Tuesday, January 10, 2006

France pays homage to Islam

Who was the first man to claim that the “French are also sincere Muslims”? Who attempted to bring forth the Arabs to rise up in harmony with the French to aid the French in their opposition to the Anglo-Saxons? No not de Villepin, and his lachrymose prose but his great hero, Napoleon Bonaparte.
In an extended doctoral thesis that became a book, “Edge of Empire,” published last August, Maya Janasoff, now assistant professor of British history at the University of Virginia, brings us to the attention of the behavior of Napoleon when he set out to conquer Egypt. I commented upon the review below.
It must first be remembered that his purposes in attacking Egypt were to strangle Britain’s commerce and thus facilitate the invasion of England. Indeed when his troops left Toulon on France’s Mediterranean coast he called them “one of the wings of the army of Angleterre.”
Having overthrown the conquered Malta and thrown out the Knights who had guarded it against all comers, (particularly non Christian all comers) for the previous 500 years he set sail on his flagship the L’Orient. This ship that was soon to be turned into flaming matchsticks by Admiral Nelson at the Battle of the Nile, housed what was to become Egypt’s first Arabic printing press. The first document to be printed on it was to become known as Napoleon’s “Proclamation to the Egyptians.” These are extracts translated, from the contemporary Egyptian historian, Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti by Dr Saladin Boustany, now director of the Al Arab publishing house in Cairo.
“O Egyptians! You have been told that I have come to this land with the intention of eradicating you religion. But that is a clear lie; do not believe it…. I… worship God, glory be to him, and respect his prophet and the great Quran… O you shaykhs, judges, imams, jurbaiyya, and leading men of the country that the French are also sincere Muslims.”
In evidence for this sincerity he goes on, the French “entered Rome and destroyed the throne of the Pope, who had always urged Christians to combat Islam. Then they marched to Malta, whence they expelled the knights, who claimed that God, exalted is He, sought of them that they fight the Muslims…”
According to another eyewitness he topped and tailed the proclamation with the immortal and significant phrase, “God is great and Mohammed is a prophet." According to Islam to say that, is to become a Muslim. In their eyes he was converting to Islam by that very proclamation, and by the tone of the proclamation he was doing it for the whole of France. Indeed one of his generals, Jacques ‘Abdallah’ Menou did convert and Bonaparte promised the conversion of the entire army (with the provisos that they were to be allowed to continue drinking wine and could keep their foreskins). None of this convinced the Caliph in Constantinople or many locals who launched a Fatwa against the French.
Napoleon no doubt thought that he was very clever, trying to bring the Muslim world out in opposition to the British, but first his defeat of the Egyptians, then his pandering to them is seen across the Muslim world as the spark that lit the first stirrings of Pan Arab nationalism and the growth of militant Islam. One last thing, as all this was happening it is reported that a holy man was wandering around the streets of Cairo who claimed a vision in which Mohammed met up with Destiny. Mohammed was raging that the French were all over Egypt, but Destiny was able to calm him, “console yourself, I have decided that these conquerors will become Muslims.


Anonymous said...

European Parliament suspends top official suspected of corruption
10.01.2006 - 09:51 CET | By Lisbeth Kirk

The European Parliament has suspended the head of its buildings directorate unit in Brussels, Pierre Parthoens, writes German magazine Stern.

The move comes because the Belgian top official did not inform the parliament that he is under investigation for corruption charges in his previous job.

The corruption case is now appearing in a Belgian court in the city of Liege, where Mr Parthoens faces a possible sentence of four years in prison.

He and 12 others stand accused of bribing Belgian officials in relation to the building of a highway tunnel.

Mr Parthoens is the main suspect in the case. He does not deny the charges, but claims to have acted on the order of his former - and now deceased - boss.

"I did not have the courage to say no," he said, according to Stern.

Mr Parthoens started working for the European Parliament in June 1993 as a project manager before finding employment as an official in 1998.

The name Pierre Parthoens has also popped up in relation to irregularities while he has been working for the EU.

The European anti-fraud office (OLAF) has twice shelved investigations involving the Belgian official, according to the German magazine.

A confidential note dated 31 January 2002 linked Mr Parthoens to possible exaggerated payments to companies involved in the building of a new domicile for the European Parliament in Brussels, writes Stern.

But OLAF chief Franz-Hermann Bruner decided to stop the case after a face-to-face meeting with Mr Parthoens, according to the magazine.

Mr Parthoens also came under the spotlight in March 2002 when financial controllers questioned a payment of €30,000 into his account. The official claimed the right to have the additional pay after moving his residence to Luxembourg.

The administrator responsible in the parliament said the payment was justified, even though Mr Parthoens had no more than 15 days of work in Luxembourg during one year.

Stern quoted from an internal note of the OLAF supervisory committee, according to which OLAF had conducted a "fake investigation" into the matter.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the irrelevant post above - but I have no other way of alerting you to this!

All the best,


Elaib said...

How unlike Mr Bruner.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, the man seems to be an expert at shelving. Must get him to help me with my shelving.

by the way,

the Stern article by Tillack and one other (see www.stern.de) on which the EUObserver Report is based is, apparently, to those close to me who can read german, a fascinating account of the EP's buildings policy in Brussels. Well worth close examination.

See you Thursday or Friday!