Role of Vatican in Arab Nationalism

By Naveed Tajammal


To break the Ottoman Empire from within, the Vatican through its Jesuit Fathers, started their work in a low profile from 1625 onward, they were checked by the Ottomans and suppressed in 1773, but, before proceeding further we must have a glimpse as to who they were, a little before the Counter-Reformation was started by the Vatican to mend the split in the Western Church [1545-1563] to overcome the Protestants, a society of Jesus was formed, they were propagators trained in all possible arts of persuasion, these teachers were highly motivated men, they were put through a vigorous programme, their objective was to set up missionary schools at grass root levels, to stop the spread of ‘Protestantism’, and revive the communion with Vatican in Rome. It were these highly trained men who were sent to the Ottoman Empire under various modes.

Their aim was to start the Arab Nationalism, The Ottomans had within their Empire, out of Five old Episcopal See’s [Centers] Four centers of old Christianity namely; Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch with Jerusalem, and the fifth was Rome. The break had come in the first instance when Western Church [Rome] broke off from the Eastern Church which was composed of the four centers, as found in the Ottoman Empire, mentioned above.

The break came about over the ‘Iconoclasm dispute’ [726-787] with [814-842 AD] The four See’s followed the Old Covenant, based on Ten Commandments, which forbid to make and worship images, The western church had over the last centuries taken in its fold all old European Pagan rites, to increase the orbit of its influence and earn more, and had challenged the Eastern Church on adhering to, the old beliefs, as according to Vatican the changing Times needed change in outlook, so there was a need to make images of Jesus and Mary, as well of old saints with to worship them, Eastern Church had resisted. These moves. on the grounds that it was a revision to old Paganism.

After 1773, when Ottoman administration had suppressed the Jesuit Fathers from their propagation within the empire, the Vatican started a new move via the ‘Lazarist Order’. and with the blessings of the French monarchs, they now started their aims anew by starting primary mission schools within the Turkish Empire, It was just not the Vatican alone in this endeavour, by early quarter of 19th century American Presbyterian’s, were also active in Beirut, along with, yet, again French backed Marionette with Melikte orders, in Syria and they too remained busy establishing their schools, The Maronite with Melkite Church were part of the Vatican ,as had become the Greek Catholics, the cause of split from the Eastern Church being that of Language, as they spoke and wrote in Arabic and Not in Greek.

People like Eli Smith [1801-1857] a American missionary teacher, who was a product of ‘Andover Newton Theological School’, which specialized in creating teachers like the Jesuit Fathers, Eli Smith was posted in Beirut along with EdwardSherif-Hussein of Makkah Robinson [1794-1863] a fellow American[who later became the Father of Palestinology or Biblical Archaeology],,it was Eli Smith who had brought the first Arabic type printing press, in these regions i.e. Beirut and Syria, so started a revival of Arabic Language through print media, and writing of Literature, along with it came translations of old Greek thought works, Scholars were hired to translate these works which, had a value as per their well laid down plans to change the mindset of younger generations, by first creating the element of doubt.

Butrus al-Bustani [1819-1883] is a major figure in the Arabic Renaissance, Brutus was a Maronite Christian from Chouf [Shouf] a district within the Governance of Mount Lebanon, though a Druze region ,but inhabited as well by the Maronite ,and the Greek Catholics. Earlier the Maronites had established a College at Ayen Warqa [1789 AD],it was here that Butrus was educated, and he along with Nasif al-Yazji [1847-1906],the father of Ibrahim al-Yazji, who later was the editor of Arabic Newspaper, and Magazines ,’Nagah, Tabib with Diya.

Meanwhile the American University at Beirut had been established in 1866, Butrus and Nasif, both worked very hard to spread the Arabic language, and new ideas were spread through their networks. The aim was to hit the Turk over the Linguistic issue. Nasif, was deeply associated with ‘Al-Nahda’ or ‘Awakening’ movement that started from Egypt, and which had spread to Beirut and Damascus. That was the doings of Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt, who had broken away from Ottoman Empire and had his own Axe to Grind.

The focus of all subsequent movements that would be explained in this article was to put in the minds of younger Arabic speaking Generations,  that Arabs must learn from the West and challenge the old rustic values of Islam. On this issue all Christian Churches were united in their efforts, and themselves remained in shadows. The bible of the new Arabic Grammar was the works of ‘Jirmanus Farhat [b.1670 AD], who was born in Allepo Syria, and received his earlier education from a Maronite school, ‘al-Kuttab al Maruni’, and later joined the Maronite College at Allepo, established by a Butrus al Tolawi with funds from West.

Farhat was ordained a Priest, and later became an Abbot in 1698, and in 1725, he was made the Archbishop of Allepo; he was a highly intelligent man and a dedicated worker for his cause. It was his Arabic Grammar [revised] that became the standard work in all writings, subsequently, even by the Al Nahda movement, Farhat drew his work from the Holy Christian Scriptures; substituting Bible for the Quran, and used Pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry as the sources of his new Arabic Grammar. Farhat’s Arabic Grammar was re-published quite a few times in the 19th Century and was used as a standard text in all Lebanese and Syrian schools, as stated it was greatly appreciated and endorsed by Al Nahda movement writers like,al-Shidyaq-Malta,1836,Butrus al-Bustani-Beirut 1854,Sa’id al-Shartuni Beirut 1883, Abd Allah al Bustani-Ba’ahda 1900, and Salim Sadir Beirut 1914 AD.

Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century became a pawn in European Politics, because of her strategic position but with weakness. Even in the 19th century the empire was stretched from the Caspian sea, to the Adriatic Sea, and from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, including the Balkans and most of the North African Coastline. It had a central position situated as it was between the Asian and the European Continent.

The Age of European Imperialism was fast rising and the Ottomans held all the key routes, beside the fact that between 18th and 19th century the Empire had served as a Buffer state for the French, British and the Austrian Empires, against the designs of Russian empire. It was again the Vatican at its best when it sparked the Crimean War [1853-1856] which had started as a petty quarrel between the Vatican Jesuit Fathers and the Eastern Church over the custody of the Christian Holy places within the Ottoman Empire. The Turks in the weaker moments had given the French the right to protect the Vatican/Latin monks, and subsequently the Eastern Church had sought refuge under the Russians. The Crimean war was a pure Christian Schismatic war, fought between two churches and a Million soldiers died because of it.

The 19th Century saw a rise of specifically Arab Consciousness among Christian Arabic speakers as well as a segment of free thinking Muslim writers, primarily in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, which also saw the revolt of Colonel Ahmed Urabi [1879-1882] of Egypt.

In Egypt the most influential Arabic newspaper ‘Abu Naddara Zar’a’ was published by Yaqub Sanu [1839-1912], a Jew of Egyptian and Italian origins. It was Farhat’s Arabic Grammar which was used in the writings and not the old Classical Muslim era Arabic Grammar.

Secret Societies were founded first in Beirut, under different names, not to attract attention. In 1847, in Beirut we see one named as ‘Society of Arts with Sciences, Yazji, Bustani, Eli Smith with several other Americans were leading them; all were Christians. In 1857 emerges the, ”Syrian Scientific Society’, but here now we see that beside the Christian other minorities like Druze, Alwites with Ismailis joining them. By 1868 branches had spread all over the Empire even in Istanbul. They focused on lampoons and placards pasted on street walls, criticizing the Ottoman Administration, and demanding;

a] Restoration of Arabic Language.

b] Creation of an autonomous states of Syria with Lebanon [Egypt had already broken loose earlier under the Albanian, Muhammad Ali Pasha, another Champion of Arab cause.

c] Removal of censorship.

d] Recruitment of local military units/levies from Arabic speaking population.

Later when the Turks started hunting them down they all ran off to Egypt, and joined hands with British who had occupied Egypt after the revolt of Colonel Ahmed Urabi. Thereafter we see Cairo the hotbed of all secessionists; the British used them to destroy the Ottoman empire from within. In 1909 the Egyptians started yet another secret society, ‘al Muntada al Arabi’ with branches even in Iraq and other Arabic speaking regions of the Turkish Empire. Colonel Aziz al-Misri though not an Arab by any yardstick but being a Circassian [Cherkess/Crimean Tatar] who later organized yet two more Arab movements, Al-Qahtaniyya with Al Ahad, and later joined Shariff  Hussain of Mecca, who played a major role, for his own selfish motives,  in cahoots with T.E. Lawrence party. Yet another society was formed in France –Paris. In 1911,’al-Fatah’ from where it was shifted to Beirut, by 1913 they were putting forward demands for a Arab Home rule, in the same year the Arab Congress was invited by Al Fatah in Paris.

The British were perched all around the Turkish Empire, and like Vultures waiting to go and eat the Carcass of the Ottoman Empire. It was the outbreak of the First World War, and Turks joining the Germans that, the British made a declaration on 14 Oct 1914;

a] To Protect Grand Sharriff of Mecca.

b] Welcome and Patronize a Arab Caliphate.

c] Respect the rights and privileges due to the office of Grand Shariff of Mecca.

When the then Caliph of Muslims the Ottoman Sultan declared ‘Jihad’, the Shariff of Mecca perched on the shoulders of the British and countered it that it was not a ‘jihad’, thereby rendered the greatest service to the British Empire.

Cross post from :

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Naveed Tajammal  On November 9, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Thankyou for the post Yasmeen.

  • S.Khalid Husain  On November 9, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, was revealed in Arabia. Judaism was hogged by its followers, or the Jewish people, who took the revelation to be meant only for them and anointed themselves as the ‘chosen’ ones. This stifled the revelation, it becoming strictly constricted to the so called ‘chosen’ people, allowing no conversions, this turned the Jewish religion into a virtual cult, which it remains to this day.
    Christianity and Islam sallied forth to share and spread the revelations far and wide, and are today the two most extensively practiced religions with largest number of followers.
    In Islam the concept of ‘ummah’ is emphasized, not nationalism. Why have the Arabs, therefore, who are the original recipients of the complete message through the final and last prophet (saw), historically and to present, remained more committed to ‘Arabism’?

    • Naveed Tajammal  On November 9, 2013 at 4:16 am

      The objective behind this article or those earlier written by me,on the subject of Ottoman Empire and its facets of rule or how it fell,was to highlight the causes or the actual players,here i wanted to highlight,that it is not the Jew who is propagated as the manipulator of all evil,the actual player has been the Vatican,be they the nine previous Crusades or the current 10th Crusade,or the mid-19th Century Crimean war referred in the article which was a pure schismatic war between the Christian Churches,and a Million soldiers died on both the sides,the true cause behind was a take over bid by the Vatican over the Holy places within the Ottoman Empire,which was resisted by the Eastern Church and the Battle field was Crimea.
      Yes, even the best system will fail,if left to stagnant,Vatican is not only a church but is one of the largest business mother corporation with assets which can put to shame the largest business houses.
      The educational systems run by the churches of Christianity have tentacles the world over,the Jews are no where near this,whenever in History since inception of Christianity and its spread any Challenge or threat is seen,it is dealt systematically,and so the story of Arab Nationalism,the ludicrous part being Not a single Arab Muslim is seen,earlier or part of its Secret Societies,Till the T.E.Lawrence party jumps in the fray and puts them forward as the canon fodder,and it was the British who created these new Arab royal houses which are seen in the aftermath of the fall of the Ottoman Empire,it should be remembered the ‘Millat System evolved by the Turks has no parallel even today for a inter-faith Harmony or within a state having multi-schismatic groups.

  • Col naeem  On November 9, 2013 at 2:21 am

    I have yet to read Yasmeen’s mail; but I totally agree with your comments. It is either your stupidity or avarice which makes your fall for “conspiraries”. And not to forget the nihilist role of the pulpit in fanning conspiracy theories.

  • Javed Hilali  On November 9, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Thank you.
    Quite informative.

    Javed Helali

  • shahbazthuthaal  On November 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

    thanks for sharing

    Muhammad Shahbaz Thuthaal EME CHS Multan road,lahore. 0301-3667777

  • S.Khalid Husain  On November 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Christian missionary schools in India during the Brit rule provided some of best education. Neither Muslims nor Hindus could set up schools to compete with them’.
    Some of India’s and Pakistan’s best developed, trained and enlightened brains came out of such schools. To this day in India and Pakistan the best schools are still of the same genre: Saint this and Saint that.
    The Christian church schools may have contributed to anglicizing Indians, but to say they weakened the Muslims and Hindus faiths in their beliefs would be utterly wrong.
    No Hindu or Muslim converted to Christianity for reason of changed belief, conversions were almost entirely for economic reasons, mainly of the depressed lowest classes and castes in Hindu caste system.
    We need to ask how much have Hindu mandirs, or Muslim mosques, contributed to intellectual advancement of Hindus and Muslims. The answer will be shocking.
    In the case of mosques, the reasons why these have played such a contrary role in the development of Muslims are too clearly to be heard, and seen, to merit a discourse.

    • Syed Masud ul Hasan  On November 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      I fully support SKH views. Before independence, Rawalpindi had only 2 colleges. Gordon College and Khalsa College. No Muslim was ever converted to Christianity or Sikhism due to these colleges.My children have studied in missionary schools and they are better practicing Muslim than me. The so-called low cast people who became Christians hardly went to these schools or colleges.

      • Naveed Tajammal  On November 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        May i remind that the subject and context of the article is,” Role of Vatican in Arab Nationalism”,if somebody has
        anything to say,contrary to what i have stated,i would be very pleased to discuss,as to the diversion to the missionary schools here or what was the British Indian Empire,on that i will be writing shortly,with reference to our,own four tier Educational system,which was uprooted by the British and their Missionary inducted.Most would be amazed that,it focused on handwriting,on math tables,starting from Quarter into quarter ,to half into half,till the whole number,and so from one and quarter till the next whole number,mannerism,literature,letter writing etc.were all taught in the Mektab,it was bi-lingual as medium was ‘Farsi’ and regional dialect,were used, for explanation,to young boys and girls who entered school at the age of six.All records,about number of local schools in our part of British indian empire and syllabus taught exist,in the British Administration Report.
        We had a excellent canal irrigation system,with no water-logging or salinity,,i have already written on that,in my part-4 of prelude to indus water treaty,article.The revenue system was better then what the greedy british imposed on us,there was No tax on usage of canal/ Ground-well water,for agriculture.

  • a m malik  On November 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    The purpose of the article by Naveed Tajjamal is to draw out lessons from the history. A digression will fail the purpose.

    Now If the western church did what it did it refelects on the wisdom of long term plans and work on them over the period. It also reflects the coordination between various centres which had to meet the assigned mission/tasks. There were moments of upgradation of the plan as the history moved but the basic aim remained the same. Hats off to the conspirators to have met their objective sucess fully. Any one would do similarly to obtain the necessary leverage and power. Instead of having a lament on he did this and she did this, we need to put our house in order first to ward off such eventualities for the future and next plan to become a player who can call the shots in the future.

    After a long time now I understand as to why the Serbian Orthodox gunned after the Roman Catholic Croats during the Bosnian war. Thanks Mr Naveed. Pl also explain the reason as to how and why the Rome Vatican shifted to Konya in Turkey and was that the reason i.e Roman presence that Maulana roomi is so called?

    • Naveed Tajammal  On November 10, 2013 at 3:26 am

      A M Malik Sahib,
      Thankyou for the kind words,the aim is to enlighten the public at large of the powerful forces which have brought in the change,though,operating from behind the veil,yes all kudos to them to have been so dedicated and focused as seen,and,for having manipulated the events to meet their ends.
      As to why Mulana Rumi was so called well the region wherein lies present Turkey is Old Historical Rum,mentioned even in the Shahnama of firdausi,The Roman empire of Italy or Rome city emerged much later,as a power.The centre of old Rum was Constantinople.The old Turkestan of the Turks,is the present chinese ‘land mass from west of Great wall to the Pamir knot, wherein were the fabled Six cities,with the capital at Kashghar.The home of the Legendary ‘Afrasiab’ the Turk ,Khaqhan’.
      The second Centre of Budhism too was Khotan,after the Muslim Conquest,Lhasa in Tibet comes up,in the later 8th Century AD.Tibet as it came to be known,later, was part of Turkestan geographic entity.
      Tibet is actually ”Tah-Bu’tt’,meaning,” till the Idol ”[of the Buddha]

      • a m malik  On November 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

        Constantinople or the present Istanbul(Islam Bol = The gate of Islam), lies pretty far from Konyia – Maulana rumi’s place. Is this not in Anatolia province – conquered by the Muslims – but then there was no Roman Catholic??!!
        It would be a help if your study can reveal how come Christian are called by the present name when earlier they were called Nasranis – from the birth place of Jesus, whose change of name to Jesus is again not understood.
        And did Paul flee to Turkey to form the centre? Why was it then called Roumi??
        A study of history unfolds many interesting events and case studies and it is an utter shame that we have shunned the history to our waste baskets in the schools. History and Geography were important subjects in the past until computer and ‘O’levels took over.

      • Naveed Tajammal  On November 11, 2013 at 5:35 am

        Malik Sahib,the old Name of Constantinople was ‘Byzantium’.named after ‘Byzas’,the date assigned for the first foundation is 657 BC,it was destroyed ,on the orders of,’ Dara,the Iranian Monarch,of the ‘Hakamanish’ dynasty,subsequently,later repopulated,and remained under Iranian rule,while it lasted,it was renamed as ‘Constantinople’ after Constantine’ the Roman emperor,around 330 AD & later became the seat of the Eastern Roman empire.

  • a m malik  On November 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    YAA. Sometimes back there was a write up on Gwadar Port sent by you. Some how I could not re-trace it. Would you be kind enough to send the same again pl regs am

  • Naveed Tajammal  On November 11, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Lastly Malik Sahib,it was St.Andrew who is attributed,to have spread Christianity in these regions,and as to Nasarani’ term,that being the region of Hazarat.Issa [Jesus],or as he was called then,Jesus of Nazareth’,The Term Christ emerges from the Greek word of the Language in vogue in the 1st Century AD,i.e ”Christos’ and same in Latin,”Christus’,meaning ”Anointed’.which emerges after the compilation of the ‘New Testament’ [only],a collection of works in different times by different writers,but,all written in Greek language in vogue or usage in those times.he is called in new testament as ‘Christ Jesus’.hence the term,Christians,from the Greek word.Yes in our Scriptures they are called Nasarani.regards

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: