Tag Archives: Balkans

Islam in Europe: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Islam in Europe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Islam gained its first foothold in continental Europe in 711 with the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. They advanced into France but in 732, were defeated by the Franks at the Battle of Tours. Over the centuries the Umayyads were gradually driven south and in 1492 the Moorish Emirate of Granada surrendered to Ferdinand V and Isabella. Muslim civilians were expelled from Spain and by 1614 none remained.[2]

Islam entered Eastern and Southeastern Europe in what are now parts of Russia and Bulgaria in the 13th century. The Ottoman Empire expanded into Europe taking portions of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries. Over the centuries, the Ottoman Empire also gradually lost almost all of its European territories, until its collapse in 1922. However, parts of the Balkans (such as Albania and Bosnia) continued to have a large populations of Muslims.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries substantial numbers of Muslims immigrated to Europe. By 2010 an estimated 44 million Muslims were living in Europe.

Islam in Europe
by percentage of country population[1]

 
 
FROM WIKIPEDIA: Islam in Europe

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Islam in Europe (click to enlarge)

Islam gained its first foothold in continental Europe in 711 with the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. They advanced into France but in 732, were defeated by the Franks at the Battle of Tours. Over the centuries the Umayyads were gradually driven south and in 1492 the Moorish Emirate of Granada surrendered to Ferdinand V and Isabella. Muslim civilians were expelled from Spain and by 1614 none remained.[2]

Islam entered Eastern and Southeastern Europe in what are now parts of Russia and Bulgaria in the 13th century. The Ottoman Empire expanded into Europe taking portions of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries. Over the centuries, the Ottoman Empire also gradually lost almost all of its European territories, until its collapse in 1922. However, parts of the Balkans (such as Albania and Bosnia) continued to have a large populations of Muslims.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries substantial numbers of Muslims immigrated to Europe. By 2010 an estimated 44 million Muslims were living in Europe.

Iberia and Southern France

 
A manuscript page of the Qur’an in the script developed in al-Andalus, 12th century.
Main articles: Al-Andalus and Moors

 
The Moors request permission from James I of Aragon, Spain, 13th century

Muslim forays into Europe began shortly after the religion’s inception, with a short lived invasion of Byzantine Sicily by a small Arab and Berber force that landed in 652. Islam gained its first foothold in continental Europe from 711 onward, with the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The invaders named their land Al-Andalus, which expanded to include what is now Portugal and Spain except for the northern highlands of Asturias, Basque country, Navarra and few other places protected by mountain chains from southward invasions.

Al-Andalus has been estimated to have had a Muslim majority by the 10th century after most of the local population converted to Islam.[3]:42 This coincided with the La Convivencia period of the Iberian Peninsula as well as the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Pelayo of Asturias began the Christian counter-offensive known as the Reconquista after the Battle of Covadonga in 722. Slowly, the Christian forces began a conquest of the fractured taifa kingdoms of al-Andalus. By 1236, practically all that remained of Muslim Spain was the southern province of Granada.

In the 8th century, Muslim forces pushed beyond Spain into Aquitaine, in southern France, but suffered a temporary setback when defeated by Eudes, Duke of Aquitaine, at the Battle of Toulouse (721). In 725 Muslim forces captured Autun in France. The town would be the easternmost point of expansion of Umayyad forces into Europe; just seven years later in 732, the Umayyads would be forced to begin their withdrawal to al-Andalus after facing defeat at the Battle of Tours by Frankish King Charles Martel. From 719 to 759, Septimania was one of the five administrative areas of al-Andalus. The last Muslim forces were driven from France in 759, but maintained a presence, especially in Fraxinet all the way into Switzerland until the 10th century.[4] At the same time, Muslim forces managed to capture Sicily and portions of southern Italy, and even sacked Rome in 846 and later sacked Pisa in 1004.

Sicily

Muslim musicians at the court of the Norman King Roger II of Sicily, 12th century

Sicily was gradually conquered by the Arabs and Berbers from 827 onward, and the Emirate of Sicily was established in 965. They held onto the region until their expulsion by the Normans in 1072.[5][6]

The local population conquered by the Muslims were Romanized Catholic Sicilians in Western Sicily and partially Greek speaking Christians, mainly in the eastern half of the island, but there were also a significant number of Jews.[7] These conquered people were afforded a limited freedom of religion under the Muslims as dhimmi, but were subject to some restrictions. The dhimmi were also required to pay the jizya, or poll tax, and the kharaj or land tax, but were exempt from the tax that Muslims had to pay (Zakaat). Under Arab rule there were different categories of Jizya payers, but their common denominator was the payment of the Jizya as a mark of subjection to Muslim rule in exchange for protection against foreign and internal aggression. The conquered population could avoid this subservient status simply by converting to Islam. Whether by honest religious conviction or societal compulsion large numbers of native Sicilians converted to Islam. However, even after 100 years of Islamic rule, numerous Greek speaking Christian communities prospered, especially in north-eastern Sicily, as dhimmi. This was largely a result of the Jizya system which allowed co-existence. This co-existence with the conquered population fell apart after the reconquest of Sicily, particularly following the death of King William II of Sicily in 1189.

Cultural impact and Christian interaction

“Araz” coat of arms of Polish Tatar nobility. Tatar coats of arms often included motifs related to Islam.

 
Mosque of Rome, in Rome, the largest in the EU

 
The East London Mosque is the first mosque which was allowed to broadcast the adhan in European Union.

The Christian reconquests the Iberian peninsula and southern Italy helped to reintroduce ideas and concepts lost to the Western World after the fall of Rome in A.D. 476. Arab speaking Christian scholars saved influential pre-Christian texts and this coupled with the introduction of aspects of medieval Islamic culture (including the arts, agriculture, economics, philosophy, science and technology) assisted with fomenting conditions required for a rebirth of European thought and art (Renaissance). (See Latin translations of the 12th century and Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe for more information).

Muslim rule endured in the Emirate of Granada, from 1238 as a vassal state of the Christian Kingdom of Castile, until the completion of La Reconquista in 1492.[3]:41 The Moriscos (Moorish in Spanish) were finally expelled from Spain between 1609 (Castile) and 1614 (rest of Spain), by Philip III during the Spanish Inquisition.

Throughout the 16th to 19th centuries, the Barbary States sent Barbary pirates to raid nearby parts of Europe in order to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in the Arab World throughout the Renaissance period.[8][9] According to Robert Davis, from the 16th to 19th centuries, pirates captured 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves. These slaves were captured mainly from the crews of captured vessels[10] and from coastal villages in Spain and Portugal, and from farther places like Italy, France or England, the Netherlands, Ireland, the Azores Islands, and even Iceland.[8]

For a long time, until the early 18th century, the Crimean Khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East.[11] The Crimean Tatars frequently mounted raids into the Danubian principalities, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia to enslave people whom they could capture.[12]

The Great Mosque of Paris, built after World War I.

The Balkans, Russia and Ukraine

 
Log pod Mangartom Mosque was the only mosque ever built in Slovenia, in the town of Log pod Mangartom, during World War I.

There are accounts of the trade connections between the Muslims and the Rus, apparently people from Baltic region who made their way towards the Black Sea through Central Russia. On his way to Volga Bulgaria, Ibn Fadlan brought detailed reports of the Rus, claiming that some had converted to Islam. “They are very fond of pork and many of them who have assumed the path of Islam miss it very much.” The Rus also relished their nabidh, a fermented drink Ibn Fadlan often mentioned as part of their daily fare.[13]

The Ottoman campaign for territorial expansion in Europe in 1566, Crimean Tatars as vanguard.

The Mongols began their conquest of Rus’, Volga Bulgaria, and the Cuman-Kipchak Confederation (present day Russia and Ukraine) in the 13th century. After the Mongol empire split, the eastern European section became known as the Golden Horde. Despite the fact that they were not Muslim at the time, the western Mongols adopted Islam as their religion in the early 14th century under Berke Khan, and later Uzbeg Khan who established it as the official religion of the state. Much of the mostly Turkic-speaking population of the Horde, as well as the small Mongol aristocracy, were Islamized (if they were not already Muslim, such as the Volga Bulgars) and became known to Russians and Europeans as the Tatars. More than half[14] of the European portion of what is now Russia and Ukraine, were under suzerainty of Muslim Tatars and Turks from the 13th to 15th centuries. The Crimean Khanate became a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire in 1475 and subjugated what remained of the Great Horde by 1502. The Khanate of Kazan was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552.

Balkans during the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, awaits the arrival of his Greek Muslim Grand Vizier Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha at Buda, in the year 1529.

 
Medieval Bulgaria particularly the city of Sofia, was the administrative centre of almost all Ottoman possessions in the Balkans also known as Rumelia.[15]

The Ottoman Empire began its expansion into Europe by taking the European portions of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries up until the 1453 capture of Constantinople, establishing Islam as the state religion in the region. The Ottoman Empire continued to stretch northwards, taking Hungary in the 16th century, and reaching as far north as the Podolia in the mid-17th century (Peace of Buczacz), by which time most of the Balkans was under Ottoman control. Ottoman expansion in Europe ended with their defeat in the Great Turkish War. In the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699), the Ottoman Empire lost most of its conquests in Central Europe. The Crimean Khanate was later annexed by Russia in 1783.[16] Over the centuries, the Ottoman Empire gradually lost almost all of its European territories, until its collapse in 1922, when the former empire was transformed into the nation of Turkey.

Between 1354 (when the Ottomans crossed into Europe at Gallipolli) and 1526, the Empire had conquered the territory of present day Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hungary. The Empire laid siege to Vienna in 1683. The intervention of the Polish King broke the siege, and from then afterwards the Ottomans battled the Habsburg Emperors until 1699, when the Treaty of Karlowitz forced them to surrender Hungary and portions of present day Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. From 1699 to 1913, wars and insurrections pushed the Ottoman Empire further back until it reached the current European border of present-day Turkey.

For most of this period, the Ottoman retreats were accompanied by Muslim refugees from these province (in almost all cases converts from the previous subject populations), leaving few Muslim inhabitants in Hungary, Croatia, and the Transylvania region of present day Romania. Bulgaria remained under Ottoman rule until around 1878, and currently its population includes about 131,000 Muslims (2001 Census) (see Pomaks).

Painting of the bazaar at Athens, Ottoman Greece, early 19th century

Bosnia was conquered by the Ottomans in 1463, and a large portion of the population converted to Islam in the first 200 years of Ottoman domination. By the time Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia in 1878, the Habsburgs had shed the desire to re-Christianize new provinces. As a result, a sizable Muslim population in Bosnia survived into the 20th century. Albania and the Kosovo area remained under Ottoman rule until 1913. Previous to the Ottoman conquest, the northern Albanians were Roman Catholic and the southern Albanians were Christian Orthodox, but by 1913 the majority were Muslim.

Conversion to Islam

Apart from the effect of a lengthy period under Ottoman domination, many of the subject population were converted to Islam as a result of a deliberate move by the Ottomans as part of a policy of ensuring the loyalty of the population against a potential Venetian invasion. However, Islam was spread by force in the areas under the control of the Ottoman Sultan through devşirme and jizya.[17][18]

Rather Arnold explains Islam’s spread by quoting 17th-century pro-Muslim[citation needed] author Johannes Scheffler who stated:

Meanwhile he (i.e. the Turk) wins (converts) by craft more than by force, and snatches away Christ by fraud out of the hearts of men. For the Turk, it is true, at the present time compels no country by violence to apostatise; but he uses other means whereby imperceptibly he roots out Christianity… What then has become of the Christians? They are not expelled from the country, neither are they forced to embrace the Turkish faith: then they must of themselves have been converted into Turks.[19]

Cultural influences

Islam piqued interest among European scholars, setting off the movement of Orientalism. The founder of modern Islamic studies in Europe was Ignác Goldziher, who began studying Islam in the late 19th century. For instance, Sir Richard Francis Burton, 19th-century English explorer, scholar, and orientalist, and translator of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, disguised himself as a Pashtun and visited both Medina and Mecca during the Hajj, as described in his book A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah.

Islamic architecture influenced European architecture in various ways (for example, the Türkischer Tempel synagogue in Vienna). During the 12th-century Renaissance in Europe, Latin translations of Arabic texts were introduced. The Koran was also translated (for example, Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete).

Current population and its perception

Muslim-majority areas in Europe

According to the Pew Forum, the total number of Muslims in Europe in 2010 was about 44 million (6%),[20] excluding Turkey. The total number of Muslims in the European Union in 2010 was about 19 million (3.8%).[20] Approximately 9 million Turks are living in Europe, excluding the Turkish population of Turkey, which makes up the largest Muslim immigrant community in Europe.[21] However the real number of Muslims in Europe is not well-known. The percentage of Muslims in Russia (the biggest group of Muslims in Europe) varies from 5[22] to 11.7%,[20] depending on sources. It also depends on if only observant Muslims or all people of Muslim descent are counted.[citation needed]

The Mosque of Sultan Mehmet Fatih in Pristina, Kosovo

The Muslim population in Europe is extremely diverse with varied histories and origins. Today, the Muslim-majority regions of Europe are Albania, Kosovo, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, parts of Bulgaria and Macedonia, as well as some Russian regions in Northern Caucasus and the Volga region. The Muslim-dominated Sandžak of Novi Pazar is divided between Serbia and Montenegro. They consist predominantly of indigenous Europeans of the Muslim faith whose religious tradition dates back several hundred years. The transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan also are Muslim majority.

The Muslim population in Western Europe is composed primarily of peoples who arrived to the European continent in or after (1945), when France declared itself a country of immigration. Muslim emigration to metropolitan France surged during the Algerian War of Independence. In 1961, West German Government invited first Gastarbeiters. Similar contracts were offered by Switzerland. A 2013 poll by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung says that Islamic fundamentalism is widespread among European Muslims with the majority saying religious rules are more important than civil laws and three quarters rejecting religious pluralism within Islam.[23] The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia reports that the Muslim population tends to suffer Islamophobia all over Europe, although the perceptions and views of Muslims may vary.[24]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 70% of the people of Albania [25][26][27] are Muslim, 91% in Kosovo, and 30% of them in Macedonia are Muslim. Bosnia has a Muslim plurality. In transcontinental countries such as Turkey 99%, and 93% in Azerbaijan[28] of the population is Muslim respectively. Muslims also form about one sixth of the population of Montenegro. In Russia, Moscow is home to an estimated 1.5 million Muslims.[29][30][31]

Projections

 
According to the Pew Research Center, Europe’s population was 6% Muslim in 2010, and is projected to be 8% Muslim by 2030.[20]

Don Melvin wrote in 2004 that, excluding Russia, Europe’s Muslim population will double by 2020. He also says that almost 85% of Europe’s total population growth in 2005 was due to immigration in general.[30][32] Omer Taspinar predicted in 2001 that the Muslim population of Europe will nearly double by 2015, while the non-Muslim will shrink by 3.5%, if the higher Muslim birth rate persists.[33] In the UK, between 2001 and 2009, the Muslim population increased roughly 10 times faster than the rest of the population.[34]

A 2007 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report argued that some Muslim population projections are overestimated.[35] Philip Jenkins of Penn State University estimates that by 2100, Muslims will compose about 25% of Europe’s population. Jenkins states this figure does not take account divergent birthrates amongst Europe’s immigrant Christians.[36] Other analysts are skeptical about the accuracy of the claimed Muslim population growth, stating that because many European countries do not ask a person’s religion on official forms or in censuses, it has been difficult to obtain accurate estimates, and arguing that there has been a decrease in Muslim fertility rates in Morocco, the Netherlands and Turkey.[37] A Pew Research Center study, published in January 2011, forecast an increase of Muslims in European population from 6% in 2010 to 8% in 2030.[20] Pew also found that Muslim fertility rate in Europe would drop from 2.2 in 2010 to 2.0 in 2030. On the other hand, the non-Muslim fertility rate in Europe would increase from 1.5 in 2010 to 1.6 in 2030.[20]

by percentage of country population[1]
  < 1%
  1–2%
  2–4%
  4–5%
  5–10%
  10–20%
  20–30%
Cyprus
  30–40%
Rep. of Macedonia
  40–50%
Bosnia–Herzegovina
  80–90%
Albania
  90–95%
Kosovo
  95–100%

MORE READING: HERE

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environment: Bear, Wolves Thriving in Europe


Brown Bear, the National Animal of Finland

Brown Bear, the National Animal of Finland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bear, Wolves Thriving in Europe

Large predator species, long considered vulnerable, are now rebounding in Europe, according to a new study in the journal Science. Europe has twice the number of gray wolves as the United States, with more than 12,000 of them spread among 28 different countries. Even more widespread is the brown bear, whose population numbers more than 17,000 among 22 different countries. Both animals can be found around 10 major population centers in Europe. The study also highlights thriving populations of Eurasian lynx and wolverines. More… Discuss

this pressed: URGENT – Holder pushes countries on terrorism laws | Politics – WYFF Home


English: Official portrait of United States At...

English: Official portrait of United States Attorney General Eric Holder Español: Retrato oficial de Fiscal General de los Estados Unidos Eric Holder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(CNN) — President Barack Obama’s administration is pushing other countries to overhaul their laws to make it easier to prosecute fighters who return after being involved in terrorism. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that the Justice Department has dispatched lawyers to 14 countries — four in the Balkan region and 10 in North Africa and the Middle East — to work with policymakers there. “These personnel will provide critical assistance to our allies in order to help prosecute those who return from the Syrian region bent on committing acts of terrorism,” Holder said at press conference Thursday.

via URGENT – Holder pushes countries on terrorism laws | Politics – WYFF Home.

A perfect one hundred percent, poetic thought, ©by George-B Always (the smudge and other poems)


A perfect one hundred percent, poetic thought,
by George-B

In some non mysterious yet natural way
I failed to understand the way you are,
speak,

laugh,
cry
look up toward the heavens above in search of
a sign
release
understanding
love
anything to
heal
lean on
A cotton cloud
and again understanding,
that is comprehensive,
that cleanses like
a non-acid summer rain as they used to be before…
You are so obvious, yet-yet  I always failed to give you
what you needed, to give you…
so I just gave you back you riddle and
tried to behave meanwhile as if I understood you
completely, as if I knew the puzzling cross-word by heart
as if I ace every SAT question, one and all,
a perfect one hundred percent.

(©by George-B Always
)

Farage: The whole European project is based on a dangerous falsehood


[youtube.com/watch?v=PE65BoJLwos&feature=em-uploademail]
Farage: The whole European project is based on a dangerous falsehood
http://www.ukipmeps.org | http://twitter.com/Nigel_Farage
• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 16 April 2014

• Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the ‘Europe of Freedom and Democracy’ (EFD) Group in the European Parliament –http://www.nigelfaragemep.co.uk

• Debate: 100 years on from the First World War: lessons to learn and future of Europe
Council and Commission statements
[2014/2670(RSP)]
1 round of political group speakers

Transcript:

In you introduction you said that the First World War was an industrial war. And indeed, you’ve only got to drive two hours up the A4 from here and visit the battlefield at Verdun to see exactly what you were talking about. For those who haven’t visited I think it’s probably the grimmest battlefield I’ve certainly visited on the Western Front or indeed anywhere in the world.

And it was something that had such a huge psychological effect on France that it very much dominated the thinking of Monnet and Schumann post-1945, that this awful think must not happen again. And those of us in politics will all remember the rather famous photograph of quite a large German Chancellor Kohl and a rather small French president Mitterrand, holding hands, standing in front of that ossiary at Douaumont.

And so the whole European project comes from the disaster that was sparked by the First World War and it is entirely understandable that people should have sought ways to prevent such awfulness.

The difficulty is that they chose the wrong target. Monnet and Schumann decided – and it’s shared today by Mr Barroso and the Cohn-Bendits and others – they decided that it was the existence of Nation State that led to war and therefore we have to abolish Nation State.

Actually, what we should have focussed on post-1945, isn’t the abolition of states, it’s to make sure that the European states were democratic, because democratic nation states do not go to war with eachother.

So I have to say that I believe the whole European project is based on a falsehood – and it’s potentially a dangerous falsehood, because if you try to impose a new flag, a new anthem, a new president, a new army, police force, foreign policy, whatever else – if you try to impose that without first seeking the consent of the people, you’re in danger actually of creating the very nationalisms and resentment that you sought to snuff out in the first place. 

We’ve done this all before. We did it after the First World War in the Balkans. We said we can’t have all these little Balkan states go around fighting with eachother – let’s bring them together, let’s give them one flag, one anthem, one president and let’s call it Yugoslavia. And it led to horrific wars since 1990, the deaths of tens of thousands of people, as people have fought to get out of a false state.

The European Union is making a very similar mistake because there is no consent for this project. I’ve heard people this morning, talking about the need for a United States of Europe on a federal model. You can only have that if people give consent for it, and nobody has. 

And when you put the Constitution [Lisbon treaty prototype] to the peoples of Europe – the first time you really come clean with the electors – they rejected it.

I’m not against Europe, but I’m against this Europe. I want a Europe of independent, sovereign nation states that trade together, that work together, that cooperate together, and I believe the European Elections this year will mark a turning point. The tide is turning. You’re backing an outdated model that seeks to get rid of a problem that actually hasn’t existed since 1945.

Thank you.
…………………………….
Video source: EbS (European Parliament)
…………………………….


• EU Member States:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom

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CELEBRATORY GUNFIRE


Celebratory Gunfire

A common practice in places such as the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America, and some parts of the US, shooting a firearm into the air in celebration occurs most often on holidays such as New Year‘s, Christmas, and Eid. Falling bullets are responsible for damaged roofs and shattered windows. Worse, they can result in injury and even death. Why is the mortality rate among those struck by falling bullets much higher than the mortality rate normally associated with gunshot woundsMore… Discuss