Andrew Sholl

"Both Prime Minister John Howard and most Australians seemed startled when Osama bin Laden alleged that by helping East Timor, Australia was somehow involved in a 'conspiracy to separate it from the Muslim world'" (The Townsville Bulletin, 6 November 2001, p. 1).

It seems to me that most Australians are not familiar with many Islamic concepts, e.g., Dar-ul-Islam (Haven of Islam).

By alleging that Australia is separating East Timor from an overwhelmingly Muslim nation (Indonesia), bin Laden seems to be invoking the concept of Dar-ul-Islam.

Let me explain. This concept means that wherever Islam has ever conquered in the past, that piece of territory must sooner or later revert to Islam. Thus, when Tariq began the conquest for Islam of Spain and Portugal in 711AD (incidentally Gibraltar means in Arabic the mountain [Jebel] of the [al] Tariq), and those lands were finally reconquered by Ferdinand and Isabella at Granada in 1492, Islam has technically never given up on reclaiming these lands for Dar-ul-Islam, no matter how far down the track of history.

Although Islam currently receives a bad press, it usually treated its subject peoples far better than Christianity. Thus, the Jewish people usually did well in Islamic countries, as against almost 2,000 years of persecution at the hands of so-called Christians, who ought to have known better. However, as soon as the State of Israel was formed, and the Jews no longer needed to live as a subject people, after May 1948, the Muslim attitude radically changed: Israel was now a blemish on Dar-ul-Islam and had to be eliminated! Hence the on-going conflict with the Palestinians, most of whom are Muslim, as well as the rest of the Muslim world.

Cranbrook, Qld

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