Understanding Islam

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QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; Why do Islamic extremists hate us so much?

ANSWER: I have asked why is Russia our enemy when they are no longer communist, but nobody can answer that question. The response is usually, “They are Russian.” There is this same residual issue between Islam and Christianity in many circles that people cannot explain. The Turks effectively conquered Constantinople in 1453 and created the Ottoman Empire. Through different rulers, the objectives changed over the centuries. Sometimes the object was isolation and at other times it was conquest mode. This is true of the United States. The objectives change with administrations. Therefore, you cannot really label a people one way or the other.

The attempt to conquer Europe and the failure to take Vienna, which was was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1683 left a instinctive flavor in the mouths of Western leaders and forever made the Ottoman empire the enemy until they wiped it out in World War I. It took one Political Cycle of 224 years to complete the fall of the Ottoman empire, and the West therein laid the seeds for what we face today — the unintended consequences.

It was the West who installed power in the hands of various groups, including the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia. They were fighting an old enemy and did not comprehend the full scope of their nation building shifting the center of gravity in global Islam from the Turks to the Arabs. Both the Dutch and French attempted to prevent their Muslim subjects from deferring to the caliph of the Ottoman empire in their public prayers. It was the West who shifted the religious power from the Turks to the Arabs. That has resulted in the fragmentation of Islam where we have different groups with different interpretations and objectives.

This is really a consequence of those who run the military and their desire for nation building.