Frederick P. Isaac

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Articles and book information on Assyrian issues including contemporary history, experiences under Islamic rule, leadership and Assyrian aspirations to nationhood.


Indigenous Peoples

Under the Rule of Islam

 

by Frederick P. Isaac

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Islamisation of Historical Non-Muslim Figures

 

 

PART V

A DECEPTIVE IMAGE


The Modern Janissary or Mamluke
 

 

Janissaries or Mamlukes were Christian children and slaves raised in the Islamic faith and trained as special (Kamikaze) soldiers to protect the Turkish Sultan and his interests throughout the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan gave the Janissaries full authority in levying taxes. They were responsible to the Sultan and reported direct to him. They increased in manpower, grew in strength and became very powerful and influential. They were known for their notoriety, for their wheeling and dealing and blackmail. Other Janissaries of either gender were also used as domestic servants for the elite and as public janitors, doing menial work and running errands for their Turkish masters, especially the military corps. In times of war, the Janissaries were used by the Turkish armies as human shields in their attacks of enemy troops and invasion of enemy fortifications. The Turks used the Janissary as a dispensable commodity. Growing in manpower and military strength, the Ottoman Turks feared the Janissaries and decided to get rid of them. The Ottoman Government put the Janissaries to the sword en masse. Those that were spared the sword were dumped in Turkish colonies, spread throughout North Africa and the Balkans. Many Balkan Muslims are residues of the Janissary Mamlukes.

In the Abode of Peace, some Islamic governments appoint members from the non-Muslim indigenous national groups in high governmental posts by royal or republican decree. Like window dressing, they are appointed in high positions without any constitutional power, void of authority. They are only there as figureheads, occasionally sent on special missions to represent their governments on official matters of high importance. Yet, they lack the authority to make decisions on the same issues for which they have been sent to discuss.

Islamic governments display such Christian officials before the international community to dispel their fears and to demonstrate to the world that their method of assimilation of the natives with the Muslim society runs without a hitch. Like stationery items, Islamic governments requisition and use such Christians to serve their purpose and later dispense with them at will. Egyptian Boutros Ghali, Iraqi’ Tariq Aziz and ‘Palestinian’ Hanan Ashrawi are just a few. Such Christians have no option but to accept the offer or miss out on their career. They are obliged to overlook the interests and welfare of their Christian community for their own survival and sense of security. Christians who refuse to compromise their principles lose out. Many Christians immigrate rather than stay and live with humiliation.

Boutros Ghali, former United Nations Secretary General, (1992-96) is a Coptic Christian, not an Arab. The Coptic Christians trace their ethnic roots back to more than 2000 years to their Pharaonic ancestors. The Copts have their own native language, spoken and written. The Egyptian government defines the Copt as an Egyptian Arab. In fact, a Copt is an Egyptian Christian of Pharaonic ancestry. Copts are the indigenous people of Egypt. The Copts were there long before the invasion of Egypt by the Arabs and its conquest in 639 AD.

The Egyptian Government closed all schools of the Copts and banned their language. Later, they restricted their Coptic language to liturgical services only. The Egyptian government has totally replaced the Coptic language with Arabic. The Copts in Egypt conduct their sermons in Arabic and have since been officially categorized as Arabs. What Boutros Ghali needed to do, while in office, was show some concern to the sufferings of his Coptic people in Egypt and turn his attention to similar situations in other countries where ethnics are suffering from Islamic pressure under military and despotic regimes.

One of his priorities should have been to restore the rights of his own suppressed people in Egypt. They have been living under the yoke of the Islamic rule for over a millennium. During his term of office, Boutros Ghali evaded indigenous issues and his general viewpoint on the rights of indigenous Copts was obscure. He was pressured to follow the policy of his Arab masters.

Islamic policy is against the revival of cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Abode of Peace. For Boutros Ghali to empathize with them would have led to his retribution under the millet provision of the Islamic law. Boutros Ghali tagged along sheepishly as an obedient servant of his Arab Islamic overlords. His lack of enthusiasm and oblivion to indigenous issues was very disheartening. His slow performance, in general, did not warrant renewal of his office for a second term.

As a prelude to the efficiency of the United Nations, the Secretary General has a moral obligation to expose the inhumane treatment of the indigenous people, to help alleviate their sufferings by urging oppressive regimes to reform their constitutions. One of the main tasks of the Secretary-General is to encourage UN agencies to work for the restitution of the rights of the aggrieved on a par with other true democratic nations. Responsible persons holding such a high post should come to the rescue of people living under brutal regimes.

The indigenous people ceaselessly try, through their elders, to demand their basic rights but since they have no voice to represent them in their respective governments, they look up to the UN to alert the world to their sufferings. Without persistent pressure by the UN and the international community, dictatorial regimes will not respect the UN Charter by which they are bound. They will continually ignore the international laws in breach of all conventions. Alternatively, office of the UN Secretary General entitles him to play a more active role in pressuring such regimes to introduce constitutional reforms or force them to let go of the indigenous people and grant them some sort of autonomy. Unfortunately, the likes of Mr. Ghali are not shining examples in advocating basic human rights to the suppressed indigenous peoples.

Tariq Aziz, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, is Assyrian and not an Arab. To distinguish a member of the Assyrian Church of the East (ACE) from a Catholic, an Assyrian ACE is called Nestorian. The Assyrian Catholic is called Chaldean - Chaldean in this instance signifies a Christian denomination and not a nationality. (Chaldean implies a Catholic of Assyrian nationality with affiliation to the Papal Church). Tariq Aziz, distances himself from the Assyrian ‘Nestorian’ community. His Assyrian christened name is Mikhail Hanna Aziz of the northern village of Qaraqosh. He conceals his Assyrian nationality for his own selfish ends, self-promotion and false Arab nationalism under the banner of Al-Ba’ath Al-Arabi (Arab Resurrection).

Though he has retained some of his Assyrian characteristics, he has drifted into the mainstream of his immediate surroundings and lost much of his Assyrian heritage. His mother tongue is Assyrian and he speaks it fluently, yet he denies being of Assyrian origin and camouflages it because of his contentment with his achievement. He lacks the national pride in his genuine nationality and camouflages it because of his defeatism. Many such Christians in the Arab world, though eloquent, are but sham officers - a replica of the old Ottoman Janissary/Mamluke, either as a civil servant or member of the military corps.

Hanan Ashrawi is Special Adviser to the Palestinian Cabinet and Minister for Higher Education. Whenever a political issue develops and reaches a crisis point, she is thrown into the political arena as a spokesperson and joins the front line in street demonstrations in defence of the Palestinian cause, exposing her life to unnecessary risk.

Occasionally, Christian individuals participate in protest marches and long noisy processions. They walk alongside their Muslim partners, in full support of the slogans they carry, chanting with vehemence against the West. The reason behind such conduct lies in their background. Stretching one’s memory back into history, the image of the Janissary/Mamluke flashes past. Christian participation in such activities is orchestrated to ensure their survival in such a hostile environment, having nowhere else to go to escape the growing hostility against them. Usually such performances are the result of self-preservation rather than being sincerely spontaneous.

On other occasions, Christians are appointed as spokespersons to represent the Muslims at home and their communities abroad. They allow such enactments to give the world the impression that Christians in the Abode of Peace and War have the same rights and are equal in every respect. The truth of the matter is exactly the opposite. The Islamic government finds its state religion in conflict with the Christian faith and therefore considers the Christians at home untrustworthy to assume responsible posts. They live and function within restricted guidelines of their overlords. At home, they are kept away from sensitive posts, especially the police, military and diplomatic corps. Abroad, the Muslim leaders consider the Christian “Arabs” as their potential ally, to be used when the need arises. They maintain a relationship but it has a low profile with leaders of the Christian community.

Such Janissary/Mamluke persons are isolated from their Christian community, at home. They live within a very small social circle. They are pawns in the hands of their Muslim masters and are restricted in their views and actions. They are allowed to criticise the West but not their political opponents at home. They cannot openly serve and promote the interests and culture of their Christian community or advocate true democracy.

Listeners and viewers wonder with admiration as to why their Muslim sponsors themselves do not discuss such conflicting issues with the same conviction and vigour as their Christian counterparts. Going back into history, the Janissary/Mamluke comes to mind. To escape their choking environment and uncertain future, many Christians sadly forsake their ancestral homeland and seek refuge in Western countries rather than live a subservient life.

Christians that foster issues relevant to their culture and environment openly and boldly usually meet with a tragic end. Islamic governments have accused such proactive Christians either as communists, foreign agents, or working in the interest of foreign policies and evangelism.

 

 

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Islamisation of Historical Non-Muslim Figures

 

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