Sarkozy's "Stupefying Speech"
Nicolas Sarkozy's speech in Saudi Arabia has elicited much commentary. This criticism is from Bernard Antony, writing at his blog. I have put Sarkozy's words in red:
Today we have read the entire stupefying speech delivered by Nicolas Sarkozy before the consultative council of Saudi Arabia. The following remarks are worth signaling out:
"Fourteen centuries ago, from this place, went forth the great élan of piety, fervor, and faith that would carry off everything it met, that would convert so many peoples and bring about the birth of one of the greatest, most beautiful civilizations that the world has ever known. Here in Saudi Arabia are the holiest sites of Islam, towards which every Muslim in the world turns to pray."
Indeed, Islam would carry off everything it met, it would "convert" and allow those it subjugated only the choice of jihad or dhimmitude, in other words: submission or war. Islam massacred everywhere in the East, perpetrating immense genocide, notably in India and North Africa.
"No doubt, Muslims, Jews and Christians do not believe in God in the same manner. No doubt, they do no have the same way of venerating God, of praying, of serving him; but, at bottom, who could deny that it is the same God to whom they address their prayers?"
"The West received the Greek heritage thanks to the Muslim civilization." No, Mr. Sarkozy, you display a tragic ignorance when you confuse Muslim civilization with Arab culture! The Greek heritage was indeed the legacy of Byzantium. But in its territories submerged in Islam, it was essentially the religious Christian Arabs, notably the Syrians, who saved whatever they could.
In conclusion, we do not reproach Mr. Sarkozy for establishing relations with the Arab States. But we reproach him for stepping out of his role as head of State and, in the name of his strange concept of the politics of civilization, committing a flagrant historical error. It is very regrettable that he has apparently read nothing of the essential works of the great historian Bat Ye'or.
Is Mr. Sarkozy concerned over the status of many non-Muslims in Arabia? Is he worried about the interdiction of any place of worship, be it Jewish, Christian or other, and the death penalty as punishment for conversion from Islam to another religion? Finally, since he so admires this Islam, why did he not ask to visit what he calls "the holiest sites"? He did not because he would not have been allowed to, because only Muslims can travel to Mecca and Medina! Because a non-Muslim cannot venture into these cities except at the risk of his life! There you have, in fact, Islamic tolerance!
And I, for one, wonder what Bat Ye'or would say to Sarkozy. She was very enthusiastic over his election. But that was back in May.