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TURKEY : THE BLIGHT OF ASIA
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THE KORAN AND THE BIBLE
THE peculiar state of mind which has enabled the Turk to commit outrages on humanity that have shocked and insulted the entire race have been due to three things: his own nature, the teachings of the Koran and the example of the Prophet. This is what Gladstone means when he speaks of the "combination of his nature and his religion."
This is better understood when we take into consideration that other branches of the Mohammedans have made great contributions to the progress and culture of the world. The Arabs have distinguished themselves in architecture, science, poetry, art and letters. It is the opinion of that distinguished churchman, Canon William Barry, expressed in an article in "The Nineteenth Century and After" for August, 1919, that other Moslems should repudiate the Turk and his outrages. Canon Barry says:
"Wise Moslems, instead of being stirred up in defense of a system condemned by history and experience, should be led to perceive in the Turk, not any ‘Bulwark of Islam,’ but a stain upon their civilization, a lapse from the glory of their illustrious Caliphs, a scandal and a weakness not to be endured any more."
In support of this, one has only to hark back to the splendid days of Bagdad and Cordova. In the days of Haroun al Raschid, Bagdad was renowned as the greatest city in the world, a center of refinement, learning and art. This monarch is described as having gathered about him a brilliant company of poets, jurists, learned men and wits. That civilization has left behind one classic, which has immortalized it—even though it naively treats of a monarch who had a new wife every night whose head he cut off in the morning.
But here we have the same old story: Bagdad fell into insignificance after it came under the sway of the Turks; and at the time of its final capture in 1638 by the Sultan Murad IV, that monarch massacred most of its inhabitants, contrary to the terms of capitulation.
The Moors have left behind them in Spain monuments of architecture, which are to this day a delight to the world; we have only to cite the Mosque—now the Cathedral—at Cordova, and the Alhambra of Grenada. The famous Algebra of Omar Khayyαm was written in Arabic and many contributions to science and literature have first appeared in that language. The Arab of Africa is described by travelers as the noblest specimen, physically, of the human race, and even the casual tourist who has touched at Algiers, has confirmed this fact by observation of the men in its streets. The difference, mentally, between the Arab and the Turk, is thus depicted by Buckhardt:
"The Arab displays his manly character when he defends his guest at the peril of his own life and submits to the reverses of fortune, to disappointment and distress with the most patient resignation. He is distinguished from the Turk by the virtues of pity and gratitude. The Turk is cruel, the Arab is of a more kindly temper; he pities and supports the wretched and never forgets the generosity shown him even by an enemy."
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