Who’s the Threat? Western Powers have invaded and Killed Millions of Muslims

Listening to Newt Gingrich, the great bloviator, go on this morning on the alleged Muslim threat, set me off. Gingrich did his dissertation on Belgian educational policy in the Congo, where he managed to miss the genocide perpetrated by the Europeans. Gingrich knows better, he is just hate-mongering. But since he brought it up, it is Westerners like Gingrich (who supported illegally invading and occupying Iraq, which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths) of whom one might justifiably be a little afraid…

Western countries invaded, occupied by Muslims, since 1798: Turkey in Cyprus since 1974? Number of Westerners killed by Muslim powers since 1798: a few tens of thousands, most in the Ottoman wars in the Balkans and WW I
Muslim countries invaded and occupied by Westerners since 1798: what is now Bangladesh (Britain); Egypt (France), much of Indonesia (Dutch); Algeria (France); Senegal, Mali, Niger, Chad (France); Moroccan Sahara, Ceuta (Spain); what is now Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan (Russia); Tunisia (France); Egypt, Sudan (Britain); Morocco (France); Libya (Italy); Palestine and Iraq (Britain); Syria and what is now Lebanon (France); Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain (Britain); Iran (Britain, US, Soviet Union during WW II); Iraq (US 2003-2011) Number of Muslims killed by Western Powers since 1798: tens of millions

Africa in 1914

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29 Responses

  1. This reminds of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s comment on our fear of aliens. That we are only imagining how they might be a threat to human civilization is just a projection of what we might actually do to them.

    • My favorite quote from the old comic strip Calvin and Hoobes reads, “the surest sign that there is intelligent life in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”

  2. I never wondered who were/ are the Aliens. In Europe, after the killing of a British soldier in Woolich London, the discussion of “” The Terrorist Muslims” has been stirred again. However one Imam in London, Farooq Murad, managed eloquently to clarify this terrible killing, how Muslims should not be derailed and move forward;
    Ajmal Masroor Sky News Interview – Woolwich Terrorist Attack link to youtube.com

    • David Cameron cut short his visit to France & rushed back to England & declared it was a terrorist act. (I fully denounce it was bad, it should not have happened, culprits should be brought to justice).

      About two months ago, David Cameron was in India. Indian government took him to Amritsar to lay wreath at the site where British soldiers shot dead around 400 unarmed protesters & injured about 1200. First apology by British since 1919 incident. In addition, what barbaric acts & killing British had done after the uprising of 1857, in Delhi & other places in India? Just in Delhi British left dead bodies for dogs & vultures to eat.

      David Cameron had no words, what kind of massacre or terrorist act was it.

  3. What Juan Cole fails to recognize is that there is a multiplier effect… civilized folks like Newt are worth 23.57 kazillion of each of those sand n*g*s. Thus the scales are unbalanced. Plus *everyone* knows that Muzzies wake up every day *wanting* to kill those with proper values and way of life. That counts against them as well. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Newt….. Whoa … get your hand off my wallet , Newt.

    • Indeed. Westerners may have killed millions of Muslims over the past 200 years, but none of that was intentional. It was just collateral damage.

  4. The map of Africa correctly identifies the Belgian Congo.

    The story behind it was the brutal colonization by King Leopold II commencing in 1885. Inhabitants were summarily executed, traded as slaves, , conscripted into the army, and had their orphaned children indoctrinated into Christianity.

    It is one of the great untold chapters in world history.

    • “The map of Africa correctly identifies the Belgian Congo.”

      Was there a question that it didn’t?

      “It is one of the great untold chapters in world history.”

      Actually, it was told very well in the book on the subject, “King Leopold’s Ghost,” by Adam Hochschild, published in 1998. Since then, there have been numerous studies detailing the atrocities committed in the Congo, which was Leopold’s private domain until it was turned over to the Belgian state.

      • It is a great untold chapter if the average American
        doesn’t know about it, and thus thinks that the conquest of non-whites by whites is actually beneficial to the non-whites. How many Americans washed their hands of the blood of Iraq in recent years by saying “those savages didn’t deserve our rule”? Which means they’ve learned nothing when the war drums start beating again.

        Apologizing for slavery by Congress still raises controversy because of all the Christians who think that slavery was good for blacks.

        • Your rant has nothing to do with whether or not the Belgian Congo is one of the “great untold chapters in world history,” SUPER390. You have simply used the topic to piggyback the grinding of your own axe. And speaking of the “conquest of non-whites by whites,” I don’t suppose you would be interested in discussing the African slave trade conducted by Arabs, 700 years before the first slaves were taken by Europeans? Or the African slaves taken as booty as a result of tribal warfare in Africa by victorious African tribes?

          To get back to the topic, there are many elements of world history that are not generally known by populations all over the world, including America. That does not mean that information is unavailable for those who are interested. The Belgian Congo is not an “untold story”; in fact there always has been information about it out there. Like much of African (and other) history, there has been little general interest, but not because the story is “untold.”

      • By some accounts, King Leopold killed more than twice the number of blacks in Congo then Hitler killed Jews in Europe. Around 10 to 15 million black Africans.

        You are telling the world that it is a well-documented fact by referring just one book & few others after Mr. Hoschild’s book.

        How many books do you find on Holocaust in the libraries? You will find ful shelves after shelves, on holocaust & how many movies & documentaries have you watched on Holocaust? Can you name a single movie or a documentary film on what Leopold did in Congo. Is there any museum on his brutality in Washington, DC?

        Just pointing out one book & saying it is well documented? How long were you in the company of NEWT? There is very little written account on what King Leopold did, very few people know it & it is not well documented by any stretch of imagination.

        • That the Holocaust is better known than the atrocities committed in the Belgian Congo does not mean that the Congo is an “untold story,” Shahid Shahid. As I stated above, it is not only the book I mentioned, but studies and other works as well. And your snide little comment asking how long I have been “in the company of NEWT,” says a lot more about you than it does about me. Mounting “ad-hominum” attacks against a person with whom you disagree simply demonstrates intellectual poverty.

    • The chapter is comprehensively and chillingly told in Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1998.

  5. I agree with the direction you are taking but you are ignoring the fact that many Africans were not Muslims or Christians. Lots of the slaughter was against people who followed indigenous religions that have been made extinct. As for Newt, please don’t make me scream.

  6. Let’s not forget that Westerners have intervened to save Muslims as well. During the Clinton Administration, the United States intervened in Bosnia against Serbia in 1994- 1995 and in a war against Serbia to stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999. These interventions on behalf of Muslims is something that is conveniently forgotten or deliberately omitted when launching diatribes against Western intervention against Muslims.

    • Those interventions were done for national interests of the nations involved. Not on behalf of Muslims. Henry kissinger’s Ideas of Realpolitik, politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ETHICAL premises, Dominate the state department and the US and over western governments. The interests of ordinary people are of little interest to them!

      • The US had no vital national interest involved in the Bosnian intervention and the war against Serbia on behalf of Kosovo, Ron. In fact, regarding Bosnia, then Secretary of State James Baker famously said, “We don’t have a dog in that fight.” It was a humanitarian intervention plain and simple, and so was the war against Serbia on behalf of Kosovo.

        As far as Henry Kissinger goes, I don’t know what he has to do with it. He had been long out of office when these events took place. By the way, what position have you held that enables you to speak so authoritatively about what dominates the State Department? I actually do have experience in, and know something about, the State Department.

        Thus, Ron, I would be very interested in the evidence you no doubt have that leads to your conclusions regarding just what US vital national interests were involved in Bosnia and Kosovo, if not humanitarian? Likewise, Since you no doubt have an insider’s knowledge of what “dominates” the State Department (your term), please advise how you came to that conclusion.

      • I disagree. The national interests in Europe were to not get involved and let the slaughter continue while making feeble attempts to negotiate peace. Clinton during his first election campaign had pledged to intervene, but then dithered for two years in the face of strong opposition from NATO allies. It was the Srebrenica massacre that finally generated the political will to intervene on moral grounds. Of course, anti-Western, pro-Serbian revisionists have a different interpretation.

    • You can talk about conflict driven by religious difference all you like but most of us -most of the time wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a Christian a Jew and a Muslim unless they offered the info themselves.

      In the Balkans there were maybe two big differences as I remember it :
      1) they were white Muslims
      2) they were on our TV’s
      ….I remember quite vividly the scenes of those starved half naked men behind wire ( and didn’t it remind us of other images -another time we said would never happen again?)

  7. I am not uncritical of my own country’s (US) activities in the Middle East of elsewhere–most recently of the Iraq War to which I was greatly opposed, but–

    The little chart you have made here has several problems:

    1-You make it appear that the West was involved in numerous conquests by listing the Muslim-majority countries as they appear today (many of them invented by the West). Before Western intervention in the area there were not that many Muslim polities. Most of the places listed were parts of empires–thus the appearance of great imbalance by way of the one (Cyprus) vs the many is somewhat disingenuous

    2-I believe Greece counts itself as Western–what is their view of the actions of the Turks in the earlier part of the 20th century?

    3-There is no mention made of the many ethno-national/religious groupings who have been in dispute within the Middle East/North Africa/South Asia–ethno-nationalism having been tangled up with religiosn. These groups, who now, having found their voice, are trying to assert themselves, variously, from Arab/Turkish/Muslim control (Copts, Berbers, Kurds, South Sudanese, Armenians–even the Arabs against the Turks). The internal doings of the area have also involved conquest and hegemony of the sort that is rejected in liberal circles today

    4-Why did the Muslim world more or less cease expansion or kill smaller numbers of Westerners since the arbitrary date you chose to make comparisons?–Was it out of the goodness of their hearts?–or was it because in the modern era the Muslim world lost the technological edge to the West and were less able to expand or invent new types of weapons?

    Again–I am a critic of my own country and other Western countries– and no fan of Newt Gingrich–but I do think this chart of yours implies a certain angelic quality to the (Arabo/Turkish/)Muslim world that is not entirely accurate.

    • 1798 is when most historians date the beginning of the modern Middle East. It isn’t arbitrary– there is a reason for it.

      If the Muslims haven’t been dangerous for the past 200 years, as you admit, why hype them on Sunday talk shows as now the biggest threat since the Mongols?

      • Dr Cole–

        I have no quarrel with you about the behavior and words of many of our politicians and other public actors regarding their presentation of the Middle East/Muslim world in various public fora–such as those of Newt Gringrich. These representations are simplistic, distorted and pander to certain sectors of the society (probably for votes) rather than helping society to understand the complexities of the matter. And–in general, I am not in favor of Western imperial adventures in the Middle East (although imperial adventures were normal practices for most polities all over the world prior to the mid 20th century when this normality was declared “bad”–still–I generally oppose any such policies on the part of my US government today).–So–I believe we have no quarrel there.

        However–In my previous comment I was pointing out certain features of your presentation which I think were also misleading. I will accept your criticism of my comment about taking 1798 as marker year for the beginning of modernity–it is a reasonable enough–and well received–point of departure–but my other points still hold.

        My master point–not made in my previous comment–is that in our globalizing world–where we are all (not always happily) interconnected in ways never before experienced–I think it is important to emphasize all the complexities of our various problems and their histories, difficult as that is. (My definition of the scholar is not “one who speaks truth to power”–whatever that means–but “one who makes the complex comprehensible”). And my understanding of the complexities of the Middle East is that there is no easy “good guy” or “bad guy”. This, perhaps, sounds “nice”–but I am not trying to be “nice”–I just think that attempts should always be made to acknowledge the complexities one way or another since so much mythologizing of all sorts seems to prevail among the US public about this area of the world.

    • You could Imply from the map that the the biggest threat since the Mongols has been the west!

  8. There is an issue around drawing a line at 1798, which was amongst the high point of Ottomon Empire and so it was defending and shrinking from then onwards. Some of the death and fighting was eg Balkans previously conquered people’s throwing off previous invasions.

    But your main point is true ‘they’ have not been invading ‘us’ since then.

    In fact in terms of invasions or occupations you list is way too short.
    Syria: Britain and France invaded in the 1830’s, and in WW1 France then stays 1918 to 1946, but Britain invades and occupies in 1941.
    Iran you have the occupation in WW2 but Britain intervenes during WW1 as well and fought a war in the 1850s with Iran.
    All of North Africa becomes a war zone for outside powers from 1939-43.
    Suez 1956, Britain had 3 unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan before the present one!

  9. it shows that the border of the countries that africans are so proud of, are just borders and lines established by the colonization inside there mind till today!

  10. Unless we have a breakdown of the numbers im calling bs.

    An actual breakdown which at a minimum puts the figure at 20 million.

    • Alright, Sheen. Your homework assignment is to assemble the exact numbers.

      Let’s start in the relatively small country of Algeria. Estimated dead in French invasion, occupation, putting down of rebellions and famine caused by maladministration in the 19th century is 800,000. Then repressing the Algerian war for independence 1954-1962 was at least half a million directly killed by France, and you could arguably blame all million deaths on the French colonial authorities’ resisting independence. So that’s 1.8 million just in Algeria.

      Russia and then the Soviet Union killed a similar number of Muslims in Central Asia.


      Let’s consider the millions killed in what is now Bangladesh just by the British mismanagement of the Bengal famine in the 1940s.

      You want to go into the Dutch East Indies?

      You could get to 20 million with a fraction of this list.

      • Professor Cole:

        Famine of 1940 in Bengal was not due to British mismanagement but Churchill deliberately created it.

        He has put all food staple off shore on the ships in anticipation that he may need it in Britain & Europe. Indian Viceroy asked him to release some wheat & other food staple after he saw people dying of hunger on the streets in Bengal, but Churchill ignored his requests.

        That is why it was manmade. Churchill was the main architect of this famine that killed more than a million people in India.

        Since he was with the victorious allies so everything that he did was ignored, otherwise he should stand alongside Hitler & Mussolini that he still deserves.

        • The Bengal famine was not in 1940, Shahid Shahid. It occurred in 1943-44. And Churchill did not deliberately cause the famine. There were two causes. The main cause was that Japan had invaded and occupied Burma, which at the time was the world’s greatest producer of rice, and which was the main supplier for Bengal.

          The other cause was that Britain was short of food itself, and Churchill and the British did withhold supplying Bengal, but not by holding food offshore in ships. They simply did not ship it out. As Professor Cole stated above, the British shamefully mismanaged the famine, but they did not deliberately cause it.

          Your statement that Churchill should “stand alongside Hitler & Mussolini” is ludicrous and does not deserve comment.

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