In his Cairo speech, June 4, 2009, President Obama stated, that “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance.”
The President’s speech was conspicuous in its omission of certain details.
Civilization is indeed indebted to Islam for Europe’s Renaissance, because the Renaissance was a revival of interest in Greek art, architecture, sculpture and philosophy, brought about by Greeks fleeing the Islamic invasion of the Byzantine Empire.
It began in the year 1071, when Turkish Muslims defeated the Byzantine army at the Battle of Manzikert and proceeded to invade the Byzantine Empire, a part of which is today Turkey.
First Muslim Seljuk Turks, followed by Muslim Ottoman Turks, turned Byzantine Churches into mosques, melted church bells into cannons, leveled cities, dug up remains of Christian Saints and gave them to dogs.
In fact, civilization is indebted to Islam for Santa Claus, for in 1087, to prevent desecration, Christians moved the bones of Saint Nicholas, the generous 4th century Bishop of Myra, to Bari, Italy, thus introducing his gift-giving traditions to Western Europe.
Later Muslim Ottoman Turks took boys from Christian families and forced them into the Sultan’s service as janissary soldiers, and if they were handsome, into Muslim pederasty – “the sodomy of the Turks.”
To escape the Islamic invasion, Byzantine Greek scholars fled west to Florence, Italy, bringing with them their architecture, art, sculpture and philosophy, fueling Europe’s fascination with Greek culture.
This was called the “Renaissance,” which President Obama reminded Europeans they were indebted to Islam for.
Additionally, as Greeks fled west with their ancient manuscripts, scholars began translating the Bible not just from Latin, but from Greek – thus laying the groundwork for the Reformation, – so even Protestants are indirectly indebted to Islam for the Reformation.
In fact, the very concept of “Europe” was a result of Islamic invasion, as previously, Europe viewed itself as innumerable independent kingdoms.
“As a student of history,” President Obama did indeed acknowledge “civilization’s debt to Islam…paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance,” though his lack of detail hints of a little intentional ambiguity, or as it has been euphemistically called, “obamaguity.”
By W. Federer, ChristianWorldviewNetwork; excerpts, edited by Ellopos Blog. William J. Federer is author of What Every American Needs to Know About the Qur’an – A History of Islam & the United States.