Conventional wisdom holds that the problems brought by Islam to its own adherents and to non-Muslims alike, can only be mitigated through a reformation similar to that which occurred in Christianity beginning in the 16th century. However, the fundamentalist “back to scripture” radical Wahhabi sect is the closest modern Islamic analogue to the Protestant Reformation. And that is certainly not what is meant when the call for reformation is discussed. This chapter contains an outline of those movements in Islamic history which, in one sense or another, have attempted to reform Islam.
These separatists, responsible for the assassination of the caliph Ali, viewed “with hostile eyes the political developments occurring behind the scenes among the Moslem leaders” and “concluded that the only sure way of getting the right caliph was to let the whole Moslem world” participate in his election. “It was natural that these fierce puritans” should be slaughtered by the Umayyads. Thus, Kharijitism represented a reaction by Arab grass roots warriors against an increasingly remote ruling elite. They embodied the early spirit of tribal “republicanism” against increasing autocracy. Despite the religious fanaticism of this early Wahhabi like group, they in some sense represent the last significant political activity of the free Bedouin spirit.
In the first centuries following the Arab conquests, increasing numbers of non-Arab converts embraced Islam bringing with them their Hellenistic outlook. Thus, there were spawned within early Islam several movements influenced by pre-Islamic philosophy and theology. The Mu’tazilites “took it for granted that the theological doctrines … were subject to rational testing. Their reading of translations of works of Greek philosophy made it seem to them a foregone conclusion that no doctrine could be true which did not survive such a test.” However, despite a period of support from certain more enlightened rulers, Mu’tazilism could not withstand the inevitable Islamic reaction. Although “the Mu’tazilites did manage to teach the orthodox theologians the value of using a rational method of exposition, the weight of opinion turned against them and the 10th century saw their school come to an end.”
The Qadarites were another briefly flourishing movement influenced by pre-Islamic Greek ideas. They “represent a reaction against the harsh predestinarianism of Islam … and betray Christian Greek influence.”
Following the political dispute leading to Shi’ism, a number of extremist Shi’ite sects emerged which presented a challenge to Islamic orthodoxy. These radical Shi’ite mystical movements posed a more enduring attack on orthodox Islam than their rationalist opposites were able to do. These groups often embodied an anti-Arab reaction and a reassertion of Mesopotamian and Persian national aspirations.
Ismail, the first son of the sixth Imam, accused of drunkenness was barred from the succession. His followers, the Ismailites or Seveners remained loyal. They believe that Ismail never died but would return as the Mahdi. “In their fervid belief, Ismail was the very incarnation of God himself, and would soon return.” Interpreting the Koran allegorically, they “arrived at an esoteric, hidden doctrine, which was so heretical that they spread it to others only through secret missionary activity.”
The Qarmatians were a radical Ismailite offshoot that in the 9th century established a state on the western shore of the Persian Gulf in defiance of the Abbasid caliphate. “Before they finally fell, the Qarmatians set a record of a century of revolutionary violence and bloodshed – all at bottom a kind of vengeance of the Persians upon the Arabs … a vengeance disguised … as religious obedience to the will of a divine Imam descended from Muhammad.”
Another violent offshoot of the Ismailites was the famous “Assassins” who specialized in political terrorism directed against both Muslims and Crusaders. They now survive as a rather more peaceful sect, half of whose members “have acknowledged as their rightful heads a fabulous line of Khans” including the famous Agha Khan.
Of all the existing Muslim sects, none evokes as much hopeful admiration on the part of non-Muslims as the contemplative and relatively tolerant Sufis. They softened the hard edges of legalistic Islam; many Sufi masters and disciples attempted to humanize Islam’s remote and implacable deity. Sufism’s vaunted tolerance may be due, in part, to its being a continuance in Islamic guise of older mystical traditions. The modern Sufi popularizer, Idries Shah, contends that Sufism, in a variety of forms long predated the Muslim conquest. “The breakup of the old order in the Near East, according to Sufi tradition, reunited the ‘beads of mercury’ which were the esoteric schools operating in the Egyptian, Persian and Byzantine empires into the ‘stream of quicksilver’ which was intrinsic, evolutionary Sufism.” Thus, the Sufi “innovation” was a result of the same cross cultural fertilization that resulted in a temporary renaissance of science and technology in the early Muslim empires.
Sufism embodied a number of non-Islamic influences. Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, Buddhism, and Hinduism provided Sufism with its philosophical foundations. Christian monasticism gave the Sufis a model for organization. Theosophical and pantheistic thought was incorporated into Sufi teachings.
Christian teachings influenced Sufism to such an extent that many early Sufis were regarded by orthodox Muslims as crypto-Christians. Besides an almost unseemly affection for the prophet Jesus, the veneration of saints characterized many Sufi orders “especially … in places where Christians … embraced Islam more or less superficially.” Such saint worship was in direct conflict with Koranic doctrine. Moreover, the “Sufi eschatological traditions with their Antichrist suggest that the fraternities found many recruits among those newly converted to Islam from the older forms of monotheism.” The first great Sufi mystic was Ma’ruf al-Karkhi who before embracing Islam was either a Christian or from the closely related Sabian sect; the Sabians or Mandaeans claimed John the Baptist as their prophet. Another famous early Sufi mystic was “dhu-al-Nun (Man of the fish) al-Misri (the Egyptian), of Nubian parents who died … in 860.” At that time since Nubia was still a Christian land it is likely that al-Misri was also a convert.
The influence of Zoroastrianism, like Christianity, manifested itself in the saint-worship condemned by the orthodox. One famous early Persian Sufi was al-Bistani (ca. 875) whose grandfather was a Zoroastrian priest.
Sufi mystical and meditative practices show great similarity to those practiced by Hindu yogis. Buddhist teachings were another school of thought originating in India that was adopted by certain Sufi schools. Al-Bistani, in addition to Zoroastrian influences, brought certain Buddhist doctrines into Sufi thought. “The Aghani has preserved for us at least one portrayal of an unmistakable Buddhistic view of life.” The Persian al-Bistani, grandson of a Magian, “probably introduced the doctrine of fana, self-annihilation ... a reflection of Buddhist Nirvana." In addition, the school established by an early Sufi of Central Asia, ibn Adham, had “features reminiscent of the asceticism of Buddhist monks.”
Since Buddhism was an alien and non-monotheistic religion, those Sufis studying Buddhist ideas were more likely to run afoul of the ulema than were those who stayed with more familiar Christian or Zoroastrian ideas. Noss observes that “a few mystics were not theists. They substituted the realm of truth for Allah; and when the Buddhist influences penetrated Iraq, the Sufis there moved perilously close to atheism … These and others among the more extreme Sufis were recognized by the Orthodox Moslems as heretics.”
At a later time, the Sufism practiced in Anatolia combined Christian teachings with more primitive strains. In Turkey “besides inheriting the old religions of Asia Minor the dervish orders … have preserved the traces of shamanism which the early Turks brought with them from Central Asia.” Sufism in Anatolia also evinced the very opposite tendency. Greek philosophical notions existed alongside the more primal Central Asian shamanism. The famous Bektashi “was a missionary, semiheretical order with Neoplatonic tendencies toward pantheism and mysticism” and “used wine frankly as a means to spiritual intoxication.” Their heretical doctrine that was probably most shocking to the orthodox was the unprecedented equality they gave to women.
Syncretism was the inevitable result of the many methods and beliefs that Sufism adopted from other religions and philosophies. This was particularly evident in newly conquered Anatolia. The account of the funeral of the great Sufi saint Rumi “indicates quite clearly that a powerful process of religious syncretism was in dynamic motion by which Christians and Jews were accommodating themselves to this particular Muslim religious fraternity. The very syncretism and mutual accommodation of dervishes and Christians would eventually result in the absorption of a great many Christians through conversion.”
In general, Sufism is strongest in those areas where ancient pre-Islamic cultural traits are best preserved. The Sufis continue “to uphold the validity of personal religious response, intuition, the practices of their religious orders, and reverence for sainted leaders. This is true especially in the non-Arab areas and particularly among the Berbers, Persians and Turks.” However, Sufism has always been and remains to this day under relentless attack from the champions of orthodoxy. “But even the Sufis have been chastened by Wahhabi puritanism and orthodoxy; in fact they have abandoned many a practice to which they were once devoted.”
A long history of Sufi martyrs attests to the pressure brought to bear by the forces of orthodoxy. The Persian al-Hallaj was executed in 922 for having declared ‘I am the truth’. “His crucifixion made him the great Sufi martyr.” A later Sufi martyr, al-Suhrawardi, was executed in 1191 at the behest of the normally tolerant Saladin. Apparently, the forbearance of that great Muslim ruler could not extend to someone whose “impassioned prayer” with Neo-Platonic and Christian elements, was regarded by the orthodox as apostasy. A later powerful ruler, Mehmed the Conqueror was unable to save his Persian dervish friend who was burned at the stake by a fanatical crowd instigated by the Mufti. Shortly afterward, the Persian savant’s heretical followers were also slaughtered.
One of the most renowned of the Sufi masters was more fortunate, but still barely escaped with his life. Ibn El-Arabi, (ca 1200) despite his outward conformity to Islamic norms was “accused of heresy and worse in Egypt. He narrowly escaped an attempt by a fanatic to murder him.”
The history of Sufi persecution demolishes one other myth which passes as conventional wisdom; that being the contention that the official execution of heretics originated under Christianity. As Darlington observes heretics “were crucified by sultans before they were burnt by popes; the first Sufi to die was Al-Hallaj in Baghdad in A.D. 922; and 500 years later there was Badr el-Din” who in 1420 was executed in Konya.
Many Sufi savants and sects eventually accommodated themselves to the implacable forces of orthodox Islam, thereby deflecting persecution. There arose, therefore, what may be termed the other face of Sufism; Sufism has its dark sides. Some Sufi masters with their followers reconciled their mystical doctrines with those of orthodox Islam. Other Sufi sects went beyond simply conforming to theological orthodoxy. Sufis have been generally pacific in contrast to the violent mystical Shi’ite sects. However, certain Sufi sects fully embraced and even exceeded the bellicosity characteristic of Islam in general.
Al-Ghazali was the principal figure who began the redirection of the mystical energies diverted to Sufism into the service of orthodox Islamic scholarship. The masterpiece of this one-time Sufi mystic was Ihya Ulam al-Din. “The mysticism of this work vitalized the law, its orthodoxy leavened the doctrine of Islam.” Fundamentally he “employed Greek dialectic to found a pragmatic system and made philosophy palatable to the orthodox school of theologians.” Furthermore, in Hitti’s view, the “scholastic shell constructed by al-Ash’ari and al-Ghazzali has held Islam to the present day” while western Christendom succeeded in breaking through its own version of scholasticism. However, as shown in a previous chapter the inability of Islam to advance appears to be more fundamental than that of being enclosed in a scholastic shell. As Spencer puts it:
Al-Ghazali’s masterwork heralded the beginning of the decline of Islamic philosophy … Although al-Ghazali himself probably would have disapproved … The Incoherence of the Philosophers helped reinforce an anti-intellectual strain of thought that was present in Islam from the beginning.
Nevertheless, despite his mystical leanings and his ending the period of creative Islamic philosophy, al-Ghazali became one of the most acclaimed authorities in theology and law. “So successful was this heretic in becoming the virtual father of the Moslem church, that even the most orthodox still call him by the highest academic title known, the Authority of Islam.”
Furthermore, al-Ghazali’s attitude toward holy war illustrates that not all Sufis were pacific contemplatives:
Indeed, even al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the famous theologian, philosopher, and paragon of mystical Sufism, (who, as noted by the great scholar of Islam W.M. Watt, has been ‘…acclaimed in both the East and West as the greatest Muslim after Muhammad…”), wrote the following about jihad:
‘…one must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year...one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them...If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book – Jews and Christians, typically] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…One may cut down their trees...One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide...they may steal as much food as they need...’
It was among the Turks that the idea of the warrior Sufi attained its highest development. The ghazis of Anatolia, following the collapse of the Seljuk state were reinforced by “‘holymen,’ sheikhs and dervishes of an unorthodox Moslem persuasion … and who rekindled Turkish enthusiasm for war against the infidel.” A.E. Vacalopoulos also notes the importance of Sufis both in participating in jihad and in inciting Seljuk and Ottoman ghazis to embark on further conquests:
...fanatical dervishes and other devout Muslim leaders…constantly toiled for the dissemination of Islam. They had done so from the very beginning of the Ottoman state and had played an important part in the consolidation and extension of Islam. These dervishes were particularly active in the uninhabited frontier regions of the east. Here they settled down with their families, attracted other settlers, and thus became the virtual founders of whole new villages, whose inhabitants invariably exhibited the same qualities of deep religious fervor. From places such as these, the dervishes or their agents would emerge to take part in new military enterprises for the extension of the Islamic state. In return, the state granted them land and privileges under a generous prescription which required only that the land be cultivated and communications secured.
Under the Ottomans one of the most important dervish orders, the Bektashi, was particularly “noted for its connection with the Janissaries.” However, despite their co-option by orthodox Islam, in some Sufis, even among the militant Bektashis, unconventional views regarding jihad could still be found. One dervish in 1690 went among Ottoman troops on the eve of battle calling them fools for believing in the heavenly rewards promised to jihadists. The story “reflects a widespread suspicion of the dervish orders” and the questioning on the part of the orthodox clergy of Sufism’s commitment to basic Islamic doctrine.
Heretical Muslim Sects
Some sects have embraced such eccentric theological views that they are regarded by many of the more conventional Muslims as, not merely heretics, but apostates. These sects often provide an expression of the submerged national feelings of peoples conquered by Muslim invaders. Shi’ism has been the source of many of these heretical and apostate movements. Some of these extremist Shi’ite sects are Takhtajis, Qizil-bash and Bektashis of Turkey and the Ali-deifiers of Persia and Turkestan. These sects along with Nusayris, Assassins, Druses and Qarmatians are considered beyond the pale of mainstream Islam even by more conventional Shiites. Some of these Shi’ite sects, like the Sufis, have adopted many doctrines from Christianity. In fact, at least one of these mystical sects, the Bektashi is sometimes regarded as a Sufi fraternity instead of as an independent Shi’ite sect (see above). Other sects add syncretistic elements from Buddhism, Hinduism and shamanism.
The Nusayris or Alawites, “followers of ibn-Nusayr present a remarkable example of a group passing directly from paganism to Isma’ilism.” They “consider Ali the incarnation of the deity”, possess a liturgy and celebrate a number of Christian festivals particularly that of Christmas and Easter.
Another extreme Shi’ite manifestation is represented by the Druses. These began as an “Ismailite sect which originated from the adulation given to the mad Fatimid caliph, Hakim al Mansur, … by two of his ministers, who declared him to be a return in the flesh of the hidden Imam, and in fact an incarnation of God himself.”
The Ahmadiya, another movement with strong syncretistic elements, regarded as distinctly heretical by the orthodox, was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who at the end of the 19th century proclaimed himself both Messiah and avatar of the Hindu god Krishna. “But he remained a Moslem in the sense that he said he was not a prophet in himself but only in and through Muhammad.” Ahmad rejected the concept of holy war and his followers are both pacifists and “ardent missionaries.” The Lahore splinter branch has returned to the Moslem fold by rejecting Ahmad’s extreme claims, although they still revere him as a “genuine renewer of religion.”
Several religions were founded with certain marked Islamic influences, but are to such a large extent combined with other religious doctrines that they have transcended Islam altogether. Sikhism is a syncretistic religion combining elements of Hinduism and Islam. Sikhism had its start with certain reformers of Hinduism who appeared in India and whose “recurrent efforts of reform were the indirect effects of the severe and militant monotheism of the Moslems.” One such was Kabir (1440-1518) who “caught from the Moslems their hatred of idols.” Adopting monotheism “he declared that the love of God was sufficient to free anyone of any class or race from the Law of Karma.” Kabir was followed by Nanak (1469 – 1538) whose doctrine was “an attempt to combine the insights of two widely differing faiths.” He “called his God the True Name, because he meant to avoid any delimiting name … like Allah, Rama, Shiva or Ganesha.” He also removed the Hindu proscription against meat eating.  Moreover, although Nanak’s sect began as both contemplative and pacific, “yet it was the singular fate of the religion … to change with the years into a vigorously activist political faith.” Under the impetus of Islamic persecution there developed “in full strength a military ardor, a self dedication to the arbitrament of the sword.”
Bahaism, a syncretistic offshoot of Ismailism became, like Sikhism, a separate faith. The Persian Mirza Ali Muhammad, calling himself Bab-ud-Din proclaimed that his mission “was to prepare the way for a greater than himself who should come after him and complete the work of reform and righteousness which he had begun.” Bab-ud-Din was executed as a heretic in 1850. The next leader, who took the name of Baha‘u’Llah, was imprisoned by the Turks. The Bahais “call upon all religions to unite, for every religion contains some truth.”
Prospects for Reform
There are, thus, severe impediments to Islamic reform. Following the example of the early Protestants by returning to scriptural roots leads to the rise of fundamentalist sects, such as Wahhabism which are even more fanatically committed to warlike and repressive doctrines. On the other hand, attempts at doctrinal reform seem destined to failure. The movements established by such reformers have either been forced to accommodate themselves to Sunni or Shi’ite orthodoxy, or else have been formally ejected from the main body of Islam as apostasies.
Some of the most troublesome aspects of Islam are deeply embedded within the Islamic meme and, therefore, are very difficult to reform. These include the violence inherent in the doctrine of jihad, the sexual ideology depending on the oppression of women and the intolerance inherent in the doctrine of Muslim supremacy and destiny. There is also the attitude toward labor, the stifling of initiative and innovation and the intellectual atrophy resulting from fatalism, parasitism and slavery. All of these are the very factors responsible for Islam’s historical success and growth. Consequently, they have become crystallized in Islamic culture and are, thus, extraordinarily difficult to uproot or to drastically modify.
Perhaps what is needed as a prerequisite of real reform is a raising of consciousness among the masses in the territories conquered by Arabs and their Turkish or Mogul successors which would lead them to embrace with pride the buried and suppressed achievements of their pre-Islamic ancestors. It may be necessary for Muslims to recognize and mourn for the oppression, enslavement, rape and indignities that one fraction of their ancestors imposed on the greater part, often the overwhelmingly greater part, of their ancestral lineage. Secularism and the political disestablishment of Islam would necessarily follow. As Warraq puts it:
…this process of historical education … would lead to a much needed broadening of the intellectual life, a deeper tolerance for other ways of life, a simple expansion of historical knowledge that has remained so limited and narrow. Greater knowledge of the pre-Islamic past can only lead to the lessening of fanaticism. … The ideas of change and continuity will also have to become a part of the Muslim’s consciousness if Muslim societies are to move forward – this will only occur with the recognition of the pre-Islamic past…
Thus far there has been only one Muslim nation, Turkey, where such a program has achieved any real success. Even there, the failure of the Kemalist elite to fully acknowledge their own history and to disestablish Islam in the village culture of Anatolia, may be leading to an Islamic revival. Other secularizing movements, usually established by dictators, have recognized the regressive nature of orthodox Islam on economic and social development. However, the modern personality cults of despots, even fairly benevolent ones like Ataturk, and the superficialities of certain secular elements within the governing and intellectual elite have not, so far, been sufficient for major and lasting reform.
The promoters of change have often recognized that a return to pre-Islamic roots is an essential condition for removing the debilitating effects of Islam. Ataturk and less palatable secularizers like Saddam or Nasser have attempted to undermine Islam by returning to an older pre-Islamic substrate as the basis of a new nationalism. So Ataturk emphasized the Hittite ancestry of the Anatolian Turks; of course he conveniently ignored the more important Greek ancestry because the Greeks were regarded as the current enemy. The Shah held a massive party to celebrate the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. Nasser decorated Cairo with replicas of colossal Egyptian statuary. Saddam fancied himself the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar who will, literally, rebuild Babylon. These attempts to uproot and minimize the effects of Islam have, for a number of reasons, seen rather mixed results.
One of the problems with such attempts at reform is that the reformers have always held back from fully acknowledging their history and have been unwilling to confront Islamic attitudes that are firmly rooted in rural villages or urban souks. Thus, the Turks have embraced and mythologized the quite remote history of the Hittites, even claiming against all evidence that the latter were an offshoot of the Central Asian Turkish “sun” people. At the same time, they reject their much more recent Greco-Roman, Byzantine and Armenian heritage. They even refuse to acknowledge their recent history of genocide against Armenian Christians, or their ethnic cleansing of the numerous Greek speaking population of Anatolia which occurred shortly thereafter.
The failures of other secularizing despots have been even greater. Saddam might have seen himself as leading the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar and Nasser may have thought of himself as carrying on the ancient tradition of the Pharaohs, but neither of them were willing to discard all of the old Arab and Muslim resentments against the western powers and against Christians and Jews. The late Shah may have viewed himself as successor to the ancient Persian emperors, but he was unwilling to accommodate himself to more liberal secular forces and, thereby, helped to bring his radical Shi’ite enemies to power.
Erasure of the pre-Islamic past occurred in almost all conquered lands. It is noteworthy that Muslim peoples, with the partial exception of the Persians, have a singular lack of curiosity regarding the pre-Islamic traditions of their ancestors. This distinguishes Islam from the other supra-national proselytizing religions, Christianity and Buddhism. While the path was sometimes indirect, the last two religions ultimately came to terms with the pre-existing civilizations in the lands in which they triumphed. Islam, however,
…adamantly required conquered people to scorn their own past and love their Islamic Arab conquerors by striving to imitate them. More importantly, the Koran is written in Arabic and Islam's sacred places, Mecca and Medina, are in Arabia. It was clear that the conquered and newly converted had to accept the primacy of the Arabic language, Arabic values and above all Arabia itself.
Thus, it may be said that the “vanquished were ‘culturally disemboweled,’ condemned to the enforced psychosis of renouncing their old and highly developed identities for a crude and violent desert blueprint that regulated the minutest details of their lives.”
Iran was the one great exception to this almost complete erasure of the past. As we have seen, the Persians at a very early time endeavored mightily to preserve their national consciousness and even succeeded to a small degree in using Islam as a means of reasserting their culture. Thus, the efforts made by the modern dynasty of Shahs are consistent with the history of Iran under Islam. Bassi describes these efforts as follows:
There have been times when Iran has dared to remember its past. In 1926, Reza Khan was crowned the first Pahlavi King of Iran and as part of his reforms he made it clear that he regarded Islam as a foreign imposed faith that should not determine Iran’s identity. As part of his attack on Islam, Reza Khan connected his new Iran with the ancient Zoroastrian past. The Farsi language was purged of Arabic words, architecture began to take inspiration from ancient Achaemenian styles and schoolbooks were re-written to enhance an Iranian identity. Cities were renamed with Iranian names, parents were encouraged to give Iranian, and not Arabic, names to their children. In 1935 Persia itself was replaced with Iran, as it was known in the days of Cyrus the Great. These reforms were of course reversed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
However, these “attempts to restore Persian national pride met only bewilderment and anger. … Rather than evoke pride, this past greatness inspired contempt, as the creation of infidel predecessors.” There is one notable exception to the trashing of ancient Iranian history by fanatical Shi’ites. Even the latter still maintain and cultivate the ancient anger and resentment against the West that goes back to Alexander’s invasion and the wars with the Romans.
Iranian Shi’ites reversal of the reforms of the Pahlavi dynasty has been matched by a more general fundamentalist reaction against modern secularism; a reaction often directed against the pre-Islamic artifacts cherished by secular nationalists. One example is that of the Pakistani militants who want to use the archaeological site of Mohenjo-Daro, not as a celebration of the achievements of their ancestors, but as a “teaching opportunity” for the truth of Islam triumphing over barbaric idolaters. Even the secular Turks are not exempt from a desire to uproot pre-Islamic culture; in Cyprus “Muslims attempted to use the fourth century monastery of San Makar as a hotel.” In Libya Tripoli’s Catholic cathedral was recently converted into a mosque. In Afghanistan there was, of course the destruction of the famous Bamiyan Buddhas.
However, for most of Muslim history it was neglect and indifference that played the most significant role in the erasure of the past. The actions of the Ottoman authorities are illustrative. These include the use of the Parthenon as an ammunition storage depot. There was also the permission granted by various Turkish authorities to Europeans to dismantle and export archaeological treasures in exchange for relatively small payments or bribes.
Thus, a true hope for Islamic reforms must wait for actions such as the following throughout most of the Muslim world. One such action might be for a future Iranian regime to resume the secular reforms begun by the Shahs, albeit under more democratic auspices. Another would be for Turkey to acknowledge its Greek and Armenian cultural and genetic heritage. Only by accepting the Hellenic heritage common to western civilization can the Turkish elite truly reach their long desired goal of becoming modern Europeans. The Turks would also do well to acknowledge their past history of jihad, persecution and genocide, and integrate these into their modern national consciousness. Still another such action would be for Egyptians to truly embrace their great past and reject the parochial calls of fanatical Muslim scholars. At the same time they would do well to recognize the Coptic minority as the purest embodiment of that past and cease the persecution to which that group is still subjected. Similarly, true reform can only be achieved in Iraq when all persecution of the Assyrian and Chaldean Christians ceases. Also, reform in Pakistan can only come about with the recognition of their past as part of Indian civilization and an end to discrimination against Hindus and other minorities.
Another requirement for reform would be acknowledging the truth of Islamic history on the part of both Muslim and Western scholars. The next chapter examines some of the myths about that history which are widely believed and disseminated.
 Noss, Man’s Religions, p. 747.
 Ibid, p. 748.
 Ibid, p. 750.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 245.
 Noss, Man’s Religions, pp. 765-66.
 Ibid, p. 766.
 Ibid, p. 767.
 Idries Shah, The Sufis, Garden City, NY, Anchor Books, 1971, p. 35.
 Noss, Man’s Religions, pp. 753-54.
 Ibid, p. 769.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 433.
 Ibid, pp. 434-35.
 Noss, Man’s Religions, p. 769.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 435.
 Frye, The Heritage of Central Asia, p. 228.
 Noss, Man’s Religions, pp. 754-55.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, pp. 437-38.
 Muller, The Loom of History, p. 282.
 Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, p. 391.
 Noss, Man’s Religions, p. 772.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 435.
 Ibid, p. 439.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 90.
 Shah, The Sufis, p. 163.
 Darlington, The Evolution of Man and Society, p. 346.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 432.
 Chapter 11: The Parasitic Civilization.
 Spencer, Islam Unveiled, pp. 122-23.
 Shah, The Sufis, p.167.
 Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad in Palestine, FrontPageMagazine.com, December 7, 2004.
 Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries, p. 19.
 Quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, Eurabia’s Morass Elicits Mythical “Solutions”, American Thinker, November, 24, 2005.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 432.
 Lewis, The Middle East, p. 238.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 449.
 Ibid, pp. 448-49.
 Noss, Man’s Religions, p. 770.
 Ibid, pp. 775-76.
 Ibid, p. 311.
 Ibid, p. 315.
 Ibid, p. 317.
 Ibid, p. 776.
 Warraq, Why I Am Not a Muslim, p. 207.
 Paolo Bassi, The Iranian Identity Crisis: Islam v. Iranian Identity.
 Trifkovic, The Sword of the Prophet, p. 90.
 Bassi, The Iranian Identity Crisis: Islam v. Iranian Identity.
 Spencer, Islam Unveiled, pp. 125-26.
 Ibid, p. 173.