The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
08th of June, 2014

The First“Arab Spring”

It is a different World, when Islam has legitimacy and even numbers (be they money or people). Certain stages in the cycle of socio-economic collapse have very consistent manifestations across civilisations and times, and these are what allow us to recognise what has changed. In the Southern Mediterranean, for instance, we have records going back to before the Romans. (When you call it “Southern Mediterranean”, slightly dizzying the Euro-centric brain, then they realise that the “North Africa” and the “Middle East” that they hear is burning up lies 40 kilometres from Italy—the Italy of the Romans.)

What we hear of as “Middle East and North Africa”, or “the Muslim World” or even “the Arab World” is so remote in modern geo-political language, that we forget a basic fact: the “Roman Empire” and the “Greek Empire” from which “the West” trace their ancestry were always considered integral parts of the empire. They were not the periphery; they are inside. Alexander the Great built his city, Alexandria, in what is today Egypt. But when you hear “the West”, you do not think that its history would be based in what is today a very Muslim land. See, when the Muslims conquered the heartlands of Christendom, they were culturally excised and ceded. Airbrushed. The map no longer included them.

But because these are the historical facts—that the Islamic republics of “the Middle East” were once the heartlands of Christianity, boasting basically 100% of the population—it implies that the frictions that we are seeing now, between “the West” and “the Muslim World”, are not new. They have already happened, when the post-Roman Cyrene (now post-Ghaddafi Cyrenaica) was converted into part of “the Muslim World.” Similarly, the effects of “globalisation”—I am talking about the cultural, even military, effects—are not a new phenomenon in the large. “The West” has met “the Muslim World”, “Radical Islamism”, “Islamic Jihad”, and “Arab Spring” before.

This is Wikipedia, explaining to me the first neo-takfiri movement, in whose image is formed everything between En-Nahda and Ansar al-Sharia:

After his return to the Maghreb c.1117, Ibn Tumart spent some time in various Ifriqiyan cities, preaching and agitating, heading riotous attacks on wine-shops and on other manifestations of laxity. He laid the blame for the latitude on the ruling dynasty of the Almoravids, whom he accused of obscurantism and impiety. He also opposed their sponsorship of the Maliki school of jurisprudence, which drew upon consensus (ijma) and other sources beyond the Qur'an and Sunnah in their reasoning, an anathema to the stricter Zahirism favored by Ibn Tumart.

He even went so far as to assault the sister[citation needed] (sic) of the Almoravid emir `Ali ibn Yusuf, in the streets of Fez, because she was going about unveiled, after the manner of Berber women.
That time, they won.