Friday, December 21, 2007

Lord Acton on Muslims

I came across this passage in John Dalberg-Acton's ("Lord Acton", 1834-–1902) book The History of Freedom (pp. 186):
If we give our admiration to tolerance, we must remember that the Spanish Moors and the Turks in Europe have been more tolerant than the Christians.

It is worth noting that the other two instance in which "Mohammedans" (i.e., Muslims) were mentioned were in regards to the "Catholic and Protestant Theory of Persecution". Regarding the "Catholic theory", Lord Acton says (pp. 169):
Where a portion of the inhabitants of any country preferred a different creed, Jew, Mohammedan, heathen, or schismatic, they had been generally tolerated, with enjoyment of property and personal freedom, but not with that of political power or autonomy.

On the "Protestant Theory", Lord Acton says (pp. 179):
They [Catholics], as well as the Jews and the Mohammedans, must be allowed to live: death was only the penalty [for apostasy] of Protestants who relapsed into error; but to them it applied equally whether they were converted to the Church or joined the sects and fell into unbelief.

It is time that we all, Muslim and non-Muslim, try to revive these eras of tolerance by Muslims and toward Muslims.

Note: I am currently reading Lord Acton's book, which is available for download at the Online Library of Liberty (OLL).

Note 2: If you do not know who Lord Acton is, here is a brief description of him on OLL:
Lord Acton was one of the great historians of the Victorian period and one of the greatest classical liberal historians of all time. His theme was “the history of liberty” and even though he was never able to complete his magnum opus of that name he did write numerous essays, book reviews, and lectures. He also was the inspiration behind the multi-volume Cambridge Modern History.

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