National Geographic : 1912 Nov
"GRASS NEVER GROWS WHERE TURKISH HOOF HAS TROD" 1147 is a ruler by divine right, and Christians are, or ought to be, his rayahs. Never theless, in India he fails to compete suc cessfully with the adherents of other, and even non-Christian, faiths, just as his co-religionist in Turkey fails in gen eral progress when matched with the Christians. Of course, to men who hold such opin ions regarding their relationship to the professors of other creeds, all suggestion of equality before the law, or of equal rights with themselves, is nonsense. They have no desire to assimilate races whom Allah has placed in subjection to them. It is this pride which has prevented the Turk from profiting by the learning and experience of the West. It is this proud and domineering spirit, engendered by conquest and strengthened and sanc tioned by religious belief, which makes the Moslem incapable of being a just ruler of Christians. THE DEGRADATION OF WOMAN BY ISLAM The other characteristics of Moham medanism which tend to prevent the Turk from acting justly to subject races are mainly two-viz., the position as signed to woman, and the deep-rooted belief in and influence of fatalism. Though these are of great importance in examining the influence of Islam upon the Turkish race, the space allotted for bids me to do more than indicate their effect. Each checks the moral and ma terial progress of the race and renders the individual less intelligent than he would otherwise be. The position assigned to woman is re garded by thoughtful Turks themselves as the most unfortunate part of the teaching of their religion. Polygamy is permitted. Repudiation of a wife, rather than formal divorce, is the common practice. The separation of the house hold is the inflexible rule. The common belief in Mohammedan countries though such belief is declared by many competent authorities to be contrary to the true teaching of the Koran--is that woman has no soul. Family life or home life, as the term is understood in all Christian countries, is unknown. The churches have rendered an in estimable service to the subject races of the Empire by the preservation of family life. Where woman is by law and cus tom degraded, the offspring, and in time the race itself, comes to be less intelli gent, and, using the word in a large sense, less educated than in countries where children are brought up in the companionship of both parents. Being less intelligent, they are unable to become as prosperous as their neighbors of the Christian faith, whom they have been brought up to despise and speak of as cattle. "NO TREATY WITH INFIDELS CAN BE BINDING" The influence of fatalism prevents the Turk from providing for the future. Those who know the Turkish population best are the most deeply impressed with the hindrance to material progress and to mental development which arises from this belief. It operates upon every ac tion in their lives. It has certainly helped to make the Osmanlis fearless soldiers; but the same belief destroys in the average Turk the desire to get on and the inducements to work. The answer of the poorer Turk, when asked why he does not do something by which he could profit, is: "What is written (in the Eternal Books) is written." The resistance to reforms suggested by Europe which the Turk has so often displayed during the last century, has been, in fact, largely due to his religion. However enlightened a Sultan and a handful of reformers-like the famous Rashid, Fuad, and Aali of the Crimean War period-may have been, they have against them the vis inertia of the bulk of the Moslem population. Any change proposed by Europeans appears to them an invasion of their sacred rights. To demand that Christian rayahs shall be placed on an equality with Moslems is to invoke the silent if not spoken retort that no treaty with infidels can be bind ing.