Europe will become Islamic in 60 years

Islamic statehood in Europe between 1450 and 1950

Around the middle of the 15th century, a number of smaller Islamic states existed in various peripheral areas of Europe. The Nasrid Emirate of Granada existed in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, but it was in decline during this period. In 1485 the Christian states of Castile and Aragon began the systematic conquest of the emirate, while the Muslims exhausted their forces in a civil war. In 1492, an army under Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452–1516) and Isabella of Castile (1451–1504) captured Granada, ending almost eight centuries of Islamic statehood on the Iberian Peninsula.1 At the other end of Europe, in the Eastern European plain, four Islamic states existed side by side: the Khanate of Kazan on the central Volga, the most important military opponent of the Moscow Rus during the 15th century, the Khanate of Kasimov on the Oka, which in The 1460s founded Chanat Astrakhan in the mouth of the Volga, as well as the Chanat of the Crimea, which included the Crimean peninsula and the southern steppe areas of today's Ukraine. All of these state structures were direct or indirect splits from the Gengicidal state of the Golden Horde, which had been Islamized in the 14th century.2 While the rump state of the Golden Horde finally perished in 1502, the Kazan Khanate and Astrakhan Khanate continued to exist until the middle of the 16th century. In 1552 and 1556, these two khanates were conquered by Ivan IV (1530–1584) and incorporated into the expanding Russian state.3 In inner Russia only the khanate of Kasimov, which became a vassal of Moscow in the 1560s at the latest, remained in existence for a long time. In contrast to Kazan, which was largely destroyed during the Russian conquest, there are two architectural monuments from the 16th century (a mosque and a ruler's mausoleum), which give an impression of the Tatar art of that time. In 1682 this Islamic-Tatar vassal principality was dissolved by Kasimov.4 The only Islamic state in Eastern Europe that survived the 17th century was the Khanate of Crimea.5

While the Islamic states on the Iberian Peninsula and in Eastern Europe went under or became dependent on other powers at the beginning of the early modern period, another Islamic state experienced its military and political rise in Southeastern Europe at the same time, the Ottoman Empire with its capital Edirne , which by the middle of the 15th century already covered large areas of the Balkans (Bulgaria, Macedonia, Thrace, Dobruja and Bosnia), but also included the western part of Asia Minor. The expansion of this state into Europe continued almost unchecked until the middle of the 16th century. This expansionary movement developed a special dynamic under the sultans Mehmet II. (1432–1481) [] and Suleyman I. (1494–1566) []. On the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, which put an end to the Byzantine Empire, followed the subjugation of Serbia in 1459, the annexation of the Peloponnese in 1460, the conquest of Bosnia in 1463, the establishment of Ottoman suzerainty over the Khanate of Crimea in 1478, then the conquest of Belgrade in 1521, and the capture of Rhodes in 1522 1541–1543 the annexation of central Hungary. The conquest of Crete in 1669 marked the end of the Ottoman expansion in Europe. Its military successes outside of Europe, in particular the conquest of Syria and Egypt and the establishment of supremacy over the holy places in Mecca and Medina in 1517, made the Ottoman Empire rise to the world's most important Islamic power during the same period. Constantinople, located on European soil, the seat of the Ottoman sultan since the late 1450s, became the most important political and intellectual center in the Islamic world for more than four centuries under its new name Istanbul (in some documents also Islambul!).6 Although there were large Christian and Jewish minorities living in the Ottoman Empire, the ruling apparatus consisted almost exclusively of Muslims. The Islamicity of the Ottoman state comes at this time not only in the high state expenditures for the pilgrimage and the holy cities in the Hejaz, the area around Mecca and Medina, but also in the great importance of the Ulema, the Muslim religious scholars, in the judiciary and school system.7 They were led by the Mufti of Istanbul, who as Sheikh-ul-Islam (Master of Islam) represented the highest religious authority of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century and at times also served the Sultan as a personal advisor.8

At the end of the 17th century the decline of the Ottoman Empire began and with it its withdrawal from Europe. In the Treaty of Karlowitz9 (1699) Hungary, Transylvania and Slavonia were ceded to the Habsburg monarchy, with the Peace of Passarowitz10 (1718) Temesvar and Little Wallachia followed. Russia, which in the course of the 18th century became the main adversary of the Sublime Porte (the Ottoman government) in Europe, forced the Ottoman Empire in the Peace of Küçük Kaynarca11 (1774) to renounce the suzerainty over the Crimean Tatars and took all his possessions on the northern Black Sea shore from him until 1792. In 1829 Greece, initially limited to the Peloponnese, Attica and Boeotia, left the Ottoman state association. Although he climbed in 1876 with Abdülhamid II (1842–1918) [] a sultan who pursued new Islamic-imperial plans and claimed the caliphate over all Muslims,12 but this could not prevent the further erosion of Ottoman power in Europe. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878 and the Berlin Congress became Montenegro, Serbia and Romaniade jure Released to independence, Bulgaria received autonomy, and Bosnia was placed under Austro-Hungarian administration. After the First Balkan War in 1912/1913, the Turks also had to withdraw from Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Western Thrace. Crete, which had had autonomy under a Greek governor since 1898, was integrated into the Greek state in 1913. The European part of Turkey has since been limited to the eastern part of Thrace.

Apart from the Ottoman Empire, no other Islamic state has been able to assert itself permanently in Europe in modern times. The Khanate of Crimea was incorporated into the Russian Empire as early as 1783, less than ten years after it was detached from the Ottoman state association. In 1792 the Chanat was officially dissolved.13 Another short-lived Islamic rulership on European soil was the Inner Horde of Kazakhs founded by Bökey Chan in 1801 in the area between the Volga and the Ural rivers. It was subordinate to the Russian tsar, but was able to maintain a large degree of independence until 1845 with a clearly pronounced Islamic orientation.14 After the First World War and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Albania was the only country with a Muslim majority in Europe. When it was recognized by the international community in 1920, approximately 70 percent of its estimated 800,000 residents were Muslim,15 the state itself was, however, for afetar (non-religious, secular) declared.

Processes of Islamization and De-Islamization

The establishment of Islamic statehood in certain areas in no way meant that their population accepted Islam in one fell swoop, and vice versa, the collapse or withdrawal of Islamic states did not automatically result in the immediate de-Islamization of the areas concerned. Rather, the Islamization and de-Islamization of major European regions were processes that usually took place at different times over longer periods of time, and could even take place in part independently of the movements of conquest and retreat by Islamic states. A European-Muslim minority that arose largely independently of Islamic statehood were the Lipka Tatars on the territory of Poland-Lithuania.16 They were the descendants of an opposition group within the state of the Golden Horde that immigrated to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the end of the 14th century and settled in various urban centers (Vilnius, Lublin, etc.). A Turkish text from the late 16th century gives their number - probably a little exaggerated - as 200,000.17

The most extensive Islamization process in Europe in early modern times was the one that began in the Ottoman-conquered areas of southeastern Europe from 1450. The starting point of this process were the Ottoman administrative centers in the Balkans. Statistics for the decade 1520–1530 show that during this period several cities that functioned as such centers already had Muslim majorities. These included Edirne (with 82.1% Muslims), which until the end of the 18th century served as the actual capital of the European territories, Sofia (66.4%), Larissa (90.2%) in Thessaly, Bitola / Manastir (75%) and Skopje (74.8%) in Macedonia and Sarajevo in Bosnia (with almost 100% Muslims).18 Outside of these cities, the religious structure of the population initially changed little in most areas. In Bosnia and Herzegovina alone, where a special religious situation prevailed due to the existence of an independent "Bosnian Church", Islam also gained a foothold in rural regions more quickly.19 Initially, however, the conversion to Islam was only a formal step; it was not until the end of the 16th century, after the Ottoman power had fully established itself in Bosnia, "an internal deepening of Islamization occurred, the Christian origins of the Islamized people and their greater denominational segregation from the Christians were concealed".20 According to the report of a papal legate, there were 450,000 Muslims, 150,000 Catholics and 75,000 Orthodox in Bosnia in 1624, so two thirds of the Bosnians had already become Muslim.21 While the process of formal Islamization in Bosnia was essentially complete around the middle of the 16th century, there was hardly any sign of it in Albania and Kosovo at the same time,22 These regions did not experience massive conversions to Islam until the 17th century. Some Ottoman sultans of this time such as Mehmed IV. (1641–1692) were filled with a personal missionary spirit and rewarded converts of Christians and Jews to Islam with an amount of money, which as kisve bahası (Clothing money) was designated.23 By the end of the 17th century, Muslims made up the majority of the population in Albania and Kosovo.24 Further mass conversions to Islam followed in the early 18th century in what is now Bulgaria in the Rhodope Mountains25 as well as the late 18th century among the Greek population of Crete.26 At the beginning of the 19th century, however, the process of Islamization in south-eastern Europe gradually came to a standstill.27

At around the same time as the Islamization of Southeast Europe, de-Islamization processes took place on the Iberian Peninsula and in Eastern Europe. On the Iberian Peninsula, Muslims lived around the middle of the 15th century not only on the territory of the Emirate of Granada, but also as numerically not insignificant minorities in the Christian kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, Valencia and Navarre.28 The special one MudejarStatus allowed them to practice their religion in closed self-governing communities, the so-called aljamasto continue exercising.29 The Muslims of the emirate of Granada, conquered in 1492, were initially assured of freedom to practice their religion in the terms of the surrender. However, after an uprising in 1499, they were forced to accept Christianity on pain of death.30 This marked the beginning of the time of crypto-Islam in the history of the Iberian Peninsula: Officially, the Muslims of Granada converted to Christianity, but they continued to practice their original religion in secret.31 Following the example of Granada, the Muslims of Castile (1501), Navarre (1515), Aragon and Valencia (1526) were forced to convert to Christianity or to emigrate. It is true that the crypto-Muslims who remained in Spain and are now known as "Morisks" once again developed a modest cultural and religious life with Arabic and Aljamia, a Spanish written in Arabic script, as literary languages,