuries before Martin Luther.

Preparing for the Crusades. The most important long-term consequence of the Viking involvement in France was the establishment of the duchy of Normandy. Normandy’s impact to the history of England, France and Italy can hardly be understated.

In 911 CE, a Dane / Norwegian Viking called Rollo settled and established a duchy in the Northern fringe of France i.e. a safe distance from Muslims who were in the South (southern France and the Iberian Peninsula). This state became known as Normandy, the leading feudal principality of the following century. Initially Rollo’s territory seems to have been confined to an area no more than thirty miles in diameter in the Seine valley above Rouen, centring around Les Andeleys, where the castle of Richard the Lion-heart stands today.

Conveniently, Rollo readily adopted Christianity, accepting baptism at the hands of the Archbishop of Rouen; and acting as guard for the Franks. He established a line of hereditary counts called the Dukes of Normandy. Normandy developed to become the most powerful of the Frankish principalities in France and over time it acquired French characteristics; though the Duchy of Normandy was a mixture of Roman, Carolingian, Frankish and Scandinavian elements, with contributions from Italians. This blend of cultures created an immensely powerful religious, political and military entity based on feudalism, in eleventh century Normandy.

The Church played a major role in creating Normandy which became a centre for militant Christianity in Europe. Under clerical supervision, the crop-haired Normans prepared for extensive military campaigns by investing time and money in training and equipping their army; heavily equipped and clad in chain mail. They bought and bred war-horses and learned to fight from their saddles with swords and lances; equipping their horses with stirrups, making it harder to unseat their riders. They also became masters of the art of digging fortifications, motte and castles. They gained experience, prestige and wealth in the feudal wars of France until by the middle of the eleventh century they had become the most formidable professional and best-armed heavy cavalry in northern Europe.

Between 980 and 1030 CE a feudal revolution took place in France where the Church legitimised Christian militants into a cohesive and organised body – the knights. Knighthood became a kind of class-based corporation, to which new members were admitted after a ritual requiring the knight-to-be keeping vigil all through the night with his arms on the alter in front of him. He then took a purifying bath, heard Mass and had his spurs put on him. There followed the dubbing with a sword and a formal sermon in which the knight’s weapons were blessed with holy water.

Another method of initiation was entirely clerical and involved the reading of a service, Benedictio Novi Militis. A knight had to believe in and be obedient to the teachings of the Church; he had to defend and love his country and be merciless to the infidel. It became the knight’s duty to defend the Church and fight to the death against the infidel. One has only to read of the violence, greed and lust of the Middle Ages to realise that this code was often ‘more honour’d in the breach than the observance’.

When Pope Urban 2nd launched the First Crusades, he chastised the knights present for their behaviour: ‘You oppressors of orphans, you robbers of widows, you homicides, you blasphemers, you plunderers of others’ rights …if you want to take counsel for your souls you must either cast off as quickly as possible the belt of this sort of knighthood or go forward boldly as knights of Christ …’. Not surprisingly, these knights were known as the Soldiers of Hell.

The aggression and violence of the knights that characterised daily life in the Middle Ages was then channelled into the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula and the Crusades. Having adopted Christianity, these barbarian warriors were anxious to show themselves as worthy patrons – and in return to make the most of the power offered them by the Church. Thus the warriors founded new churches across their newly acquired territories i.e. they endowed the Church with land from the estates that they had appropriated as conquerors.

The Normans were a race inured to war and could hardly live without it, fierce in attacking enemies, and when force failed, always ready to use guile or to corrupt by bribery. They first colonised territory from Muslims in the Mediterranean one thousand miles away. In 1060 CE the Normans retook Sicily from the Muslims who had held it since 827 CE. The Normans played a part in the early stages of the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula, appearing at the siege of Barbastro in 1064 CE25 i.e. two years before the Norman Crusade of England.

In Normandy, the Church established centres of education and supplied kings, princes, dukes, etc with able men to run government. After all, the clergy formed a highly educated elite in Europe. They studied Latin grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy, physics and theology – which they regarded as the queen of sciences. Pope Sylvester 2nd (945-1003 CE) – the first French Pope was noted for his scholarly achievements and scientific learning. He wrote treatises on mathematical, philosophical and physical subjects and sanctioned the use of Arabic numerals in Western Europe i.e. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 replaced the impractical Roman numerals: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X. The concept of 0 i.e. zero did not exist in the Roman numbering system.

Crusading clerics
During the first half of the eleventh century the Norman Church gained a European-wide reputation for scholarship, capable of attracting other influential recruits such as scholars and clerics from throughout Europe and into Normandy along with soldiers. The new Church foundations in Normandy became centres of prestige, wealth, learning and spiritual excellence, and established a direct link with the great monasteries of Burgundy, northern Italy and Rome. Pupils from many countries were attracted there by its reputation for learning. Medicine was studied and practised, music and poetry cultivated and architecture revolutionised; new cathedrals and monastic churches built.

The most significant recruit was an Italian ecclesiastic and scholar called Lanfranc (circa 1005-89 CE) – a Benedictine monk. He was born of a noble family and would prove more important to the intellectual life of the times than any ruler. He was regarded as a magnificent scholar; a man of impressive learning; Europe’s leading scholar; with talents for diplomacy, administration and politics.

After studying and practising civil law in Pavia, Lanfranc went to Normandy, where he established a school at Avranches in 1039 CE. He taught there until 1042 CE, when he entered the Benedictine monastery at Bec, near Rouen. In 1045 CE, Lanfranc became its prior. There he founded a school that became known throughout Europe.

Lanfranc transformed an abbey at Bec from relative obscurity into one of the most famous monasteries in Europe. According to the historian Orderic Vitalis, almost all the monks at Bec were philosophers26. Bec would produce some notable clerics; one would become Pope and another three would become leading churchmen of England after the Norman Crusade of England in 1066 CE. They included:

– Lanfranc – ecclesiastical counsellor to the illiterate Duke William of Normandy. He became the first Norman archbishop of Canterbury after the Norman Crusade of England.

– Anselm of Lucca who later became Pope Alexander 2nd. This Pope granted indulgences to Spanish Christians to fight Muslims; sanctioning a crusade by the northern princes of the Iberian Peninsula. He also sent a legate called Hugo Candidus to the Iberian Peninsula to persuade Spanish Christians to give up the Islamic customs that they had adopted26. In addition, this Pope gave papal sanction to Duke William of Normandy to invade England.

– Anselm of Aosta, a formidable intellectual, theologian and philosopher of his age, who also become archbishop of Canterbury (after 1089 CE).

– Gandulf – a warrior churchman and later bishop of Rochester. He was the architect responsible for the Tower of London to overawe London. The Tower was amongst the largest structures of its kind in medieval Europe: 85ft high with 15ft thick base; and a place of misery for most Englishmen. He had a reputation as a military architect.

While at Bec, Lanfranc met Duke William of Normandy. Immediately they were attracted to one another and developed an intimate friendship to the eventual advantage of both. William formed his only deep and lasting friendship with Lanfranc. William venerated Lanfranc like a father, respected him like a master, cherished him as the equal of a brother or son. Lanfranc became counsellor to the illiterate William and acted as William’s ecclesiastical agent in developing and strengthening the episcopacy and forging it as a major tool of government. By appointing William’s nominees, such as his half-brother (same mother / different father), Odo as bishop of Bayeux in 1049 CE, Lanfranc was able to guarantee the allegiance of the Church to William and most importantly to his military campaigns.

Odo was made a bishop at the age of nineteen. He was a warrior bishop par excellence4; more of a soldier than a churchman; his appointment by William was a piece of flagrant nepotism. He was a master of shady politics – an unprincipled man, and the most militant of churchmen4. As one of William’s most trusted magnates4, Bishop Odo provided William with one hundred ships to invade England. Odo even aspired to become Pope raising an army to go to Rome in 1082 CE33. Fortunately for Muslims, he died at Palermo, on his way to the First Crusade in 1097 CE4.

On a cold October morning in 1066 CE, the British Isles would be dragged into the brutish world of the Normans and forced European integration. Europe at the time was under the despotic rule of the Popes of Rome, as they sought to transform European society into a hotbed of militant Christianity in readiness for the forthcoming Crusades against Islam and Muslims.