dinsdag 27 mei 2014

Christian Slaves in Muslim Countries, the CMR programme

These days my wife Paule says in her mild way: you are involved in too many different affairs'.  She is right. There is a book on Fethullah Gülen in Europe which waits for a final reworking. The 3d volume on Catholics in Indonesia. Smaller commitments for writing and some lectures. But I am also quite involved in the CMR programme, a project on Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History. It started in 2009 with its first volume and the year 600. Now it has reached already five volumes until the year 1500. I am involved for the next volume on the 16th century, where I wrote about Erasmus and Miguel Servet and their ideas about Islam.
I am now working for some sections of the 17th century and one is the history of the Christian slaves who were taken prison by the pirates of Algiers, Tunis and Salé and at great cost were redeemed by the French, Biritish and Dutch.
One of the very interesting books of the 17th century is this History of the origins ... of Mahomet and how he spread his empire among the Turcs.. It was published in 1627. It is a strange story. The first 11 short chapters, until page 23 are about the life of Muhammad. It has some nine drawings. One is about the epilepsy of Muhammad.
The strangest story is about his death. According to this story Muhammad died in Mecca. His friends and followers expected his resurrection and waited first three days, then until twelve days. But then they put him in the coffin that was prepared in the 'finest and richest church of Mecca'.  Muhammad had prepared magnetic stones in the ceiling and the coffin was made of iron and so it moved immediately upward!
So, this is the reason of the pilgrimage to Mecca, according to thissmall book.

In a more elaborated version this book has an addition that the present (17th century!) situation of the world is expecting the fall of Islam, because of many predictions of earlier times, especially the prophecies of some  Antonio Torquato from Italy that the victory in Constinopolis, Hungary and Rhodos would be the beginning of the end of the realm of Satan...
Well, this is also historical truth about Christian-Muslim Relations!
The Endgame or Eindstrijd is also a modern book (in Dutch, for Dutch readers!) about the long fight between Christians and Muslims: one may become sad while reading all this nonsensical writings, or become angry. I have now a spirit of a more cynical nature or even some idea of finding it really funny. Just laugh about it and know that things will not change much in the next century. May God help us to survive this as well!

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