The Ottoman Empire continued

Islam     Session Eighteen

Item #4, bullet #4 of outline:  The Ottoman Empire continued

Although the Ottoman Empire lost substantial territories and people under its control in the 19th century and early 20th century, it still controlled over 12,000,000 people (outside its homeland of Turkey; including the present-day countries of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel) just prior to the beginning of World War I in 1914.

The coup de grace of its demise was entering World War I on the side of the Central Powers ( Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Bulgaria). The Central Powers lost World War I and one of the consequences was the forced disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Except for the area of Anatolia which became the Republic of Turkey (in 1923 ), the former Ottoman Empire was divided under a plan engineered by Britain and France and endorsed and implemented by the League of Nations.

Under the plan new nations were established and League of Nation mandates gave Britain, France and Russia control over defined areas of the Fertile Crescent.

  • France was mandated control of the central and northern parts of the western Fertile Crescent (known as Syria or the Levant) and set up the republics of Lebanon and Syria,
  • Britain was mandated control of the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent which became the country and monarchy of Iraq,
  • Britain was also mandated control of the southern part of the western Fertile Crescent known as Palestine. Palestine was further divided into an Arab Emirate in the eastern section, which was named Transjordan, and a western section which retained the name, “Palestine”.
  • Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan were established as independent republics after World War I. However, within a few  years they were absorbed into the Soviet Union.

The Middle East between the ends of the two World Wars (roughly, 1919 to 1946) was dominated by the colonial powers who were mandated control by the League of Nations.  This dominance had the effect of preventing the Middle East from being the source of a third Islamic Empire during that period.

During this period there was no Caliphate, no Caliph, no leader of a third Islamic empire.  However the Muslim population did grow and there were significant advances on local and national levels.

  • The Arab countries of the northern coast of Africa and the Sahara, under varying degrees of French control, while not achieving independence did increase their Muslim population.
  • Arabia, between the wars, was profoundly changed economically and politically by the rise to power of the House of Saud and the discovery of oil. By 1926 the House of Saud had conquered virtually all of Arabia ( except for a few coastal Sheikdoms such as Yemen and Oman) and in 1932 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established. Once in control, they imposed the strictest and most egregious form of Islam on their 100 per cent Muslim population – The Wahhabi form of Islam which still controls the Saudi population.

The production and export of oil would eventually make certain western countries dependent for their petroleum on Saudi Arabia, provide the means to fund militant, terrorist and barbaric Islamic forces and, insulate Saudi Arabia from any external retribution.

  • In 1928 the “Muslim Brotherhood” was founded in Egypt by Hasan al-Banna. Today more than 70 Muslim terrorist groups have been founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.  Much more about the “Brotherhood” later in the presentation (see item 8 of the outline).
  • The Muslim population of the present-day countries of Malaysia and Indonesia increased significantly during this period, but the colonial powers of Britain and The Netherlands exerted their political control to confine Islamic activity within the political boundaries.


World War II, because of the occupation of foreign troops, absentee governing by the colonial powers and the formation of partisan paramilitary groups (which were to fight both the enemy occupying forces and their colonial masters), set the stage for the dismantling of the colonial empires.

The present horrific activities of Islamic terrorist forces can, for the most part, trace their roots to the chaos present in various parts of the world after World War II.  These chaotic circumstances helped to awaken millions of Muslims (now free of or fighting for freedom from their colonial masters) to their duty in accordance with the commands of Allah and the Koran, and precedents set by Muhammad and the previous Islamic Empires to bring the entire world under the rule of Islam.

Before we discuss Islam in the modern world, we will discuss the structure of Islam and the Muslim culture when Islam is in control; beginning next time with the “Structure of Islam.”