The original Islamic State & Christians in the Middle East–An Excerpt

In the wake of the ‘so-called Islamic State / ISIS / ISL’ and their persecution of minorities in both Syria and Iraq, I could not help sharing this brief excerpt from p. 13 of Dmitri Gutas, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture. Unlike the disaffected, radicalized and violent behavior of this group, the original Islamic State–the Abbasid dynasty of Baghdad (751-1258 AD)– was founded upon unprecedented religious tolerance and intellectual freedom. It states,

“The effective removal from the Islamic polity (the Dar Al-Islam) of this source of contention [i.e. Byzantine “orthodoxy”] and cultural fragmentation in their unification under a non-partisan overlord, the Islamic state, opened the way for greater cultural cooperation and intercourse…The political and geographic isolation of the Byzantines also shielded these Christian communities under Muslim rule and all other Hellenized peoples in the Islamic commonwealth from the dark ages and aversion to Hellenism into which Byzantium slid in the seventh and eight centuries.”


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